CCIWA has outlined a plan for a State Government-backed $200 million Venture Capital fund to help Western Australia become a major innovation hub in the Indo-Pacific region.
In its pre-budget submission to the State Government, CCIWA identifies how the fund will supercharge WA’s innovation effort, fast track growth of companies across key emerging sectors, attract entrepreneurs from across the globe to locate in WA, and deepen the pool of private investors prepared to support start-ups.
The proposal, which closely follows models adopted in Israel and New Zealand in that it would operate at arm’s length from Government, would include clear funding arrangements and rules to support innovative businesses and products to commercialise ahead of market competitors.
CCIWA Chief Economist Aaron Morey said WA only receives around 2% of Venture Capital funding in Australia, with the vast bulk of investment going to Victoria and New South Wales.
By comparison, South Australia receives around 3% of national Venture Capital investment and Queensland around 8%.
“WA has world-leading skills in automation, technology and clean energy thanks to a decades-long mining boom, but we need private investment to incubate the next big ideas,” he said.
“There are significant opportunities for WA in remote operations, space, biological and medical technology, defence and clean energy.
“The skills and ideas are there and when the right conditions are in place, West Australian entrepreneurs and businesses can compete on a global scale.”
The fund would seek to attract and deepen specialist VC in relevant sectors.
“We’ve seen from examples overseas that when Government is willing to back these entrepreneurs, it gives private investors the confidence to follow suit,” Mr Morey said.
“The Government needs to show global investors that WA is serious about backing new ideas.”
Mr Morey urged the WA Government to be bold and carefully consider what role Government can play in attracting private investment.
“We commend the Cook Government’s commitment to innovation, particularly through the New Industries Fund’s X-Tend grant program and West Australian Venture Support, but more is required for us to be competitive,” he said.
“We need to do all we can to make it attractive for West Australian innovators to stay, while also attracting entrepreneurs to WA to make the most of opportunities across the Indo-Pacific.”
Read the full report from CCIWA here.