Victorian Government launches $6 million tech innovation lab

Tech start-ups are set to benefit from the launch of a new $6 million “innovation laboratory”, opened by the Victorian Government, as the state seeks to rival NSW in the ICT innovation stakes.


The laboratory, located in Hawthorn East, was established by Southern Cross Computer Systems, which designs and supports end-to-end IT infrastructure and business solutions.


According to Victorian Technology Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips, it demonstrates new ways to take advantage of the rapid advancements in information and communications technology.


“This laboratory will help businesses find new ways to adopt emerging technology, store their information and access software remotely,” Rich-Phillips said in a statement.


“This will enable customers to test the impact of new functions, systems and tools to improve productivity… and make information available to their increasingly mobile workforce.”


Mark Kalmus, managing director of Southern Cross Computer Systems, says the new innovation centre will help his customers keep pace with the demands of changing business environments.


“We will continue enhancing our skills in the industry’s advanced information technologies and help our customers to fully exploit the benefits,” Kalmus says.


The news comes seven months after the Victorian Government launched an $11 million Digital Futures Fund, designed to promote the development of new ICT capabilities.


The DFF is part of an $85 million plan to support Victoria’s ICT sector, which, according to Rich-Phillips, has “continued to move from strength to strength”.


“The Victorian Coalition government is committed to actively supporting the development and growth of innovative and competitive ICT companies such as Southern Cross Computer Systems,” he said.


The NSW Government is also attempting to make a name for itself as a cheerleader for ICT companies, launching a number of initiatives, one of which involves Startup House.


Startup House – where start-ups cohabitate as they develop ideas – is the brainchild of Australian entrepreneurs Elias Bizannes and Bardia Houseman, and New Zealander Stephen Weir.


The NSW Government is helping 12 early stage technology ventures with the cost of renting office space and accommodation at Startup House, which is located in San Francisco.


It has also opened a new trade and investment office in San Francisco, intending to grow business relationships with the US.


“Our San Francisco office will be driving business and investment opportunities between NSW and the US, and highlighting NSW expertise in sectors including ICT, digital services, research and development, and clean technology,” Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner said in a statement.


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