May 142014
how can governments tax the internet?

Australia’s new Federal government handed down its first budget yesterday with savage cuts to scientific research, training and business support.

I dissected the implications of the budget for businesses in a piece for Technology Spectator with the conclusion that modern Australia is turning its back on technology, the young and the entrepreneurial.

None of which will come as a surprise to this site’s regular readers.

Some of the critics of my Tech Spec piece made the point that if your business relies on government grants then you aren’t really an entrepreneur.

I’d tend to agree with that, having spent a few months working for a state agency responsible for business development programs I realised that for most businesses the time cost of applying for and administering a government grant was often greater than the value they received from the programs.

So government grants aren’t the entrepreneurial manna that many people believe.

What’s worse, governments can axe these programs at short notice which leaves the businesses short handed. Which is exactly what happened last night.

Indeed that’s the problem for Australian businesses, each time a government changes the new administration axes the previous one’s programs and this lack of certainty and continuity is one of my concerns about the viability of Australia’s startup scene.

The truth is though, if your business does need government funds to survive then you’re at the mercy of bureaucrat’s whim rather than the rigours of the market.

If you’re comfortable with owing your existence to a bureaucrat then you probably don’t really have a business and you certainly aren’t an entrepreneur.

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