The Business Research and Innovation Initiative (BRII) is a pilot program aimed at promoting innovation through Federal Government-backed financial support. The initiative, worth $19 million, will not only transform Government procurement, but it will also stimulate small to medium businesses in addressing government policy/service delivery ‘challenges’. The BRII is modelled on similar State and Territory based programs, as well as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Scheme that has been running in the United States for the past 40 years.

If you run a startup or intend to launch one, consider how the Business Research and Innovation Initiative can assist you. The initiative will launch from 1 July 2016.

The Stages of the Business Research and Innovation Initiative

The initiative will operate in three stages. Each stage sets out how the initiative will work with all stakeholders in solving one of the five challenges set out by the Government.

The first stage will aim to set out five national policy and service delivery challenges as determined by Innovation and Science Australia. To date, the Federal Government is already consulting with several State and Territory governments about the issues they are facing and their experiences in launching similar programs.

The second stage invites startups and small businesses to submit proposals to address the policy and service delivery challenges. If a startup or small business is determined a winner, they will receive a grant up to $100,000 over three to six months of development. The final stage of the initiative will allow businesses to apply for a further grant of $1 million over the following 18 months. These funds can be used to develop a product prototype or a proof of concept.

Benefits of the Innovation Initiative

There are a number of short-term and long-term benefits of the BRII. First, the Federal Government will allow startups and innovative businesses to retain their intellectual property in creating new products and innovations. This benefit will allow businesses to commercialise their idea in Australia and overseas.

Also, startups and innovative businesses will be aiming to solve five national policy and service delivery challenges. These challenges will promote a number of social, economic and environmental goals.

With two stages of funding, the first being $100,000 and if successful, a subsequent $1 million in funding per each startup, it will be relatively easy to develop quickly prototypes off the ground and test them. As a pool of $19 million is available, this highlights the great potential for Australian innovators to have a go at solving issues affecting the nation as a whole.

Key Takeaways

Alongside the Business Research and Innovation Initiative, the Government will also launch a number of project grants and funding options for startups. These grants will include the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects scheme and the Incubator Support Program. If you are an entrepreneur, innovative startup or an SME, the Business Research and Innovation Initiative will provide critical early-stage financial support to test new ideas and services. Our startup lawyers can help you not only with business structuring, but also patenting and trademarking.

Anthony Lieu

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