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NEW SA INNOVATION MINISTER THINKS OUTSIDE THE SQUARE

10-02-2015
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South Australia’s new Innovation Minister has committed to shifting Adelaide’s economy away from traditional manufacturing and towards tech startups to secure the state’s economic future.

Mr Kyam Maher, who was sworn in last week following a cabinet reshuffle, also holds the Manufacturing and Aboriginal Affairs portfolios.

In a recent interview with StartupSmart, Mr Maher said SA was seeing “an explosion of startup activity.”

This needed to be supported by government as well as the private sector.

“Entrepreneurship incubators are already crucial to the competition of the South Australian industry, but in the future we will increasingly rely on their capacity to access new markets, solve problems and find new ways of doing business,” he says.

“We need to look at the ways we can support entrepreneurs to best meet our economic goals.”

Maher says there around 100 programs available to local entrepreneurs provided by government and those in the industry, ranging from grants to accelerator programs.

“This level of support for entrepreneurship is unmatched in Australia,” he told StartupSmart.

“We believe that a good government is one that plays a supportive role for thriving entrepreneurs. We want to direct our support in a way we hope will provide the greatest benefit to the sector, but we also acknowledge that it’s important to let the reins go and let the hands-on work of entrepreneurs be done by the entrepreneurs themselves.”

However, more South Australians need to embrace entrepreneurship, according to Mr Maher.

He pointed to the government pledging $275,000 over the next three years to the Venture Catalyst program as well as $400,000 in funding for local coworking space Majoran as examples of how the government intends to make this happen.

“As the global economic conditions remain both challenging and uncertain, we recognise the South Australian economy’s transition,” he says.

“From our traditional manufacturing base to much more advanced manufacturing, these industries in which innovation and entrepreneurship are going to be crucial for the future success of South Australia. We need to do this in partnership with industry, the research sector and community in general.”

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