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Growing Good Ideas And Making Them Work

The Government will help grow ideas and match them with investors, Minister for Research, Science and Technology Maurice Williamson, and Enterprise and Commerce Minister Max Bradford announced today.

"The Government will increase the New Economy Research Fund (NERF) by $25 million, from $11.25 million to $36.25 million in 2000/2001, through a transfer of existing funds from the Public Good Science Fund," Mr Williamson said.

"The increased contestable NERF funding will be available for research into uncharted areas with the aim of creating ideas that will form tomorrow's businesses. The agency responsible for managing the fund will be announced next month.

"The Government has also agreed in principle to increase the funding of the existing Technology New Zealand Scheme, and to extend its scope to encourage research skilled people to commercialise their ideas into business ventures," Mr Williamson said.

Minister for Crown Research Institutes Simon Upton said the Government, as an owner of CRIs, was a major player in growing ideas and making them work.

"We want to ensure that there is every incentive for CRI research to get to market," he said.

Mr Williamson said the Government would also spend over $2 million a year on a national 'ideas' incubator to ensure ideas left the laboratory and entered the economy.

"In a knowledge economy ideas are our greatest assets. We have to nurture them and ensure that good ideas are not stifled by an inability to raise development funding, or by regulations that act as roadblocks.

"The incubator will provide business expertise to get companies to the point where others can invest in them. It will be a mechanism for testing good ideas, fostering fledgling entrepreneurs and turning embryonic businesses into winners," Mr Williamson said.

Mr Bradford said the design and delivery of the incubator initiative would be finalised by September 30.

"We are also going to make it easier for bright ideas to attract the investment they deserve.

"The Government will help the New Zealand Stock Exchange to design and develop a new capital market that can turn people's innovative ideas into commercial reality.

"This market will organise investors and encourage Kiwis to back innovative ideas and become skilled risk-takers.

"The new capital market will focus on companies seeking between $500,000 and $1 million and will be up and running by April next year," Mr Bradford said.

"We will also reduce the costs to firms of raising capital by amending the Securities Act.

"This will increase fundraising options for small and medium enterprises and make it cheaper and easier for them to raise capital by way of issuing equity securities," Mr Bradford said.

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