Australia is to have its own specialist exchange for technology companies, similar to NASDAQ in the United States and AIM in the United Kingdom.
To be known as the Asia Pacific Technology Exchange (APTEX), it will begin operating later this year with an expected 20 companies to be listed when it opens.
APTEX has been established by a joint venture between NSX Limited, the owner and operator of the National Stock Exchange of Australia (NSXA), and Enterprise Pacific Limited.
Enterprise Pacific is a not-for-profit company formed under the Pacific Technology Corridor Business Plan to establish Australia's equivalent of the Atlantic Technology Corridor and Silicon Valley.
One of the companies in the first group to be listed on APTEX is the Armatex Group, which is headed by former racing car driver, Frank Matich with investment provided by Gerry Harvey.
Armatex has a patented technology for applying a light weight but toughened plastic coating to core wood, polystyrene and cardboard products, creating new packaging applications which are currently being commercialised.
Harvey said access to a specialised technology exchange was just the boost smaller companies needed to help them take Australian technology to the rest of the world.
Details of the exchange were formally announced today by Maxine McKew, parliamentary secretary and Member for Bennelong.
APTEX is located in the Pacific Technology Corridor which forms part of the Bennelong electorate and in her maiden speech to parliament in February McKew focused on the need for Australia to become an innovation economy.
Speaking at the launch, McKew said APTEX is an example of what is needed to attract capital to promote Australian innovation and technology.
She said the 21st century role of government is to support nation building and Australia's comparative advantage in technology and APTEX is making a welcome contribution to this objective.
Companies listing will meet the NSX listing rules, which are intended to make it easier for smaller firms with smaller numbers of shareholders to gain access to a capital market, and trading will be through the NSX electronic trading platform.
There are already seven companies out of the 20 set to join APTEX that have already begun the process of listing.
The APTEX headquarters are located within the Pacific Technology Corridor in northern Sydney. The goal is to increase its alignment with the technology sector which encompasses a broader definition of technology, taking it beyond life sciences and information and communication technology.
NSXA CEO, Richard Symon, said APTEX will increase coverage of the small to medium business sector and will be a springboard for covering Asia Pacific markets.