‘It’s the vibe of the thing’: NSW government opens submissions to Innovation Blueprint, seeking to ‘reset its relationship’

- February 27, 2024 3 MIN READ
Anoulack Chanthivong
NSW innovation, science and technology minister Anoulack Chanthivong
Nearly a quarter of the way through its first term, the NSW government has opened submissions for its Innovation Blueprint, seeking to make its support for the sector “more collaborative”.

After NSW minister for innovation, science and technology, Anoulack Chanthivong announced plans for an Innovation Blueprint last September, six months after taking on the portfolio, the NSW government held a summit and industry roundtable discussions earlier this month, releasing a 2-page discussion paper, saying it “wants to reset its relationship with the state’s innovators”.

Anyone making a submission “should focus on ways to develop a relationship with government that is more collaborative than transactional” the discussion paper says.

The plea comes after the Labor government killed off plans for a $10 million fund to back female founders, halted several grant programs and cut support for the sector, including funding for the Sydney Startup Hub.

The government reinstated the popular minimum viable products (MVP) grants program in November, six months after it was halted in May, but at just a 25% of the value of the previous government’s program. The rebadged “MVP Ventures Program” offers $3m a year over four years to 2027. Applications close at the end of April.  The Labor version offers grants worth between $25,000 and $50,000, while the Coalition offering up to $200,000 in matching funding.

The government plans to release the Innovation Blueprint later this year.

It asks questions you’d reasonably expect a minister would reasonably have answers to after 12 years in opposition in order to form a minimum viable government.

They include: “Which policy levers should government be focusing on to promote innovation in partnership with industry, research institutions and other stakeholders? What are the biggest barriers holding us back and how do we overcome those barriers?”

The government says the Blueprint “will ensure NSW has a clear strategic direction when it comes to growing and supporting the NSW innovation sector”.

As Startup Daily has pointed out previously, the filing cabinets at Investment NSW are already chock full of reports over the years answering questions like this.

The NSW Chief Scientist released the NSW 20-Year R&D Roadmap, in May 2022, developed from the Turning ideas into jobs: Accelerating R&D in NSW Action Plan.

This month the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council released a new report, Accelerating NSW: Insights from startups and startup support organisations, an analysis of data from the Startup Muster 2023 survey around coworking, accelerators, incubators and startups hubs (CAISH). The council released a report on the impact of the CAISH sector in August last year.

The NSW government wants input on four areas for the Innovation Blueprint.

Here’s what they say and want:

Ideas – how can we increase the rate at which new ideas and insights emerge and create new products and businesses? Actions could include: skills programs linked to sectoral needs, supporting local SMEs to discover innovation relevant to their business, promoting an entrepreneurial culture, supporting all innovators to access support equitably, attracting more multinationals to invest in R&D, and attracting global talent into NSW.

Investment – how can we increase the amount and diversity of finance available to startups and scaleups?  Actions could include: addressing gaps in investment for different stages of growth, helping businesses attract more investment and leveraging government support.

Industrialisation – how can we increase the volume and impact of highly-novel innovation outputs being generated by NSW businesses? Actions could include: tackling barriers to collaboration and commercialisation, place-based and mission-based initiatives and interventions to boost the adoption of innovations.

Internationalism – how can we increase the number of innovating businesses selling locally developed products into global markets? Actions could include: connecting SMEs to key international markets and attracting innovating businesses to NSW that already service international markets. The NSW Government is seeking your views on these four areas.

For each area, please tell us:

• What are the biggest opportunities and barriers in this area?

• What should the NSW Government focus its efforts on?

• Who should the NSW Government partner with?

• Which initiative should the NSW Government do first?

We also welcome your views on the following questions:

• What are the key indicators of NSW innovation performance to include in the Innovation Blueprint?

• What overall role should the NSW Government play in connecting the innovation ecosystem?

• Where are the opportunities for the NSW Government to work with the Australian Government on innovation initiatives?

More details are available at at nsw.gov.au/have-your-say/nsw-innovation-blueprint

Submissions close on Monday, March 25.

For any questions about the consultation process, email: innovationblueprint[at]investment.nsw.gov.au