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October 2021

Hi Innovator,

Welcome to INNOVIC’s October 2021 i-Newsletter.

This month we consider why some people won’t sign an NDA, suggest ways to become a more effective communicator, and outline some common misconceptions about IP.  

We also have information on the latest grants, events, programs and free resources.

We hope you enjoy it.



Tel: 03 8060 3504
Mob: 0402 305 118




Can’t get your NDA signed?  Here’s why

Non Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), sometimes called Confidentiality Agreements, are often used by innovators when approaching third parties to discuss a new, or unpatented product.  However, not everyone will sign an NDA.  Why not?

Many large corporates have their own R&D teams and do extensive patenting around specific technologies.  They may be working on something similar or in related fields, so signing an NDA may severely limit their current activities and curtail their future developments.

Similarly, professionals in the innovation field, such as IP attorneys and commercialisation specialists see new ideas every day.  Signing a restrictive NDA would impact on their ability to work with other clients with similar or related ideas or even to have discussions with them. 

Likewise, investors regularly evaluate new ideas and get inundated with pitches from innovators seeking funds.  Insisting on an NDA makes it easy for an investor to pass on to the next less paranoid founder.  Trust is an important factor if you want an investor’s money. 

Keep in mind that ideas themselves aren’t worth much.  It’s the execution and the ability to turn the idea into a workable, viable product or a profitable business that makes them attractive to investors or third parties.  Sharing your idea can result in constructive feedback and get you the expertise you need to bring it to market.  So don’t be too paranoid!

Need an NDA? Get one here.

Contact INNOVIC on (03) 8060 3504 or www.innovic.com.au

Life Saving Australian inventions

Global Start-ups?  Which city leads the world?

Silicon Valley leads the pack with London and New York a joint second.  Sydney is ranked 24th and Melbourne is 36th on the global scale.  Sydney’s start-up ecosystem is valued at $24 billion and Melbourne’s is $10.5 billion.  There are an estimated 800 unicorns world-wide. 

The Global Start-up Ecosystem Report 2021 uses performance, funding, market research, talent and experience, connectedness and knowledge to rank the countries. 


How to stop spam messages

Can US invention marketing companies help you?  

There are a number of US invention marketing companies that offer to patent your idea or contact retailers or potential licensing partners on your behalf.  Some of these companies have been the subject of complaints.

So … before pursuing this option, be clear on exactly what they are offering; what it costs; the likely outcome and whether the strategy proposed will help you to get your product to market. 

Check out the USPTO site for details of complaints. 

Innovate to grow - Free on-line course for agribusinesses. 

Are you a good communicator? Five ways to improve

It is not only in business that you need to be an effective communicator.  Good communication can help you in all walks of life.  So, what are the skills you need?

  • Active listening - focus on what people are saying, stay engaged and resist the temptation to interrupt, scan the room or check your phone.
  • Don’t dominate the conversation - ask other people for their input and views
  • Express interest - ask relevant questions and seek clarification, as appropriate
  • Be aware of non-verbal communication such as body language, gestures, tone of voice, mirroring etc.
  • Be clear, succinct and approachable - relax, learn something and enjoy the conversation

Take the communication quiz 

Looking for low-cost premises or a pop-up shop in Melbourne?

Do you need a retail or creative space to expand your start up or small business? 
The City of Melbourne can match you with low-cost tenancies in vacant premises. Tenancy terms can be flexible.

Contact the Business Concierge on Tel: (03) 9658 9658.

Start-up Central Victoria is offering free events including a hackathon and accelerator program for start-ups and scale ups in the Central Victoria Region.

Crowd funding: raising money for your project

Pozible’s tutorials take you through the process and explains how to run a crowd funding campaign. 

Common misconceptions about Intellectual Property

Whether you are embarking on a new innovation project or own an existing business, it is important to understand your intellectual property (IP), how to leverage it for your project or business, and how to protect it.
To help you navigate the IP landscape, this article by Griffith Hack  aims to debunk the following common misconceptions about IP:

  • Intellectual property should only be considered when a product is fully developed.
  • IP need to be registered in order to be protected.
  • Trade secrets provide easy and complete protection
  • Granted patents last forever.
  • An international patent application grants global patent protection.

