The Western Australian Government has awarded $487,000 in funding to technology-driven projects to assist regional entrepreneurs build globally competitive businesses and create local jobs.

The projects securing funding were announced at the Regional Innovation Summit in Geraldton, which brought together leaders and innovation champions to discuss pathways to support the growth of regional innovation ecosystems.

The summit examined a new approach to better enable regions to develop skills of the future and attract investment that grows business, builds entrepre­neurial networks and culture, and promotes technology adoption.

The GroundSwell program is funded under the WA Government’s $4.5 million Regional New Industries Fund. Successful applicants under the GroundSwell Program are:

  • Blue Growth Program, proponent For Blue ($100,000) – supports small and medium-sized enterprises in the marine industry to grow through investment in diversification, commercialisation and reaching new international markets, with a focus on fishing, aquaculture, boat building, tourism, energy and offshore engineering industry
  • Regional Innovation Ecosystem Support, proponent Spacecubed Ventures ($100,000) – a program which builds on the Building Capacity in Regional Innovation project by continuing to connect, support and capacity build key champions, hubs and partners in the Western Australian innovation ecosystem
  • CONNECT Regional Growth, proponent AgriStart ($100,000) – a program aimed at strategically growing small and medium-sized enterprises with a focus on cross-sector technologies in the mining, renewable energy, agriculture and agricultural technology sectors
  • Impact Investment Readiness Program, proponent Impact Seed ($100,000) – program to build investment readiness for regional Western Australian social enterprises in regenerative agriculture, community impact, and clean energy
  • Make it Happen HQ: Indigenous Acceleration Program, proponent The Cultural Intelligence Project ($86,000) – the program is aimed at stimulating entrepreneurialism amongst Indigenous communities in the Kimberley region by supporting the acceleration of new start-up ventures and growth/transformation of existing businesses

Regional Development Minister, Alannah MacTiernan, said the future prosperity and international competitiveness depends on Regional Western Australia’s ability to innovate.

“We are working to build regional economies that are entrepreneurial, creative and technology-driven to create sustainable job opportunities for regional people.

“We must think differently and invest in the creativity of our talented people if we are to out-smart the rest of the world, and the Regional Innovation Summit is part of driving this change.

“These new projects supported through the GroundSwell program highlight the talent and scope for innovation and entrepreneurialism across our regional industries and communities.”

Innovation and ICT Minister, Dave Kelly, said he is looking forward to seeing the impacts of the GroundSwell projects in building business capability and commercialising innovations in the region.

“This Summit presents an opportunity for innovators from across the State to come together and discuss how we can turn challenges into opportunities for new jobs.

“With advances in science, robotics, AI and ICT being accelerated it is important that we leverage new technologies while ensuring that all Western Australians can take advantage of the benefits such technology brings.”

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