Entrepreneurs unimpressed with government’s new funding plans

Photo courtesy of Howard Lake on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Howard Lake on Flickr

Entrepreneurs have slammed the federal government’s new $484.2¬†million entrepreneurship program, which would offer less funding and introduce additional obstacles than the grant schemes it replaces.

A discussion paper released by the Department of Industry recently proposed that the government offer $250,000 grants to start-ups from this November to commercialise their idea over a two-year period.

Funding for the program would need to be matched dollar-for-dollar by the private sector, and the company applying for those grants would have to demonstrate a need for¬†government funding as well as any “significant national benefits” from their product or idea.

Entrepreneurs would also be able to apply for $20,000 in funding, matched by the private sector, to hire advisors on their business, while research programs would be able to access $50,000 in matched funding to move research into a business for development.

But, the grants proposed by the government are significantly less than the up to $2¬†million in matched funding offered under its predecessor Commercialisation Australia, which was axed alongside other programs in the government’s latest budget.

Mick Liubinskas, who helps run Telstra’s start-up incubator Muru D, said the program did not appear to provide the support needed to boost the country’s technology sector.

“It’s just weak,” he said. “The main thing seems to be advisors for entrepreneurs, advisors for research and advisors for commercialising — it’s a great¬†time to be an advisor but I¬†don’t know if that’s going to be nearly enough¬†to spark significant growth in the ecosystem. It seems like a big missed opportunity.”

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