Need more information about IP? Contact:

Yasra Saeed, Griffith Hack on (03) 9243 8324 or 
Dr. Jing Fung Tan, Griffith Hack on (03) 9243 8217 

Griffith Hack

£50 million Earthshot Prize: finalists announced.

The 15 global finalists are all working on projects that encourage climate action.  They include Australia’s Living Seawalls.  

Best freelance services 

Do you need a tech team? Pitch to a new accelerator offering up to $2m in tech services!

uSpark is a disruptive new business accelerator and partners with selected applicants as a technology developer to build out, scale and launch your product. 
Applications close 15 October.

Have you got the right business structure?

Different business structures have different tax, legal and financial implications and they may also impact on your ability to apply for business programs and grants. 

Do you know the difference between a sole trader, partnership, joint venture, trust or company? Not sure if you have the right structure? 

Chambers and Partners can advise on the best structure for your business, as well as taxation, superannuation and more.  Call for a free initial consultation. Tel: (03) 9926 0500. 

I had that idea years ago ….!

How often do we hear that from innovators?  But actually it’s NOT your idea until you protect it and do something about it.  So, if you have been toying with a business idea and have never pursued it, why not find out if it’s a goer and what to do next?  Don’t die wondering. 

INNOVIC’s services are available nation-wide.  We can evaluate your idea, plan the commercialisation strategy, get your product designed, help with IP, branding, marketing research, grants and more.

Zoom consultations available nation-wide.   Call INNOVIC on (03) 8060 3054


Innovation challenges  

Dealing with investors

If you are looking for investors for your business you need to know what they are likely to ask you, what documents you need to prepare, and how to pitch successfully.   

Start me up: Protecting and profiting from your new ideas

This free eBooklet from INNOVIC, Matrix Thinking and Griffith Hack includes:

  • How to find new business ideas and opportunities (even in a crisis)
  • Understanding intellectual property; the different types of IP, duration and disputes
  • Legal documents and how to use them
  • What to include in a pitch deck and business plan
  • How to profit from your ideas
  • Useful resources

Download it here


Medtech Actuator Menzies Fellowships - two fellowships including $20K stipends are available for high-potential medical or scientific researchers to undertake a tailored MedTech Actuator program to commercialise a new biotech, medtech or health innovation.  Closes 15 October 2021.  

USpark - technical support for selected start-ups in exchange for an equity stake. Closes 15 October 2021. 

Start-up Victoria and Giant Leap are seeking interest from founders who are building social impact businesses.  Four finalists will be selected to pitch with prizes for the winner.  Closes 17 October 2021. 

The NSW government is funding a new Start-up Hub in Parramatta. It will create 1,500 sq. metres of coworking space etc. in Western Sydney to support technology and innovation. It is due to open in late 2021. 


Getting Started with Intellectual Property 

Free Social Enterprise Series program 

Add subtitles to your videos

Free legal advice for employees and employers

Staying active at home 


Pause Awards - Recognising successful products, services, people, ideas and campaigns that are leaving a positive impact in society and building a better ecosystem.  Late entries close 1 October 2021. 

Social Enterprise Growth Grants - $5K to $25K for Qld-based social enterprises to build capability and capacity to scale-up or adapt. Closes 7 October 2021. 

Telematics Trust - to $50K to demonstrate innovative use of technology through education and training.  Closes 8 October 2021.  

Doing it tough grants - $3K for Victorian sole traders and micro-businesses with three or fewer employees, a turnover of less than $75K and who have not received COVID-related government support since June 2021.  Closes 11 October 2021. 

City of Melbourne Arts grants - $4K for online content, the development of new or unpresented work or to successfully deliver a project to the public (either online or at a venue within the COM).  Closes 13 October 2021.

NSW Tech vouchers - funding for tech start-ups and SMEs to collaborate with Publicly Funded Research Organisations (PFROs) to commercialise innovative R&D products and services that address disruptions caused by the COVID-19.
   •  To $25K for eligible 6 month small projects.
   •  To $50K for larger 12 month projects.
Closes 29 October 2021. 

NSW R&D Fund - $250K to $1m for SMEs and scale-ups to stimulate the development and commercialisation of innovative products that benefit the people of NSW, with possible nationwide and global impacts.  

