The Innovation Vouchers Program is an initiative of the WA Government’s New Industries Fund, which assists WA startups and small businesses to commercialise their ideas and innovations and expand to create jobs.
Since its inception in 2011, the state government has awarded just under 200 vouchers worth approximately $3.7 million to promising early stage businesses. Many previous voucher winners have since grown exponentially, expanded into international markets and built local workforces in WA.
Last year, during the height of the initial Covid lockdown, 36 vouchers were awarded, mainly in the med tech, health and resources sectors. This year, 21 have been announced, the maximum grant being $20,000 (which has to be matched with 20% contribution, i.e. $5,000 for the full grant amount).
One such recipient of this year’s program is Dr Josephine Muir, CEO and Co-Founder of NoisyGuts, a startup on a mission to improve the lives of people suffering from chronic gut health issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which affects one-fifth of Australians across the nation.
Noisy Guts performed quite a pivit this year, moving away from their IBS wearable device detector to a new brand of ‘super shakes’, which contain 7g of unique superfood fibre-blend to boost gut health. This shake will now be packaged in a 92% paper fibre tub, thanks to another WA business ZipForm Packaging, which was established in 2010.
Another recipient, EarBuddy, is a medical device that helps ventilate children’s middle ears as they swallow, designed to provide non-invasive treatment for children suffering with Otitis Media with Effusion (OME), commonly known as glue ear. The technology has the potential to avoid the need for surgery and reduce developmental delay caused by hearing difficulties, addressing an unmet clinical need with an innovative solution.
The device was engineered and is now being manufactured locally by Atamo Innovations in Belmont, demonstrating the local job-creating power of home grown innovations. EarBuddy will use the $20,000 voucher funding for registering its intellectual property.
The Hon. Don Punch, Innovation and ICT Minister believes that innovation is the “key to diversifying the State economy”.
Vouchers are awarded in four categories in Research and Development, Product Development, Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property, and Commercialisation Support Services.
Full list of the 2021 Innovation Voucher recipients:
- Alcolizer – Scale-Up of production of Alcolizer’s COVID-19 rapid antigen test.
- Avicena Systems – Ultra-high throughput, accurate, rapid screening system for COVID.
- Beelu Forest Distilling Company – Premium Australian organic spirits distilled with novel proprietary koji strain.
- Clean Plant – Clean Chute.
- COREIOT – Visible Machines.
- EarBuddy – EarBuddy Device.
- Ex Planta – Developing bio-synthetic natural plants compounds for human and animal health products.
- Gas Capture Technologies – Carbon capture use and storage development.
- Medivitals – Artificial Intelligence based remote monitoring platform with medical grade wearables.
- Metabolic Health Solutions – WA Metabolic Health Database for Artificial Intelligence.
- NMR Services Australia – BMR-40 instrument development.
- Noisy Guts – Shaking it Up!
- OLP Robotics – Automated system for refurbishment.
- Onetide Modular Systems – SpeedReelTM Universal Spool Fuel Hose Stand: Land Deployment.
- Portable PPB – Portable PPB (detectORE) machine design and manufacture.
- Primary Sales Australia – Robotic weed rouging tool.
- Safehouse Australia – Development of Pressurised Habitat Control System to AS/NZS 60079-13 standard.
- Technology for Ageing and Disability WA – TADWA Voice Control Module.
- TeleMedVET – Diagnostic scanner to predict and prevent fractures in thoroughbred racehorses.
- Touchline Connect – UX/UI analysis and enhancement: REACH Boarding System.
- Unpollute – Dewatering Tailings: An environmental improvement in mining.
For more information on the 2021 winners, click on the NIF website.