The importance of innovation cannot be understated when it comes to the future of the Australian economy. Research has clearly shown how the Australian economic make-up is changing, with digital natives and connected devices transforming the way we do business.
As a result, investing in innovation and in particular, technology start-ups, is crucial to unlocking this potential.
In last night’s Federal Budget, many program design to support start-ups and innovation were cut, including Commercialisation Australia, the Innovation Investment Fund and Enterprise Connect. These programs are designed to showcase commercial ideas and help bring them to market.
In their stead is a $485 million program called the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program, designed to “support the commercialisation of good ideas”. Currently no more information has been provided as to what the new program will entail, who it will support or the criteria for funding.
While the amount of funding provided for innovation through the new EIP suggests support for start-ups, there is still plenty of work to be done regarding supporting new digital enterprises. Currently, Australia is falling behind the rest of the world when it comes to innovation, as shown by our Digital Innovation research. Other countries including Sweden and Canada are pouring more resources into developing innovative strategies and supporting the tech industry.
Australia has already demonstrated its ability to create high-level, successful businesses that take advantage of digital trends, including Atlassian, retail companies such as Shoes of Prey and services businesses including Freelancer and 99designs. These businesses are operating on a global scale and have attracted external investment.
With the Federal Budget focused on making significant cuts in spending, the spotlight must be on value for money. Investing in digital innovation is where the most value over the next several decades will be found. Ensuring the industry is funded will unlock a treasure trove of value.