The Albanese Government’s 2023-24 Budget handed down last night provided a funding boost for startups as part of the Government’s push to invest in key strategic industries.
Treasurer Dr Jim Chalmers, recognising Australia’s opportunity for growth and prosperity in the global shift to clean energy, announced a new $392.4 million Industry Growth Program (a better funded version of the former government’s Entrepreneurs’ Program and Accelerating Commercialisation grant program) to support Australian small to medium sized enterprises and startups to commercialise their ideas and grow their operations. The $392.4 million will be distributed over four years, followed by $79.2 million for each subsequent year.
According to a statement released by Ed Husic, Minister for Industry and Science, “[t]his will enable emerging businesses to become the big employers of the future – backing our innovators with investment and advice so they can make the jump from brilliant idea to business plan to a growing enterprise,”. The announcement is an important recognition of the contribution small and medium sized enterprises make in transforming the Australian economy.
While the announcement will no doubt be welcomed by Australian startups and SMEs who have long called for additional funding, it comes on the back of cuts made to the Export Market Development Program and axing of the proposed Patent Box tax concession previously reported.
Although more can be done to foster commercialisation of Australian intellectual property, this and continued investment in technology is clearly crucial to the innovation sector.