Open the Door to Disruption
December 2015 ushered in a national Ideas Boom – a call to action for Australians to embrace a national identity that positions us as innovators, thought leaders and creative disruptors. The ambitious vision for a new Australia is a signature Turnbull initiative. We discussed what’s in Turnbull’s 1.1 billion package for big business last year. While details of the Federal Ideas Boom announcement begin to filter through, State governments have already been jostling to position their state as the most attractive for innovators.
Growing a supportive enabling environment for start ups and entrepreneurship in each state is critical to drive a national innovation-led economy. State regulatory frameworks will govern many of the industries that innovative businesses of the future will disrupt – think of the states’ staggered responses to regulating the ride sharing industry, for example.
The good news? State governments recognize they not only need to legalize disruptive businesses to operate, they must facilitate and participate.
So what’s on offer? Here are 5 state level initiatives supporting local innovation ecosystems:
- NSW Government has launched Innovate NSW –provides assistance to innovative technology start ups, including Minimum Viable Product (MVP) grants to assist start ups to engage with business customers; Tech Vouchers for start ups to engage with a NSW research organisation to test new technology or collaborate on specific challenges; and Collaborative Solutions grants for consortia working on a high growth opportunity or challenge in a key sector. https://www.industry.nsw.gov.au/business-and-industry-in-nsw/innovation-and-research/innovate-nsw
- The CBR Innovation Network was established by the ACT Government to accelerate innovation and growth in the ACT economy. The CBR Innovation Network provides a central point of contact for start ups and innovative businesses to connect to a range of support programs including accelerator and incubator programs, grants and venture capital partnering opportunities. https://www.business.act.gov.au/grants-and-assistance/advice_and_support/innovation
- Advance Queensland is a QLD government initiative which will invest 180 million over 4 years to support the of growth the local innovation ecosystem. This means investing in skills and education, start ups and business development and capitalizing on QLD’s recognized strengths – proximity to, and shared time zone with Asia, medical science, biotechnology and robotics. Grants of up to $A1.5 million are on offer for research organisations who undertake innovative partnerships with SMEs. https://advanceqld.initiatives.qld.gov.au/funding/future-jobs-strategy/innovation-partnerships.aspx
- The South Australian Government’s Innovation Voucher Program aims to grow a local innovation ecosystem by facilitating collaboration between SMEs and companies or organisations that provide research, design and product development – funding of up to $A 50,000 is available to eligible SMEs and R&D providers. https://www.statedevelopment.sa.gov.au/industry/manufacturing/manufacturing-programs-and-initiatives/innovation-voucher-program
- The Innovation Centre Western Australia’s ICWA Business Incubator offers a collaborative facility to support start ups on their growth journey. In addition to rental space for start ups, the ICWA Business Incubator provides ongoing support from innovation mentors and commercialisation advisers to eligible innovative start ups. https://innovation.wa.gov.au/icwa-business-incubator
Beyond the grants and incubation support, it’s critical that state governments now deliver on the promise of a regulatory and policy environment that fosters the kind of innovation economy that Turnbull champions. There’s cause for optimism with ACT and NSW governments leading the way with the legalization of Uber.
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Jemma Parsons career spans international development and emergency relief work in Southeast Asia, international law, academia, consulting and entrepreneurship, but I have made innovation my primary focus for two reasons. The first is because innovation is about evolution and change, and change is a constant and ubiquitous force. The second is because innovation is fundamental to growth for organisations in all sectors and industries today.