In the distinct vernacular of fictional family-man Daryl Kerrigan, Australia is a nation of ‘ideas people’. We’re educated, we’re passionate and we love to share our own great moments of creativity with almost anyone who’ll listen. But innovation is not just about clever ideas. It’s also about commercial outcomes. To celebrate the 2008 Australian Innovation Festival, Anthill takes a trip across this wide ‘fertile’ land of ours to meet some of the people turning ideas into reality and uncovers some of the programs that are defining Australian innovation as a nation.
+ Celebrating the Australian Innovation Festival
26 April – 30 May 2008
It’s on again, six weeks of exuberant, unadulterated celebration of innovation, with over 500 events promoting Australia’s culture of innovation to the world. Yes, it’s the 2008 Australian Innovation Festival, 26 April – 30 May. To check out what’s happening in your neck of the woods, visit www.ausinnovation.org
Patterns of innovation
AusInnovation, in association with global technology research consultancy Philology, this month released the findings of its inaugural National Innovation Survey, a report on the drivers of innovation in Australia.
So, what is driving innovation in Australia?
Innovation, by its very nature, is creative and original. One size definitely does not fit all. The way a business innovates depends on size, maturity, culture, industry, vision – the list goes on. And therein lies the beauty: every business has the potential to innovate its own special way.
However, there are some constants affecting the ability of different types of businesses to innovate. The 2008 National Innovation Survey, conducted by AusInnovation in association with global technology research consultancy Philology, has unearthed some of the key drivers of and barriers to innovation across a broad spectrum of organisations, as well as canvassing where businesses look for information, how they protect their intellectual property and which businesses are seen as innovation leaders.
The survey, conducted as part of the broader Australian Business, Innovation and Growth Index project, asked 350 senior executives of leading Australian organisations to share their experience of creating new initiatives while building existing operations.
Gratifyingly, the fundamental business concept of giving customers what they want was found to be the most important innovation driver across the board. Regardless of size or industry, commercial or not-for-profit, ‘Increased responsiveness to customer needs’ was the main reason given for why the companies innovate. Offering an insight into the relationship between business size and mindset, small businesses cited ‘Be at the cutting edge of industry’ and ‘Increased revenue’ as secondary considerations, while the medium and large organisations identified ‘Improved productivity’ as their main innovation driver.
As expected, funding, or lack thereof, was considered a major barrier to innovation by survey participants, with ‘Lack of funds within the organisation/group’ and ‘Lack of finance from outside sources’ topping the tables. Many medium and large enterprises, however, rated ‘Lack of qualified personnel’ as their main barrier to innovation, while for companies in technology-oriented industries, ‘Uncertain demand for innovative goods and services’ also inhibits new initiatives.
In a surprising result, the three most important methods of protecting intellectual property identified were ‘Confidentiality agreements’, ‘Lead time advantage on competitors’ and ‘Secrecy’, with the more formal methods of registering copyright, trademarks, patents and designs rating lower on the participants’ list of priorities. This slightly cavalier approach to intellectual property protection led the survey’s authors to note that organisations using the more informal methods of protection should ensure they are ‘implemented and managed effectively’.
There you have it, from the leaders of a cross-section of Australian organisations: why they innovate, why they don’t innovate, who they innovate with and how they protect their new-found proprietary knowledge. Armed with this knowledge of the key patterns of organisational innovation based on size, industry and the nature and scope of business, we can find ways to support innovation in every Australian business. Now there’s an outcome.
Our future success depends on our innovation today. That’s why the Australian Innovation Festival was established in 2002 to support and promote the best of Australian innovation and entrepreneurship, to promote future economic growth, through excellence in research, development and commercialisation. Accordingly, the 2008 Australian Innovation Festival is inspired by the theme ‘Innovation for our future’. Of course, we tip our hat to the past and to our exemplary achievement in innovation throughout the years. We continue this strong tradition of innovation, building on past successes, and move towards a dynamic, prosperous future through a continued commitment to work smarter.
On behalf of the Festival, I encourage you to refer to our program www.ausinnovation.org, full of events, ideas and inspiration to innovate for your future.
Chair, Advisory Council, Australian Innovation Festival
NEW SOUTH WALES
It probably comes as no shock that the state containing Australia’s biggest city is also home to many of Australia’s biggest ideas. As Sydney is the headquarters to many Australian information technology and financial service companies, New South Wales has exactly what it takes to invest and cultivate these ideas.
