Health tech and manufacturing technology companies make up the majority of recipients of the first round of funding offered by the federal government’s Accelerating Commercialisation program.
The program is part of the Entrepreneurs Infrastructure Program, which replaced Commercialisation Australia – a program which funded the likes of Canva, Ingogo and goCatch.
The government has allocated $484.2 million to the Entrepreneurs Infrastructure Program, but it has not explained exactly how much of that will be available via Accelerating Commercialisation grants.
Accelerating Commercialisation differs only slightly from its predecessor. Grants are capped at $1 million as opposed to $2 million, and gone are the old grant categories like Skills and Knowledge grants, or Experienced Executive grants, instead replaced with one pool of funding that will support any type of commercialisation activity.
Among the first batch of companies to receive funding were pathology startup MyHealthTest, manufacturing company AquaHydrex, Internet of Things technology developer Clarinox Technology and 3D printing startup Makers Empire. The thread connecting them all is the potential to solve problems with significant intellectual property (full list of funding recipients).
While this first batch lacks a Canva or Ingogo, startups are still encouraged to apply for grants, even if they are not the specific focus of the program. BlueChilli chief startup advisor Catherine Eibner was unsurprised by the types of companies that received funding.
“The updates for the new program revisions clearly highlighted that the focus of the program was going to be on: advanced manufacturing, food and agribusiness, medical technologies and pharmaceuticals, mining equipment, technology and services, oil, gas and energy resources or any technologies that were enabling these areas,” she says.
“While there is a sprinkling of technology solutions mixed in, it is certainly not as strongly represented as the other areas. But keep in mind that the Accelerating Commercialisation program isn’t designed to solely support technology-based startups. There is a lot of innovation happening across the above industries in Australia with startups in those areas doing some really amazing things – so it is good to see them getting access to support at the crucial stage of early commercialisation.”
A spokesperson for the Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane wouldn’t reveal exactly how much funding has been allocated to Accelerating Commercialisation but says the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program as a whole would grow to over $100 million each year over the next four years.
“(The program) is a firm example of the government’s commitment to improving the productivity, competitiveness and targeted growth of Australian industry,” the spokesperson says.
“This will help to create new high growth businesses, generate greater returns from research and drive business growth and competitiveness.”