The New South Wales government has announced plans to establish an online matchmaking platform to virtually connect various stakeholders including industry, universities, startups, mentors, and individuals with in-demand skills, in a bid to further boost collaboration.
Speaking on a panel on Wednesday, NSW Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, Gabrielle Upton, revealed the state government would issue a request for proposal later this year to help design a portal that can bring about "connectivity between all the stakeholders in the innovation system" in what she described would be a much more "legible and visible" way.
"Some stakeholders would say, 'Look, we don't know what that stakeholder is really doing'. Startups would say we don't know where to get skills. We just want to mentor; we're a founder with entrepreneurial skills sets but need some business skills and we don't know where to get that, and every day we're having these issues," Upton explained.
The government also faces similar challenges, Upton said, acknowledging that trying to get through the "front door" of government is often a challenge. She said it was particularly highlighted during the height of the pandemic.
"During COVID, if you can imagine all the wonderful ideas that were coming to government's front door, we didn't have a front door, and we faced a similar challenge," she said.
"With government being as complex it is, the last thing you want to do is send a great idea in one direction, and there's no answer. So, part of the commitment through Invest NSW is that there will be … some kind of triage system, so we don't lose those ideas.
"It might be the 90% to 10% rule, that 10% of things that we can work with, but out of respect for innovators out there, we should have a response to the effort that people go to bring those ideas forward."
Upton clarified that the government's intention for the platform would not be to match people, but "create a platform where that can happen".
"It will enable universities to see more readily what industry is interested in … [it] will enable industry to see what research is on offer, and we'll provide that transparency through this matchmaking platform," she added.
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