Financial and practical support has helped to turn ideas into reality for fledgling IT companies. The BITS (Building on IT Strengths) Incubator Program is a $78 million Commonwealth Government scheme aimed at providing an environment for aspiring entrepreneurs to turn technology ideas into successful, globally competitive businesses.
With an annual report for 2001-02 due to be released in the next two months, Senator Rod Kemp, Acting Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, said approximately 2,400 applications have been submitted to the program.
Of these, 157 early-stage ICT companies received support and 25 emerged as full-fledged businesses from the program, which has attracted around $38 million in private capital, despite the dotcom crash of April 2000.
There are 10 incubator centres across Australia, which provide seed capital as well as expert financial, management, legal and technical advice to address the problems faced by technology companies during the early stages of development.
The incubators will receive funding over a four-year period to give them time to become established.