The New South Wales government will spend $6.7 million over four years for Innovate NSW, an initiative meant to drive collaboration among small and medium enterprises, researchers, major corporations and end users.
Innovate NSW will "provide matched financial assistance of up to $15,000 for around 250 individual firms with high growth potential for market or technology validation opportunities," said the NSW department of trade and investment.
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"Innovate NSW will support collaborative projects with the potential to leverage significant investment and unlock sustained economic growth for the State," said NSW deputy premier and minister for trade and investment, Andrew Stoner.
"It will provide targeted assistance to promote collaboration between innovative SMEs and global corporate partners to bring new products and services to market, and open up new high growth business and export opportunities."
Grants are to be prioritised for key issues in manufacturing, professional services, the digital economy and international education and research, Stoner said. Those include "port logistics, online education, agri-food manufacturing and energy technology and services," he said.
"In a globally competitive environment we can no longer afford to allow limited resources, barriers to international markets, knowledge flows, weak intellectual asset management and lack of entrepreneurial capital act as brakes on our potential," Stoner said.
The initiative was announced as part of the NSW government's response to a September industry action plan on the digital economy.
"The high-level Taskforce established to develop this Plan identified the critical need for NSW to build on its digital strengths, with this sector playing a vital role in enabling innovation and productivity gains across other priority sectors in the NSW economy," Stoner said.
"The Taskforce identified 50 actions for industry and government across seven areas including digital leadership and skills, connecting regional communities, open data innovation, growing Sydney's Digital Precinct, improving finance and investment channels, and driving infrastructure productivity."
Besides Innovate NSW, under the plan the NSW government will:
- Consider ways to make it easier for businesses to bid for government procurement contracts
- Pilot smart work hubs for teleworking
- Implement the state's open data initiative
- Partner with the Committee for Sydney to work on initiatives to make Sydney a "global talent hub"
- Roll out more free WiFi hotspots to 139 libraries across the state and continue digitisation of libraries.
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