In Sydney, Australia, Smart MCs is using a $600,000 government grant to build and automate a production line for biodegradable microcarriers, basically small spheres that adherent cells can grow on in a bioreactor. Payar Radfar, PhD, CEO at the company, says the Australian government’s Accelerating Commercialization Grant “is about taking your proven concept to the next level of commercialization.”

Many companies struggle with that step. “Often the issue is filling the gap of a decent production capacity before you can attract major customers, and I believe that’s what this grant is enabling us to do,” Radfar says.

Based on experience with financial support from government grants and venture capital, Radfar adds, “While each comes with its own benefits, government grants in my view are about far more than just the funding.” With the Accelerating Commercialization Grant, he continues, “there is tremendous support to commercialize the product.”

As examples, Radfar mentions help with obtaining equipment, making use of local resources, and even exporting a product. “And, of course, all of these come in without diluting the business shareholders,” he points out.

When asked about any shortcomings of seeking government grants to improve a business, Radfar refers to the lengthy application process with no promise of any return. As he puts it: “I often give the analogy that government grants are like taking free buses—there might be huge delays or cancelled services, so you can’t depend on them.”

The uncertainty aside, Radfar believes that government grants in Australia are unique and valuable to industry. “The government provides a range of different grants and, again, these all come with support rather than just funding,” he says. “I think there are excellent opportunities to do further R&D, expand exports and university collaborations, and these can be huge benefits to a business in achieving its overall goals.”

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