South Australian government creates $50m VC fund

Budget also includes grant for pre-seed startups

The South Australian government will create a $50 million venture capital fund to invest in high-growth-potential startups in the state.

The move was part of $80 million in measures included the state’s budget that are intended to help modernise the SA economy and promote innovative businesses as the car manufacturing industry winds down.

The budget was handed down today.

The South Australian Government Financing Authority will administer the VC fund.

“The fund will be established to partner with private sector financiers to support innovation and help build high growth companies in South Australia,” budget documents state.

The state’s Treasurer, Tom Koutsantonis, said that local startups “struggle to obtain the access to capital that those on the East Coast have available to them through private venture capital funds”.

Another initiative in the package, $10 million for the South Australian Early Commercialisation Fund, will help very early stage startups, he said. The SAECF will offer non-repayable grants to support companies develop proof of concepts and early commercialisation.

Grant applications will open on 15 August.

“This funding is significant and will foster our innovative culture, providing our young entrepreneurs with the support necessary to not only start up in South Australia, but stay in South Australia,” Koutsantonis said.

Read more: River City Labs partners with muru-D for accelerator program

“We need to modernise our economy and become a destination for entrepreneurs with the next big idea, and supporting risk-takers to succeed through these programs will help us achieve those goals.”

The government also earmarked $7.5 million for the University of South Australia’s Future Industries Institute.

Another budget measure, unveiled by the state government last month, is the rollout of a fibre network for Adelaide businesses based on the existing SABRENet infrastructure employed by local universities.

The SA government will spend $4.65 on the ‘Gig City’ project.

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