Innovation funding has been largely spared from the government’s $43 billion drive for fiscal cut-backs, with a new $350 million round for the Innovation Investment Fund and fresh cash to publicise Australian start-up success stories.
The budget has allocated $378.6 million over 15 years for the Venture Australia program, which will focus on boosting innovation and entrepreneurial activity.
The bulk of the money – $350 million – will make up a new Innovation Investment Fund, which will pump venture capital cash into high-growth enterprises.
The program, which recently closed a round worth $200 million, requires matched dollar-for-dollar funding from the private sector. Should external investors be located, the size of the fund will grow to a juicy $700 million for promising start-ups.
The budget also grants $3.2 million over 15 years for the “promotion and marketing” of Australian start-up success stories. The aim of this PR drive is to stimulate innovation within existing Australian businesses.
A further $25.4 million will be handed to the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education to handle this investment.
The government will also, as it has previously flagged, alter the venture capital tax concession programs to help spark activity among angel investor groups.