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Ausindustry adviser appointed for the New England.

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31 March 2005 05/072


Businesses in the Newcastle and New England region now have the opportunity to better market their dynamic products on the national stage with the appointment of an AusIndustry COMET business adviser to help with commercialisation.

Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane today officially welcomed Glenn Downey as the region’s first business adviser under the Australian Government’s Commercialising Emerging Technologies (COMET) program.

Mr Downey is one of AusIndustry’s seven new COMET business advisers who make up a network of 15 to better service businesses in the early-growth stage.

“Glenn will look after the needs of businesses across the New England district, helping them over that commercialisation hurdle which can stop so many good ideas from becoming great products,” Mr Macfarlane said.

AusIndustry, which administers the COMET program, expects up to 20 new businesses a year from the region to benefit under the program.

The expanded network of 15 COMET business advisers will give greater access to assistance for all eligible companies, in particular those building on innovations growing from research centres and universities and in regional Australia.

“I know first-hand the inventive and innovative potential of rural and regional businesses right across this country. They deserve every opportunity to get their ideas to market and will now have an extra helping hand to get there,” he said.

Since 1999 more than 1000 businesses have benefited from COMET funding assistance totalling $55.29 million, raising more than $310 million in capital.

“Among products COMET has helped bring to market is an eyewear device for people with sleep apnoea, an automatic wireless vehicle location system for rural firefighters and a low-cost, man-overboard tracking system,” said Mr Macfarlane.

“The additional business advisers to the network will allow for about 200 projects a year to be funded, with grants totalling around $11 million a year. They will work small start-ups to guide them through the commercialisation process,” he said.

The new business advisers are strategically placed to better service the Sunshine and Central Queensland Coast, Newcastle and NSW North Coast, Western Sydney and mid-West NSW, South-East Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Further information on COMET at CMR05-102