Angels keeping guard over Australian ICT innovation

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Angels keeping guard over Australian ICT innovation

As the Federal Government plans for the future with an upcoming review on national innovation, a group of dedicated investors want to lend their own expertise to ensure the growth of Australian ideas truly stay down under.

The Australian Association of Angel Investors (AAAI) is submitting suggestions to the New Innovation Review to help the government better assist small and medium enterprise (SME). Although SMEs may seem to stand in the shadow of larger corporate businesses, AAAI sees these small businesses as the backbone of improving Australian innovation.

"We really see SME as the engine room of Australia's economy,” said AAAI deputy chairman Jordan Green. “They account for 50 percent of Australian jobs and 75 percent of job growth. We think making even small changes in SME is how you make big changes for Australia."

Angel investors are private individuals who invest their own money and time into high growth companies. Many times, they are people who have found their own success in business ventures and want to share their knowledge and experience.

One of the most vital aspects of innovation lies in the ICT sector, which many angels find an attractive area, usually because of their own backgrounds.

“You invest in what you know, and many of us have a background in technology,” Green said. “And it’s also where the world is right now, so those types of businesses tend to make more money.”

Helping the government create an environment where Australian-made technology can stay and grow at home is a chief concern for the group.

"In the past a scientist might develop and demonstrate a design, but have no funding to keep it in Australia and have to sell it overseas in larger markets like the U.S. or Europe," Green said. "We need to have an ecosystem here that takes those early ideas and fosters them into viable businesses."

As for the immediate future, the AAAI wants the government to recognise the value that smaller enterprises have for Australian innovation and how financial support and mentorship from men and women like angel investors can make a world of difference to young businesses.

“This review is a very rare opportunity to restate the government’s approach to an important part of the community, and we hope to work with the government on improving Australian innovation,” Green said.
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