Global Experience in Policy and Program Development
Edited by Sarfraz A. Mian
Chapter 11: Science and Technology Based Entrepreneurial Support in Australia’s ‘Second Tier Innovator Economy’
Kevin Hindle and John Yencken BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION The chapter starts with some relevant history and an overview of Australia’s science and technology (S&T) investment pattern and its innovation performance. This is followed by analysis of a range of support initiatives at various regional levels. First, however, some consideration has to be given to the interpretation of the word ‘regional’. Australia is a federation consisting of a commonwealth government and six state and two self-governing territory governments, which still have a high degree of political independence, even if most taxes are collected and distributed by the commonwealth government either directly or through the state and territory governments. The entrepreneurship support provided by the state governments is mainly process support and expert advice provided by subsidized private consultants and departmental advisory staff and as S&T infrastructure funding, including in some states incubators and technology parks usually but not always associated with universities. Local government in most states also supports incubator programs, but these focus more on commercial innovation and new retail and service businesses rather than S&T based start-ups. Throughout its short history, Australia has shown a high level of innovation performance in agriculture and mining, but less in manufacture, unless (such as the stump-jump plow, mechanical harvester and manufacture of fine paper from semi-hardwoods) the innovation was directly related to agriculture (including food) or mining and to a lesser extent textiles and clothing. After World War II the Australian government embarked on a major effort to attract...
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