144. Australia joins other co-sponsors for this discussion today on 'Inclusive Innovation and Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Growth'. Australia has established a number of IP and Innovation initiatives to help MSMEs utilize and protect their intellectual property and to promote MSME growth including through scaling up their initiatives, collaboration and commercialization. Australia will highlight three programmes today: the IP Mediation Referral Service, an accelerator service for SME known as the ON Program and the Entrepreneurs Programme.
145. The first: Mediation-Referral Service: IP Australia plans to establish a domestic intellectual property Mediation Referral Service where IP right holders will be able to access mediation as a low cost and affective alternative to resolving IP related disputes. The Mediation-Referral Service will consist of a register of qualified, accredited and specialist private sector mediation providers listed on the IP Australia Website. The register will provide details on the fees and contact details of each listed provider allowing parties to IP-related disputes to engage with mediators. IP Australia has also collaborated with the Arbitration and Mediation Center of the World Intellectual Property Organization to develop new resources that provide alternative dispute resolution services online. This new service provides Australian businesses, including MSMEs, with improved access to mediation, arbitration and expert determination services, and will enable parties to settle IP disputes in a time and cost-efficient manner.
146. The second: Australia's publicly funded research institute, the Common-Wealth Scientific and Industrial Organization, also known as CSIRO, launched the 'On-Program' in July 2015 to empower researchers to play an active role in the commercialization of service-based technology and help restrain researchers and their collaborators to develop practical commercialization and venture building skills. In July 2016 ON expanded its eligibility criteria to include all publicly funded researchers, an expansion made possible by A$20 million of additional funding from the Australian government's National Innovation and Science Agenda. This programme consists of a pre-accelerator aspect known as the ON Prime for innovative researchers at early stages of investment readiness, and a separate national science at technology accelerator–programme known as ON Accelerate for innovative researchers closer to commercialization. To date over 130 research teams have completed this programme, and 27 universities and a number of government departments have partnered with this programme. Participating teams retain ownership of their intellectual property. One SME, known as Cardihab, graduated from the first round of the ON Accelerator programme in February 2016, and is one of the many success stories of this initiative. This small company uses web and mobile application based technology to enable medical practitioners to provide more timely advice in supporting patients with heart disease.
147. The third programme is called the Entrepreneurs' Programme. This programme is a flagship initiative, operating at an individual firm level, drives growth and competitiveness among SMEs. This programme takes 'facilitation first' approach and provides easy to access advice, assistance and tailored support to SMEs, including IP support, to help them become more competitive and growth focused. It is a flexible programme designed to address the individual needs of SMEs. For example when SMEs are seeking to collaborate with the publicly funded research organization, the programme ensures that participants are provided advice in all aspects of this work including their IP. The programme operates with a national network of over 130 advisors assisting participants drawn from a wide range of industry groups to ensure participants are provided was relevant, tailored and expert support.
148. Australia has provided some examples of intellectual property and innovation initiatives that are designed to promote sustainable growth of MSMEs. We encourage other Members to join us in sharing national practices.