Skip to Content

17 Best Cities in Australia to Start a Business

With its beautiful cities, glorious sunshine, pristine beaches and the great outdoors, Australia has been topping the charts as one of the most livable cities in the world today. But these features are not the only thing going for this vast country; it is also a good place to start a business.

Not only does Australia’s location bring Southern Hemisphere sunshine, but it also makes businesses more successful. While other nation’s economies aren’t doing so well, Australia’s economy is currently excelling, and it’s certainly an exciting time to be living in Australia.

As of 2017, Australia has been recession-free for up to 26 years, setting it apart from many other first-world nations in financial crises. This winning streak is record breaking, and the strongest growth has come from wholesale trade and finance industries, amongst others.

Australia ranks in the top seven percent of countries for overall ease of doing business and has one of the most transparent and well-regulated business environments in the world. They are one of the top countries for finance and banking regulation, regulatory compliance, and management of financial system risk.

Australia’s connections to Asia-Pacific countries, such as Singapore, which has a fast-growing economy, has boosted the fortunes of the country. Australia is also linked with the uk, both economically and politically, and so it has a wide global reach, ideal for business success.

With all these pluses on its side, we can now see that Australia is a viable country to start a business. In this country, there are cities that are more favorable to starting a business because of certain peculiarities of the area, especially on the economic level. When thinking of starting a business in Australia, it is best to establish in those cities. These cities include;

17 Best Cities in Australia to Start a Business and Succeed

  1. Adelaide

Did you know the Adelaide city and North Adelaide has more than 122,000 workers and 100,000 visitors daily, more than 24,000 city residents, tourists and thousands of students enrolled at the many city campuses? This makes it a great place to set-up a business, especially retail.

For nearly 150 years, this city has been providing a diverse and exciting cultural shopping experience, and strives to be one of the world’s top food and produce markets. Adelaide Central Market has maintained its popularity as the food Mecca for fresh local produce.

The market attracts over 8 million visitors per year, has been recognized by the South Australian tourism industry Awards 2016.

Through strong financial management and proactive, progressive policy, the South Australian Government has created a stable and supportive environment for business and investors. Labour costs in Adelaide are nine per cent below the Australian average making the state a great place to expand your workforce.

With a well-planned supply of affordable industrial land, linked to strategic infrastructure and transport corridors the cost of doing business here is highly competitive.

  1. Brisbane

Queensland’s capital, Brisbane is yet another great city to start a business in Australia. The city boasts the largest economy between Singapore and Sydney.

Despite claiming one of the most important ports in Australia, Brisbane is also home to major IT and financial institutions, including Suncorp-Metway, Credit Union Australia and TechnologyOne. Many major businesses line the picturesque Brisbane River also.

Cost of living is by far the biggest benefit of starting a business in Brisbane; housing and office space are so much more within the price range of a business that’s just starting. Driving around Brisbane is so much better than other capital cities. It’s affordable enough, and nothing is too far away.

Because Brisbane’s not that big, you can justify having an office outside of the inner city where rent is a bit cheaper, without feeling like you are out of the loop. Brisbane has two great technology courses at QUT and UQ, which makes it much easier to attract and retain young talents to help build and grow your business.

  1. Sydney

Australia’s most well-known and populated city, Sydney, has to be one of the cities topping this list. Comprised of cosmopolitan buildings and seaside establishments, Sydney also ranks in The Economist’s Top 10 Most Livable Cities in the world.

Sydney is widely regarded as the financial and economic centre business of Australia, with the largest economic sectors comprised of property and business services, retail, manufacturing, and health and community services. In fact, Sydney provides approximately 25 percent of Australia’s total GDP.

Sydney is home to the Australian Securities Exchange, the Reserve Bank of Australia and home to the headquarters of 90 banks, and more than half of Australia’s top companies.

  1. Melbourne

Melbourne is the fastest growing city in the sizeable and affluent Australian market. Firms with operations here are closer to their Asia Pacific customers and markets. It’s easy to set up business in Melbourne with simple, transparent government processes.

Low costs and a stable governmental and economic environment, provide a sound foundation on which your business can thrive.

Melbourne’s population is growing faster than that of Sydney, and by 2030, Melbourne will be the largest city in Australia. Melbourne’s economy is bigger than those of Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand. In 2016-17, the state economy generated A$399 billion or US$ 347.7 in Gross State Product (GSP).

  1. Perth

Along with the mining industry, this Western Australia’s capital of Perth dominates the state’s economy. Since Perth is generally isolated from other major cities, it has become Australia’s  mining and resources mecca.

Perth’s central business district has benefited from the mining boom, with several commercial and residential projects due for completion, including a 244 m office building for BHP Billiton. Other businesses related to the industry are also thriving here.

