The Albanese Government has officially opened the $392 million Industry Growth Program that includes medical science as one of its priority target areas.
The program was announced in June as one element of the federal government's $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund.
It will support businesses with advisory services with expertise in seeking investment, market testing, business models, and networking. It will provide matched funding ranging from $50,000 to $5 million to eligible startups and innovative small to medium enterprises.
“The challenge for our economy long term is to scale-up our businesses and help them create more secure jobs," said industry and science minister Ed Husic.
“The Industry Growth Program is designed to commercialise great ideas and know-how, build stronger, Australian businesses and put them on a pathway for potential support by the National Reconstruction Fund.
“Our government knows Australians want our country to be a nation that makes things, and we are determined to make that happen," he said.
The chair of Industry Innovation and Science Australia, Andrew Stevens, added, “While we outperform in the creation of start-ups and small businesses against other OECD countries, our industry structure is overly skewed to small businesses with less than 20 employees. It’s hard to compete when you are small.”
“The outcome we need right now is the scaling of small businesses into medium-sized businesses. This will build sovereign capability and economic complexity in Australia."
AusBioech CEO Lorraine Chiroiu said, “The newly-minted $392 million Industry Growth Program for SMEs is a positive sign for innovation industries, though how it will serve the unique characteristics of life sciences sector is yet to be understood.
“The sector has long lamented the dearth of capital available locally to support development. The Industry Growth Program is a welcome addition to the Australian ecosystem as it plays a critical role in developing early-stage companies, in turn building a pipeline of investments for the National Reconstruction Fund (NRF).
“It was positive to see Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) will be used in assessing eligible early-stage commercialisation projects, and that pre-revenue, pre-clinical, and companies with a turnover of up to $20 million will be eligible for funding, as recommended in AusBiotech’s submission to government. Eighty percent of Australia’s 1,427 life science companies are pre-revenue, underscoring the need for funding that supports innovative, early-stage companies.
“Life science companies are also reliant on highly-specialised experts and advisory services, so we look forward to seeing biotech-literate advisors support the thriving sector. As the first of the Program’s announcements, we look forward to seeing future information revealed and further understanding nuances around grant criteria when it opens in January 2024.”