Innovation is acknowledged by Government and Industry as fundamental to sustainable social-economic development.
The problem is, Innovation is misunderstood
Government and Industry continue to focus communication, policy and funding on the inventive process within innovation. However, transforming new knowledge into new value for social-economic benefit occurs through the process of entrepreneurship (Hindle 2010).
The value of Angel investors to Victoria’s economy
Angel investors (high net worth, non-institutional, private equity investors) are the resource suppliers in the innovation ecosystem that develop all three needed components of entrepreneurship.
- evaluate opportunities and help entrepreneurs design a business model for new value creation,
- mentor and develop the personal commitment of entrepreneurial leaders, and
- assist the venture implementation process from opportunity through to exit.
Other contributors of the innovation ecosystem focus on distinct sub-sets of entrepreneurship, such as mentorship, advice, education, funding, small business and project management. Often the focus is also on the inventive process such as research or engineering rather than the entrepreneurial process itself.
It is the unique Angel investment process that develops entrepreneurs and their ventures across the full entrepreneurial process needed to take new knowledge and create new value.
Importantly, Angel groups form private sector community infrastructure that increases the pool of available funds for early stage investment and increases the value and volume of new opportunities developed. Distinctively, Angel investment groups supply resources typically expected from government.
The formation of Angel investment groups is now the emerging trend in the innovation ecosystem.
Melbourne Angels Inc was formed in 2007 as Australia’s first collaborative Angel investment group, with its founder and current President, Jordan Green, concurrently establishing the Australian Association of Angel Investors (AAAI).
The model and process of the Melbourne Angels has informed the foundation and growth of subsequent Angel groups on a state, national and international basis. While Angel investment groups supply evaluation, development and resourcing needs to new ventures there is currently no government support to its industry cause, administration or growth.
A parliamentary champion of entrepreneurship (and Angel investment groups as its core facilitator) is needed to lead government, industry and community through communication, policy and funding.
A single vision that unifies the disparate innovation ecosystem, particularly its definitions and process, must be passionately delivered through media, education and community networks.
Rather than funding high-risk early stage investments itself, or creating initiatives that focus on a single component of entrepreneurship - instead the Victorian government is needed to support the growth of private sector infrastructure to achieve its government objectives.