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21 February 2024 News Release

Australia’s artificial intelligence (AI) Sprint was launched today to help startups and entrepreneurs rapidly develop AI solutions to address pressing national issues including cost of living, governance, supply chain resilience, human and environmental well-being, and workforce transformation. 

The AI Sprint is a collaboration between the National AI Centre (coordinated by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO), Australia's largest innovation community Stone & Chalk, and Google Cloud.

The winner will be awarded $300,000-worth of research and development support from selected Australian research institutes, while second and third will receive $100,000. This prize is provided by the NAIC and includes facilitation services by CSIRO's SME connect.

Winners will also be eligible for a range of support services from Stone & Chalk to help them to secure the essential capital, customers, expertise and talent for the most successful launch of their business.

Australia’s AI Sprint is a three-month competitive program designed to provide startups and entrepreneurs with access to resources, tools, and the expert support needed to rapidly refine AI-powered ideas into demonstration-ready prototypes. Applicants will be accepted based on their proposals aligned to one of the program’s opportunity statements, with the first phase of the AI Sprint scheduled to commence in April 2024.

A selection of participants will progress to the second stage where they will benefit from enhanced support and resources in preparation for a Demo Day, where prototypes will be presented to an audience of industry stakeholders.

Stone & Chalk will bring essential startup support services to the table, with Google Cloud bringing AI technical support, while NAIC contributes AI expertise, an engaged community and resources. Together, the partnership will nurture AI innovation and position Australia at the forefront of responsible AI advancement.

This end-to-end support will equip participants to refine their innovations, gain visibility, and bring their AI solutions to market.

National AI Centre Director Stela Solar said Australia’s AI Sprint is central to the NAIC’s mission to create a thriving local AI industry and accelerate the nation’s sovereign AI capabilities.

“Australia’s AI Sprint offers our innovators the technological expertise and commercial savvy to create AI solutions with real impact for Australia. The initiative provides start-ups and entrepreneurs with the end-to-end support needed to refine their innovations, gain visibility, and bring their AI solutions to market. This is the springboard opportunity to transform AI concepts into real-world impact.”     

CEO of Stone & Chalk Group, Chris Kirk, said by partnering with NAIC and Google Cloud, Australia’s AI Sprint has the unique ability to accelerate the long-term growth of AI in Australia. 

“By uniting our organisations’ unique strengths, we have an unprecedented opportunity to cultivate world-class AI talent, drive innovation, and develop solutions that will benefit Australians in the digital age,” Mr Kirk said. “Australia’s AI Sprint is a game-changer that will significantly strengthen our nation’s AI ecosystem for the future.”   

Michael Langford, Head of VC & Startup Ecosystem JAPAC, Google Cloud, said, “AI’s potential to help solve real-world problems and build a stronger digital future for all Australians is significant. 

Initiatives like Australia’s AI Sprint play a crucial role in unlocking this potential, and we are pleased to support innovators across the country with our deep expertise, educational resources and mentorship.”      

Prizes designed to accelerate startups’ growth will be awarded to the most viable ideas.

Applicants can access further details and apply here.

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