From this November, Australia may be granting visas to the next Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Steve Jobs or Marc Benioff under the new Entrepreneur Visa, announced as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

This new category of visa will be established for entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and financial backing from a third party.

Salesforce has a strong interest in building a healthy ecosystem for entrepreneurs globally. Salesforce began as a disruptive startup in 1999, ushering in a new era in enterprise cloud computing.

In addition, Salesforce operates Salesforce Ventures, the only strategic venture fund focused 100% on creating the world’s largest ecosystem of enterprise cloud companies, and has invested in more than 150 companies since 2009.

Other countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand already have an entrepreneur visa category for migration.

An estimated 20,000 Australians work in the San Francisco Bay area, and at least 65 start-ups in and around Silicon Valley were created in Australia or have an Australian founder.

This new visa class will help propel some of this talent back to Australia, helping to grow our local innovation ecosystem. The need to attract, retain and develop talent is canvassed in this earlier Salesforce blog post.

The new visa class, is a welcome initiative following the appointment of the newly formed Innovation and Science Board, which includes the appointments of tech entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, among academics and scientists, who understand Australia’s talent needs.

To make sure the new visa class meets its objectives, Salesforce has made a number of recommendations, they include:

  • Entrepreneurs must demonstrate market need. Entrepreneurs applying need to demonstrate a market need for product/idea. Among the main reasons why startups fail is not delivering on this point. Estimates vary on the failure rates among startups, some suggest 90%, and even those with venture capital funding, half of those businesses may not succeed.

  • Consistency with other jurisdictions, on minimum investment required and visa period of around three years, these jurisdictions include Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

  • Leverage Australia’s advantage in certain sectors such as FinTech, According to TechCrunch, Sydney has been identified as one in five darkhorse cities to be a global leader in Fintech. The newly established  FinTech Advisory Council could also provide valuable assistance in this process. Other sectors include cybersecurity, genomics, & quantum computing where Australia has world-class R&D and the potential for significant global impact.

  • Favourable consideration should be given to Entrepreneurs who have a plan to give back to the community, as well as locate the headquarters of the company in Australia if they plan to expand internationally. Salesforce donates 1% of resources, 1% of technology and 1% of employee time to support not-for-profit organisations around the world. The Pledge 1% initiative invites entrepreneurs and their companies to make this same commitment and integrate philanthropy into their businesses from an early stage. Salesforce encourages startups in Australia to consider adopting this model of giving back to the community at the start of their ventures.

  • Establishing a multilateral visa, giving entrepreneurs the freedom to move between economies that already have an entrepreneur visa like Canada, United Kingdom and New Zealand.

  • The Entrepreneur visa should be for a technology based business, with the potential for high growth.

    If you're interested to hear more on Innovation, register for World Tour, Melbourne where we will be running a dedicated Innovation and Thought Leaders stream. Details here.

This blog post was written by Sassoon Grigorian (Head of Public Policy for Australia & New Zealand at Salesforce) and Robert Wickham (RVP, Enterprise Sales at Salesforce)