In December 2015, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a new $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda. As part of this Agenda, there will be new initiatives aimed at fostering innovation and encouraging entrepreneurs to take risks in starting new businesses. One new component of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme is an $8 million Incubator Support Programme, to take effect on 1 July 2016.

Incubators and Accelerators in Australia

A startup incubator funds startups with the same investor group while accelerators provide initial seed investment in exchange for equity. There are over 30 incubators and accelerators already established in Australia, playing a pivotal role in assisting startups to scale quickly and facilitating enterprise creation and development. Such initiatives also provide structured programmes for startups to be educated, coached and mentored during their residency period.

What is the Incubator Support Programme?

The Incubator Support Programme will allow high-performing incubators to further assist fast-growth Australian startups. In addition to offering additional funding, the Incubator Support Programme will also support the development of new incubators and accelerators in regions and areas with high innovation potential.

The Programme will also allow incubators to expand their service offering to startups. This will include:

  • The engagement of a Commercialisation Adviser whose role will be to assist startups in accessing other government services and programmes;
  • Boosting access to top quality research and technical talent through secondments of national or international expert advisers; and
  • Coordinating and promoting support for entrepreneurs and startups through the Australian Innovation Network. The Australian Innovation Network will be an online portal that will assist entrepreneurs access information on startup support opportunities, activities and events.

The Incubator Support Programme will play an important role in growing and supporting the next generation of innovative and high performing Australian startups and businesses.

What are the Landing Pads?

In addition to the Incubator Support Programme, the Federal Government will also implement a five-year $36 million Global Innovation Strategy. This strategy includes forming global hotspots for startups and businesses to work in a physical space and network with global businesses, incubators and accelerators. These five ‘landing pads’ will be located in key destinations (with the first one in Tel Aviv, followed by Silicon Valley) to allow Australian entrepreneurs to expand more rapidly to major export markets. Currently, Australia is one of few innovation countries in the world without established landing pads in key economies around the world.

Startups must be ‘market-ready’ with a proven business model to meet the eligibility criteria. They will be invited to collaborate with global partners and occupy a short-term operational base and working visas to allow them to develop further their business idea. An Austrade coordinator will also be on the ground at each landing pad to provide support with any existing non-government programmes.

The Federal Government has also allocated $22 million in seed funding to assist collaborations with international research bodies, including the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany. Implementation of the Global Innovation Strategy will begin in 2016 with funding available from July 2016.

If you are currently developing a business idea or working on scaling a startup, our startup law team can assist you with growing your business, including capital raising to international trade mark registration. We can also assist with international licensing and export permits. Get in touch with our startup lawyers on 1300 544 755. 

Working on a startup? Download LegalVision’s Startup Manual – a free 60-page manual featuring 10 case studies and tips and tricks from Australia’s leading VCs and startups.

Anthony Lieu

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