Christmas has come early for New South Wales (NSW) startups with plans for a major precinct to unite thousands of entrepreneurs revealed as the state government made a $13 million commitment to back startups.

This week, NSW minister for innovation and better regulation Victor Dominello launched the state’s innovation strategy and promised to open the gateway for entrepreneurs to work with government on its most pressing challenges.

“The digital age has transformed technologies, businesses and consumer expectations,” Dominello said in a statement.

“It is imperative that government agencies embrace new ideas and ensure that current and future policies reflect the disruptive age in which we live.”

The innovation strategy will see $10 million from the Jobs for NSW program redirected to startup accelerators and incubators, and a further $3 million allocated to startup grants over the next year.

Another key initiative will be the creation of the NSW Innovation Concierge (NIC), a “front door” for entrepreneurs interested in working with the government.

The NIC’s role will include what the government is calling “Shark Tank” pitch opportunities where startups and entrepreneurs can get in front of key government advisers and relevant industry experts.

A beacon for Sydney’s ecosystem

Meanwhile, the development of a major startup precinct is underway in Sydney, with a space located across three floors and nearly 7000 square metres set to open in 2017.

The Lighthouse will be located on Sydney’s waterfront at Barangaroo International Tower Three, Business Insider reports.

The precinct will be led by newly appointed chief executive Annie Parker, who will leave Telstra-backed accelerator muru-D, which she co-founded, this year.

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“Lighthouse is bigger than any one startup hub or company,” she says.

“It’s about bringing together the entire ecosystem in Sydney, and across Australia.

“When completed, we will have an amazing concentration of people and activity the likes of which we’ve never seen before in Australia.

“It’s about providing the greatest possible number of human connections in one place [from] other thinkers and founders, to advisors and mentors and to the corporate and academic worlds.”

One of the project’s architects Anthony Farah says the space will be able to accommodate thousands of founders of fast-growing startups each year.

“Lighthouse is more than an accelerator, it’s a curated program which will give founders the opportunity to grow,” he says.

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