Science Party cofounder and Leader, Dr James Jansson, announced the Science Party Startup Policy today. The policy includes a basic income for startup founders, new startup coworking space funding and grants for early stage startups for office space. It also includes new measures for consumer protection, and better tools for the Bureau of Statistics and Tax Office to collect information about the success of startups.
James Jansson, Science Party Leader and NSW Senate Candidate
"As the only political leader in the country who is actually running a startup, I'm in a unique position to write policy that actually helps startup founders" said Dr Jansson. Dr Jansson’s startup, Tapview, is a micropayments platform for online news media. Tapview received investment from h2 Ventures at a company valuation of $1 million.
"Our startup policy gives startup founders a 'SmartStart Allowance'. This allowance will be equivalent to the Centrelink NewStart allowance (unemployment benefit).”
"There are schemes that exist already (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme, NEIS) for people to create small businesses, but the rules specifically exclude business ideas that compete with existing businesses or for businesses that primarily serve international markets. This grant will overcome this massive omission from government policy."
"It's not an enormous amount of money, probably only enough money to pay the rent, but it will allow many people to start a business with less economic uncertainty."
Startup founders will be eligible for the SmartStart Allowance for one in every five years.
The startup policy includes an $8000 grant per startup cofounder to pay for office space or workshop space. "Having a dedicated work place to get down to business is an important step of running a serious business. Simply finding an affordable desk can be an extremely difficult process," Dr Jansson said.
The policy also includes two $1 million grants for each capital city to create coworking spaces for new startups, similar to Stone&Chalk, where Dr Jansson’s startup resides. "Coworking spaces are really important places for doing informal learning. In our case, there have been multiple situations in which simple discussions have saved us months of work. Coworking spaces make startups more successful by moving more quickly."
James Jansson, Science Party leader, has a PhD in mathematical modelling and is a cofounder of Tapview, a micropayments platform for online media.
The Science Party is releasing the policy under Creative Commons Attribution License. "All political parties are welcome to copy, modify and implement any Science Party startup policy."
The full policy can be found below:
Creating new startup incubator spaces to promote informal education in new businesses
- $14 million commitment in the first year of operation in the form of fourteen $1 million grants to create startup spaces around the country.
- Two such startup space grants to be awarded per capital city in the first year, with the program to be extend if sufficient demand for new startup coworking spaces exists.
Support for very early stage startup founders
- “SmartStart Allowance” - Unconditional basic income grants equivalent to 1 year of Centrelink Newstart for a year. All individuals will be eligible to receive this grant for 1 year in every 5.
- Office and plant funding: $8000 per startup founder for their first year. Based on an additional 200 startup founders per space, this comes to $22.4 million on new startups alone. Existing startups (less than 3 years old) will be eligible to receive these grants, which are expected to increase the size of the program to $150 million.
- Formal education is an important stepping stone for many people who are involved in startups. The Science Party is committed to providing Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) classes in primary school.
- Scalable legislative requirements for businesses depending on size.
- Setting up a startup legislation commission that routinely investigates if startups are hindered by antiquated legislation.
- Remove unnecessary legislation after a review of legislative bottlenecks.
ABS Reporting for small businesses
- ABS to create a new categories of business for startups in statistical reporting of businesses to capture the “unicorn”-type businesses that have low fixed upfront costs and a scalable business model that can be applied to international markets in the technology sphere.
- ABS reporting to include businesses not necessarily registered. ABS to attend startup spaces and startup events to conduct surveys to determine the true size of entrepreneurial individuals in Australia
- Integrate data from cross-department communication: ATO and ASIC reporting to be relayed to ABS to help in sector size estimation
Government supported startup centred consumer protection
- The government to provide information (such as how-to guides) about setting up businesses, and the types of services that are necessary and what are reasonable prices for such services.
Maintain employee share schemes
- Under the Gillard government, Labor made employee share schemes extremely restrictive in an attempt to limit bank executive tax minimisation. The Science Party believes that the impact on startups far outweighs the expected revenue of tax from bank executives and hence employee share schemes should remain flexible to allow startups to thrive.
Flexible migration arrangements for people in STEM
- Like scientists, startup founders have specialised knowledge and grow as professionals by working in international settings. The workplaces that take international workers on gain from their skills and expertise. The Science Party is pro-migration and will ensure that individuals who wish to work in the science and technology can come to Australia to help build the Australia of tomorrow with a clear path for permanent residency for those involved in the migration program.