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Pottinger executive chair Nigel Lake will present at this week's Myriad Festival in Brisbane

The Australian dream run of economic prosperity is at risk unless the nation supports start-ups to drive a new wave of innovation warns Nigel Lake, executive chair of global advisory firm Pottinger

Mr Lake, who will speak at this week’s Myriad start-up festival in Brisbane, said creating new businesses and new jobs was of paramount importance to “the future of everything”. “In Australia, the canary in the employment coal mine is wobbling on her perch,” he said. 

“Though unemployment is low, real wage growth is stubbornly slow and is further imperilled by an imminent wave of technology. The threat to the Australian dream is severe. More than 90 per cent of the value of our top 100 companies is in old economy industries, with the top four all banks.

“In the US, the four largest companies are Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon. So far this century, Australia has created just two tech start-ups worth more than A$1bn - Atlassian and Canva, collectively valued at about A$20bn. In contrast, the 10 largest US tech companies have created more than A$4 trillion during the same period.  Australia doesn’t even feature on some world tech start-up maps.

Pottinger Joint CEO Nigel LakeThe boards of ASX 200-listed companies have less than a one in eight chance of achieving gender equality in their membership by the year 2050, according to rigorous predictive statistical analysis by global advisory firm Pottinger.

Today, in launching its inaugural Equality Day Index, Pottinger has released a damning analysis of gender diversity for boards of Australia’s top 200 listed companies - that is, members of the ASX 200 index.

Pottinger Joint CEO Nigel Lake said the outcome of that analysis was shocking. “Based the analysis, ASX 200 Boards are never expected to reach 50:50 gender diversification,” he said.

Pottinger Joint CEO Cassandra KellyFresh from speaking at the B20 summit, Pottinger Joint CEO Cassandra Kelly has called for Australia to embrace a D20 conference in order to unlock the full value of diversity.

In a column published this week, Cassandra said that throughout history, diversity had been a powerful hidden driver fuelling economic advances. “Diversity unleashes richly creative problem-solving upon complex social and economic challenges,” she said.

“For example, in April 2009, when urgent action was required as the global economy teetered on the brink, G20 leaders responded with an historic $1.1 trillion global stimulus package, a coordinated strategy to save jobs, businesses and economies.

“While debate still rages about what ‘enabled’ this unprecedented outbreak of collaboration, for me, the answer is simple – diversity fought back against the Great Recession.

Pottinger Joint CEO Nigel LakeAfter the B20 summit came to Sydney, Pottinger CEO Nigel Lake asks if big-business thinking can catalyse global growth.

Packed first-class lounges and bustling Sydney hotels don't just reflect well-heeled soccer fans returning from Brazil. In July, 300 of the world's business leaders descended on Sydney to attempt to re-ignite global growth.

Seven years after the start of the Global Financial Crisis, many economies still face a sluggish outlook.

Meanwhile, despite the best efforts of the world's political leaders, there has been little progress in reducing national debts.

Interest rates remain at record lows, benefiting investors, but punishing those saving for retirement or living off their savings.

As a result, the burden of repaying these debts will create a shocking intergenerational wealth transfer that will haunt generations X and Y for decades. Despite the fanfare of the Business 20 Summit, the purpose could not be more serious.