The Idea Boom is a national initiative designed to drive innovation and build a prosperous future for Australia.
Innovation, it’s the buzz word being thrown around in business, in the media and from our Australian Prime Minister. Innovation is the topic of conversation in everything from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) to creativity, to corporate culture and is being boxed up with a big red bow in the Innovation Package. The government’s pinup boy for the Innovation Package is the fresh-faced Assistant Minister for Innovation, Wyatt Roy MP. Sounds like a great thing, right?
In Australia we have been deeply committed in a mining boom. For a long time the mining boom overshadowed other prosperity-building conversation and investment for research and development was funnelled into the mining sector. Of course, not surprisingly, this has resulted in an incredibly low number of Australian small businesses successfully collaborating with investors (in fact in this area we are one of the poorest performers in the world).
Now the new Liberal Government with Malcolm Turnbull at the helm has put innovation firmly on the nation’s agenda with the ‘Idea Boom’, the Innovation Package designed to kick-start investment in new ideas on which to build a new Australia and usher us into the ‘Age of Innovation’.
Some say the initiative is too little, too late, others say it’s not enough. I say, YES, it’s finally on the agenda and the business value of innovation and creativity is at last the subject of national significance. The idea of an ‘Idea Boom’ is a good one. It brings creativity into our consciousness and may encourage us to think differently and creatively about business. Of course, this is an issue close to my heart…by the way, did you catch the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday 28th March? The panel discussed Innovation. If you missed it, catch up HERE (if the link has not yet expired from ABC Catch Up)
With the rate of Small Business on the rise in Australia, there is an opportunity to jump on board the ‘Idea Boom’ train and create sustainable competitive advantage.
So what’s in the Innovation Package for small business?
For small business, there is a bunch of programs called Innovator Connectors. It’s all about connecting research funding, partners and advisors with small business. There is an entrepreneurs program, a couple of grants and postgraduate programs.
There are tax incentives, seed funding opportunities, a Cyber Security Growth Centre a policy for Science and Innovation, support for agriculture and regional Australia and plenty more all to the tune of $1.1 billion over four years.
I went digging around looking for ways to access some of the gold dust the Innovation Package promises to delivery. It is still very early days. From what I could find on the website and through some of the official press releases there are a couple of timeframes, identifying the first rollout of programs, funding and tax changes, mostly from July 2016, very few have already started. There are a few stakeholder sessions happening around the country with dates, and an offer to subscribe to the updates, which of course I am hoping will send updates about how to access the Innovation Package.
There are several programs or initiatives within the package that you really need to drill down into, and dig a deeper online before you find the answers, I recommend check out what’s in it for your particular business or industry.
I’m hopeful the Innovation Package delivers it’s objective, it’s a long game and for so many small business’s it will take a while to discover how innovation provides competitive advantage and then how to access the initiatives the government has outlined.
In the meantime, check out some of these links:
The Innovation Package Website
Innovation Package for Small Business Page
Innovator Connectors Entrepreneurs’ Programme