Vic Govt invests big in sportstech and Agtech

Sports Technology Centre Victoria

Melbourne is set to play host to an “Australian-first” sportstech centre, with the Victorian Government predicting its new $4 million facility will generate up to 2,000 new tech jobs within the state.

The Australian Sports Innovation Centre will serve as a confluence point for sportstech businesses and tech leaders from across the state. Those based at the centre will, according to the Government, be able to benefit from trade and strategic leadership opportunities, as well as connections to new industry partnerships and research collaborations.

The sportstech facility will move to fast-track the commercialisation of new products, as well as attract national and international partnership opportunities for the state’s growing sports technology sector, the Government said.

Based in Cremorne, close to the Melbourne CBD, the facility will be directly linked to the nearby Digital Hub – the Vic Government’s flagship R&D facility and incubator for the state’s advanced tech and digital industries.

The Centre will be led by the Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN), a Melbourne-based governing body for the sports innovation sector.

ASTN represents more than 500 sports innovation companies within Australia, which will now be directly linked up to the new Centre.

Melbourne is well-recognised as Australia’s ‘sporting capital’, with Victoria also home to more than 65 per cent of Australia’s sportstech companies.

“With a rapidly growing tech sector and an established reputation as Australia’s sporting capital, Victoria is perfectly positioned to become a leader in the global sportstech industry,” Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford said in a statement.

“We can see the potential in our sports innovation sector to commercialise and scale up new products to international markets and create exciting opportunities for Victoria.”

Australian Sports Technologies Network chair James Demetriou notes that the Centre will be a first of its kind “dedicated centre of excellence” for sportstech in Australia.

More than 7,500 people are currently employed in Victoria’s sports technology sector –around half of Australia’s total sportstech industry – in companies developing products in areas like media, artificial intelligence, entertainment, stadiums, major events, wearables and e-sports.

Australia’s sportstech industry is estimated to be worth $1.2 billion.

Meanwhile, the Victorian Government has also launched a $2.2 million Victorian AgTech Entrepreneurs Initiative in an effort to support emerging agtech start-ups.

The Government said the investment will serve to “revolutionise farming and drive significant productivity gains that will position the state as a world leader in digital agriculture”.

Eligible organisations can apply for grants of up to $600,000 to run pre-accelerator programs that provide support for early-stage start-up founders requiring support to develop their product, hone their business model, and connect with investors.

The initiative is part of the $15 million AgTech Regional Innovation Network funded through the Victorian Government’s 10-year Agriculture Strategy.

Eligible organisations with the capability to run a Victorian AgTech pre-accelerator program can apply through Applications close on 27 October 2021.