The State Government today released a detailed report that highlights the need to improve the commercialisation of research in South Australia and better support innovative start-up companies.

The report, commissioned by the State Government and prepared by the Redfire Consulting Group, proposes the Government:

  • Establishes a $50 million Venture Capital Fund and a $10 million Early Commercialisation fund to better support innovative South Australian start-up companies.
  • Encourages a merger of the commercialisation arms of the local universities and the commercialisation of SAHMRI research.
  • Develops a single Innovation Policy Statement that would provide the framework to consider support for innovation programs.
  • Restructure and better support BioSA.

The report states that if the recommendations were to be implemented, it would support more than 350 start-up businesses, and lead to the creation of more than 1200 new jobs.

Premier Jay Weatherill said that growth through innovation is one of the Government’s 10 Economic Priorities and that the report makes an important contribution to the advancement of the State’s innovation agenda.

“We want to create an environment of innovation in South Australia, with the infrastructure, finance, information, institutions and people with the right skills and connections,” Mr Weatherill said.

“What’s critically important is that we develop our capacity to be part of the ‘innovation ecosystem’.

“We need to improve the links between industries and institutions, innovators and investors.

“The smart ideas being developed by our researchers and students need to be matched with entrepreneurs and the venture capital to commercialise them, so we can create the high-tech jobs of the future.

“This report highlights the fact we can improve the way we support start-ups by being more coordinated, and pooling the talents across our business, government and tertiary sectors.

“We will be considering our response to the recommendations in this report in the lead up to our State Budget in June.”

It comes as Mr Weatherill on the weekend returned from the United States, where he witnessed first-hand the transformation of traditional manufacturing and industrial cities.

Mr Weatherill visited Austin, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit and San Francisco where he met with Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Michigan (Mcity), Greensmith Energy, Tesla, Google and other leaders in innovation.

“Pittsburgh for example has taken the skills and capabilities of its old industries and applied them to new, high-tech industries to become an engine room of the US economy,” he said.