$800,000 from New Industries Fund to support COVID-19 affected innovation sector

WA Innovation and ICT Minister Dave Kelly announced that the WA government is advancing up to $800,000 from the $16.7 million New Industries Fund (NIF) to support start‑ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) impacted by COVID-19.

The state government recognises that Western Australia’s innovation sector has been impacted by COVID-19, with start-ups and entrepreneurs facing problems with cash flow, potential data breaches, supply chain integrity and changed business models.

The $16.7 million New Industries Fund was established to support and accelerate new and emerging businesses to diversify the Western Australian economy and create new WA jobs.

The $800,000 package from the New Industries Fund consists of the following support programs:

Innovation Vouchers Program: An additional $300,000 to support 16 more Innovation Vouchers, worth up to $20,000 each, to start-ups and SMEs. This is in additional to the existing $400,000 allocated for the 2020 program, bringing the total value to $700,000. The total 36 Innovation Voucher grants will support SMEs to access professional skills, services or knowledge to advance their ideas and commercial activities.

WA Data Science Innovation Hub and the AustCyber WA Innovation Hub: $400,000 funding to help build the hubs’ capacity to advise start-ups and SMEs on cyber security and the use of data science for business development, including in regional areas.

X-TEND WA Program: $100,000 funding for education and mentoring programs, which will be delivered by existing X-TEND WA program recipients. This will help boost entrepreneurs and innovative projects that support diversity and promote inclusion in the innovation community. This will also support WA business that wish to pivot their business model.

“Our innovation community have told us they most need business advice and mentoring to help guide them through the COVID-19 recovery period. The extra funding for business education programs and hubs will be a big help to retain jobs, especially with its focus on cyber security and diversity and inclusion,” Innovation and ICT Minister Dave Kelly said.

“Helping innovative start-ups and SMEs during the state’s economic recovery period is critical to both preserving existing jobs, while ensuring these organisations are well-positioned to create new viable businesses and as a result; additional jobs.”