The Northern Territory Government is providing more than $70,000 in its latest round of innovation grants to help local entrepreneurs turn smart ideas into commercial realities.
Last year, the NT Government boosted its Business Innovation Support Initiatives (BISI) scheme by an additional $1 million to support innovation in small business. In 2017, the government is offering vouchers of up to $25,000 and round-based, competitive grants of up to $60,000 to SMEs keen to commercialise innovations.
“The ... Government understands innovation drives productivity and competitiveness by turning new ideas into commercially successful, new products, processes and services,” Territory Minister for Business Peter Styles said.
“These BISI grants assist Territory businesses to commence research, undertake feasibility studies, build prototypes and develop activities and trials.”
Styles said in mid-February that since the BISI program’s launch on 1 July 2014, $186,000 worth of vouchers had been awarded to 10 applicants, and four successful applicants had been awarded to a total of $136,000 in BISI grants. Two more grant recipients were announced in mid-March.
Innovations assisting remote ag producers
Several of the BISI recipients have used their grant money to fund projects of direct or indirect benefit to the Top End’s primary producers.
SRA Information Technology Pty Ltd is using its BISI grant to develop an Unmanned Aerial System or drone as a tool for search and rescue operations in remote locations
Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT) is spending its grant money extending the CAT network of mobile-phone hot spots to provide better connectivity in more remote parts of the Territory.
Maitec is using its BISI funds to develop a drone that can map conditions across agricultural paddocks and plantations in the tropic region of the Territory.
And one of the earliest Innovation Grant program awardees, Darwin-based electronics company Universal Site Monitoring, used its grant to produce a location-sensing Personal Safety Monitor to help keep solo and ‘at-risk’ workers safe, due for commercial release early in 2018.
The two latest BISI grant recipients are also working on innovations that will assist Top End growers and graziers.
Fan Job Pty Ltd plans to use its $11,000 BISI grant to develop a simple, practical and portable ‘work suit ventilator’ for workers exposed to heat and high humidity, including bee keepers, fruit pickers, fire fighters and medical and emergency response workers.
Station Innovation Pty Ltd was awarded $60,000 under the BISI program to develop an offsite management program, ‘Ecostat’, that can monitor properties and infrastructure remotely via satellite images and an online mapping platform.
Minister Styles praised the recipients for their innovative solutions to challenges limiting economic growth and productivity in Australia’s Top End.
“Science and innovation will be a critical enabler of short-, medium- and long-term economic development in the NT,” he said.
Apply for a BISI grant now
Round four of the NT Government’s BISI applications is now open; it will close on Monday 12 June 2017.
The BISI program has a competitive application process that runs in rounds.
It provides up to 50% support for eligible projects, with a small number of grants worth up to $60,000 (exclusive of GST).
Any small-to-medium, NT-based and NT-registered business or incorporated non-profit organisation with a valid Australian Business Number and fewer than 100 employees is eligible to apply.
To be eligible, an applicant must also “be able and willing to provide the staff, equipment and time to successfully complete the project”.
For more information, read the BISI Grant Scheme Guidelines.
Apply now for the BISI Grant Scheme.