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APAC’s great startup hubs need global recognition: Steve Wozniak

Zafar Anjum | May 2, 2014
At a time when policy change proposals are going unheard, angel investor tax deductions are non-existent, and venture capital investment is declining, Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak has called for more support for Asia Pacific’s tech entrepreneurs & professionals.

Steve Wozniak

Co-founder of Apple and tech evangelist, Steve Wozniak 

Co-founder of Apple and tech evangelist, Steve Wozniak has called for greater support for Asia's tech professionals and entrepreneurs. He believes the Asia tech scene does not receive the credit nor support it warrants, as global focus is perpetually on Silicon Valley.

"When we think of great start ups and where they began you can't help but look towards the United States and Silicon Valley where I first started and the history making achievements there," said Wozniak, who is judging the Talent Unleashed Awards 2014 - for the first time. "But more and more we're seeing interesting start ups flourish outside of Silicon Valley in places such as the UK and India but also in Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, Finland, and Brazil to name just some."

"APAC has some great start up hubs but what it needs is the global recognition. The USA works well to promote its industry and the startups there are well placed to access VC and other types of support and financing.  But now we need to focus on the rest of the world."

Wozniak is judging this year's Australia-based Unleashed Awards along with other judges such as Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, and Joel Neoh, Head of Groupon Asia Pacific. According to the award organisers, Talent International, the Awards serves as a platform for Venture Capitalists and the wider business community to meet raw talent, new start ups and exceptional leaders in their respective fields.

Not enough being done

Richard Earl, Founder and Managing Director of Talent International, said that not enough is being done to encourage innovation in the APAC region and if the industry and its entrepreneurs don't act now, it could be too late.

"Our concern is the insufficient interest and activity at a grass roots level in terms of innovation, ideas and technology start-ups," said Earl. "This is becoming more of a concern in Australia than ever before - we need to provide the same support as our counterparts in Northern America."

Wozniak said that global industry attention is often biased towards Silicon Valley to the detriment of originality and creative difference from global influences.

"We all know diversity brings so much more to the table and by focusing outside of the usual and rewarding all sorts of people in tech, we can only make it better," he said.

Earl is calling for government and business leaders to put greater faith in start-ups by increasing access to start-up capital for new businesses, tax incentives for innovation, support for research, and a better business culture to assist entrepreneurs and promote competition.


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