Innovate SA scrapped but start-up support still strong, SA Govt claims

The South Australian Government will scrap start-up program Innovate SA this year, but Small Business Minister Tom Koutsantonis insists State Government support for start-ups is still strong.


The State Government introduced Innovate SA in 2009 to provide mentoring, training and support to local business, inventors and entrepreneurs.


However, as part of a review of the government’s finances, the Sustainable Budget Commission has made a recommendation to not fund Innovate SA beyond the agreed funding closing date of June 30, 2012.


This recommendation was adopted in the 2010-11 state budget.


Innovate SA chief executive Greg Boundy says the program has had a significant impact on many businesses, thanks to business advisors, and business development programs and services.


“This impact has been well evidenced through the many client testimonies received, case studies, program evaluations, client surveys and econometric studies,” Boundy said in a statement.


“Innovate SA… has also been highly collaborative in an endeavour to leverage the best value for South Australian businesses out of the variety of support services available to them.”


“Unfortunately, we have been advised that due to budget constraints, no further funding will be provided to Innovate SA beyond June 30, 2012.”


Boundy was quick to point out that Innovate SA will continue to provide its range of programs and services over the next four months and, where possible, advise of alternative sources of business support available.


SA Small Business Minister Tom Koutsantonis says despite pulling funding for the body, the government’s support for innovation remains undiminished.


“Innovate SA has offered a range of services that a number of organisations value and a significant number of these will continue to be available through other agencies, both state and federal,” Koutsantonis said in a statement.


According to Michael Dilettoso, chairman of Adelaide-based investor group SA Angels, the South Australian Government can do more to foster an environment that generates innovation.


SA Angels works closely with Innovate SA, and suggested it will be sorely missed.


“If a company approaches SA Angels and they don’t have the skills to gain investment, we will often hand them over to Innovate SA, which has educational programs in place to help entrepreneurs with commercialisation, business planning, marketing, exporting, etc,” Dilettoso told StartupSmart.


“They tend to percolate up through Innovate SA and then have an opportunity to pitch to us again.”


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