Aussie media boys vs Madonna
Sydney is Australian film and television HQ. One Sydney-based production company recently achieved some priceless publicity for becoming the only Australian company nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award. Starchild Productions was up against Madonna in the Best Long Form Music Video category, with their video ‘Liberacion: Songs of the New Cuban Underground’.
Director Reuben Field, producer Dean Bates and creator Chris Murphy worked on the project in 2006, culminating in a 12-song music DVD featuring concerts and street performances by a group of young reggaeton musicians from Santiago de Cuba. The project was eventually beaten by Madonna’s The Confessions Tour, but we guess there are worse ways to go.
Sydney home for new finance think-tank
Looking for a spot in the top five global financial research institutions, the NSW Government, with the private sector and universities, is establishing an Institute of Advanced Finance in Sydney.
The institute will embark on leading-edge research and provide high-level training in a finance industry equivalent to the medical research of the Garvan or Walter and Eliza Hall Institutes. The project will take shape over coming years, with stage one involving work with the private sector to predict the key skills required in the finance industry of the future.
The birth place of ideas
• The Self-Propelled Rotary Hoe was invented in 1912 by Cliff Howard, which simultaneously hoed the ground and pulled the machine forward, now staple technology for farmers worldwide.
• The technology of Xerox Photocopying was founded at the University of Sydney in 1907.
• The electronic pacemaker was developed at Sydney’s Crown Street Women’s Hospital in 1926.
• The first ever system of pre-paid postage was established in New South Wales in 1838.
• Australian icon, the ‘esky’, was invented by Malley’s, a Sydney refrigeration business.
• The teleprinter (which records telegraph messages onto a paper tape) was invented by Sydney’s Donald Murray.
Carbon capture on NSW coast
Coal is serious business in NSW, with the state accounting for 13 percent of total world coal exports. While taking measures to retain this successful local industry, the NSW Government’s Clean Coal Technologies Working Group is also striving to reduce the greenhouse emissions of coal-fired electricity generation.
To this end, Delta Electricity and CSIRO are jointly undertaking a $5 million research scale pilot facility at Munmorah Power Station on the NSW Central Coast to capture and release up to 5,000 tonnes per year of CO2.
The program aims to investigate the potential to adapt an ammonia absorption process for post-combustion carbon capture to suit Australian conditions. If successful, the technology can be adapted to existing and new power stations. The pilot is expected to be operational by mid 2008.
As all Australians are aware, Queensland is a state teeming with big things. The Big Banana, big roller-coasters, big beaches and one big reef. However, Queensland is also jam-packed with big ideas. With plenty of Government resource encouragement, Queenslander innovators are also clued in as to how to make great ideas a commercial reality.
Many of us visit Tropical North Queensland for pleasure, but others make it their place of business and their source of scientific knowledge. Two Queensland biotechs are using modern science to discover some long-held secrets of the rainforest.
EcoBiotics, located in the heart of the Atherton Tablelands, is dedicated to the research and development of new pharmaceuticals for the human and animal health sectors. Focusing on oncology, inflammation, infectious diseases and parasite control, the biotech uses proprietary discovery technology EcoLogic to identify ‘new chemical talent in tropical rainforest plants and microbes’.
Replikun Biotech is blazing trails in the development of vaccines to re-educate the body’s immune system, combating infections such as HIV, AIDS and influenza, as well as cancers. Replikun’s proprietary technology, the Kunjin Replicon, is based on the Kunjin virus first discovered in an Aboriginal clan of far north Queensland in the 1960s. The virus is significant as it is well-tolerated by cells and has great potential to develop vaccine delivery technology to fight immune system invasion by viruses, bacteria and cancer cells.
Replikun was recently awarded a $76,000 Innovation Start-up Scheme Grant from the Queensland Government to further develop a head and neck cancer immunotherapy. Watch this space.
Getting in the zone
Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The best ideas are the product of collaboration and knowledge-sharing. So, building on strong economic growth, world class R&D abilities, and a unique natural environment, the Queensland government has established Innovation Zones to encourage collaboration between like-minded organisations.
Brisbane currently supports five Innovation Zones presenting unique benefits in health, eco-sciences, creative industries and ICT. In Northern Queensland, Cairns and Townsville also provide excellent opportunities in tropical and marine science with the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest on their doorstep.
