New program launches in Western Australia to support Indigenous entrepreneurs

It's a new partnership between the Western Australian government, Perth Angels, and Minderoo Foundation's Generation One.

The Western Australian government, together with Perth Angels and Minderoo Foundation's Generation One, have announced the launch of the Indigenous Angel Investor and Entrepreneur Program which is designed to support Indigenous entrepreneurs.

Western Australia's Innovation Minister Dave Kelly said the program, which is being delivered through the state government's AU$16.7 million New Industries Fund, aims to address barriers and open up investment opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs and investors.

"Today's announcement of the Indigenous Angel Investor and Entrepreneur Program aims to improve knowledge, networks, and opportunities for Indigenous Australians to enter the world of angel investing," he said.

He added that the program would not only benefit the Indigenous community but also provide improved social and economic returns for Western Australia.

As part of the program, a series of masterclasses and boardroom education events will be held.

The state government said the program will be piloted in Western Australia, with hopes to see it rolled out nationally in 2021.

The news for the state's Indigenous community comes nearly a week after the Western Australian government handed down its 2020-21 state Budget, which contained bits of technology initiatives and upgrades peppered throughout the state's COVID-19 recovery plan. There was no mention about supporting local entrepreneurs, however.

This is unlike the 2020-21 federal Budget that provided businesses with a AU$2 billion boost in additional research and development tax incentives. As detailed in Budget documents, for small companies -- those with total annual turnovers of less than AU$20 million -- the refundable R&D tax offset will be set at 18.5 percentage points above a company's tax rate, while the AU$4 million cap on annual cash refunds will be canned.

"Research and development, the adoption of digital technology, and affordable and reliable energy will be critical to Australia's future economic prosperity," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said during his Budget speech.  

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