Turnbull partners with Pollenizer on data startup plan


news An open data initiative named DataStart has been brought about by the collaboration of Malcolm Turnbull’s Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet with an established Australian incubator, Pollenizer, to support data-driven innovation in Australia.

Malcolm Turnbull used his first brief comments as Australia’s 29th Prime Minister in September to emphasise that Australia is facing disruption driven by technology, and that the nation needs to work to take advantage of that trend rather than rejecting it. At the time, Turnbull emphasised that he wanted the Australia of the future to be “agile, innovative and creative”.

Turnbull said that Australia needed to recognise that the disruption that is occurring, driven by technological change, is the country’s “friend” if the nation was agile and smart enough to take advantage of it. “There has never been a more exciting time to be alive than today,” Turnbull said at the time. “There has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian.”

DataStart will advance the government’s election commitment to work with the private sector. This initiative will declare a winning startup in an event on 18th January, 2016, through a competitive selection process. Participants will be shortlisted and then made to display their ideas in front of a panel of judges from government, industry and investment backgrounds. They will be judged on the following two criteria: commercial viability and level of innovation.

DataStart is backed by corporate partners such as Google and Optus. The strategic adviser for DataStart is PwC Australia. Pollenizer has also partnered with Right Click Capital to offer seed capital investment of $200,000. If this idea is successful, the startup will not only be able to access funds to grow their business but will also be able draw a salary during this incubation period. CSIRO, Data61, Rozetta and the Australian Information Industry association are also supporting DataStart.

A series of information nights will be held in different cities of Australia in November to promote DataStart.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers research, Turnbull’s department said in a statement yesterday, data-driven innovation contributed around $67 billion to the Australian economy in 2013. Rough estimates say that the Australia startup scene is capable of contributing over $100 billion to the economy by 2033.

In this context, the government believes the ‘DataStart’ initiative is an opportunity for startups, government, incubators and large corporates to accelerate and incubate innovative business ideas and deliver cost effective and innovative digital services.

Turnbull’s ascension as Prime Minister comes when both the major political sides of Australia have recently spent time wooing the country’s technology startup sector.

In July the Opposition revealed it had created a new internal policy group focused on building a “new economy” through fostering innovation, startups and entrepreneurs, in a move that appears to have support from the highest political levels within the party.

Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull


  1. Oooooh! Sounds like Golden Casket! Enter here and you may win!

    I’m a bit over the whole “Australian government wants to get on board with startups”. I’m one of a handful of startup businesses that have long & deep roots in Australia’s technology sector.

    There’s no government assistance for us. It all seems to be more about getting foreign investment into our larger businesses. Even the R&D tax break is aimed for medium-to-large companies.

    We’re never going to be the next Silicon Valley, but we can be damn good in our own right.

    Let’s get rid of red tape and start proactively help startup businesses become successful in their own right.

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