Incubators Program

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The objective of the $36 million ICTIP is to support the better-performing incubators previously funded under the BITS Incubator Program to continue making a significant contribution to the national innovation system by:

  • identifying and supporting high potential ICT start-ups;
  • facilitating growth in employment, revenue and exports for the ICT start-ups;
  • assisting these ICT start-ups to secure financial and other support from third party sources (including venture capital firms, private investors, other technology firms, universities and government);
  • establishing mutually beneficial linkages with other elements of the Australian innovation system; and
  • adopting strategies to achieve ongoing financial self reliance without further Australian Government support beyond the period of the program extension.

All program funds have been allocated and no further funds are available for new incubators.

Role of ICT Incubators

The ICT incubators provide incubation services, such as seed capital, business advice, and assistance with raising follow-on capital, to start-up ICT companies with the intent of accelerating their growth. ICT incubators have provided assistance to a number of firms which have gone on to win major national and international contracts, industry awards and attract considerable co-investment.


Ten ICT incubators in all mainland States and Territories were funded in 1999-2000 under the Building on IT Strengths (BITS) Incubator Program. An eleventh incubator in Tasmania was funded under the BITS Intelligent Island Program. The total allocated to all 11 BITS incubators was $86 million over four years.

On 6 May 2004 the Government announced additional funding of $36 million for four years from 2004-05 to 2007-08 for ICT incubators, as part of the Government's Backing Australia's Ability - Building Our Future through Science and Innovation package which included a vignette of some incubatee case studies.

ICT Incubator Program Evaluation

On 2 June 2004 the Government released an independent evaluation by the Allen Consulting Group which examined the performance of incubators funded by the BITS Incubator program and the Intelligent Island Program. This full evaluation followed a pilot evaluation, which was also undertaken by the Allen Consulting Group and released in February 2003.

The full evaluation revealed that the incubators had performed well by international standards but that without a period of further funding most of the incubators would not be financially viable. International experience shows that it may take 7-8 years for incubators to achieve sustainability and the Government's decision to extend the program was designed to provide the better-performing incubators with a further period of funding would enhance their prospects of achieving sustainability.

The ICT incubators which were funded under the BITS program were invited to submit proposals to demonstrate their ability to continue providing incubation services and to achieve financial self reliance for another four years. Following a selection process the Government announced on 11 August 2004 the eight successful incubators to receive funding.

ICTIP Incubators

While ICTIP incubators generally concentrate on companies based within their home state, some have accepted ICT start-ups which are located outside their home state into their incubator. Decisions on which companies are accepted into an incubator are solely the responsibility for each incubator, and are based on commercial principles and selection criteria published on their websites.

Contact details:

For further information on the ICT Incubators Program contact:

Manager ICT Programs Section
Tel: +61 2 6271 1719
Fax: +61 2 6271 1779

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