The Abbott government's entrepreneurs infrastructure fund has started spending cash

The federal government’s $484.2 million Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme has started dishing out funding for innovative ideas.

Industry and science minister Ian Macfarlane said the first funding round of $10.6 million is spread across a range of sectors to help them commercialise ideas.

“These Accelerating Commercialisation investments will help 18 innovative Australian businesses get their ideas to market. Importantly, the $10.6 million of Government funding is more than matched by investment from businesses themselves, leading to a total value for the projects of $23.4 million,” he said.

The projects include the development of a 3D printer learning programme for primary school children, building a plant to produce cheaper hydrogen, the commercialisation of a device that tests strength and injury risk in hamstring muscles, and the manufacturing scale up of scratch-resistant acrylic glass.

“Accelerating Commercialisation will drive business growth and competitiveness and deliver nationwide economic benefits by helping to ensure that more of Australia’s wealth of intellectual property is effectively commercialised,” Macfarlane said.

The programme includes the allocation of commercialisation advisors to help businesses develop a market strategy.

Established in the 2014 federal budget after a number of startup funding programs were slashed, the Entrepreneur’s Infrastructure Programme was cut by $27.3 million, spread over five years, in the May budget.

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