Innovation agenda more hype than substance says Liven founder

- May 7, 2018 2 MIN READ

Startups are calling for the government to provide more support for innovation ahead of the 2018 budget announcement.

Liven co-founder David Ballerini has called out the Turnbull government for failing to deliver on its promise of an innovation nation, suggesting the PM has failed to walk the talk.

Ballerini expects if history is anything to go by, the government will again neglect to deliver real incentives for innovation in this year’s budget.

“In late 2015 the Turnbull government talked the talk, saying they were committed to embracing innovation and science in Australia, but they failed to walk the walk and back this up in the 2017 budget, proving that the innovation agenda was more hype than substance, with most of the benefits going to traditional industries instead of startups,” Ballerini commented.

“As they neglected the startup community in 2017, it seems likely they will again with this year’s budget, with recent talks of capping the R&D tax incentives scheme already scaring away investors from Australia’s nascent startup environment.”

Ballerini believes this continued neglect of the nation’s brightest entrepreneurs is creating a brain drain as startups look to overseas investors and locales for better support of their products.

“In addition to losing our best entrepreneurs, the government neglecting Australian startups will also run the risk of alienating investors, particularly those from overseas. This would be a huge blow to early-stage companies looking to raise the capital that is essential to their growth.

“As well as helping contemporary startups get a leg-up in the competitive international landscape, it is critical that the budget lay a strong foundation for the next generation of budding entrepreneurs, and the best way to achieve that is to invest in education and in particular the STEM fields.”

Ballerini suggests the government should no longer ignore innovation such as fintech, which is paving the way for a technological revolution.

“Investing in technology and innovation is Australia’s best bet for getting ahead, and ensuring students have access to the resources required to help them develop into leaders. Information technology is critical for Australia’s economy as we move away from manufacturing industries and into a service economy.

“It’s time the government bring back and build upon programs such as the defunded Commercialisation Training Scheme (CTS) to give STEM students and researchers the tools they need to translate their tech skills into entrepreneurship and market-focused innovations. Having completed the CTS program in the last year that it was available, I was disheartened to hear of its cessation and can confidently say that the introduction to commercialisation and business afforded to me by this program, are what set me on the path to becoming an entrepreneur myself,” Ballerini said.

Building on the strong entrepreneurial spirit of the next generation is vital to the future growth of the nation suggests Ballerini.

“Invest in programs that educate our rising techstars on topics of entrepreneurship and commercialisation of technology. These values have not typically been included in the curricula of Australian schools and universities in the past, but it is essential that they become mainstream within Australian culture if we hope to remain at the forefront of global innovation,” Ballerini concluded.

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