Each zone is equipped with advanced ICT networks, R&D facilities and other necessary infrastructure, providing researchers, inventors and entrepreneurs with the perfect environment to create and innovate.
Did you know…
The University of Queensland has developed a technology to track the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in patients. Using 3D maps, scientists have been recording a group of patients since 1995. The research aims to help scientists identify Alzheimer’s earlier than ever and, with the aid of medicinal drugs, combat or slow its progress.
Although still in the testing stage, Queensland engineers (with assistance from NASA) are currently working on Hyshot Scramjet Engines. Achieving hypersonic speeds, it is estimated that the first commercial flight will occur in 2050. At an altitude of up to 40km, the trip from Brisbane to London will take around two hours.
With top-class R&D and an established support network for commercialisation, it’s no wonder Victoria’s innovation industry is thriving. If you’re an inventor, innovator, dynamic start-up or SME based in Victoria, there are no excuses. You have every resource at your fingertips. Find out what you need know and get to it.
Kicking goals in Victoria
What could be more Victorian than Aussie rules football? And what could be more Australian than the big comeback?
Heath Kilgour and Nathan Isterling, Co-Directors of ExtraCorp, epitomise both these things, having created, sold and then bought back Australia’s largest sports-tipping website, www.footytips.com.au.
“We launched the business in 1999, as 22 year-olds, simply because the domain name was available,” says Kilgour. “We had a quick look around, and our skills complemented each other, so we thought, ‘Why not?’ The opportunity was too good to pass up.’
”Since then, the business has had its ups and downs. Kilgour describes the journey as “unconventional”.
“We sold to Tattersals in 2001 for what seemed like a lot of money for two 25 year-olds. We changed business models more than once, from a pure advertising play to a software developer to a hybrid model, involving membership fees, services and advertising,” says Kilgour.
In late 2006, the two young entrepreneurs made a punt of their own and, as contracted employees of Tattersals, offered to buy their business back. Since then, Kilgour and Isterling have expanded the model to include new codes, embraced web 2.0 models and, significantly, have scored the 16 ranking in this year’s Deloitte Fast 50.
Game on ExtraCorp!
Victoria has a long and colourful history of innovation and commercialisation. Here are some highlights:
• Every airline in the world now flies with a Black Box flight memory recorder, first developed in Victoria
• Roses are red, but now they also come in blue thanks to Melbourne-based Florigene
• Cash lasts ten times longer now with polymer bank notes, developed by the CSIRO and the Reserve Bank in Victoria
• Twelve of the first 15 IVF babies in the world were the result of Monash IVF technology
• 20,000 profoundly or totally deaf people can hear with Professor Graeme Clark’s Cochlear Implant
Did you know…
The 2008 Alfred Deakin Innovation Lectures will be held in Melbourne (BMW Edge, Federation Square, June 5 – 15 2008) and selected regional centres. The Lectures bring the finest thinkers and innovators to Melbourne from throughout Australia and around the world. They are a celebration of big ideas and brilliant minds and a tangible reminder of why Melbourne is often referred to as the intellectual capital of Australia.
Did you know…
Victoria is a national leader in Australia’s nanotechnology research and development efforts with seven world-class nanoscience university programs, over 20 established nanotech companies, the synchrotron, the Small Technologies Cluster, including MiniFab, and state-of-the art FDA-compliant manufacturing capabilities, supported by ‘clean room’ R&D laboratories.
Synchrotron illuminating innovation
Used in a range of research projects as diverse as making better chocolate, developing more absorbent nappies, designing new medicines and even solving the mystery of Beethoven’s death and deafness, the Australian Synchrotron, officially opened in Victoria in July 2007. Marking a new era of national scientific collaboration, the $206 million synchrotron will assist scientists to assess the structure of materials at the minute molecular level.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the most isolated parts of Australia is the also one of the most outward looking. Western Australia is undergoing an economic renaissance, thanks to an ever strengthening culture of commercial creativity, fuelled by strong government support.
Digital dominance in sight
We all know about Western Australia’s recent economic uplift on the back of the resources boom, but there are other booming industries out West worthy of attention. The digital content and creative industries sector is gaining traction as a future growth area for WA.
