Addressing complex challenges with technology

As part of the programme, NSW government agencies outline specific problem areas that need to be addressed, and small businesses are given the opportunity to propose solutions.

Science, Innovation and Technology Minister Alister Henskens said the $12 million program would provide small businesses with grants of up to $100,000 as part of the first phase, to work alongside the government to conduct feasibility studies on the proposed solutions.

“This program is about leveraging our amazing local businesses to improve social, environmental, economic and health outcomes while creating high-value jobs, which will help grow the economy and ensure a brighter future for NSW,” Mr Henskens said.

“The SBIR program has already seen 10 exciting new technologies, addressing a wide range of problems, progress to a proof-of-concept phase. This next round of the program will bring more solutions and results for our community.”

The challenge areas outlined for the second round of the program include:

  • Biosecurity Surveillance Challenge –The NSW Department of Primary Industries is seeking innovative technology solutions that harness the power of citizen surveillance to more accurately identify and validate threats to biosecurity to primary industries and the environment in NSW.
  • School Zone Alert System Challenge – Transport for NSW is looking for innovative solutions to improve the existing School Zone Warning System to further improve road safety around schools.
  • Vital Signs Monitoring Challenge – Corrective Services NSW is seeking non-invasive technology solutions to monitor inmates’ vital health signs while in their cells. This technology will be used to monitor ‘at risk’ inmates and help prevent inmates from self-harm, which could result in suicide.
  • Recycled Content Verification Challenge – The Office for Energy and Climate Change is looking for a solution that can track and verify recycled material to help NSW government agencies source recycled products locally.
  • Waste Management and Recovery Challenge – NSW Health is looking for resource recovery technologies and waste management solutions that: offer innovative design for new facilities; redesign and reconfigure existing facilities; and discover ways to modernize our waste collection and processing, waste separation and collection systems that can be implemented at NSW Health.
  • Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Services Challenge – NSW Health is seeking AI-powered solutions to support the delivery of health services to culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
  • Urban Heat Island Challenge – The Major Cities Commission is seeking innovative solutions that can be tested in the Westmead Health and Innovation District to mitigate urban heat island effects and/or improve the resilience of our systems in response to extreme heat events.

Small Business Minister Victor Dominello said the program is harnessing the power of local innovation and supporting small businesses by investing in ideas to grow high-tech industries now and in the future.

“Small businesses are a vital pillar of our economy, and this funding will help many SMEs realize their potential and make the difficult leap from great ideas to commercial products and services that meet critical needs,” said Mr. Dominello.

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