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Thursday, 22 November 2018
Media release

New entrepreneur visa to attract the world's next innovators to South Australia

Joint media release with the Hon Steven Marshall MP, Premier of South Australia

The world's 'best and brightest' start-up entrepreneurs will be encouraged to move to South Australia to develop their business under a bold new Federal Government visa arrangement to be launched at Adelaide's SouthStart technology and entrepreneur conference today.

Delivering on a key election commitment of the Marshall Liberal Government, the new visa arrangement will be piloted in South Australia, attracting some of sharpest minds in the entrepreneurial world to establish their start-up in the State.

Federal Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said the new arrangements will allow the South Australian Government to partner with business incubators in attracting foreign entrepreneurs to Australia.

"Start-ups generate new jobs, drive innovation and bring opportunities to diversify our economy," Minister Coleman said.

"The pilot is just one of the ways the Government is increasing job opportunities and providing incentives for growing businesses of the future."

South Australia is the pilot state for the three-year Supporting Innovation in South Australia (SISA) visa which will encourage budding foreign entrepreneurs.

Premier Steven Marshall said his Government has committed $400,000 over four years to support the new visa program.

"This is a refreshing, innovative and bold drive to attract the world's best and brightest minds to South Australia to help create new business, industry and jobs," Premier Marshall said.

"The entrepreneurs can be focussed on a variety of industries, however, we'll be looking favourably at applications that relate to the state's emerging industries such as Defence and space; cyber security and big data; agribusiness; health and medical technology; robotics; and media and film.

"The new visa arrangement build on our plan for an Innovation, Incubator, Startup and Growth Hub at Lot Fourteen on the site of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital."

To be successful, applicants will need endorsement from South Australian innovation ecosystem providers or the Office of the Chief Entrepreneur. Successful applicants will be nurtured in South Australia's local innovation ecosystem to help build a successful new business and grow jobs in our state.

Minister for Industry and Skills David Pisoni said South Australia is known for its burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem with numerous co-working spaces housing amazing talent and start-ups.

"The new State Government wants South Australia to have a higher rate of business start-ups and entrepreneurship than anywhere else in Australia within the next decade," Minister Pisoni said.

"We expect the visa scheme will attract up to 30 budding young entrepreneurs to the state in its first year, and up to 100 in the next, who will be encouraged to develop their innovative ideas into start-up businesses.

"Importantly, unlike previous visa classes in this area, the new visa arrangement does not require applicants to demonstrate a minimum funding of $200,000 for approval - the success of their application will ultimately rest upon the quality of their start-up and idea and the soundness of their business plan."

Five local coworking organisations, accelerators and incubators, in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Entrepreneur, will implement the pilot.  The five organisations are COHAB, Innovation and Collaboration Centre (University of South Australia), The Moonshine Lab, New Venture Institute (Flinders University) and Thinclab (The University of Adelaide).

Chief Entrepreneur for South Australia Jim Whalley said attracting innovative entrepreneurs from overseas will contribute to the collaboration and sharing of ideas, experiences, skills and talents of the local ecosystem.

"It's important for South Australia to broaden the diversity of experience and perspectives amongst our entrepreneurs if we are to be successful in building businesses that can go global," Mr Whalley said.

Hinney Lo, Managing Director of digital media company PixelForce, is a former migrant from Hong Kong who graduated from the University of Adelaide before launching his startup business here in South Australia.

Mr Lo said he strongly believes the new entrepreneur visa arrangements will provide migrants and everyday Australians a safer and more supportive environment to become entrepreneurs.

"With hard work and dedication, I was able to help innovate and contribute as an employer to many South Australians, and with this new arrangement, many more will have the same opportunity as me," Mr Lo said.

For further information on the new visa visit www.migration.sa.gov.au/entrepreneur