188a visa for Australia

Scalable entrepreneur visas explored

The 188e visa stream is for high-tech, scalable start-ups with multi-million dollar growth forecasted in the first five years. This growth forecast must be independently verified by industry experts i.e. Google, Microsoft or a university-led business incubation programme.

The business must also secure an external source of funding for a successful 188e visa case alongside industry approval.

If you would like to buy a business in Australia in a more relaxed environment. You may be interested in the more popular 188a visa business solutions.

That said, let us now focus on emigration to Australia as an entrepreneur.

Source of external investment

The list changes dependant on the state nominating the business. However, sources that are recognised across Australia include:

  • Stone & Chalk – Is is the largest dedicated start-up and scaleup innovation community in Australia with hubs in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. In South Australia, Stone & Chalk is based at Lot Fourteen, the innovation precinct that is making a global impact and is co-located with world-leading organisations and startups such as Myriota, the Australian Institute for Machine Learning, Google and the Australian Space Agency.
  • New Venture Institute (NVI) – Located in Australia’s most awarded Innovation District at Tonsley, Flinders New Venture Institute provides a range of programs and services to a vibrant community of startups and businesses in six focus sectors that reflect Flinders University’s areas of strength, growth, and research: Advanced Manufacturing; Creative Industries; Education; Energy, Water, and Sustainability; Health; Wine, Tourism, and AgTech. We are ideally placed to spark, enable, and develop your business idea from conception to industry advancement. Join us!”


  • Moonshots – Our aim is to have start-ups with great business plans join us to work with our “been there doing it” Entrepreneurs to build globally scalable investable businesses. We love Creative, Space, BioTech, AI/Hi-Tech, AgTech, Education and  Defence Industries and as long as people have a growth mindset where they come from is of no interest!
  • ThincLab = is powered by the Adelaide Business School and is the University of Adelaide’s flagship business incubator. ThincLab works with an extensive network of partners to help entrepreneurs launch and grow innovative companies. It has a global footprint with five locations and has been supporting early-stage and scaling entrepreneurs across all industry sectors for the last 28 years. ThincLab also has a specialist incubator for AgTech, Food and Wine innovations.
  • The Innovation & Collaboration Centre (ICC)has a specially curated program, created for those choosing the ICC as a service provider for their Entrepreneur visa. This program includes a three-month (optional) accelerator program, consisting of founder specific workshops, one-on-one business mentoring and pitch development support.  Also included are six months of our incubation services, which includes permanent desk space, access to university resources including students, research, prototyping labs, our industry experts, community events and networking opportunities.  

The ICC has a track record of supporting both deep-tech as well as software start-ups that align to the State Government’s Hi-Tech Sector Growth Plan as well as the Space Sector Strategy and has supported more than 100 start-up companies since 2015 across the space, hi-tech and social enterprise categories.

Venture Capital Fund which is a member of the Australian Investment Council.

We often assist our clients to secure VC funding and business support when required.

188e criteria in brief

  • Fast growth business potential
  • Over 30% of shareholdings
  • Below 55 years old (exemption may apply)
  • Competent English
  • Undertaking, or proposing to undertake, a complying entrepreneur activity
  • Obtain endorsement from a State or government
  • Genuine intention to undertake, and continue to undertake, the complying entrepreneur activity in Australia
  • Has sufficient business and personal assets to settle in Australia
  • Complaint source of external funding

Next step

The 188e visa is valid for five years. during that period the business must meet the expectations of the state. The visa holder and the business must remain within the nominating state.

After running a successful business for four years the 188e visa holder and their family may apply for Permanent Residency under the 888 visa stream.

Complete our brief assessment for and one of our team would happy to discuss your funding and emigration options in more detail.

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The present document is intended for guidance and general information only and does not constitute or purport to provide you with legal advice. Such information is subject to changes without notice. Each case is unique and depends on the facts and circumstances of the individual and due consideration should be taken if applying the general information to your personal situation. For an evaluation of your personal circumstances, one of our team would be happy to assist.

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