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CSIRO is spending $20 million to help up to 750 startups and small businesses dive deeper into R&D

- April 3, 2024 2 MIN READ
CEO and founder Olympia Yarger
Goterra CEO and founder Olympia Yarger
National science agency CSIRO has allocated $20 million towards supporting startups and smaller companies with greater access to vital research and development (R&D) opportunities to accelerate their growth.

Up to 750 small to medium enterprises (SMEs) will be supported under the banner of SME Connect via programs that provide facilitation, training, dollar-matched funding and support to startups seeking to engage in company-led research projects.

One of the programs is CSIRO Kick-Start, which since its inception in 2017, has facilitated 280 company-led R&D projects in alumni companies collectively worth more than $2 billion. The other CSIRO streams include Innovate to Grow, Generation STEM Links, RISE Accelerator and the Collaboration Readiness Levels tool.

An example of that is VC-backed food waste management startup Goterra, with founder Olympia Yarger among the Kick-Start alumni. Last year the recycling startup banked a $10 million bridging round, expanded into Queensland at Brisbane’s Howard Smith Wharves and was named the Best Sustainability Startup in the Startup Daily Best in Tech awards.

Yarger collaborated with CSIRO farming experts, leveraging their expertise to overcome critical challenges.

“CSIRO’s Kick-Start program connected us with leading scientists who not only provided world class research capabilities to some of our most complex problems but were also pivotal in supporting our exploration of business opportunities, alternative technological advancements and industry connections,” she said.

CSIRO CEO Dr Doug Hilton said the SME Connect team has supported startups and SMEs across a broad range of industry sectors including technology, manufacturing, agriculture, mining, energy and health and biosecurity.

“CSIRO’s fundamental role as the national science agency is to create benefits for Australia and that includes helping to drive SME’s productivity, sustainability, and growth through greater access to R&D opportunities and conducting research to support a more resilient and diverse economy,” he said.

You find details on the SME Connect programs to support R&D initiatives here.

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