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Entrepreneurial ideas not being converted into businesses

By Michelle Hammond
Tuesday, 07 December 2010

Australia’s innovative nature is being stifled by its poor commercialisation rate, according to a new report from the Australian Institute for Commercialisation.

 

The AIC-commissioned report from consulting company AEC Group found Australia’s slow commercialisation rate is in stark contrast to its level of innovation.

 

The report states: “Australia is well-known for its innovative efforts relative to the size of its economy, ranking twelfth in the world for research and development expenditure as a percentage of GDP.”

 

“However, high-technology exports from Australia are significantly lower than most developed countries in the world, highlighting that although Australia is not underperforming in innovation, its slow rate of commercialisation is a key weakness in the development of a knowledge-based economy.”

 

“Creation of a knowledge-based economy relies upon the innovation and then application of technologies in a commercial sense, to produce economic benefits and high value-adding jobs.”


AIC chief executive Rowan Gilmore says the report aims to convince governments that innovation is worth pursuing, and expects the report will be used to encourage state governments to support collaborative ventures.

 

“We believe a lot of governments overlook the importance of building value chains through collaboration,” he says.

 

“This report… proves that the country could reap many more rewards from its R&D activity if we address the culture of innovation and treat the commercial side more seriously.”


Earlier this year, the Federal Government invested $80 million into high-potential start-ups as part of its Innovation Investment Fund.

 

The money was made available through four major fund managers, which will help the companies commercialise their research and get their products to market.

 

The AIC also has a range of programs designed to assist individual entrepreneurs and companies including Ideas2Market, TechClinic and TechFast.

 

Ideas2Market is a small business program providing innovators and SMEs with information and skills to improve their competitive advantage.


The program consists of two workshops to cater for those who are looking to start a business or progress an invention, as well as existing businesses that are looking to grow, improve and foster sustainability.

 

TechFast assists small businesses by helping them to remain competitive, which is achieved by indentifying and linking clients with the right people and organisation to:

 

  • Solve product, process or service issues.
  • Identify and access technical capability to fill internal gaps.
  • Identify new growth opportunities for business.

 

TechClinics promote the adoption of innovation and technology to solve problems for firms, and build new industry value chains and networks.

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