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WA Launches Voucher Programmes to Create Tech Jobs

The Government of Western Australia is collaborating with an Australian medical technology company and is investing $400,000 into local businesses to boost Medical Technology and Pharmaceutical manufacturing (MTP) through the $16.7 million New Industries Fund.

The new program aims to accelerate the development and manufacturing of the company’s products in Western Australia, such as medical devices, diagnostics, biologics and pharmaceuticals. Grants of between $50,000 and $100,000 will capitalise on WA’s significant capability in the MedTech firm’s research to grow the sector and generate new job opportunities.

The program is being delivered by the MedTech firm’s WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub, which is co-funded through the WA Government’s New Industries Fund, industry growth centre the company’s and The University of Western Australia. The New Industries Fund was established to support and accelerate new and emerging businesses to diversify the Western Australian economy and create local jobs.

Applications for the WA MTP Manufacturing Voucher Program close at noon, Monday, 7 June 2021. The program requires at least a 1:1 matching cash contribution from applicants. The WA Minister Innovation and ICT Minister stated, “WA is home to some exciting and innovative life sciences companies, and the McGowan Government is supporting these companies to begin manufacturing their technology locally.

The new Manufacturing Voucher Program will enable more WA small and medium enterprises to get their products to market while diversifying our economy and creating more jobs. Businesses looking to manufacture their medical technology or pharmaceuticals locally are strongly encouraged to apply for matched funding through this exciting new program.”

The WA Science Minister stated that since the start of the pandemic, the Government has seen first-hand the importance of local medical technology and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Between 2017 and 2019 the number of life sciences companies in Western Australia increased by more than 50 per cent, a clear indication of the growth of the sector. Through this Manufacturing Voucher Program, the aim is to support more Western Australian businesses to continue their growth in the industry and begin manufacturing their products right here in WA.

In an earlier press release, the WA Government announced that it is helping start-ups and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) turn big ideas into local job opportunities, with the 2021-22 round of the Innovation Vouchers Program.

Worth up to $20,000 each, the vouchers help early-stage businesses access the professional skills and services they need to advance their ideas or commercial activities in Western Australia. The vouchers provide support in one of four categories: research and development, product development, technology transfer/intellectual property or commercialisation support.

Since the start of the program in 2011, the WA Government has awarded 178 vouchers worth approximately $3.3 million to promising early-stage businesses. Success stories include local foetal monitoring device company VitalTrace, which received a $20,000 voucher in 2017 and since then has grown from two employees to 16 employees and raised $1.3 million in the capital. It has three patents underway, with another five planned.

Applications for the 2021 Innovation Vouchers Program close on May 25, 2021. Recipients must co-contribute at least 20 per cent of their voucher funding to be eligible. For example, a $25,000 package includes a $20,000 voucher and a $5,000 co-contribution from the recipient.

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