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About the program

In just over four years the Innovate to Grow program has equipped over 600 small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) with the knowledge and tools required to progress their research and development (R&D) opportunities.

This free 10-week online program provides SMEs access to researcher connections, a self-paced learning platform, networking opportunities, guest speakers and expert feedback. Participants can address business challenges, explore collaborations, and create R&D plans within this supportive environment.

Key program outcomes

The course will help you make informed business decisions about whether the R&D project you've identified is right for you.

It will step you through how to:

  • refine your innovation challenge question
  • assess the viability of your innovation
  • build your R&D business case
  • prepare a strong R&D funding application

As part of the course, you can expect:

  • Practical outcomes: We’ll step you through how to turn your idea into viable R&D.
  • Confidential feedback: All submissions will receive prompt expert feedback.
  • A mentor: You will be paired with a researcher to connect you with experts in your field.
  • To build your network: You will build key contacts in your sector.

[Music plays and the CSIRO logo and text appears on a blue screen: “Innovate to Grow” is CSIRO’s online learning program for SMEs, delivered in partnership with Australian edtech start-up Practera]

[New text appears: It helps SMEs develop their R & D skills by bringing together companies, industry-specific researchers, and innovation experts]

[New text appears: Here is what recent participants have to say about “Innovate to Grow”]

[Image changes to show Hamish Shaw talking to the camera and text appears: Hamish Shaw, Bellata Gold]

Hamish Shaw: Yeah, nobody knows their product like SMEs. They have to or they don’t survive. So, we all run around with 50 ideas in our heads about how to do things better.

[Image changes to show Jo Lane talking to the camera and text appears: Jo Lane, Sea Health Products]

Jo Lane: Often you go, “Oh yeah, this is what I’m going to do” but we actually need to break it down step-by-step in how much is it going to cost, what resources do you need, is this actually a realistic concept.

[Image changes to show Amanda Falconer talking to the camera and text appears: Amanda Falconer, Bestie Kitchen]

Amanda Falconer: Doing the “Innovate to Grow” programme really made that accessible to me and demystified that. And it also gave me some tools and rigour around trying to develop a research programme and work out the funding sources for that.

[Image changes to show Hamish talking to the camera]

Hamish Shaw: We had great exposure to, along the way to several experts and those contacts I think will be invaluable going forward. I do feel they’re the sort of people, if I drop them a line they’d give me 15, 20 minutes, and certainly heading you in the right direction could save you months.

[Image changes to show Amanda talking to the camera]

Amanda Falconer: There was exposure to peers, people in businesses that I probably wouldn’t ordinarily come across who were having experiences, not the same as mine, but still things that I could learn from.

[Image changes to show two Emerging High Growth graphs on a web page and then the image changes to show a Research Engagement model web page]

Jo Lane: What I found most valuable was opportunities to talk with other participants and hear about their challenges.

[Image changes to show Hamish talking to the camera]

Hamish Shaw: We were very lucky it was CSIRO; I think they were sort of at the centre of everything.

[Image changes to show Amanda talking to the camera]

Amanda Falconer: It certainly paid back my time ten-fold I think.

[Image changes to show a Collaboration & Funding Options web page and then the image changes to show a pie graph and information about Businesses of Tomorrow on a web page]

Jo Lane: It’s been a great experience and opened my eyes to, you know, really anything is possible.

[Image changes to show Hamish talking to the camera]

Hamish Lane: I think the programme is a fantastic idea.

[Image changes to show Jo talking to the camera]

Jo Lane: I would definitely recommend it.

[Image changes to show Amanda talking to the camera]

Amanda Falconer: I think it’s an awesome opportunity and I encourage you to apply.

[Music plays and image changes to show a blue screen and text appears: Find out more about “Innovate to Grow” at]

[Image changes to show the CSIRO logo and text on a white screen: CSIRO, Australia’s National Science Agency]

Hear from previous participants of the program

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Who can sign up?

Selection criteria (essential):

  • A business based and operating in Australia.
  • A business classified as small to medium (<200 employees).
  • A business with an R&D idea to work on throughout the advertised program.
  • A business working in the sector of the advertised program.

Courses are offered in a range of high-priority sectors, including, but not limited to:

  • AgriFoods
  • Cyber Security
  • Space
  • Mining and Mining equipment, technology and services (METS)
  • Circular economy

Other R&D support

CSIRO also offers other R&D support for SMEs, regardless of sector, through funding and facilitation. We can help you refine your research problem, find the right researcher, and provide matched funding.

With the help of experienced researchers and innovation experts, participants can examine their technical and/or business challenges, explore their R&D and innovation opportunities, and develop actionable business and funding plans.

Kick-Start - aimed at start-ups and small SMEs, providing funding support and access to CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities to support R&D.

Contact us

Find out how we can help you and your business. Get in touch using the form below and our experts will get in contact soon!

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