Australia is witnessing a trend of global market players eyeing our shores, seeing the opportunities that could be afforded to them and how they could dominate the domestic market. And they are coming, spurred on by the commercial success that awaits them here. Watch out for what the Amazons and Alibabas can do to commerce and finance in Australia!

If Australia’s home-grown companies aren’t worried about this, then they should be. Bigger, global competitors can be the threat that can eclipse their growth and take their customers or they can be partners that enable the digital transformation of their Australian businesses.

Australia is almost unique in the western world, with nine out of 10 of its top companies established more than 100 years ago, during the horse and cart era. Yet in the United States, five of the 10 biggest companies were formed in the last 40 years alone. These include Microsoft (1975), Apple (1976), Amazon (1994), Google (1998) and Facebook in 2004. Apple alone is six times bigger than BHP.

It goes without saying, if Australian doesn’t quickly develop its own ‘ecosystem’ of entrepreneurial success stories, then our home-grown companies that are frozen by an analogue mindset will be left behind, with their customers switching to competitors from overseas that use technology to provide a better user experience and a better quality of product.

Australia needs to capture the creative energies of its people, and develop companies of the future that can harness the opportunities created by the digital economy. We need to show more boldness and innovation, and be more willing to take risks in order to realise the almost unlimited potential we have before us.

There is no doubt in my mind that for Australian companies to transform into high-growth innovators, the mindset in Australia has to change. We need ambitious and aggressive entrepreneurs pushing the boundaries to drive success. Yet for them to be able to do this:

  • the Government needs to introduce more enabling policy to support the startup and scale-up communities
  • banks needs to open up their lending to startups and SMEs to make it easier for smaller players to scale and generate momentum.
  • investors and banks need to realise that there are more asset classes than property, cash and blue-chip shares.

In terms of investing in innovation and providing support to entrepreneurs, Australia is behind. The returns from investing in mature scale-ups entering the critical growth phase could be profound, and make the endless debate about Sydney and Melbourne property prices redundant. If more priority could be placed on encouraging and enabling startups and scale-ups, then in the not too distant future, we will see more high-growth innovators hit our market. And only good things can come from this.

To hear more from me on this topic, you can see my presentation at the Wild Digital Conference in February here: https://youtu.be/WZMk5i4_jhg?t=25s