As the world gets smaller, WA is no longer way out west but a major player in the computer games, e-learning, audio/video software and services and visualisation and simulation technologies, on the doorstep and in the same time-zone as many of our Asian neighbours to the North. And it’s not all about massive multi-player online games, film and television though. WA animators also find themselves working in the mining, defence and architectural sectors. As the organisers of Byte Me!, Perth’s digital content showcase, say, “Digital content isn’t an industry – it’s part of every industry.”
Case study: Scouting the centre of the universe
One keen exponent of the Western-Australia-is-the-centre-of-the-digital-universe school of thought is Richard Giles, CEO and co-founder of online multimedia recommendation service Scouta.
While many Australians in the online space feel the need to relocate to Silicon Valley in search of fame and fortune, Giles believes the virtual nature of web-based businesses reduces the importance of geographic concentration. He’s developing a world-class recommendation service from the comfort of Perth, surrounded by all the resources an ambitious knowledge-economy entrepreneur needs in the 21st Century (not to mention the beaches and sunshine).
Giles recently extended the original Scouta service, which uses sophisticated algorithms to offer digital multimedia (video, podcasts) recommendations tailored to a user’s taste. He and business partner Graeme Sutherland now offer this service to web-based retail, media and content sites via a web service. This means that the recommendations engine originally developed for Scouta can now be applied to virtually any product or service in the marketplace.
One of Scouta’s first alliances involving this extended service is with IceTV, an Australian service that offers free-to-air television recommendations for users along with the technology to record and organise these selections on a PC. IceTV is using Scouta’s recommendations engine on its site iwatchthis.com.au. It’s a symbiotic arrangement that is pioneering this space globally, and it was cooked up on the shores of the capital of Australia’s western economic powerhouse.
WA promotes biotech geniuses
Western Australian high school science students will be the first global entrants to compete in an innovative biotechnology competition previously been restricted to North American students. The International BioGENEius Challenge is an annual competition for high school students completing outstanding research in biotechnology.
Students from Years 8 – 12 are eligible for the competition and each entrant is paired with a WA biotech scientist who mentors the student throughout a year-long biotechnology research project. The best two entrants will be selected to represent Western Australia at the BioGENEius Challenge in the US in 2009.
Calling all WA innovators and inventors…
To be in the running for over $320,000 worth of prizes, get your entry ready for Australia’s richest innovation competition, the WA Inventor of the Year Award. The business competition offers awards for various growth stages: Early Stage, Development and Ready For Market.
For more information, go to: www.doir.wa.gov.au/inventor
South Australia has a strong history of world-firsts; think baby capsules, slow-release pain relief and the modern photocopier. The trend continues with discoveries in emerging field, with gene technology and nanotechnology creating exciting opportunities across diverse areas from medical science to environmental sustainability.
Showcasing SA success
As anyone knows, when entering a battlefield you want someone you can trust by your side. A select group of small to medium businesses in South Australia are no longer stuck in the business trenches alone, as residents of South Australia’s Centre for Innovation.
Established as a partnership by universities, industry leaders and the South Australian Government, the Centre fosters collaboration opportunities by offering resource and referrals services businesses, which the Centre identifies as market driven and capable of achieving international success.
The Centre offers assistance in product and research development and coordinates workshops and mentoring programs to help new and innovative companies achieve commercial success.
For information, visit www.centreforinnovation.org.au
Did you know…
The city of Adelaide is firmly established as an innovative telecommunications hub, offering free wireless broadband throughout the CBD. In SA, it seems, the best things in life are wireless.
Did you know…
South Australia’s strong innovation performance of the past few years has been confirmed by IP Australia. The Federal agency indicates the number of patent grants increased by 47 percent in South Australia in 2005-06, but declined by 6.4 percent nationally.
Did you know…
South Australia’s water industry is now a world-leader in precision irrigation, groundwater management and water reuse technologies, developed in response to this harshest of Australian city water environments. Innovation has enabled SA exports of water-related technology and services to grow 15-fold from $25 million/year in 1998 to more than $400 million/year today.
SA mining exploration push
As the resource-hungry economies of China, India and the US increase their appetites for every element in the Periodic Table and all forms of energy, companies from around the globe are criss-crossing South Australia’s isolated outback is in the greatest exploration push the State has known. This record level of exploration has been created by South Australia’s unique and innovative incentive program PACE, the Plan for Accelerating Exploration. Spending on mining exploration has now shattered all previous records, representing a ten-fold rise over the past five years.
