What Makes Melbourne The ‘City Of Startups’?

MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 23, 2014: Unidentified people sightsee Hoiser lane – Melbourne’s graffiti management plan recognises the importance of street art.

Melbourne has been considered to be Australia’s cultural capital for a handful of decades now, and for more than a few noteworthy reasons. The city’s vibrant arts and culture scene make Melbourne an ideal destination for all of Australia’s creative professionals. 

Even now in Australia’s post-pandemic economy, Melbourne has continued to provide professionals with all the resources that they need in order to prioritise their self-development and attain success. This time round, however, the city of Melbourne is providing a new generation of creators with everything that they need in order to bring their side hustle ideas in Australia to life. 

The city has witnessed a wave of startup enterprises coming into fruition over the course of COVID-19 lockdowns and flexible work models. Melbourne-based entrepreneurs have been taking full advantage of all the city’s growing business infrastructure to not only find, but carve out their own market niches, enabling their enterprises to grow from startups into established businesses.

But what exactly makes Melbourne the ‘city of startups’, both in Australia as well as across the globe? We’ll be unpacking just the answer to this question today. 

A vibrant cultural events calendar

The city of Melbourne is no stranger to arts and cultural festivals, or even world-class sporting events. Our annual events calendar is chock full of internationally renowned events like the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Melbourne Fashion Week, and sporting events like the Australian Open, and the Melbourne Cup. 

Not only do these artistic and cultural events provide Melbourne-based creators with the perfect opportunity to showcase their talents or offerings to a wider audience, but they also act as something to aim towards. Preparing to participate in industry events can help startup businesses maintain a focus approach on their own development. 

Simply put, industry events and other cultural events that provide opportunities for startups and Melbourne-based makers to do what they do best, is likely one of the reasons why Melbourne has been able to create a culture of innovation and forward thinking. 

Physical and digital infrastructure

Alongside having calendar events to act as opportunities for Melbourne-based creative professionals and entrepreneurs alike, the city centre and surrounding inner city suburbs also boast a broad range of different industry hubs and tertiary institutions. Council or industry-funded music and arts studios, sporting fields and courts, and a wide range of events and coworking spaces, allow local startups and professionals alike to maintain easy access to industry resources without having to make costly investments. This allows innovators with limited funds but plenty of novel ideas, all the space and support that they need to enter their industry with ease. 

Alongside all of this physical infrastructure, there are also digital tools and resources that cater specifically to startups and independent professionals, artists, and trendsetters in Melbourne. Digital infrastructure like resources provided by dedicated industry bodies, and even homegrown business and academic mobile apps, can all help support startup enterprises or independent professionals looking to make their own mark on the city. A good example of an industry mobile app that’s changing the game for Melbourne-based musicians is the Muso app, which provides local bands and artists with the autonomy to find gigging opportunities on their own terms. 

The accessibility of business and arts in Melbourne is also no secret either, which is precisely why Melbourne has quickly also become Australia’s technological hub alongside being the country’s cultural capital. Tech startups were prompted to establish their headquarters in the city of Melbourne due to the high availability of professional spaces, as well as the city’s existing community of software developers, digital marketing specialists, fintech professionals, product designers, and all the other professional skill sets that make up Australia’s vibrant tech sector. 

A community of makers and innovators for easy collaboration

Last but not least, it’s always worth keeping in mind the fact that nobody truly achieves anything alone. Each and every show in the Melbourne Comedy Festival, every stall in the city’s night markets, and every company that bears its own nameplate on the walls of Melbourne’s skyscrapers, have all been made possible through the power of collaboration. 

Being residents of a city that’s artistic to its core, Melbournians innately seem to know that collaboration is an incredibly potent development tool. That’s exactly why many Melbourne-based startups and professionals seek to keep themselves within a vibrant community of passionate makers and creators. Having opportunities for collaboration can inspire multidimensional and multidisciplinary thinking, with both of these values being elements that are required in order for innovation to occur. 

In fact, Melbourne-based tertiary institutions value collaboration as a means of spearheading industry innovations so much that many institutions have been introducing flexible course structures that allow students to take subjects that fall outside of their study disciplines. These flexible subject slots are also known as ‘breadth units’, named for the fact that they’re designed to widen the breadth of a student’s existing knowledge and professional scope. Breadth units naturally also encourage students to interact with students from outside of their study disciplines or cohorts, inspiring connections to be made from across a variety of industries and at earlier stages of an individual’s career.


The city of Melbourne is filled to the brim with opportunities for any who are looking to test the limitations of their industry niche. The city’s vibrant population of professionals and artists have learnt by example to respond to challenges with zeal, seeking different solutions to some of the modern world’s most compelling and complex problems. 

If you’re looking to build something phenomenal, whether it be turning an idea into an app, an Etsy store into a company, or a hobby into a career for yourself, chances are that the city of Melbourne may very well be the perfect place to do it.

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