  1. Launceston

Though Launceston is not Tasmania’s capital, it is one of Australia’s regional agricultural and pastoral bases. It’s also a major tourist destination and is one of the few major cities in the nation that can boast four distinct seasons. Cooler climates have put Launceston on the map for its viticulture and wool production, making these veritable businesses to start in the city.

  1. Victoria

Victoria is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world to live and work, and even to start business. Victoria provides excellent infrastructure throughout the state, including an integrated network of road, rail, sea and air transport, and access to regional, national and international markets.

Both the Victorian Government and the Australian Government support local businesses that export goods and services internationally.

Victoria offers a number of grants to start-ups. One of the most popular grants is the Technology Trade and International Partnering Program (TRIP) grant, which provides financial assistance to export-ready Australian companies.

These grants help cover the costs of attending international conferences. Larger grants are also available for start-ups that are exhibiting at conferences. The State Government of Victoria also operates the Technology and Innovation Voucher Program to help businesses access R&D capabilities.

The year 2013 saw two not-for-profits established to promote entrepreneurship: Startup Aus and Startup Victoria. These organizations serve a few purposes with the main ones being the promotion of entrepreneurship to the wider community, assisting entrepreneurs on the ground and lobbying government for reform to enhance support to the start-up community.

  1. Newcastle

The City of Newcastle is located in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, about 160 kilometres north of Sydney. The Newcastle LGA (map) has a total land area of 186.8 sq kms and connects with the Port Stephens LGA in the north, Lake Macquarie in the South, Maitland and Cessnock in the West.

Newcastle is the economic hub of the Hunter Region, accounting for approximately 30% of the Hunter’s developed industrial space and 80% of the office space. While Newcastle’s industrial sector continues to play an important role, Newcastle is no longer a ‘steel city’. A substantial and growing portion of Newcastle’s economy is now based around the service sectors.

Generally regarded as a traditional industrial city, Newcastle is the nations—and worlds—largest coal export port. The Port of Newcastle is Australia’s largest coal export port by volume and a growing multi-purpose cargo hub. In the 2012/13 financial year it handled 150 million tonnes of bulk cargo, worth $19 Billion.

Centre for Cities has ranked Newcastle within the top 10 city centres in the UK for growth in the 21st century, coming 7th for jobs and population growth. Newcastle City Council partners with peer-to-peer lender, Funding Circle, to promote crowdfunding as a way to promote business growth.

  1. Townsville

As the jumping off point for many Great Barrier Reef excursions, Townsville serves as the North Queensland center of tourism.

Strategically located Port of Townsville, the town is what really drives the city’s economy. Sugar and timber are shipped from the coast, while minerals, beef and wool are shipped from remote areas in the region. The city also holds a number of opportunities for investment, development and business.

Townsville offers stability, urban concentration and prosperity along with a unique mix of employment drivers and the highest average disposable household income among Australia’s 20 largest urban centres outside of a State or Territory capital.

The Port of Townsville is the region’s major sea link, exporting the vast mineral wealth of the North West Minerals Province and North Queensland’s extensive agricultural produce. The port also imports vital inputs for regional industry and the community.

Townsville is the tropical education and science hub for North Queensland. It has a concentration of world class education, training and research facilities, which are recognised internationally.

  1. Gold Coast 

The Gold Coast is an entrepreneurial city where one in five professionals own their own business. The City of Gold Coast is committed to supporting local entrepreneurs and delivering a business friendly environment where industry prospers.

The Gold Coast economy has diversified from a platform of tourism and construction to knowledge-based industries including health, ICT, advanced manufacturing, education and professional services. Currently the Gold Coast economy is valued at $25 billion and over the next 10 years the city is expected to grow to an employment base of almost 300,000 people.

The City of Gold Coast is creating an environment that supports local businesses. The City is investing in installing a fibre system that will support the delivery of world-class broadband speeds for thousands of businesses and residents.

This network has enabled the City to implement free Wi-Fi to enhance visitor experience, implement smart city initiatives, strengthen connectivity and entice trade to more than 50,000 local businesses.

  1. Hobart

Hobart is the business and commercial centre of Tasmania and the seat of state government. The population working in Hobart comprises a skilled and qualified workforce of approximately 51,000 people.

70% of the city based workforce works in professional, clerical, community or sales based roles, with a further 18% employed in a trade. 12% of the workforce are in managerial roles (Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) census data 2016).

As the capital city of Tasmania, Hobart is head office for many of the state’s major exporters. The City of Hobart also has four formal international relationships, in Xi’an and Fuzhou (China), Yaizu (Japan) and L’Aquila (Italy) through which business enquiries can be channeled.

