Alston reveals $78 million fund

Local IT companies have received a $78 million boost from a new federal government program.

A spokesperson for Senator Richard Alston, minister for communications, information technology and the arts, said the Building Information Technology Strengths program (BITS), would provide small to medium-sized IT businesses with financial and non-financial services in all states.

"It's not just financial assistance," the spokesperson said. "It's also assistance in things like developing business plans, in developing marketing tools."

The spokesperson said at least one "incubator" centre would be set up in each state, acting as a general support centre for participating businesses. The number and size of "incubator" centres would vary according to the needs of the particular state, the spokesperson said.

The government will hold information sessions in December and has called for applications from organisations wanting to operate the incubator centres.

The spokesperson said there would be no prescription for spending the money. "It depends on the quality and the nature of the application," he said. "People often think a good idea is all you need. You need a good idea plus the ability to commercialise that idea."

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