The WA Government has committed $2.4 million to the Western Australian AustCyber Innovation Hub and the WA Data Science Innovation Hub.
Funded through the State Government’s $16.7 million New Industries Fund (through JTSI), this allocates about 14% of the funds to the expanding fields of cybersecurity and data science.
Demand in these industries is rapidly growing. It is estimated Australia spent around $5.6 billion on cyber security in 2020, and is expected to reach $7.6 billion by 2024. Meanwhile, future growth in the data science workforce is projected to accelerate. Currently, the average annual growth rate of 2.4% is stronger than the 1.5% per annum growth forecast for the entire Australian labour force.
And despite COVID-19 posing challenges to a variety of industries, it is only likely to accelerate the transformation of the economy through technology. With increased innovation comes an increase in the level of cyber risk, due to the use of newer, less tested, processes and technologies. And don’t forget big data, which has and will continue to explode across industries.
Each innovation hub will receive $300,000 per year for the next four years to drive further growth in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
Provisions to continue the fund until 2025 were made in the 2021-22 State Budget, whereby commitments to the New Industries Fund were renewed as part of an overall $100 million in funding. This was welcome news for the WA startup community, especially considering WA accounts for only 1% of overall private funding for startups in Australia. Other reports have confirmed that a lack of capital for local startups is limiting the sector, and stifling its growth and impact.
Innovation and ICT Minister Don Punch acknowledged the government’s role to support the acceleration of WA’s innovative startups, emerging businesses and SMEs to ensure innovations are successfully taken to market, diversify local and regional economies and create jobs.
Successful hub collaborations
First established in 2018, both the WA AustCyber Innovation Hub and the WA Data Science Innovation Hub operate a range of programs in regional areas and the renewed funding will ensure those programs can continue.
Minister Punch praised the two hubs, saying they have “helped create an environment for the State’s startups to succeed and for existing businesses to expand further.”
The WA AustCyber Innovation Hub was established to address cybersecurity, with a focus on critical infrastructure, cybercrime and big data. The hub is a successful collaboration between the WA Government, Edith Cowan University, the national industry growth centre AustCyber and the City of Joondalup.
It delivers expert services to actively support the growth of innovative cybersecurity businesses through inception and development to commercialisation.
The WA Data Science Innovation Hub focuses on helping WA build a data driven ecosystem and culture that fosters collaboration, promotes expertise and advocates for data literacy in a partnership between Curtin University and the WA Government.
The hub helps to ensure WA remains at the forefront of the digital revolution by building capability and capacity through the use of stored and collected data.
More information on the Innovation Hubs is available here.
The New Industries Fund is a sponsor of Startup News.