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A new software career comes out of the blue

IN his role as a policeman, Jason Barber was part of the team investigating the murder of a young boy in Perth in 1998.

During the investigation he realised the need for a software program that would allow commu-nication between the community and investigating officers.

To that point, however, the extent of his computer knowledge was two days’ training on a mainframe at the WA Police Academy.

Three years later, Mr Barber has been announced as one of two local entrepreneurs to receive funding and support from IT incubator Entrepreneurs in Residence. EiR’s help could lead to Mr Barber developing the software he once dreamed of.

Announced by Premier Geoff Gallop last week, the support from EiR means both Mr Barber’s company, Supersoftware, and software developer Calytrix Technology will receive seed capital, management expertise, accommodation and mentoring.

The Federal Government’s Building for Information Techn-ology Strengths program, annou-nced 12 months ago, funds EiR. EiR was given $10 million from a national allocation of $78 million.

Mr Barber said it was difficult to secure venture capital in Australia, and without EiR, he would have struggled to find backing for Supersoftware.

“It is very, very hard here in Perth. I’ve been doing it for two years now, knocking on doors, going around seeing different people,” he said.

“I even went over east and spoke to venture capitalists over there.”

But he said he resisted going overseas because he wanted to keep the technology in WA.

“I wanted to develop in WA. I’m a Western Australian and I’ve been a member of the WA Police Service and I guess I’m very parochial,” Mr Barber said.

“I wanted to see this come out of WA. I didn’t believe there was any reason why we couldn’t do it.”

EiR chief executive officer Richard Henning said there was a market for Mr Barber’s application, but the challenge now was to make it technically possible.

“We know there’s a market for it because Jason has been in the police force and, from that side of things, it’s exactly the way to approach a business,” Mr Henning said.

“Whether it’s technically possible or not, that’s why we’re here. To try and get across the technology and try to create something that doesn’t exist.”

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