The search has begun for the 2022 Western Australian Innovator of the Year (WAIOTY), with an event held on Tuesday at Fraser’s Restaurant to commemorate the event.
MC’d by Charlie Gunningham from the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (JTSI), the event featured an address from Innovation Minister Stephen Dawson and a panel with past WAIOTY winners Julie Adams (Chemo@Home), Tom Young (Udrew), Andrew Guzzomi (Seed Flamer, Weed Chipper – UWA), Professor Sue Fletcher (PYC Therapeutics), and Heidi Edwards from major sponsor, Rio Tinto.
The program is designed to recognise and reward the brightest talent in the state for creating emerging new products, or services and technology that are in the early stages of development.
The awards are industry agnostic, as was shown last year, when medtech devices and life sciences took away awards alongside the Roofus tool device for tradies.
Prize Money worth $140K
The program was established in 2006, with Vision Pharma named the overall winner last year for developing treatment for inherited retinal diseases.
The program has six awards, with the prize pool totalling $140,000. The funds are designed to assist winners with receiving professional support and expertise in order to commercialise their innovations.
The overall winner receives a prize of $70,000.
All finalists also receive free commercialisation training workshops to assist with taking their ideas to the next level, which includes pitch presentation skills, mentoring, and financial and legal support. This year a special workshop on how to put together and manage a board has been added.
Additionally, finalists receive professional photos and even a promotional video of their innovation.
Minister Dawson said the program is part of the state government’s commitment to supporting home-grown innovators.
“The 2022 WA Innovator of the Year program provides a platform for the State’s brightest technology minds to transform an idea into a real business,” said Mr Dawson.
“This is an exciting opportunity that can help nurture innovation across WA and I strongly encourage applications for this rewarding program.”
The program is funded under JTSI’s New Industries Fund, with Rio Tinto as primary sponsor. Woodside, Wesfarmers, Business News, Wrays, Griffith Hack, Biodesign Australia, CERI, Moore Australia, Murfett Legal and PwC also sponsor the program.
Applications are now open, with 31 May the closing date.
Winners will be announced on Mon 5 December at an awards night – also at Fraser’s – as part of this year’s West Tech Fest.