Interactive immersive VR training solutions, tubs of oat milk ice cream, construction safety, and a transportable, fully automatic composting machine are just a few of the latest round of projects funded through the Innovation Connect (ICON) grant program.
Seven Canberra businesses were awarded $238,000 in grant funding to help their visions become a reality and make inspired solutions to everyday challenges possible.
In partnership with the ACT Government, the Canberra Innovation Network delivers ICON to provide early-stage businesses an opportunity to receive matched funding between $10,000-$30,000 and is designed to support the market testing, prototyping, patenting and commercial feasibility of the recipient’s concept.
The ACT Government’s 2023-24 budget has also committed funding continuation for the Innovation Connect program for the next two years. Since the Innovation Connect grant program commenced in 2008 more than 300 companies have been supported.
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Founder and CEO of Berrijam, a April 2023 Innovation Connect grant recipient, Dr Avishkar Misra said its mission was to make AI accessible to business analysts.
“Our mission at Berrijam is to democratise AI and make it accessible to every business analyst. With the support of the ICON grant, we are excited to bring this transformative software to the market, empowering businesses to solve complex problems with AI, driving innovation and growth with ease,” Dr Misra said.
Founder of Decision Revolution Belinda Newham said the grant would help the business to develop an online diagnostic, training, and coaching platform.
“Decision Revolution is a consulting and training company that works with individuals, leaders, and their teams to build their decision-making capabilities and take a rigorous approach to strategy design, business planning, and project and program delivery,” she said.
“The Innovation Connect grant is going to help us develop a world-first diagnostic, training and community platform to support better decision-making.”
The Canberra Innovation Network aims to empower entrepreneurs and businesses to build on Canberra’s excellence in research and innovation to create social and economic benefits for all citizens, with more than 10,000 visitors engaging with the network every year through events, programs, and innovation-focused educational courses the network supports and runs.
Canberra Innovation Network CEO Petr Adamek said the grant program played a critical role in the growth of businesses.
“Over the years we have seen exciting growth in the depth and diversity of innovations that Canberra entrepreneurs put forward to be co-funded by the Innovation Connect Grants. These projects may not yet be ready for investors or demanding customers. And that is where the grant plays a critical role of a catalyst in the growth of future innovation-driven companies,” Adamek said.
Founder and managing partner of PPB Technology, and November 2018 ICON grant recipient Dr Stephen Trowell has developed a test that provides sensitive, accurate trace lactose test within minutes with the support of ICON funding.
“At a very early stage, the ICON grant was pivotal in helping us establish and grow. We have now raised over a million dollars and are well on our way to growth and success. Receiving the ICON grant now would make little difference to us but at the time we received it, the cash and validation it provided are what helped us survive,” Dr Trowell said.
The next round of the Innovation Connect Grants opened for applications on July 5, 2023.
April 2023 Innovation Connect Grant Recipients:
Archetype – Developing interactive and immersive VR training solutions.
Berrijam – Helping businesses harness the power of AI for insights and predictions through an easy-to-use, no-code AI platform.
Decision Revolution — An online diagnostic, training, and coaching platform for personal and professional decision-making.
Future Swirl — Developing great tasting take-home tubs of oat milk ice cream without the fillers or additives.
Haast – Self-service platform to enable organisations to manage their digital brand and legal compliance footprint.
HŪM Bio-Reclamation — Transportable, ‘smart’, safe, odourless, and fully automatic composting machine.
Sight Data — Computer vision and machine learning system for construction sites with real-time notifications of risks assist in managing safety.
Your Season — Online platform using AI to help shoppers find clothing that matches their seasonal colour.