The search is on for Western Australia’s top innovators, entrepreneurs and academics for the Innovator of the Year (IOTY) Awards.

Commerce Minister Michael Mischin today encouraged entrepreneurs and innovators to enter the awards.

Mr Mischin said the awards provided recipients with financial and tailored support to help them commercialise their innovative products or services and create sustainable businesses.

“The program’s mix of business skills and investment-ready training, marketing activities, networking opportunities and exposure is proving to be a powerful combination for winners and finalists,” he said.

“Last year’s overall winner, Professors Steve Wilton and Sue Fletcher from The University of Western Australia, have secured an exclusive licensing agreement with the United States drug company, Sarepta Therapeutics. The team discovered a new treatment approach to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

“Likewise, the success of 2008 finalist, Fusion Books, contributed to the company receiving $3million in seed funding from Google Maps, Yahoo! and Facebook for their new innovation.  

“These are outstanding results that will generate significant health, education and financial returns to the State.” 

The Minister said a recent survey showed that finalists had significantly benefited from participating in the program.  

“Many past finalists now employ more staff, attract more investment, protect their intellectual property and have been able to expand internationally,” he said. 

“IOTY is a valuable initiative and I encourage WA’s entrepreneurs and innovators to enter.”