Location talks on landing pads start

Elaine McFadden

Consultations are underway to identify the final three locations for the global ‘landing pads’ that will support entrepreneurial Australians, announced as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA).

Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy said the Department of Innovation, Science and Industry was investigating the best locations within Asia and Europe for the proposed landing pads. Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv have already been identified as the first two of five locations in total.

The Cabinet subcommittee on innovation and science, which was established in December as part of the NISA and is chaired by the Prime Minister, is expected to discuss the landing pad issue when it meets in February.

The landing pads could be well placed to support the 17 Australian companies who last week benefitted from an investment of $7.8 million from the Australian Entrepreneurial Programme, also announced by Mr Roy.

The funding will see the companies receive grant offers between $69,000 and $1 million as part of the Accelerating Commercialisation portion of the entrepreneur’s program.

The program predates the Prime Minister’s innovation statement, but now falls under its remit and formed part of the overall agenda when the Government said that it was adding an Incubator Support Programme.

The projects benefitting from the $7.8 million funding range from a device to optimise carbon use and maximise gold recovery for the mining sector to a world-first clinical diagnostics device. And this is a timely opportunity for Australian businesses to think about going global.

But Mr Roy advises that the secret is in the name and accelerating the commercialisation process involves work on both the public and private fronts.

“This is not just about an injection of government funds,” Mr Roy said. “It’s about government partnering with the private sector to allow the commercialisation of ideas.”

“So it’s 50/50 funding at the moment. The key is that if you can attract some private investments then the government will help accelerate that commercialisation process.

“It really is about that partnership with the private sector,” he added.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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