Budget will kill entrepreneurship and startups says AIIA

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) says the decision to suspend funding to Commercialisation Australia will adversely affect the local start-up sector.

AIIA has been active in advocating the need for a supportive national eco-system to facilitate innovation and encourage and support new business development – particularly in light of the increasingly competitive
global digital economy.

In an open letter to Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, AIIA CEO Suzanne Campbell says business confidence in Australia’s innovation and business support system is at serious risk.

Commercialisation Australia provides funding and access to business and mentoring networks and is a key element of the business building process.

Reportedly, as of March 2014, Commercialisation Australia stopped accepting new applications or requests for funding extensions.

With the government proposing to raising the pension age to 70, there are more seniors likely to become entrepreneurs. According to a  2011 Global Entrepreneurship Monito, entrepreneurial activity among older people in Australia is significantly higher than the average for other innovation-driven economies.

These "seniorprenuers" need access to advice and funds as they build their businesses and the federal budget proposals go against the grain.

To replace the bodies that are being shut down, the government proposes to set up an Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme which would receive $484.2 million in funding over five years to commercialise ideas and provide business advice to small companies.

This still leaves a shortfall of $361 million cut from all the innovation programs.

Yasser El-Ansary, chief executive of the Australian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association, criticised the lack of detail in the government’s proposed new entrepreneurship program, and pushed for the Coalition to keep the best aspects of its predecessors, reports The Australian Financial Review.

“Abolishing the Innovation Investment Fund represents a major set-back to Australia’s capacity to foster a stronger venture capital industry that can drive businesses in the new corridors of economic growth for our future,” he said.

[Image courtesy and copyright Business Connector.]