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Your startup business may begin with only you or another co-founder but it is never too early ensure the successful progression of your startup from a legal perspective. Many successful startups scale quickly so it is essential to establish a framework to comply with the Australian law right from the start to ensure that your business is protected.

In this article, we highlight 3 key contracts to have and why they are necessary to help support your growing business.

1. Shareholder/ Partnership Agreement

Depending on the structure of you set up for your startup, a shareholder’s agreement (for company) or a partnership agreement (for partnership) is a must if you have several owners or co-founders. This document not only records each owner’s equity contribution, it also governs the relationship between the owners generally.

2. Employment/ Contractor Agreements

Regardless of if you are hiring a permanent employee or a contractor, a proper written contract is essential to clearly states their work responsibilities and how they will be compensated to provide more certainty for a startup. Without such agreements, your startup can easily be exposed to any disputes by a worker claiming they were not paid accordingly.

Additionally, having written agreements promote compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act) to avoid hefty penalties in a contravention of the National Employment Standard.

3. Confidentiality Agreement

Your business ideas or trade secrets including trademarks is the heart and soul of a new startup and should never be revealed to the outside world. This may include customer list, marketing strategies or information that comes with a competitive advantage. Having a confidentiality agreement in place can deter theft and allow the business to enforce its rights in court or seek compensation or impose an injunction when the need arises.

Having the right legal documents helps improve the way a startup operates. We at Aspire Lawyers can tailor our service specific to your legal needs and circumstances. For further advice call our Melbourne commercial law team on 03 9743 1333, our Perth commercial law team on 08 6183 3753 or email