Three Australian start-up incubators are receiving funding in the latest round of the Federal Government’s incubator support initiative.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said supporting Australian entrepreneurs is crucial for the economy’s future.
“Being innovative and embracing technology is essential for industry to continue to flourish and to create new jobs,” she said.
“These start-ups will be able to prototype, pilot and produce products, which can strengthen traditional industry in Australia, as well as be sold around the globe.
“Their work will also strengthen our cyber security capabilities, which presents many economic opportunities.”
The government has spent $19.5 million in funding for incubators since the initiative began in 2017.
Cyber security and agritech
CEO of Cyrise, Scott Handsaker, said their stake in the funding will go toward a week-long pre-accelerator bootcamp program which he said will give budding entrepreneurs a taste of what it takes to be successful in the start-up world.
“What we’re trying to do is inspire a bunch of people to get out and have a go,” he said.
“The target is people who have an idea or an early product; people who are sitting inside corporates, defence, or intelligence, who think that one day they might like to do a start-up but are not sure how to get started.”
Handsaker sees cyber security as a high-potential market for Australian entrepreneurship.
“Cyber security is a tremendous opportunity for Australia. It’s one of those few verticals you can guarantee is still going to be relevant in 20 years’ time.
“We’ve got some tremendous talent and we’ve seen some tremendous successes already. As long as we keep supporting our entrepreneurs and keep doubling down and helping them be successful I think the future’s quite bright.”
Government funding also goes toward developing innovation for Australia’s $60 billion agriculture industry.
Sparklabs Cultiv8 is an agritech accelerator with a focus on sustainability.
Like CyRise, Cultiv8 has been operating for the last two years and in that time 16 companies have run through its six months accelerator program.
Sparklabs partner, Jonathon Quigley, said the government funding will help them be able to work with start-ups after they have finished the program.
“One of the key learnings we’ve found from working in this sector is that good ideas have long gestation periods,” Quigley said.
“The research component of our industry is quite long so what we’ve worked on are ways to establish a more ongoing relationship with alumni beyond that initial six months.”
Some $33 million in capital has been raised by start-ups through the Cultiv8 accelerator program.
Quigley thinks their success comes from its close ties with the agriculture industry.
“One of the most important feedback we get is about being genuinely passionate about the industry and regional Australia, and the way we’re solving real problems,” he said.
“We’re based in Orange close to farmers and a renowned food-growing region. We’re really walking the walk by not being just another innovation business based in a capital city.”
Applications are currently open for the next round of incubator support funding.