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Western Australia Driving Growth with Tech 

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The Western Australia Government, under the leadership of Innovation and the Digital Economy Minister Stephen Dawson, has unveiled an initiative aimed at bolstering local innovators in their journey towards commercialisation. This new endeavour, known as the Commercialisation Bridge Grant (CBG) programme, is set to be a game-changer for the tech industry in the region.

The primary objective of the CBG programme, backed by the New Industries Fund, is to provide crucial financial support to Western Australian innovators, helping them traverse the critical bridge between having a commercialised innovation and establishing a sustainable, scalable business model. With a focus on job creation and economic diversification, this programme represents a strategic move by the government to foster innovation in Western Australia.

Under the CBG programme, innovators can apply for grants ranging from AU$ 50,000 to AU$ 200,000, with a requirement for matched funding. A noteworthy feature is that 50% of the grant funding will be made available upfront, streamlining the process for businesses to kickstart their initiatives.

This financial aid can be strategically used for various purposes, including product development, team building, intellectual property initiatives, and enhancing commercialisation readiness, employing both internal and external resources.

The CBG programme complements the already successful Innovation Booster Grant (IBG), which targets early-stage entrepreneurs and innovators seeking to develop a minimum viable product. The IBG, offering grants of up to AU$ 40,000 with a minimum 20% matched funds requirement, has been a significant catalyst for innovation since its inception in 2011.

Notably, both the CBG and IBG programmes are now open for applications throughout the year, a departure from the previous annual four-week application window. This change is expected to provide greater flexibility to innovators, allowing them to submit proposals when they are best prepared, rather than being constrained by a rigid deadline.

Since the inception of the IBG programme, over 270 grants, totalling more than AU$ 5 million, have been awarded, reflecting its impact on fostering innovation in the region. The most recent round of IBG grants, announced in July, comprised 43 recipients receiving over AU$ 1.6 million in funding.

Noteworthy success stories include Co-Connect, a startup that developed an app designed to enhance connectivity, safety, and engagement for mine site workers. Having received an IBG last year, Co-Connect’s technology has been successfully implemented on multiple mine sites, and the company has emerged as a finalist in the prestigious WA Innovator of the Year awards. The collective valuation of the 99 most recent IBG recipients currently exceeds AU$400 million, underscoring the programme’s role in nurturing high-value ventures.

In expressing his thoughts on these initiatives, Minister Stephen Dawson highlighted the government’s commitment to supporting innovators at various stages of development. The shift towards a more flexible application process reflects the government’s recognition of the diverse timelines and readiness levels of innovators, eliminating the stress associated with rigid deadlines. Both the CBG and IBG programmes draw their funding from the New Industries Fund, an AU$25.8 million initiative aimed at propelling new and emerging businesses in Western Australia.

As the tech landscape in Western Australia continues to evolve, these grant programmes stand as pillars of support for the burgeoning community of innovators. The CBG programme, with its emphasis on scaling up businesses, and the IBG programme, catering to early-stage entrepreneurs, together form a comprehensive framework that addresses the diverse needs of the tech ecosystem. The government’s commitment to fostering an innovation-friendly environment is evident in these strategic initiatives, poised to leave a lasting impact on the economic landscape of Western Australia.

The Commercialisation Bridge Grant (CBG) stands as a competitive grant programme by the Western Australian government, backed by the AU$25.8 million New Industries Fund under the jurisdiction of the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science, and Innovation (JTSI).

Debuting in the fiscal year 2023-24, the CBG is strategically crafted to provide support to innovators in Western Australia, aiding them in overcoming the critical phase often referred to as the ‘Valley of Death.’ This phase denotes the transition from a commercialised innovation to establishing a sustainable, scalable business, with the overarching goal of fostering job creation and economic diversification in Western Australia.


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