Victoria will seek to position itself as a major international player in the fintech sector, with the state government last week unveiling plans for a new hub in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct to boost jobs and encourage startups in this fast growing industry.
The hub will be housed in the Goods Shed North in Docklands and will bring together startups, corporates and researchers under one roof.
“The space itself really lends itself to collaboration … it’s about bringing people with different experiences and opportunities together to coalesce around an outcome -being successful,” Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis told StartupSmart.
“We’ve seen massive investment in agritech and medtech … investing in fintech is another string to the bow. From my perspective, it’s an important development,” Dalidakis says.
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According to Dalidakis, the time is perfect for the state to capitalise on growth in the fintech sector.
“What we’ve done in the last couple of years is focus on building the base level infrastructure in fintech. Now that we’re in a position where we believe those building blocks are in place, this is the appropriate time to strongly invest in the fintech sector,” he says.
Alan Tsen, chief operations officer of FinTech Victoria, believes the hub will establish Victoria’s arrival as a key player in the global fintech scene.
“I think it’s a really strong signal for the rest of the world that fintech here in Australia has great support behind it on all levels,” Tsen says.
He believes the space will create a “centre of gravity” for Victoria’s fintech industry, and will offer a “unified approach that isn’t just government, startups or corporates, but instead a connected ecosystem.”
Darcy Naunton, co-founder of Melbourne co-working space York Butter Factory originally proposed the Goods Shed North location to the government in 2014, and has been lobbying to make it an “iconic Victorian startup location” since then.
“We originally identified the The Goods Shed in 2014 as a prime building for such an innovation hub because of its heritage, the location near to both transport and CBD businesses, five-star green energy rating and because of its iconic look and feel,” Naunton told StartupSmart.
The state government is now undertaking a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, and is inviting proposals for the Goods Shed North site.
“The RFP is out at the moment — we’ll be guided by the RFP process now and the timelines that correspond with that process,” Dalidakis says.
Dalidakis also announced Melbourne will host Intersekt, which it says will be Australia’s first fintech festival. Beginning on October 27, the festival will be hosted by FinTech Victoria and FinTech Australia in collaboration with fintech company NextMoney and the York Butter Factory.