Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has promised an additional AU 15 million to support Australian startups if he is re-elected in next month's federal election. The funding has been allocated to expand the existing Incubator Support program, which was given AU 8 million in December, as part of the government's AU 1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda. "Innovation is critical to Australia's economic transition and forms an important part of our national economic plan," Turnbull said again on Wednesday. "Startups are among the most innovative businesses and are an important source of job creation and growth." According to the prime minister, the new investment will increase the number of startup incubators and accelerators in Australia; support the expansion of existing high-performing incubators and accelerators; attract "experts in residence" to provide specialist advice to startup businesses; and enable new and existing incubators and accelerators to access up to AU 500,000 in funding.
The Australian government has officially launched its AU 23 million incubator support program, which will fund the creation of new incubators in a bid to see more successful startups emerge from the country. Launching the event at fintech incubation hub Stone & Chalk in Sydney on Monday, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Greg Hunt said he expects business incubators will increase innovation capacity in Australia's urban areas, as well as regional and rural Australia and in university precincts, by bringing communities of entrepreneurs together to increase the flow of local knowledge and foster "collaboration". The government's funding pool will be distributed via an application process, where matching grants valued between AU 10,000 and AU 500,000 will be awarded to the successful candidates for the creation of new incubators in regions or business sectors with strong links to international trade, and for existing, high-performing incubators to expand their services. Hunt confirmed that incubators can also access matching grants of up to AU 25,000 to engage experts-in-residence from Australia and overseas as well. "This ensures startups have access to the top-quality research, managerial, and technical talent they need to develop their capabilities and commercialise their ideas," the minister said in a statement.
Work on a new project by Deakin University and Melbourne-based software company Ytek has begun, aimed to develop skills of those training in the emergency response, defence, and aerospace sectors using machine learning algorithms. Dr James Zhang, a researcher from Deakin University's Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation, is working with Ytek to develop simulation solutions used to train surgeons, emergency workers, soldiers, and pilots. As part of the project, Zhang and Ytek will research how machine learning algorithms can help monitor and evaluate a trainee's conduct in mission-critical simulations by using sensors on training tools, such as manikins, to evaluate how trainers can assess students in practical training. Ytek CEO Richard Yanieri said the desired outcome of the project is to improve the practical training for students. "We've been working with Deakin's School of Medicine to understand their needs so that we can tailor a solution that works for this industry," he said.
Well, let's be completely honest: the current startups landscape is incredibly messy. There are plenty of ways to get funded to start your own company -- but how many of them are not simply'dumb money'? How many of them give you some additional value and really help you scale your business? This problem is particularly relevant for emerging exponential technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics. For those specific fields, highly specialized investors/advisors are essential for the success of the venture.