Australia: The best place to set up a planning practice?

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The country’s small business owners may complain about red tape and lukewarm government support, but new research shows Australian entrepreneurs are better off than their overseas counterparts.

Ernst and Young has named Australia as one of the leading countries for fostering entrepreneurship in the world, coming in alongside Canada, South Korea, the UK and the US in the study’s top quartile.

The study rated countries in the G20 in five categories to determine the overall rankings: Access to funding, entrepreneurship culture, tax and regulation, education and training and coordinated support.

Australia came in the top 10 for all but one category – coordinated support – and the top five for all but two.

Australia was rated fifth in both the access to funding and entrepreneurship culture categories.

The report praised initiatives such as the Government’s pledge of $100m to local adventure capital funds in March, as well as highlighting the relative ease of starting a new business in Australia.

“In countries such as Australia and Canada, establishing a business is quick and simple. It takes just two days to register a business in Australia and five in Canada,” said Annette Kinnett, managing partner of Ernst and Young Melbourne.

While Australia came second only to France in the category of education and training, founder of McMillian Shakespeare Anthony Podesta says there is still plenty of room for improvement.

“I would like to see our schools offer content specifically for entrepreneurs or for students who may go on to become entrepreneurs. It could be something as simple as a module on entrepreneurship  or a series of seminars with an entrepreneur-in-residence.

 “People have this image of entrepreneurs as get-rich-quick cowboys. Genuine entrepreneurs want to work hard, make long-term change and bring real benefits to people. Unless you teach people the difference, they won’t know.”

Podesta also suggested the potential for entrepreneurial mentors from universities or professional organisations to be embedded within companies.

In Australia 69% of jobs come from small and medium businesses, one of the highest percentages in the G20, but it seems there is little recognition from government, with Australia ranking near the bottom of the list for coordinated support.

However, the report praises advice options such as the free Commercialization Australia program and the availability of grants for new start-ups.

But the Government clearly still has a lot of ground to make up, with Australia only coming in at eighth place on the tax and regulation scale.

Maria Pinelli, global vice chair of strategic growth markets at Ernst and Young says it’s crucial governments around the world make entrepreneurs a priority.

“The need to act is clear. Entrepreneurs have the power to create jobs and drive growth – but first need to give them the tools and environment that will enable them to succeed.”