Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism, and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, has announced $6 million in funding for NSWs businesses with innovative ideas and ventures that address the impacts of COVID-19.
The NSW Government will provide funding to startups, scaleups, and SMEs through two new programs delivered by Investment NSW. The two programs are the S&D Fund and COVID-19 Tech Vouchers.
Funding between $250,000 and $1 million will soon be available to innovative SMEs and scaleups that meet the eligibility criteria through the S&D Fund.
The Research and Development (R&D) Fund is aimed at NSWs scaleups and SME’s that have created innovative products or services addressing the economic, health, or social impacts of COVID-19. The funding is intended to speed up commercialisation and development of these products.
Minister Ayres said, “Stimulating research and development (R&D) to leverage tech innovation to address the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 will help create a resilient, post-pandemic economy,”
The program aims to not only support innovative and standout ventures but to help bolster NSW’s broader economy.
“This investment in R&D encourages collaborative projects to design or validate products, complete product testing, and certification, enhance existing product capabilities, or facilitate entry into international markets, said Minister Ayres.
“The new $6 million R&D Fund will help grow our standout businesses to attract local investment and take their innovation to the world as we look forward to a global economic upsurge.”
Applications to the R&D fund open soon, and submissions are free.
The second funding stream is the COVID-19 TechVouchers. This program is aimed at startups, scaleups, and SMEs that have innovated to create technology-based products and services that target disruptions caused by COVID-19.
Funding $25,000 and $50,000 will be available to ventures that meet the eligibility criteria.
TechVocuhers aims to assist in commercialising innovative products and services through collaboration with Publicly Funded Research Organisations.
Minister Ayers said, “TechVouchers can be used to reduce the cost of access to research facilities and equipment like electron microscopes and medical imaging, fund toxicology studies, or produce laboratory prototypes.
“Successful TechVoucher projects will not only enable greater engagement between businesses and researchers but will give both parties more opportunity to access additional grant programs to reduce the commercial risk for businesses and underpin funds raised by businesses.”
Ben Lindsay, Program Manager, INCUBATE at The University of Sydney said he welcomed this funding opportunity. “The Covid-19 Technology Vouchers are a brilliant offer. The tiered access has not forgotten the smaller research and development projects, reflective of typical early-stage businesses,” he said.
Mr. Lindsay said that “The Covid-19 Technology Vouchers will help technology-rich startups connect with leading experts and state of art equipment here at the University of Sydney. This funding will undoubtedly foster partnerships and empower startups to build on the outcomes they strive for, solidifying their place in the deep tech industry New South Wales.”
Applications to the COVID-19 TechVoucher open soon, and submissions are free.
How COVID-19 has affected startups
When asked how COVID-19 has impacted on startups, Mr Lindsay said that while many startups have no doubt faced challenges during COVID-19, most had adapted to the new working environment, even pivoting their business model or product entirely to help solve problems during COVID.
“For example, an INCUBATE at The University of Sydney startup, DetectedX, modified their product that helps radiographers upskill and improve their ability to detect breast cancers, to now include COVID-19 identification training,” he said.
“Covid-19 has inspired the startups at INCUBATE to innovate, especially with respect to improving accessibility to technology. The advancements in healthcare, education, and remote working have been remarkable. Despite the difficulties and challenges COVID-19 presented, it has been fantastic to see entrepreneurs in the INCUBATE programs kick into gear and solve pressing problems fast for the rest of us.”