03/11/2016 - 06:46

Innovation strategy maps out spending plan

03/11/2016 - 06:46

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A co-funding program with angel investors and a commercialisation fund for Western Australia’s universities are the ‘big ticket’ items in the state government’s $20 million innovation strategy, released last night.

A co-funding program with angel investors and a commercialisation fund for Western Australia’s universities are the ‘big ticket’ items in the state government’s $20 million innovation strategy, released last night.

The strategy includes the introduction of innovation vouchers, the creation of an innovation portal and funding to teach entrepreneurship.

The state government also plans to host an annual innovation summit, following the inaugural summit in July, which generated many of the ideas in the strategy.

“This $20 million strategy outlines the state government’s vision to foster and expand our already dynamic innovation economy,“ innovation minister Bill Marmion said last night at the launch.

Mr Marmion said the government was nurturing an environment where innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialisation were the norm.

“This government engaged with hundreds of experts from across the state’s innovation economy to create this four-year strategy,” he said in a statement. 

“The document’s key concepts have been drawn from the very people it is designed to support.”

The strategy was launched at the 2016 WA Innovator of the Year Awards, with a total prize pool of $120,000 shared across the award winners.

ASX-listed company Fastbrick Robotics, which has developed a prototype of a truck-mounted, robotic bricklaying machine, picked up a $75,000 prize as the overall winner.

The innovation strategy includes plans to expand the awards program to make it bolder, brighter and more inclusive of regional WA, at an estimated cost of $150,000 per annum.

The biggest commitment in the innovation strategy is the creation of a WA Start Up program, under which the government would join with angel investors to jointly fund WA innovators to help them expand their business ventures.

“Co-funding could only be successful if a private investor was committed,” the strategy stated.

The indicative cost is $500,000 in year one, $1 million in year two and $2 million in subsequent years.

The government is planning to put $1 million per year into a commercialisation fund that will help universities spin out commercial entities based on their own research.

Another major commitment is for $500,000 per year to fund unsolicited bids for proposed innovations that meet a government priority and help solve a problem, such as an app to address shark attacks.

The innovation portal, due to be launched this week, is designed to be a directory that helps people find opportunities to collaborate and to find co-working spaces.

The estimated set-up cost was $100,000.

 The strategy proposes spending $400,000 to create and launch a consistent brand for WA innovation.

Promotion of the state’s innovation brand would include videos, trade packs for delegations and trade missions.

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