Australia: October 28, 2015: StartupAUS, the national peak body transforming Australia through technology entrepreneurship, has welcomed the Labor Party’s Girls into Code initiative, which would see a $4.5 million grants program supporting organisations that promote, encourage and inspire girls into learning code if they win the next election.
Announced today, Girls into Code is the latest policy announcement by the Opposition as part of a suite of measures it proposes to implement to position Australia as a leading knowledge economy. Last month Labor announced a policy proposing a Startup Year at university, aimed at assisting young Australians who are looking to start their own enterprise.
CEO of StartupAUS, Peter Bradd, said Labor’s latest initiative was very welcome as a way of addressing the underrepresentation of women in the technology and innovation sector in Australia.
“As outlined in our Crossroads 2015 report, it is estimated that an additional 35,000 ICT professionals will be needed over the next three years, which is three times the projected number of domestic ICT graduates from Australian universities over that period.
Further to this, Australia has a chronic shortage of women graduating with computer science or coding skills. Since 2001, the rate of women enrolling in an IT degree has fallen from about one in four to just one in ten.
“StartupAUS is focused on addressing two core areas if we are to create a strong digital economy of the future – that is talent and capital.
“Anecdotally there’s a large number of entrepreneurs in Australia with viable business ideas but with no capacity to implement them in software. Whilst they can succeed by outsourcing the technical skills required, they do face great challenges compared to entrepreneurs with coding skills who can build the first iterations of their product at zero cost. Therefore, Labor’s policy will not only spur a more skilled workforce but a more gender diverse one.
“StartupAUS believes improving rates of participation by women in technology jobs, starts by capturing girls’ interest from an early age, having great role models and clearly depicting the diverse career paths that provide plentiful opportunities for girls.
“StartupAUS is looking forward to continuing its working relationship with all major parties and is excited to be part this new era of thinking. The focused initiatives by Labor highlight some great policies and programs to help transform Australia into an innovation hub. It is through the creation of a thriving, diverse tech and innovation hub, that we can begin to compete on a global scale and attract and retain innovation talent,” Mr Bradd said.
StartupAUS is a not-for-profit entity with a mission to transform Australia through technology entrepreneurship. StartupAUS believes a strong home-grown tech sector is vital to future Australian jobs and wealth. But getting there will require a national imperative to create the right environment, with a supportive culture and more entrepreneurs with the right skills.
For more information: www.startupaus.org