NSW seeks input on ‘less transactional’ innovation policy

The New South Wales government has opened a month-long public consultation on its new Innovation Blueprint, which will look to cultivate a more collaborative, less transactional relationship with innovators across the state.

Investment NSW on Monday released a discussion paper calling for view on the development of the blueprint, announced by Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology Anoulack Chanthivong in the wake of last year’s state Budget.

The blueprint will seek to “reset” the state’s relationship with innovators after a difficult year that included the former Perrottet government secretly gutting the Future Economy Fund and the Minns government curtailing grants.

It will feed into NSW’s new industry policy, which will give innovators and investors a clear signal of the state’s long-term direction and support mechanisms by identifying focus sectors with the greatest growth potential.

Mr Chanthivong has already hosted an ideas summit with more than 75 leaders from across the ecosystem on the design of the blueprint at NSW Parliament House, with further regional and sector-specific roundtables to be held in the coming weeks and months.

In the new discussion paper, the government poses several questions for respondents, who are being challenged to “focus on ways to develop a relationship with government that is more collaborative than transactional”.

“Which policy leavers should government be focusing on to promote innovation in partnership with industry, research institutions and other stakeholders? What are the biggest barriers holding us back and how do we overcome those barriers?” the paper asks.

Specific questions about whether the government should continue focusing its efforts on grants programs and startup hubs or “adopt different approaches” are also asked.

MVP Ventures and TechVouchers, two industry and innovation grants programs paused by the Minns government for six months last year before being restarted, are mentioned in the paper. Several other grants weren’t as fortunate.

MVP Ventures reopened to applications, albeit with reduced funding, in December, while TechVouchers has been bundled together with the revised Boosting Business Innovation Program (BBIP).

BBIP, which Mr Chanthivong opened on Monday, is a $11 million grants program designed to connect small to medium-sized enterprises with research organisations in a bid to accelerate the development of innovative ideas.

“During consultation on the government’s Innovation Blueprint, I’ve heard directly from stakeholders that there are big barriers for businesses looking to commercialise their great ideas, and we want to make it easier,” Mr Chanthivong said opening the program.

The discussion paper also invites feedback on the federal government’s innovation programs to understand “where opportunities exist for the NSW government to better coordinate, complement or leverage these initiatives”.

Option on the table include “addressing gaps in investment for different stages of growth” and “helping business attract more investment and large government support”. “Mission-based initiatives and interventions” are also an option, according to the paper.

“NSW needs more actively innovating businesses. We need business adopting new technologies and brining solution to market to improve productivity and competitiveness,” the discussion paper states.

“And we need more businesses operating in global markets, because that is where the greatest impact can be achieved for business growth, job generation and economic output.”

Submission to the consultation will close on 25 March, 2024.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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