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Victoria businesses get new tech adoption support

The government is helping small to medium-size businesses implement digital solutions that improve productivity, drive growth and create jobs through a new funding program. The Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy launched the $5 million Technology Adoption and Innovation Program, which allows businesses to apply for grants of up to $50,000 for innovative tech projects on 6 April 2021.

The grants fall under one of two funding streams. The first allows small to medium-sized enterprises to partner with a specialised technology provider to improve their productivity and competitiveness. The partnerships may include implementing new e-commerce systems, artificial intelligence or machine learning processes, data analytics, robotics or cybersecurity technology.

The second funding avenue is for companies involved in technology development to create new products and services. Product development could be across areas including micro or nanotechnology, software for business-to-business messaging, fintech applications, healthcare equipment and retail technology.

The government will match contributions from applicants as part of the program, with those applying required to contribute a minimum of $20,000 towards the total cost of projects. The boost is part of the Government’s game-changing investment in boosting the state’s digital infrastructure, capability and skills, thanks to $121 million allocated for innovation initiatives in the Victorian Budget 2020/21.

Applications for the Technology Adoption and Innovation Program are now open and close on Monday, 19 April. For more information and to apply for support through the program interested parties can visit the website.

The Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy stated, “This program will be a catalyst for more Victorian businesses to embark on their own innovative projects, whether they’re implementing technology or developing a new commercial product.”

The government is enabling businesses to capitalise on technology to boost productivity, create new business opportunities and drive economic growth. Initiatives developed with support from this program will really cement Victoria’s position as a leading tech hub in the Asia Pacific, the Minister said.

Victoria’s ICT industry is substantial, generating AU$34 billion in revenue annually and directly employing around 91,300 people. It is internationally competitive, generating exports of around AU$2.5 billion annually.

Melbourne is Australia’s technology hub with more than half of Australia’s top 20 technology companies. Victoria’s ICT industry has over 8,000 companies, including many international firms.

The ICT industry workforce underpins innovation and competitiveness across Victoria’s economy and accounts for approximately 31 per cent of Australia’s ICT workforce. Some of Victoria’s key ICT strengths are in:

• Software development
• Cloud technology
• Digital games
• Mobility technology
• Social networks
• Data analytics

Technology skills and capabilities are foundational to Victoria’s economic growth. In this unique and transformative sector, a continued focus on ICT skills and its ICT workforce is needed to meet current, future and new demand.

In Australia, 93% of businesses have internet access, and 99.6 per cent of these use broadband as their main type of internet connection. 83% of households have access to the internet and of these 93% use broadband. Telecommunication infrastructure was deregulated in Australia in 1992, and the industry is left to market forces.

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