The CSIRO has started a program to focus on building connections with the Australian entrepreneurial community to accelerate its entrepreneurial capacity to create impact for the local startup market.
Part of its 2020 Strategy, the ON program aims to improve the local appetite for investment in local startup ventures. The organisation said that, while Australia has sufficient talent for a healthy startup community, recent global studies showed that when it comes to providing the right environment and support for startup ventures, Australia is lacking with an ecosystem value 80 times less than Silicon Valley.
Liza Noonan has been appointed Executive Manager Innovation to lead the ON program. Noonan has experience in the innovation industry and was most recently general manager of Springboard Enterprises Australia, an accelerator platform for female entrepreneurs. Prior to this she led Alcatel-Lucent’s ng Connect program in Australia.
“I’m thrilled to join CSIRO at this very exciting time to support implementation of the 2020 Strategy, particularly on translating excellent CSIRO science and technology into positive impact for Australia,” Noonan said.
“The ON program will be key to delivering more breakthrough innovation from CSIRO. One of the first initiatives of ON is a new Accelerator for CSIRO concepts with high impact potential.”
The accelerator program began in July this year and was open to all CSIRO staff who submitted 240 ideas ranging from a handheld 3D thermal imaging system to a virtual power station. Nine teams were selected to be a part of the first accelerator cohort.
The program includes concepts such as the development of ultra-low gluten barley which may revolutionise the gluten-free market worldwide by providing an alternative solution to the high fat and low fibre diets of many gluten avoiders today.
“This program is different to other accelerators out there,” Noonan said.
“These are deep tech projects that cross a wide range of industries, from manufacturing to agriculture. Our end goal is to get technology out to market that will address major challenges we face as a nation.”
The first Accelerator is due to finish in December this year, with a second round opening in early 2016.