Innovation spend is welcome but can we have more detail?

Missed opportunity

Today’s budget announced $20 million over the next four years for government departments to work with industry to support researchers, innovators and start-up businesses that have the greatest potential to strengthen, broaden and build the WA economy.

Which sounds great – but CCI Director of Policy Dale Leggett says the business community needs more information before giving a full thumbs up.

“The Government was a bit light on the detail with this one – there is no further detail at this stage on how exactly departments will use this funding, so we are eagerly waiting to hear how the funding will be implemented,” Mr Leggett said.

“CCI will work closely with Government, however, to ensure funds are correctly targeted and used in an efficient and beneficial way.

“CCI would hope that the $20 million will interact successfully with the Federal Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda – if continued – and help WA business identify new opportunities for growth through creative disruption.”

Starting up small businesses

The CCI Survey of Business Expectations for December 2015 found a lack of time was the number one reason WA small businesses were not innovating.

Nearly half of all businesses in the same survey said time constraints were the top barrier to innovation, followed by interaction with their competitors and challenges accessing government grants.

Just 26 per cent of small businesses considered themselves to be above average innovators compared to 56 per cent of large WA businesses.

Mr Leggett said the government can help small businesses innovate by removing time wasters – which means cutting red tape and simplifying the tax system.

“Typically, small businesses have fewer resources and can get bogged down by compliance costs and regulatory requirements.

“We need to encourage more innovation if we want to create jobs and drive economic growth, and small business is telling us if we want them to innovate they need more time.

“Government at all levels must do everything to encourage new businesses, particularly in high-growth ventures, and to help existing small businesses enter the next stage of growth. This involves reform and deregulation.”