Next Economy Jobs Challenge - for organisations with TCC status with a focus on one of six growth areas.
    •  Seed or feasibility grants - to $50K x 4 for piloting or prototyping employment focussed enterprise or projects.
   •  Scaling grants - to $100K x 2 for enterprises or projects that are ready for next phase of development and are looking to creating substantial training and employment pathways.
Closes 30 October 2021. 

Digital Agriculture Investment Scheme - $5K to $50K to help farm businesses invest in eligible on-farm digital technology projects to improve productivity, resilience and the long-term viability of Victorian farms.  Closes 31 October 2021 or until funds are fully allocated. 

Commercialisation Fund - $100K to $1m for projects to bring industry and researchers together to commercialise new manufacturing products and processes within six manufacturing priorities: recycling and clean energy, medical products, food and beverage, resources technology and critical mineral process, defence and space.  Closes 30 June 2022. 

Food to Market Grant Program - Agriculture Victoria - $50K to $1m for projects to support jobs, deliver productivity improvements and capitalise on new opportunities across the agri-food supply chain.  Closes 30 June 2022. 

Regional Jobs Fund - support for projects which create employment across industry sectors where regional competitive advantage exists. Closes 30 June 2022 or until funds are exhausted. 

Lead Educate promote - to $100K for coordinated business groups, peak industry bodies or associations in SA to lead, educate, assist and promote sustainable business practices. Closes 30 June 2022 or until funds are expended.  

XPrize Musk Foundation - $100m for carbon removal. A four-year global competition for innovators and teams to create and demonstrate solutions that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans and sequester it durably and sustainably.  Closes 22 April 2025. 


Ongoing Grants

Aboriginal Business Development Program - $1K to $30K for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory to start or grow their business

Accelerating Trade Grant Program - to $10K for Tasmanian-based businesses to support activities that will lead to new trade opportunities.  

Advanced Manufacturing Fund NT - $25K to $500K (or more based on scale and impact) -  must be matched by industry. Projects should include collaboration with a research partner and a minimum of one industry partner.

ARENA - funding for renewable energy projects to bridge the gap between bright ideas and commercialisation. 

Awesome Foundation - $1K grants every month to support awesome ideas.

Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF) - support for early stage companies that are, or will be, developing and commercialising biomedical discoveries. 

Business Innovation Support Initiatives: Voucher Scheme - $25K voucher for NT businesses to conduct R&D on innovative products or services in science, engineering, technology and design. 

The Catalyst Fund - $2.5K to $15K for early-stage, innovative and unconventional ideas that address urgent challenges. 

Community Grants - for NFP organisations working for the relief of poverty, sickness, distress, the advancement of education and other purposes of benefit to the community. 

CSIRO – Kick-Start Vouchers for start-ups and SMEs. To $50K (matched funding) for various activities to be conducted by CSIRO e.g. product development, research, testing.   

Defence Global Competitive Grant - $24K to $240K for projects that build defence export capability. 

Defence Industry & Innovation Programs:
 • Defence Innovation Portal for ideas that comply with the priority innovation needs.
 • Next Generation Technologies Fund for R&D projects in future technologies.

English Foundation - $50K to $100K for social enterprise changemakers who are tackling pressing community issues and want to scale to be impact-investment ready. DGR or TCC status required. 

Entrepreneurs’ Programme - three streams.
 • Accelerating Commercialisation Grant - to $1 million for eligible projects.
 • Business management - to $20K for business capability improvements.
 • Innovation connections - to $50K for a business innovation project  

Export Market Development Grants - $5K to $150K. Reimburses up to 50% of eligible export promotion expenses over $5K if total expenses are at least $15K.  

Games Release Fund - to $30K to support small Victorian games studios with business development, marketing etc.  

Global Innovation Fund - $50K to $15m for the development, rigorous testing, and scaling of innovations that improve the lives of the world’s poorest people. 

Google Ad Grants for NFP with charity status - to US$10K per month in kind for google ads. 

Impact Investing Ready Growth Grant - to $100K for capacity building from mission-driven organisations.  

Impact Investing Ready Growth Grant – to $140K for capacity building from mission-driven organisations.  

