The Prime Minister has revealed the government's new innovation package, and while a large part of it is designed to strengthen the ties between the business community and academia, a good deal of the new measures will help small businesses. In particular, the government will be making it easier for startups to secure “angel” investors, and it will cushion the fall if money gets tight. “We want to be a culture, a national culture of innovation, of risk-taking, because as we do that, we grow the whole ecosystem of innovation right across the economy,” says Turnbull. Here are the changes that are coming that will have an impact on small business.
A special new cabinet committee called Innovation and Science Australia will be set up to take another look at the research and development tax incentive program. What this means for small businesses is that they will have easier access to the 5 billion dollars spent by the government on IT each year. This is big for small business, because roughly 4500 startups miss out on equity finance each year. To help this, new investors will get a 20 per cent non-refundable tax offset based on the size of their investment.
The government will make non-sensitive public data available by default, which could pave the way for a slew of new apps. The government will also set aside 30 million dollars to create business opportunities in cyber security.
We've got to be prepared to have a go and be more prepared to embrace risk and experimentation.
The government really wants businesses to innovate, and to that end, it will rework its insolvency laws in 2017 to reduce the bankruptcy period from three years to one, and businesses will be able to use a legal “safe harbour” to take time to develop a turnaround plan. “We've got to be prepared to have a go and be more prepared to embrace risk and experimentation,” says Turnbull.
A new 200 million dollar fund will be created that will co-invest in new spinoff companies and startups that develop technology from universities or CSIRO.
Global innovation strategy
The governemt will be spending 36 million dollars over five years to establish "landing pads" in Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, and three other places to help entreprenurial Australians. The idea is to promote international collaboration to help the country compete globally. The visa system will also be changed to attract more entrepreneurs and researchers from overseas.
Jan is a Sydney-based writer and editor whose work has been published in a stable of titles including the National Post, The Daily Planet and Edmonton Examiner. He is currently Editor at ShortPress.