The next round of the CSIRO's free, small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) online learning program - Innovate to Grow - has opened for applications.
Innovate to Grow is designed for established SMEs that want to investigate R&D opportunities, or are in the early decision-making stages about engaging in R&D.
The on-line learning package is a self-paced program which helps SMEs to develop insights and strategies needed to leverage R&D to meet specific business needs.
"Each round, Innovate to Grow brings together a nationwide cohort of SMEs, experienced, industry-specific researchers, and innovation experts," program manager Dr George Feast said.
"The next round will focus on the Agrifood sector. Participants will identify their technical and business challenges, explore what R&D opportunities exist to overcome those challenges, and develop business and funding plans to ascertain whether those opportunities are right to pursue further."
SMEs make up almost 98 per cent of all Australian businesses, produce one third of our total GDP, and employ 44 per cent of the workforce, according to the CSIRO.
The CSIRO noted that last year's Australian National Outlook report found more innovative industries were needed, that understood and committed to R&D, to drive growth and keep the economy resilient.
As an online learning platform, Innovate to Grow can be accessed by participants anywhere. Almost two thirds of participants in the last round were from regional Australia.
Participants are also free to work at their own pace, with manageable time commitments.
"The program is focused on helping SMEs develop relevant skills, using real business projects and funding opportunities," Dr Feast said.
"Participants finish the program with a suite of tools to enable ongoing R&D planning. Furthermore, regular online workshops and panels also give SMEs the chance to build their own networks with experts, advisors and peers in their industry."
Applications close on 16 October. For more information, visit: