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    The Federal Government has established the $485 million Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme to develop and commercialise business ideas.

    The Abbott government will allocate $485 million over five years to establish an Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program as it slashes eight initiatives, including those for start-ups, to save $846m.

    The focus of the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program is to support “the commercialisation of good ideas, job creation and lifting the capability of small business, the provision of market and industry information, and the facilitation of access to business management advice and skills from experienced private sector providers and researchers.

    The Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program will bring research and business together to develop and commercialise home-grown ideas and equip small to medium enterprises with the management and business skills to lead change and expansion.

    The Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme will be delivered through a new Single Business Service initiative that will streamline the way businesses access government information and services, putting their needs first and reducing complexity.

    The Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme will include a streamlined and consolidated ‘one-stop shop’ web presence, call centre and face-to-face business facilitation network to advise businesses on the most appropriate solutions for their needs. It is a universal offering available to any business in Australia.

    It will make information simple and easy to find and be available anytime and on any device.

    The Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme will also seamlessly link business with:

    • easy to access information on business-relevant topics including: business start-up, banking, finance, accounting and marketing, advertising, small business counselling and information technology,
    • other services of the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme, through triaging, and a consultation booking service,
    • other government services delivered by the Department of Industry (including the Industry Skills Fund);
    • other government services including business licensing information and referrals, and
    • services provided by third parties to small businesses and state and territory government small business programmes and services.

    The Single Business Service will also provide a referral service for businesses who come through to the Programme but who are seeking assistance with regulatory issues such as tax information.

    The Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme focuses on providing support for businesses. This will occur through three integrated streams, each containing a range of services. Every business needs different support; as such they will be triaged to ensure they get the right support at the right time.

    The three proposed streams of the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme are:

    • Business Management – $207 million
    • Research Connections – $26.6 million
    • Commercialising Ideas – $141 million

    This Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme funding will be available over four years.

    Eligibility criteria will apply for one-on-one services. The Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme is also intended to feature a range of “lighter touch” services, designed to support a broader range of businesses to access advice and support. Most of these “lighter touch” services will not have eligibility criteria.

    A phased implementation approach is proposed for the Programme. This reflects a desire to balance the provision of services for business on 1 July 2014 with a need to consult appropriately before a final Programme design is settled. A broad timeline for the introduction of services is outlined below.

    • Business Management – Services under this stream will commence operation from 1 July 2014.under guidelines pending completion of the Programme consultation process. Implementation will focus on those areas for which there is broad support from stakeholders. All services will be settled by 1 January 2015.
    • Research Connections – Research connection services will commence operations 1 September 2014 under guidelines pending completion of the program consultation process.
    • Commercialising Ideas – Commercialisation services will commence from 1 November 2014.
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