The Australian government has recently launched a new program titled "Accelerating Commercialisation" (AC) which provides financial and other business and legal assistance to individuals and businesses for the commercialisation of intellectual property (IP).  AC is a Federal Government initiative which replaces the previous government's "Commercialisation Australia" program and is managed by the Federal Government Department, AusIndustry.

AC is a program designed to assist researchers, entrepreneurs, start-up companies and small to medium sized businesses. To qualify, applicants must generate an annual turnover of less than $20 million for a period of three years prior to seeking acceptance into the program.

Successful applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements to access the AC program.  The relevant criteria include the following:

  • A need for funding;
  • A clear market opportunity;
  • A value proposition;
  • An execution plan;
  • Demonstrated management capability; and
  • National benefits.

The program is not a means to fund research and development; rather, successful applicants must meet the above criteria to warrant assistance from the AC program.

AC provides financial assistance as well as specialist advice and mentoring to successful applicants.  This includes access to an Expert Network, which assists with various aspects including capital raisings and establishing new markets.  The Expert Network comprises members who have a variety of relevant skills, contacts and experience in areas such as commercialisation, business development, management and access to capital markets.

Financial assistance is available through the AC program, which is up to $1,000,000 (or up to $250,000 in the case of commercialisation officers and eligible partner entities).  The financial assistance provided by the program can be used to cover legal fees in respect to the protection of IP, licensing costs, clearance searches and related training, travel and labour costs.  The money is not available for the purposes of defending IP.

Eligible individuals and businesses that file an Expression of Interest in AC will each receive assistance with regards to their commercialisation projects and feedback on the merits of those projects.  Successful applicants to the AC program will receive various benefits including:

  • An invitation to join the Portfolio;
  • Ongoing guidance from a commercialisation advisor to help achieve project objectives;
  • An opportunity to access the Expert Network (via commercialisation advisors) to establish business connections, create opportunities to raise capital and/or assistance to enter new markets; and
  • Potential exposure to investors and multinational corporations by way of domestic and international roadshows.

The above services will be available to assist successful applicants for a period of up to two years.

The program is not limited to any particular area of technology or industry.  Priority will, however, be given to applications made in respect to specific growth sectors.  These include:

  • Food and agribusiness;
  • Medical technologies and pharmaceuticals;
  • Mining equipment, technology and services;
  • Oil, gas and energy resources; and
  • Advanced manufacturing.

Applications to enter the AC program may be made any time and are considered by the relevant body every six to eight weeks.

Further details available with regard to the program can be found at http://www.business.gov.au/advice-and-support/EIP/Accelerating-Commercialisation.