Tech Fast Trend: Helping to solve entrepreneurial challenges

Entrepreneurs all around the world face a similar raft of issues in setting up, funding, staffing and scaling their business, the first question often being where to locate. It appears some countries are making it easier than others and in fact going out of their way to attract entrepreneurs.

In the US, the Obama administration has just announced an ‘International Entrepreneur Rule’, that is, a proposal for a visa which will encourage the world’s best and brightest foreign entrepreneurs to live and work in the US while they grow their new business.

The good news is that the Australian Federal Government has its own plans for an Entrepreneur Visa, as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, with the aim that it will be available as soon as November this year.

But attracting those with innovative ideas to set up and drive their idea through to implementation in Australia is just one piece of the puzzle. What are the other challenges fast growing start-ups face in cultivating the right infrastructure and processes to support growth?

As an entrepreneurial CEO said recently: “Working from my house was great for the culture, but when we got to 23 people we just didn’t fit. We had to find a different way forward that also kept our momentum.”

The top three challenges for fast-growing businesses we commonly see are:

  1. The right approach to talent management

As a business grows, hiring the right people becomes a priority. Deciding when to scale up the organisation’s headcount, and learning how to delegate and remunerate, are just some of the skills founders need.

Exploring existing team capabilities and identifying gaps in the skill set is key to appropriately resourcing the business as it scales up.

  1. Customer and market focus

Many fast-growth businesses need to identify the right area of the market on which to focus. Some start by serving high-volume, low-value customers, but as they progress are approached by enterprise clients with vastly different needs to the mass end of the market. Working out whether repositioning the business toward servicing larger clients is the right path isn’t easy, nor is ascertaining the different influences of each type of market on company structure and activities.

  1. Prioritising opportunities, funding and monitoring progress

Most companies face competing priorities and need to ensure the benefits and risks are properly considered, an action plan formulated, and monitored. Underlying it all, accessing capital to grow is critical. Founders can generally secure angel funding, with more mature businesses frequently heading to the US to obtain growth finance. However access to mid-stage capital is often tricky, and bridging this gap and connecting with investors prepared to fund their success is essential.

The Federal Government’s Innovation Agenda is undoubtedly a step in the right direction towards harnessing Australia’s ideas boom and realising our potential as a global innovation hub. However, we must continue to look to innovation hot spots around the world and learn from their successes. We must also ensure that we are not only attracting new entrepreneurs to Australia and shining the spot light on early stage start-ups but that we are sharing this spotlight with high-growth start-ups looking for that next injection of funding or to scale up to the next level, enabling further growth and success and in turn securing their future in Australia. Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program aims to do just that, recognising our fastest growing tech start-ups, providing support and celebrating their success.

Nominations are now open for the 2016 Technology Fast 50 Australia program, closing 30 September. To find out more:


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