Emerging businesses should look no further than Canberra to start-up and settle down

Posted 27 Dec 2017

Story by Scott Leggo

Photographer Scott Leggo has made Canberra the home of his business for many reasons. Here, he explains why.

“From the heights of the Australian Alps to the heart of central Australia, we are a business that specialises in capturing photographs from across Australia. This means the options for where we base the business are many—from a totally mobile workplace in the back of a campervan to a remote country town or a corporate office in a big city. But for more than a decade the business has been based in Canberra, and for good reasons—both business and lifestyle.

I grew up in Melbourne and have fond memories from the home of VFL during my childhood. Back then my beloved Essendon was a truly local team and the idea of traffic jams was restricted to small parts of the city. Car number plates referred to Victoria as ‘The Garden State’. Those days are long gone. The now AFL is going global and the garden state has been replaced by rows of high rise concrete jungles of apartment buildings, and traffic jams are the norm. Not so in Canberra. Here, the capital has somehow managed to capture the multi-cultural vibrancy of Melbourne without losing the local feel, open spaces or succumb to crazy commutes.

I first moved to Canberra nearly 25 years ago when I joined the Royal Australian Air Force. Since then I have been fortunate to have lived and worked across Australia and overseas, with periods back in Canberra. While I love travelling and the experience of foreign places, I’ve always enjoyed Canberra and moved back here permanently just over two years ago with my wife.

As a landscape photographer, Canberra is a terrific base for exploring the ACT/NSW region. It gives me the proximity to get outdoors for a day trip and easy access for a multitude of great locations to capture unique outdoor photos for my clients. I love spending time outdoors and you can’t fault Canberra for its proximity to everything that involves getting you out amongst it all.

From mountain biking, to kayaking on the lake, fishing, and bushwalking, there’s something for everyone. We really are fortunate to live in the ‘bush capital’. I don’t think any other Australian city lets you experience kangaroos up close within minutes of just about every suburb. Some of the country’s best national parks are on our door step and we are only two hours’ drive to the coast. Australia’s best ski resorts are only a two hours’ drive away.

Canberra’s weather is a winner too for me. Yes, that isn’t a typo. Summers are warm and dry and having experienced the joys of wet seasons in the tropics, Canberra’s drier climate is a welcome relief. Winters are cold, with low overnight temps, but daytimes are usually sunny and perfect. You certainly don’t get the dreary rainy days and windy weather I was used to growing up in Melbourne. That’s even before Melbourne’s unpredictable four seasons in one day! The various seasons are great for photography too. The autumn colours are magnificent with deep reds and burnt oranges. Equally spring is a beautiful season with flowers blooming and the weather warming up.

As a small business owner, Canberra is a city of opportunity, supportive and encouraging to start ups and innovation. It is a great place to do business, with a multitude of benefits for smaller and medium business thanks to its unique status as the nation’s capital. Canberra is big enough to have all the benefits of a big city, but small enough that networking, establishing a brand and trialling new business ideas or initiatives won’t break your start-up bank. The ecosystem that supports new and emerging businesses in Canberra is remarkable for a city its size, fostering collaboration, growth and success everywhere you look. Many don’t realise how many Australian and International success stories are based right here in Canberra. In our case, with lots of travel required for photography, the easy access to travel is a total bonus. The airport is an easy 10 drive from my house and most central parts of the city. While the population of Canberra is fast approaching 500,000 for now it still has that small town feel in terms of connections, yet has the same modern benefits of a big city with five million people.

But it’s not all work and no play in Australia’s capital. Canberra has been ranked as the world’s most liveable city, with our people enjoying an enviable work/life balance. Lonely Planet recently ranked it in the top three places to visit for tourists globally. Canberra is home to most of Australia’s major national institutions and a cultural calendar overflowing with international exhibitions, art festivals and entertainment. I highly recommend visiting the Australian War Memorial, National Gallery of Australia and Parliament House.

Canberra’s reputation for great food and wine is gaining steam. The restaurant and entertainment scene has certainly improved out of sight since I first moved here. There is a wide spectrum of food choices for all budgets and cuisines. Some of my favourites include breakfast at Local Press on the Kingston Foreshore—the food and drinks are consistently excellent with an organic and wholefood menu. Another down at the Foreshore is Morks, a modern Asian restaurant, perfect for dinner with your partner or a work celebration. Courgette and OnRed are two fine dining restaurants that I enjoy. A great family friendly option is BrodBurger at the Kingston Foreshore. Their burgers are huge and delicious and you can walk down to the lake and enjoy eating them waterside as you watch the sun set. On the north side of town, I can’t go past Dickson Noodle House and their combination Laksa. It’s without doubt the best in Canberra.

Canberra is now internationally recognised for an enviable lifestyle, strong, stable economy and business friendly environment. With a vibrant and well-educated community, and a collaborative and innovative business community Canberra is a great place to live, work and do business. These are just some of the reasons why we choose to base the Scott Leggo business in Canberra.”

Scott Leggo is owner of Canberra based Australian landscape photography business scottleggo.com

All images were supplied by Scott Leggo.

Have you got a Canberra story to share? Send it through for a chance to be featured!