The IMCRC (Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre) provides access to R&D expertise for manufacturing companies and matched funding to $3m per company for multi-year research undertaken by universities and/or CSIRO. 

Innovation Connections - assists businesses to understand their research needs, connect with the research sector and fund collaborative research projects.
 • Stage 1 - a Service Report that helps you understand your business’s research needs and opportunities
 • Stage 2 - grants from $30K to $50K to undertake a research project based on the report

Investment Fast Track Fund - to $500K for regional and rural products to become investment ready. 

Minimum Viability Product - NSW to $25K for NSW tech SMEs to create B2B solutions. 

New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) - Up to 39 weeks income support, business training and mentoring for job seekers with new business ideas. 

Pearcey State Entrepreneur Awards – recognising innovative talent in the ICT profession. Awarded to an individual who has "taken a risk, made a difference and is an inspiration" within the ICT industry within each Australian State. 

Research Commercialisation and Start up Fund (SA) - Funding for SA-based companies to support collaboration between enterprises, researchers and universities to commercialise new products and services.

  •  Stream 1 - Strategic Research Initiatives ($50K to $2m
  •  Stream 2 - Startup & Early Stage Company Incentive ($20K to $1m)
  •  Stream 3 - Entrepreneurship & Innovation Ecosystem Initiatives ($20K - $500K) 

Small Business Export Loan - $20K to $350K unsecured loans to help finance a single export contract when your bank is unable to help.  On-line application.

Sovereign Industry Capabilities Priority Grant (SICP) - $70K to $1.4m to help SMEs invest in projects that build capabilities aligned with Defence's stated Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities. 

Stepping Stones to Small Business - a tailored program for women from refugee, migrant and asylum-seeking backgrounds to help them achieve financial wellbeing through starting a small business, finding employment, training pathways, etc.  

Universal Charitable Fund (UCF) - $2K grants for NFPs with DGR status who are helping people in need in the community or overseas. 

Valuing Business Waste Grants SA – to $15K funding for projects that identify better ways to manage waste and transition to a circular economy.

Victorian Law Foundation Small Grants - $5K to improve the community’s understanding of the justice system, including Victorian Law Week events. 

Victorian Business Growth Fund - for businesses with long term growth and high job creation potential with an annual revenue of over $5m.  The investment will be equity or a debt stake. EOIs now open. 


Business Workshops - various topics and dates

Upskill my Business – various topics

13 - 28 October 2021
Spark Festival - Over 100 events for start-ups, innovators and entrepreneurs

20 October 2021 6:00pm (AEST)
The Future of Intellectual Property and WIPO in a time of crisis and opportunity

25 - 29 October 2021 (online, on demand and in person)
Ausbiotech Life Sciences Conference

26 October 2021  12:00pm to 1:30pm (online) 
ACBC Vic China Export Program: Distribution in China


Griffith Hack builds, protects and grows your business through IP.

We cut through complexity. We are flexible in our approach. And we deliver impactful outcomes for our clients to support commercial sustainability and innovation.

Ideation is a multi-award winning product design consultancy with over 30 years’ experience in developing new products and ideas.

We provide a complete product development service from concept generation, 3D CAD & prototyping, through to production documentation and specification.

Chambers & Partners is a full-service chartered accounting practice.  We specialise in assisting small and medium-sized businesses to achieve their ambitions – providing them with the insightful, careful and expert business accounting services they need in order to succeed.

Start me up: Protect and profit from your new ideas - Free e-booklet

This free eBooklet from INNOVIC, Matrix Thinking and Griffith Hack includes:

  • How to find new business ideas and opportunities (even in a crisis)
  • Understanding intellectual property; the different types of IP, duration and disputes
  • Legal documents and how to use them
  • What to include in a pitch deck and business plan
  • How to profit from your ideas
  • Useful resources 

Download it here

INNOVIC’s Entrepreneurs’ Toolkit

a FREE downloadable resource.

The toolkit contains information on idea evaluation, funding options, business structures, key federal grants, protecting your digital ideas, growing your business, legal documents, disputes - and how to resolve them.

Plus useful resources, links, and tips from the contributors: AB Phillips, INNOVIC, IP Australia, Rankin & Co, Saving Point and the Victorian Small Business Commissioner.

Download here