Help regional economies by revamping Investment Visas: Atlas

| April 16, 2020

Revamping criteria under the 188B Investment Visa Australia could provide regional economies the critical boost they need to thrive beyond COVID-19.

Executive Chairman of Atlas Advisors Australia, Guy Hedley said many regional economies that relied on tourism and agribusiness were taking a huge hit amidst the COVID-19 pandemic with many young companies and startups forced to close their doors.

“Regional economies are made up of small and medium sized businesses that bring communities together,” Mr Hedley said. “Importantly, many of them grow to become economic stalwarts from venture capital investment.

“These companies provide employment, intellectual property and skills that enable communities to grow and prosper.”

Mr Hedley said reforming criteria under the 188B Investment Visa Australia could fill critically needed gaps in venture capital funding for regional areas at a time when businesses were struggling to survive.

He said new categories should be created for regional venture capital investment to provide specific support for regional businesses and entrepreneurs in need with an investment threshold set at approximately $1 million.

The complying investment framework should also be diversified with a greater focus on venture capital funds and less on property and bonds.

“This would direct the flow of investment towards sections of the economy in need rather than towards more stable and liquid assets,” Mr Hedley said.

Mr Hedley said a second category should be established for metropolitan venture capital with a threshold of up to $2.5 million.

“This could support and strengthen our local economies to create innovative new products and services for the future.”