Why we Need More Immigrant Founders

Toby Heap, Founding Partner

27 March 2017


Seeing as it is Harmony Day here in Australia, I thought I'd follow up on my post from last week about the importance of encouraging more immigrant founders in the Australian startup ecosystem.

This week Startup Genome released their latest report on the state of the World's startup ecosystems. As always, it makes a very interesting read, but of particular interest to me was the data on immigrant founders from different cities around the world.

Below is a chart I pulled together from the 2017 Startup Genome report showing the percentage of founders who are immigrants in each of the top 20 startup ecosystems around the world.



These are all great startup ecosystems, so it is clearly possible to create a successful startup city without a focus on immigrant founders, but it seems to me this data points to clear benefits of encouraging more immigrant founders.

Silicon Valley sets the gold standard at 46% with Berlin and London close behind at 43% and 42% respectively. Sydney is ranked 6th when it comes to percentage of startup founders that are immigrants (31%), which is respectable, but could clearly be improved upon.

In terms of how we can encourage more immigrant founders, the report points to the fact that Berlin startups have the 3rd highest visa acceptance rates for foreign candidates at 77% and also have one of the fastest visa acceptance times, suggesting that visa policy and process have a big role to play.

How do you think we could encourage more immigrant founders in Sydney and Australia? What could we do at H2 to attract more immigrants to apply to our startup accelerator? I'd love to hear form you. Let me know in the comments.

Please like this post if you agree with me that we should be looking to emulate Silicon Valley, Berlin and London by putting in place policies to attract more immigrant founders (from within Australia and overseas) into the Sydney and Australian startup ecosystem.