Amanda Heyworth is CEO of Australian seed capital investor Playford Capital. She has a background as an accountant, an investment banker, a business owner and economic adviser in Australia and the US.
Why is SA good place to invest?
The economic outlook for SA is very positive. The impact of the defence boom and the gathering momentum for the mining sector is helping SA attract and retain skilled engineers, computer programmers and scientists as well as industry-specific professionals. This aggregation process will create many opportunities for niche innovations with global potential.
Are there areas that offer particular promise for SA?
As well as the State’s already strong wine industry, SA is well positioned to deliver innovations to respond to the resurgent interest in alternative energy sources. A lot of money is going into various alternative energy and water management technologies, so we expect to see some interesting developments there.
What sort of companies is Playford particularly keen to invest in?
Playford Capital is on the lookout for technology-based companies associated with industries in which SA is strong. These include wine and food processing technologies, environmental technologies such as water management and waste handling and medical devices.
Tasmanians have carved out a well-earned reputation as innovators. The list of Tasmanian inventions is long and varied, from seasonal fertilisers to portable igloo cabins for use in Antarctica. Today, Tasmania continues to support its innovators, consolidating its reputation as the ‘Intelligent Island of Innovation’ with an emerging centre for new industries in biotechnology, ICT, environmental technologies and a progressive way of thinking.
Getting the green light
A short conversation between two engineers and Tasmania’s infrastructure department in 2005 has led to a revolution in the way traffic lights are made, dramatically reducing their carbon footprint.
Two engineers in North Hobart have created a new traffic light that not only dramatically reduces the voltage of traffic lights but and has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Australia by over 100,000 tonnes per year.
SOLUX is using new technology that will see traditional incandescent and quartz halogen traffic lights replaced with lights that are environmentally friendlier, safer, last longer and offer significant cost savings to governments.
According to Mike Austin, one of the engineers behind SOLUX, the market is potentially huge. “Currently, there are upwards of 600,000 individual traffic signal lamps within Australia, and this is growing at a rate of around three percent per annum. This equates to a potential market of around $150 million for replacement of the existing traffic lamp infrastructure and around $5 million per annum in new intersections.”
A land for progressive thinkers
Harnessing the Roaring Forties to produce clean, green energy is just one way that Tasmania is taking innovation to new areas. Tasmania is fast becoming known as a state of progressive attitudes, tolerance and inclusion, leading Australia in gay law reform, anti-discrimination legislation and Aboriginal reconciliation.
Turning seaweed into life-saving medicine
Tasmanian biotechnology company Marinova is taking hand-harvested seaweed from Tasmania’s east coast and turning it into medicine to treat life-threatening conditions. Yet Marinova is just one example of Tasmanian biotechnology excellence. In June 2007, the Tasmanian Government launched the state’s biotechnology strategy ‘BioVision Tasmania 2007-2015,’ investing $300,000 into bio-related initiatives.
Professor Jonathan West
Australian Innovation, Research Centre, Hobart
‘Innovation involves developing improved products, services, and processes that lead to increases in productivity.
Why is it important?
“These days ‘innovation’ is all about working smarter, not longer or harder to increase productivity… It’s a change in thinking because for much of the last 25 years, increasing productivity has focused on encouraging Australians to work harder and longer and replacing people with machines.”
“This approach is unsustainable – it is reaching the limits of its effectiveness and in the future will offer declining returns… Governments should now turn to innovation – new ways of doing things – to support productivity advances.”
For further information, visit: www.airc.net.au
It’s the nation’s capital and bureaucratic to boot, but scratch the surface and you’ll find plenty of ACT innovation and intrigue. With so many world-class universities and research institutions located in one place, knowledge-creation and innovation is inevitable.
Pointing ACT business in the right direction
ACT-based business owners can access an innovative, sophisticated business advice and mentoring program free-of-charge under a new initiative from the ACT Government. Presented by Deloitte, Canberra BusinessPoint offers e-learning programs, workshops, mentoring and networking support on a range of topics including business basics, growth, export, commercialisation and entrepreneurship.
See www.canberrabusinesspoint.com.au to sign up.
Growth capital up for grabs
Do you run an ambitious Canberra-based business with big plans for expansion? Do you need an investor? Accelerate your growth strategy with a cash-injection from the Canberra Business Development Fund, a JV between the ACT Government and Australian Capital Ventures Limited.
See www.business.act.gov.au for more details.
