North Sydney Startup Scoping Project
Adopted In 2019, the North Sydney Smart City Strategy and Action Plan details a number of key actions. Two of these relate to local startups - scope the startup ecosystem and define possible support mechanisms.
Council engaged RDA Sydney to work with them on this scoping exercise, utilising the services of a student from UTS completing dual degrees in Creative Intelligence and Innovation + Communication.
Jointly managed by Council and RDA Sydney, the methodology employed by the researcher was based on initial broad desktop research, key stakeholder interviews and then more-refined data research. Note that this project commenced during Covid-19 public health advisories in Sydney which not only impacted on meeting arrangements but also on the content as many interviewees were impacted by the public health situation.
Starting with coworking spaces, a list of potential stakeholders was created and then built-on as discussions revealed new leads. Meetings with these stakeholders were held by the student together with RDA Sydney staff or by the student alone. The information gathered from these discussions was used as input for the report and recommendations.
The findings from the report led to a number of key recommendations to Council including:
Support of specific activities in coworking spaces including mental health sessions for startups and small businesses during Covid-19;
More in-depth research into startups located outside coworking spaces, particularly those in homes and leased premises.
Council to host events that draw out startups e.g. hackathons, challenges etc.
Focus on sectors of strength e.g. medtech.
A roundtable to engage stakeholders and discuss findings plus plot a broad course for future action.
The culmination of this project has been a roundtable discussion, as per the recommendation above, hosted by North Sydney Council to discuss entrepreneurship and innovation in North Sydney and to engage key stakeholders in actions going forward. Participants include startups, incubators, coworking spaces, NSW Government, private investors, business support services and others.
This project is a good example of small, incisive interventions that help RDA Sydney build relations with councils across Sydney and develop expertise. While we are not a big player in the context of the Sydney Region, we have developed specific expertise and connections that enable us to leverage projects such as this one in North Sydney.
It is hoped that this small scoping project can lead to a more in-depth project that can analyse the practical steps and levers that can be used to grow entrepreneurship and innovation in North Sydney and surrounding areas.
Contact: Mark Wigley firstname.lastname@example.org
To read report click HERE.