Statistics for the year ending June 2016 show that total Tasmanian annual exports were valued at $2.853 billion. While Hobart’s economy is diverse, it is clearly oriented towards the service industries that support public administration and health.

  1. Canberra

Canberra, Australia’s capital is a city of innovation and opportunity. This city is internationally recognised for an enviable lifestyle, strong, stable economy and business friendly environment.

Canberra is a great place to live, work and do business. They have a strong economy, a vibrant and well-educated community, and a collaborative and innovative business community. And they equally offer investors a pro-business culture that is actively supported by the ACT Government.

Known as the ‘clever capital’, Canberra is home to Australia’s most educated workforce as well as high labour productivity, modern infrastructure and competitive business costs.

Canberra has one of the strongest and most secure economies in Australia with 2016 witnessing a 13.1 per cent increase in the ACT’s service exports and a 3.4 per cent increase in Gross State Product. Consistently strong economic growth has cemented Canberra as a star performer among the world’s most advanced economies.

  1. Greater Dandenong

The City of Greater Dandenong is located in Melbourne’s south east and is made up of 10 suburbs including Springvale, Dandenong and Noble Park. Greater Dandenong is one of Melbourne’s most multicultural areas with residents from over 150 birthplaces.

Around 60 per cent of residents were born overseas and nearly two thirds of residents speak languages other than English at home.

The Greater Dandenong provides Business Grants to small businesses located in, or intending to locate to the city of Greater Dandelong municipality. These awards provide cash grants of up to $8,000, plus a business mentoring and marketing package valued up to $2,000.

These grants are given to assist with the establishment of new and innovative small businesses that will increase the diversity of the city’s business community. It is also done to attract new businesses into the community.

  1. Wollongong

Wollongong’s business district is bubbling with a thriving combination of small business and large organisations that has helped to grow the economy of the city. Wollongong Professional Services sector thrives with affordable operational and real estate costs.

Located just one-hour south of Sydney International Airport, the thriving city offers the lowest salary, operational and real estate costs for businesses in areas such as finance, accounting, HR, administration, and IT.

  1. Geelong

Geelong is a port city located on Corio Bay and the Barwon River, in the state of Victoria, Australia. Geelong is 75 kilometres south-west of the state capital, Melbourne. It is the second largest Victorian city, with an estimated urban population of 192,393 as of June 2016.

Geelong is a diverse and strong economy of over 17,000 business enterprises. They have their major industry strengths in education, health, social insurance, advanced manufacturing, tourism, information communications and technology, agribusiness and food and services. Geelong is growing rapidly and is earmarked to accommodate additional urban growth to ease development pressure on metropolitan Melbourne.

Geelong is in a unique position to offer a comprehensive range of infrastructure assets not commonly found in a regional centre – road, rail, sea and air. There are large tracts of greenfield land and established sites ready for redevelopment that will suit a range of projects. There is a highly skilled and capable labour force in Geelong, able to support a range of business sectors.

Currently, There are 22,608 small businesses in the Geelong region. Sole traders make up more than 14,000 of these micro businesses. In addition to providing diverse career opportunities to newcomers, there’s plenty of new business potential for dreamers and doers.

16. Portland

Portland is a small city in Victoria, Australia, and is the oldest European settlement in the state. It is also the main urban centre in the Shire of Glenelg and is located on Portland Bay. The economic profile of the Shire reveals a diverse industry base with significant involvement in manufacturing, community and health services, tourism, education, transport and retail.

The Glenelg Shire Council is committed to growing the shire as an investment in long term prosperity for its citizens. The Council Plan reflects the strength of this commitment, making economic development and tourism amongst their top priorities.

17. Karratha

Karratha  is a city in the Pilbara region of Western Australia which adjoins to the port of Dampier. It has a population of over 19,000. Karratha was set up in 1968 to provide housing for workers of the Hamersley Iron mining company.

The City of Karratha is of global economic significance, hosting multinational corporations and exporting resources worldwide. The City has a long history of exporting iron ore, liquefied natural gas, salt and ammonium products.

Despite being underrepresented in the number of local small and medium businesses per capita when compared to the wider state, the number of small businesses within the region grew by 4.2 per cent from 2017 to 2018, which is more than double the rate of growth across the state.

This is not uncommon where the local economy is dominated by large industries and creates opportunities for enterprising individuals to take advantage of gaps and establish successful businesses.

The City is committed to working closely with the business community to identify and address key issues in order to create conditions that will allow local businesses to succeed. The City of Karratha’s preference is to create market conditions that enable the private sector to take up local business opportunities.

The City has partnered with private sector and government agencies to provide support and funding to a range of initiatives that address business gaps and opportunities within the City. The City is committed to facilitating investment business activity through partnerships that deliver projects that result in wide-reaching economic benefits for the economy.