Canberra cloak and dagger
The University of Canberra Unisys Innovation Centre carries out some top-class security R&D, specialising in fingerprint and iris-scanning, facial mapping and voice- and vascular-recognition technology. Local engineering business Auspace provides satellite communication and space systems to the defence, science and commercial communities while Electro Optic Systems conducts military and space sector R&D from Griffith and Stromlo. These are just a few of the ACT innovators making science-fiction the stuff of real life.
Spanning the desert and the tropics, the Northern Territory is uniquely placed to share its knowledge of the environment with the world. And, there are no flies on the NT when it comes to capitalising on this opportunity.
Targeting desert sands
One third of the Earth’s land surface is desert, home to one sixth of the world’s population. That’s a fair target market for Australian organisations with products and knowledge to share. Hence the formation of the Northern Territory’s Desert Knowledge Australia program, developing business networks and partnerships across inland Australia. This network has led to the development of 300 businesses and organisations throughout the Australian interior. That’s what we call entrepreneurship.
NT high-tech high achiever
After scooping the Northern Territory Innovation Award in 2007 for his EnviroSys Environmental Data Management System, Steven Rowe went on to become joint-winner of the 2007 Telstra Australian Business of the Year Award. Rowe’s Darwin-based business, SRA Information Technology, developed the system to automate the collection and analysis of environmental and community health and safety data. Clients include mining giant BHP Billiton, several Government and non-Government agencies and retail and environmental organisations.
Go to the Darwin region Business Enterprise Centre website at www.becnt.com.au to access a range of free advice, referrals and training for new small businesses in the region.
Innovation grants help modernise a traditional industry
Until recently, harvesting pyrethrum flowers from a field of daisies was back-breaking work.
Pyrethrum is an insecticide most suited for ‘sensitive’ uses such as food warehouses, in the home, for public health, for organic farms and pet shampoo.
It breaks down within hours in sunlight, leaving no residue and has very low toxicity to warm blooded animals.
The industry was largely confined to East Africa, where the flowers were transplanted and harvested by hand, and then the oil was extracted using traditional practises.
Fast forward to the twenty-first century where Tasmanian company Botanical Resources Australia, using innovative research, has transformed the industry.
The company started in 1996 and since then has solved a range of research questions – helped by three innovation grants totalling almost $1.5 million and being registered for the R&D Tax Concession from AusIndustry.
Botanical Resources Australia used its most recent grant to find the optimum way to store the pyrethrum flower heads once they are harvested. The successful outcome was a storage system capable of saving up to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
“We spend six weeks harvesting, and then the flower heads – thousands of tonnes – are stored for up to six months,” Product Development Manager Brian Chung said. “We used to factor in that some of the crop would degrade. It was hard to lose any part of the crop, because it has been paid for, and we, and our growers, have spent the whole year growing the crop.”
Scientists, including James Darby and Simon Troman from the CSIRO’s Stored Grain Research laboratory in Canberra, spent two years investigating the storage problem.
“The solution was to add aeration ducts to the bottom of the piles,” Brian said.
“They worked out how much air needed to be pumped, the size of the fans, spacing of the aeration ducts and how to automatically change the air flow, depending on the moisture and temperature of the air outside.
“The data was incorporated into a computer program and we now have a fully automated control system.”
The company has also converted existing grain harvesters, adding new pick up fronts and modifying the interior with new screens and fans – a dramatic improvement on traditional methods – hand picking the daisy flowers.
Good ideas… granted
AusIndustry is the Australian Government’s business program delivery division in the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.
AusIndustry delivers a range of more than 35 programs – including innovation grants, tax and duty concessions, small business skills development, industry support and venture capital – worth about $2 billion to more than 10,000 businesses, and 60,000 individuals every year.
AusIndustry’s innovation grants program Commercial Ready offers project funding of $50,000 to $5 million for research, development and pre-commercialisation.
The Commercialising Emerging Technologies (COMET) program has a strong focus on mentoring, business management, advice and support and offers grants ranging from $5000 up to $120,000.
To help customers with product and eligibility information, AusIndustry has customer service managers located in 27 offices across Australia, a national hotline and website, plus more than 65 Small Business Field Officers in regional areas.
AusIndustry offers both entitlement and concession products. For grants-based product, customers compete for limited funds, based on the merit of their application. For concessions, such as an R&D Tax Concessions, a customer makes a claim, based on their self-assessed eligibility.