NSW takes on Victoria in support for startups

Vying with Victoria for the title of Australia's e-commerce champion, NSW has established an advisory board studded with leading IT figures to stimulate the growth of startup companies nationally.

Ironically, in the light of its rivalry with Victoria, NSW has appointed long-time Melburnian Roger Allen, a principal with venture capital company Allen and Buckeridge, as chairman of the new body.

The advisory council is expected to be officially launched this week and will report to the NSW Department of State Development.

Also on the board are Nine MSN managing director Steve Vamos, Intel Australia director of corporate business development Tony Janz and Internet Industry Association president Patrick Fair.

The advisory board's role won't be restricted to e-commerce startups, Allen said.

However he expected e-commerce businesses to make up about half the total -- roughly the same ratio as the 17 investments currently being managed by Allen and Buckeridge.

"We will be focusing on the practical issues such as what it takes to grow these young companies and get them to succeed internationally," Allen said.

"Some are cultural, some involve incubators and some are about access to venture capital.

"One of the big issues will be training entrepreneurs to handle the things that nobody teaches, such as how to design a really good stock option plan for employees in 10 countries."

Allen declined to be drawn on the question of whether Victoria or NSW qualified as Australia's e-commerce leader.

"I don't have an opinion on that. I spend nearly half my time in the US and my goal is to see Australian startup companies make it on the international scene."

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