The Queensland government is marking the return of its Testing Within Government (TWiG) program for the third consecutive year with a call-out to tech SMEs for a solution that can help solve one of the nine problems it has identified.
TWiG is a 12-week program that lets selected Queensland-based SMEs and startups work with a government agency in six, two week sprints to live-test their ideas.
This year, successful applicants will receive $35,000 in funding to test and refine their product.
The nine business problems that have been identified by the Queensland government includes helping:
• Department of Agriculture and Fisheries come up with a solution to automate the collection fish lengths and the aging of fish using images of fish otoliths (ear bones).
• Department of Environment and Science, and Queensland National Parks categorise its extensive data from a record keeping, information management and security classification perspective.
• Science division in the Department of Environment and Science collect, map and model large amounts of environmental and natural resource data.
• Department of Housing and Public Works automate its ICT Services Panel platform• Office of the Inspector-General Emergency Management deep dive into how to deal with disasters across Queensland
• Department of Transport and Main Roads to investigate indoor way-finding solutions to best suit customers catching public transport, and minimising ongoing costs and maintenance; and provide advance warning of approaching vehicles to sites under traffic control to reduce end-of-queue collisions and forewarn site workers of extreme hazards.
• Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors publish its data in a collated, standardised and comparable format to support communities and the community services industry to assess, respond to and monitor local wellbeing.
The initiative was launched in 2016 as part of the state government’s Advance Queensland program.
Then-innovation minster Leeanne Enoch described the initiative to InnovationAus.com as a way to encourage the Queensland government to become more “agile and innovative in solving programs”, and to give the chance to Queensland-based SMEs and startups to deliver their product to large enterprises.
During the first round, the state government granted $25,000 each to five SMEs to solve four business problems.
In March 2017, the program was expanded to 11 SMEs under round two to solve problems across eight government agencies.Queensland is not alone in the approach.
The NSW government is working with SMEs looking to commercialise their ideas through the Innovation Launch program.
Similar efforts have been made at a national level. Last March, the federal government split more than $1.8 million in initial funding between 20 SMEs under the Business Research and Innovation Initiative, which was designed to match SMEs with government agencies that have a specific challenge that needs a solution.
Applicants have until 16 July 2018 to apply.