The Government of South Australia launches initiatives to support stronger and more diverse startup sector

The Government of South Australia launches initiatives to support stronger and more diverse startup sector

Malinauskas’ Government of South Australia is establishing a new program aimed at helping South Australian women with startup businesses as part of its plan to build a more complex, productive, and high value economy.

Announced at today’s _SOUTHSTART conference, the new Fearless Innovator Grants Program will award grants specifically to innovative, female-founded businesses.

The new program recognises that women consistently report hardship in accessing the capital required to start and scale their businesses.

The Malinauskas Government has committed $110,000 from the Research and Innovation Fund to support Women in Innovation (WINN) to facilitate this two-year pilot program in partnership with the Fearless Females Network (FFN).

Program applications will open in June 2024, with grants to be awarded to the successful early-stage businesses at the annual WINN Awards in November 2024 and 2025.

Other South Australian Government initiatives supporting the growth of the state’s startup and innovation ecosystem include:

  • The recently established Innovation Leaders Network, a platform to foster the exchange of knowledge and inspire collaboration between seasoned entrepreneurs and emerging startups
  • Seed-Start grants, offering up to $500,000 in matched funding to fast-track the commercialisation of an innovative product or service
  • Support for up to 10 South Australian tech businesses to join Tribe Global Ventures’ delegations to the US or UK, for a curated in-market experience to pursue business exports and/or expansion.

The South Australian Government is a proud sponsor and Foundation Partner of the annual _SOUTHSTART conference, which this year attracted an estimated 280 local and almost 300 interstate and international guests to Adelaide.

Last year, respondents to the national Startup Muster Survey named _SOUTHSTART Australia’s #1 event for the technology and startup cohort.

For an overview of South Australian Government support available for the startup and innovation ecosystem, visit the Department for Industry, Innovation and Science website.

Susan Close MP, Deputy Premier and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, said “Each startup businesses – as defined by their high growth and global outlook – has the potential to be transformative for the South Australian economy.

“Many of these innovative businesses are also having significant positive impact on their customers and communities – whether that be a new medical device with improved health outcomes for patients, software to predict and mitigate the impacts of climate change, or technology that helps a business operate more efficiently and achieve higher profits.

“All these outcomes – and more – are being achieved right now, right across South Australia’s startup and innovation community.

“Government is proud to be supporting this activity through the provision of tailored advice, infrastructure, funding, and networking and capability-building events like this week’s _SOUTHSTART conference.”

The Minister for Small and Family Business, Andrea Michaels, added, “The Malinauskas Government is committed to supporting female business owners to overcome barriers.

“That’s what the Women in Business program, which has already benefited more than 1000 South Australian women, is all about.

“This latest initiative will directly tackle inequitable access to funding for female-led start ups with just 26 per cent of funding for start ups going to women-led businesses in 2023.

“Small businesses are the heart of South Australia’s economy contributing $49 billion each year and ensuring equitable access to capital is a strategic move to boost our state’s economy for the future.”

Paula Turbill, President, Women in Innovation (WINN), said, “As International Women’s Day approaches with the theme ‘Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress’, Women in Innovation (WINN) is thrilled to announce a groundbreaking partnership with Fearless Females and the South Australian Government to launch the Fearless Innovator Grant Program.

“This unique funding initiative aims to address the gender gap in startup funding by providing tailored support and capital to female founders in South Australia.

“Aligning this program with the Women In Innovation Awards is a great way to continue supporting South Australia’s female-founded start-ups further along their journey and achieve even more success.

“Women supporting women has always been a priority for WINN, and this program fits in perfectly.”

Kelly Baker Jamieson from Fearless Females, commented, “The Fearless Innovator Grants will help female founded businesses early in their journey to support their success.

“To move the female funding results in a positive direction, this program is a step forward to provide much needed capital, confidence and connections.”