The Sydney-based founders of Google Maps have scooped the 2010 NSW Pearcey Award for ICT entrepreneurship ahead of a new drive by the state to build the next generation of tech start-ups.
Danish-born brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussen were awarded the annual Pearcey Foundation award at the NSW Parliament in an event that was held in conjunction with ICT research centre NICTA.
The Rasmussen brothers co-founded a mapping start-up called Where 2 Technologies in 2003, which was acquired by Google a year later.
The duo has since worked as Google engineers to develop Google Maps, which has become one of the leading online map services in the world.
Eric Roozendaal, NSW state treasurer, says: “Google Maps has changed the way many of us run our lives and our businesses – it’s a great example of an IT product with endless opportunities.”
“This annual award is given to the person judged as making the most significant annual contribution to innovation in NSW’s ICT and digital media industries.”
“Lars and Jens’s work with Google Maps helped position Sydney and Australia as a global leader in online development and saw a significant research and development team established in Sydney.”
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Roozendaal also announced a $3 million funding boost over the next three years for NICTA, which researches innovations in the ICT industry and helps build start-ups in the sector.
NICTA, which has a presence in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane, was the recipient of another cash injection last week, from the Victorian government.
The state government announced that it will plough $33 million into NICTA’s Victorian operation. The extra funding will allow students across Victoria to access NICTA’s facilities. Currently, the University of Melbourne is the only Victorian education institution with links to NICTA.