A 2013 report commissioned by PwC found that the Australian technology start-up sector has the potential to contribute $109 billion to the Australian economy, and more than 500,000 jobs by 2033. But this level of contribution is only possible with a concerted effort from entrepreneurs, corporate Australia, educators, and the government.

If Australia is to thrive as a technology powerhouse, we need to first address barriers for booming entrepreneurs and create a nurturing environment for our innovators to succeed.

As a nation, we already have one of the most suitable environments for entrepreneurship; we are still a relatively young country with fresh ideas and a leading education system. Put these ingredients together and we should have a recipe to start-up success. Yet, the Crossroads report commissioned by StartupAUS suggests that we are still behind on the international field, and may flounder in the face of fierce international competition if we don’t move fast. So what is it that we are missing?

Culture plays a vital role to the success of entrepreneurship, but is often overlooked. Ecosystems that are supportive for people to share ideas, passions, and skillsets are strong indicators of the population’s entrepreneurial intentions and activity. We only need to look at Silicon Valley’s success to understand the impact of its unique culture, which has stimulated entrepreneurial minds and companies that have led to unique innovative businesses.

International comparisons show that one of the biggest barriers in Australia to more tech start-ups is our fear of failure, which is considerably higher than in many other innovative countries, such as the UK or US. As a country, we need to encourage a culture of openness for budding entrepreneurs to fuel their passions. We need to promote the successes of our own home-grown talent—our invention of the Cochlear bionic ear, and established start-ups such as REA Group and Seek—to remind entrepreneurs of their own potential as a global player.