Small IT innovators get $10m boost

Small IT innovators get $10m boost

South Australia's technology innovation industry has received a $10 million funding boost from the Federal Government to assist the growth of start-up information technology and communications (IT&C) companies.

A pioneering consortium of South Australia's public sector agencies, led by Playford Centre and including Ngapartji Multimedia Centre and The Business Centre, is part of the Federal Government's $76 million Building on IT Strengths (BITS) initiative to boost IT&C innovation throughout Australia.

BITS is part of the "social bonus" delivered by the Telstra 2 share sale, and is intended to unlock innovation Australia-wide. The SA consortium last year secured 13 per cent of the BITS funding against fierce national competition, according to Michael Armitage, SA information economy minister.

Armitage is a fervent supporter of the SA government's Information Economy 2002 (IE2002) initiative which is driving the state to the fore in innovation while nurturing the health of IT businesses.

"IE2002 and Playford Centre is an excellent example of the way government and business can work together for the advancement of the entire State," he says.

"To date, companies originally supported by Playford have subsequently received an additional $22 million in investment from other sources, providing SA with both jobs and growth," says Geoff Thomas, Playford Centre CEO.

Delivering the $10 million cheque to SA yesterday, Senator Alston said the ability to deliver an innovative idea to market in a timely manner is crucial in a global climate. "The BITS funding will assist Australian innovators to deliver their products to market faster by providing capital, expertise and access to necessary services."

Alston congratulated the Playford Centre, Ngapartji and The Business Centre on their role in managing and encouraging innovation. Since its inception four years ago, Playford Centre has provided funding and business support to more than 150 emerging South Australian IT&C companies, enabling them to "fast track" their commercial development. It is currently rolling out a new funding model enabling the Centre to acquire equity in its clients.Photograph: Michael Armitage, SA information economy minister

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