• Dr Megan Sebben, CSIRO’s Kick-Start programme manager.
    Dr Megan Sebben, CSIRO’s Kick-Start programme manager.

Australian small businesses can now access research and development (R&D) funding and expertise through Australia’s national science agency, as CSIRO broadens its Kick-Start programme.

The program has now been expanded with an increase in eligibility to include businesses with a turnover of up to $10 million.

This marks a significant increase from the previous eligibility of companies with a turnover of up to $1.5 million.

The CSIRO Kick Start programme assists Australian small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and scale-ups by providing facilitation and dollar-matched funding to access CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities for company-led R&D projects.

Since its inception in 2017, the CSIRO Kick-Start programme has been a catalyst for over 260 small business projects, contributing just under $24 million in R&D activities. Collectively, these companies now hold a market value exceeding $2 billion.

Dr Doug Hilton, CSIRO’s newly appointed CEO, said the expansion of the programme underscored CSIRO’s commitment to create benefit for Australia by supporting Australian entrepreneurship and innovation.

“CSIRO can absolutely play a role in supporting SMEs to embrace research and in stimulating entrepreneurship among our scientists and others in the community,” Dr Hilton said.

“Expanding the eligibility of the CSIRO Kick-Start programme means we can offer more Australian businesses, more Australian innovators, more Australian entrepreneurs' access to the resources, knowledge, and support they need to flourish.”

From AI-powered tech to native skincare, hydrogen prototypes to Indigenous farming, the CSIRO Kick-Start programme connects visionary businesses with cutting-edge science and technology. 

Dr Megan Sebben, CSIRO’s Kick-Start programme manager, explained the program’s role in accelerating technologies to market.

“In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, innovation is the lifeblood of success,” Dr Sebben said.

“Yet, many start-ups and SMEs face barriers, such as limited expertise and insufficient funding, that hinder R&D access.

“Our programme serves as a driver for change, providing comprehensive facilitation to overcome these challenges.”