March 17 2016
NICHE companies that the State Government is banking on to reduce South Australia’s nation-high unemployment rate have been given more than $400,000 to turn entrepreneurial ideas into high-value businesses.
INNOVO Healthcare is included among the latest Micro Finance Fund recipients after last year launching its patented U-Stand Frame mobility assistance device. Director Allan Perriam will put the $50,000 towards his first mass production run, which will be undertaken locally.
Two-and-a-half years in the making, the U-Stand Frame won the local leg of a global challenge late last year that was aimed at finding innovative products and services for the aged care sector. The patented device — the first released under the INNOVO Healthcare brand — allows patients, particularly the elderly, to get themselves from a sitting position to a standing one.
Other businesses to receive funding include Vinnovate, which will spend its $50,000 on the further development of an on-demand bottle closure that is being tested in collaboration with the Australian Wine Research Institute and wineries, and software group Seer Insights.
The $428,000 in funding was announced by Manufacturing and Innovation Minister Kyam Maher just an hour prior to the latest labour force data finding that SA’s unemployment rate had jumped a whopping 0.9 percentage points in February, to now sit at 7.7 per cent — the highest in Australia and well above the national rate of 5.8 per cent.
“More entrepreneurial activity in SA will help the State Government achieve an important economic goal — growth through innovation,” Mr Maher, who doubles as the Employment Minister, said.
Attempting to put a positive spin on the latest figures, Mr Maher highlighted recent job creation announcements. Although he did admit that SA faces a “difficult employment challenge”.
“SA is going through a period of economic transition, with less reliance on old industries such as heavy manufacturing and car-making, and a greater focus on hi-tech, high-value manufacturing in areas such as food and medical devices,” he said.
Micro Finance Fund recipients:
Micro Finance Fund grants are offered on a 2-for-1 basis — $2 of funding for every $1 the recipient raises, with a maximum grant of $50,000.