Start-up businesses are struggling to employ the right people for the job, however not all local entrepreneurs agree or have experienced this struggle.
According to the Start-up Australia report, there are five critical skills shortages in the talent required for start-up businesses. These are:
- Start-up sales roles
- User experience designers
- Product managers
- Data scientists
In the last couple of years Wagga is creating a demand for IT businesses and is now emerging as a technology hub of local entrepreneurs.
Wagga has become home to startup businesses like 365 Cups, Agri-Net, Edu-Kits, and other national companies basing their headquarters in Wagga, such as Think Technology and PDK.
Founder of coffee ordering app 365cups Simone Eyels, said she’s not surprised to hear that sales roles and coders are part of the talent shortage.
“Tech talents are really hard to come by and I think with any new business sales are imperative and this would be across the board,” she said.
“It’s great to have an idea, but you have to be able to sell the product or app to get people to use it; it doesn’t just magically happen.”
As a graphic designer Ms Eyels said her expertise along with her business partner Mariusz Stankiewicz, a computer engineer, meant the start-up costs to employ talented people weren’t needed.
“I think every kids these days should learn how to code, for the jobs of the future and those that don’t exist yet will need some tech and coding elements,” she said.
“More so in the United States, entry level coders can pick their own salary because there is a shortage and a big push for people to enter in the jobs for the future.
“I think Wagga is in a good position, we’re already having this conversation and schools like Kildare and TRAC are on board, embracing STEM learning.
“I guess the exciting thing for Wagga is you can have an amazing career right here, without having to move to the capital cities, and you can do magic any time of the day.”
Michael Nixon, a young entrepreneur and inventor of the Edu-Kits, which aims to make learning about technology fun for kids and teenagers, is an advocate for STEM learning.
He argues that while Wagga is becoming “slightly” more advanced in technology, there is still a long way to go in regards to education for the future of technology.
“We’re still trailing massively behind the capital cities, like Melbourne and Sydney, which have got large technology focused, co-working spaces and massive multinational technology firms injecting a lot of money,” he said.
“I think for rural and regional Australia, it’s all about educating people and making sure that everyone is comfortable with using technology.”
Mr Nixon praised TAFE and said that their programs are “succeeding” in fixing the problem of the lack of knowledge surrounding IT in country towns.
A partnership between TAFE NSW Wagga and CSU’s new information and technology pathway program has found to have a 100 per cent jobs succession rate.
For Dan Winson, he took leave from his full-time IT teaching job at TAFE, to create his own company called Agri-Net, creating large wireless networks for farms and stations right around the country.
He said Wagga is becoming home to many start-up businesses which focus on the rural and regional spaces.
“I think regional Australians have a different perspective on technology; we’ve got some unique insights to different problems, particularly around those of rural customers,” Mr Winson said.
“There’s a lot of big IT companies which are basing themselves out of Wagga because of the access to talent and the lower costs of living than in the city.”