Telstra sale to fund IT startups

Telstra sale to fund IT startups

Any further sale of Telstra by the Federal Government is likely to reap a dividend for the IT&T industry with indications that $158 million of the $16 billion to be raised will be directed toward "innovative technology companies".

Rob Norton, CEO of the Playford Centre, a South Australian Government initiative to help capitalise innovative IT startups, praised the commitment, stating it to be an "endorsement of the Playford vision".

Norton said the Commonwealth Government's Building on IT Strengths (BITS) initiative was a valuable investment for the future of IT in Australia.

It was announced the BITS project would include:

$78 million for state incubator centres to assist SMEs $40 million for test beds and advanced information infrastructures $40 million for developing Tasmania as an intelligent island"We need to exploit the innovative streak that runs deep in this country," Norton said. "This move by the Federal Government is a good one.

"Government bodies in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland have also set up incubator facilities but we are the only one at this stage providing working capital.

"What the BITS initiative does is take that capitalisation process nationwide and that has got to be good for the future of IT&T innovation in this country."

Norton said the Playford Centre had been responsible for helping in the capitalisation of two local projects that are now heading for North American markets.

These include software developer Torson Productions, which has developed an animated humanoid which is being applied to sports and physiotherapy projects around the world.

The other success has been with Maximine International which developed a toll which eases the process of viewing large and complex Web sites such as government sites that may have hundreds of pages and thousands of links.

"Australia has a rich resource of innovative ideas. The BITS program takes the incentive for that nationwide and is one more step towards taking Australian innovation to the world market," Norton said.

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