Back in December 2012 we wrote about our success with the Commercialisation Australia (CA) program, after we were awarded a grant of $385,000 to help us commercialise our technology.
CA has now approved a significant extension, for a total of $1.2m, to our original grant. The funds will be used to bolster our development team, underpin the continued growth of our content, and generally assist the process of making Rome2rio the world’s leading multi-modal travel search engine.
The timing of this grant could not have been more finely tuned: we made our application just after a Federal Election, with the new Government hinting that they would review the entire CA grant scheme, and possibly eliminate it altogether.
Our application went to the CA Board in February, at a time when CA themselves did not know their fate. We were in the dark not only about the Board’s decision, but also about whether it would be funded even if it had been approved.
We were not to find out our fate until some four months later, and only after the new Government had announced that CA would indeed be eliminated and its functions assumed by the newly formed Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme (EIP). That news seemed to suggest that we would not be receiving our grant extension, but shortly afterwards we learned that all grant applications that had been approved at the February meeting would be fully funded. Talk about just scraping in!
As “outsiders” to the process of Government it’s tempting to look at changes like this as being driven by political rather than practical motives. With details of the EIP still emerging we can’t make any observations or comparisons to the now defunct CA scheme, other than to say we viewed CA as a well-managed, relevant and practical programme that clearly assisted many Australian companies, including Rome2rio, to grow and compete on a global scale. If EIP can improve on that, we’ll be the first to applaud.