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New government funding for product development

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Businesses looking to refund their product development now have an additional option to consider.

The Commonwealth government recently announced new funding for Commercialisation Australia (formerly Commonwealth Commercial Institute) aimed at assisting researchers, innovative individuals and firms to turn their concepts into successful commercial ventures.

From January 2010, Commercialisation Australia will receive $196.1 million over the next four years to provide three types of assistance to innovators:

  1. Skills and Knowledge
    Access to specialised advice and services to develop the skills, knowledge and connections required to commercialise their idea.
    Successful applicants will be allocated a Case Manager to guide and support them through the process, who will in turn link the applicant with a group of volunteer business mentors (individuals with ‘hands-on’ experience) to provide specialist advice on how to turn the applicant’s idea into a commercial product.
  2. Proof of Concept Grants
    Provide innovators with funding of up to $250,000 to assist in testing the technical or commercial viability of their concept.
  3. Early Stage Commercialisation Grants
    Provide funding of between $250,000 and $2 million to assist in the development of the concept to the stage where it can be taken to market.
    These grants will be repayable on the success of the project.

Applications will be open from early 2010 to universities, public sector research organisations, individuals and private enterprises. Applicants will be selected on merit.

Concepts may include business models, processes, products or services.

Commercialisation Australia will aim to provide each applicant with an integrated suite of assistance measures tailored to their needs.

The above initiative appears to replace previous innovation programmes offered by the government (such as Commercial Ready).  In our experience these programmes have been useful to provide government funding as a stop gap or filler until such time as third party investment is sought.

If you have a new concept, and are in need of assistance in getting it “off the ground”, contact one of our Corporate Advisory lawyers.

Author: Darren Sommers and Louise Tolson