Victoria to build fintech hub

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Victoria is taking on the likes of Singapore, London and New York in fintech, with the state government announcing a new financial technology hub in Docklands it says will create jobs in the fast growing industry.

Announced at an event Wednesday night, the new hub is proposed to be established at the Goods Shed North in Docklands, and will be used to bring together start-ups with investors, cocporates and researchers in a single space.

“Victoria is no longer competing with Sydney. Our competition is with Singapore, London and New York. And as we succeed so will the rest of Australia,” Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis told The Australian.

“Our investment in infosec has significantly supported our local fintech companies as they scale and provided a much needed point of differentiation with the rest of the country.

“We now produce nearly 38 per cent of tech graduates, NSW is down to 27 per cent and Queensland approximately 17 per cent so if you’re a business looking for talent there is no where else that can help, can assist and can provide the depth of talent and the quality of talent that Victoria does.”

Mr Dalidakis also announced Melbourne will host Intersekt — Australia’s first fintech festival. He said the The Collab Collide Summit will be the centrepiece of the inaugural week-long event, which will begin 27 October, and will be hosted by FinTech Australia and FinTech Victoria in conjunction with fintech company NextMoney and coworking community the York Butter Factory.

He said Victoria’s professional services sector is the state’s largest sector in the economy, accounting for almost 20 per cent of gross state product and account for about 405,000 jobs.

The co-founder of Melbourne coworking space York Butter Factory Darcy Naunton said the building had been a distressed asset for a number of years.

“We’re glad to see the government finally do something with the building,” he said. “The York Butter Factory identified this in 2014 and has been lobbying the government to turn the Goods Shed into an innovation precinct since then.

“Since 2014 (when we first submitted our Goods Shed proposal to government), other fast-moving governments such as Singapore, China, and the UK have acted swiftly to establish innovation precincts to create jobs and bolster the new economy. Victoria is now playing catch-up and we have lost some of our best talent, ideas and business opportunities to these hubs overseas.

Mr Naunton said it’s good the government is supporting initiatives like these, but hopes it can get out of the way once the tender is complete and let ecosystem leaders run the FinTech hub.

“We hope that the hub will operate on a sustainable basis, rather than being reliant on government handouts and subsidies,” he said.

“The government has muddled through this project for over two years and now the pressure of forthcoming elections is finally spurring them into action. We question their timing and commitment, as YBF has provided them the groundwork to activate the Goods Shed since 2014 and they have only just decided to act on it in 2017.

“We believe in the current importance of fintech as a driving force for the Victorian economy. We would like to see the model rolled out by government through RFP be able to respond to the evolving technology landscape and be able to adapt new thematics coming through over the next decade and not limit the scope of our innovation efforts.”

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