The Albanese government has recently launched the consultation process for its $392 million Industry Growth Program, a pioneering initiative to support young SMEs working on innovative projects aligned with the National Reconstruction Fund (NRF).
This early-stage commercialization program aims to bridge the funding gap often faced by startups, providing crucial advice and matched grant funding of up to $5 million. By expanding the pipeline of investment-ready projects, the program aims to bolster the Australian economy and foster the growth of local businesses. The consultation period, which offers an opportunity for feedback, runs until July 30, 2023.
Addressing the “Valley of Death” for early-stage funding
Recognizing Australian SMEs’ challenges in securing early-stage funding, the Industry Growth Program has garnered significant industry support. Frequently,innovative ideasfrom local entrepreneurs have been compelled to seek backing in foreign markets due to a need for more funding and expertise. With a focus on bridging this “valley of death,” the program aims to empower these brilliant Australian entrepreneurs to grow and thrive within their home country.
Targeting Priority Areas
The Industry Growth Program aims to support projects within the government’s priority areas for the NRF. These areas include value-add in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries; value-add in resources; transport; medical science; renewables and low emissions technologies; defense capability; and enabling capabilities. By aligning with these sectors, the program ensures that investment is strategically channeled into areas that drive innovation and economic growth in Australia.
Program Eligibility and Support
The program targets “innovative SMEs looking to scale up and commercialize their operations.” Through a combination of expert advice from Industry Growth Program (IGP) advisers and industry partner organizations, as well as matched grants, eligible businesses can receive support. Very early-stage commercialization projects may receive grants of up to $250,000, while all other tasks can access grants of up to $5 million. The Department of Industry, Science, and Resources will engage IGP advisers to guide commercialization and SME growth, while industry partner organizations will offer specialized advisory and support services.
Collaboration and Selection Process
Organizations aspiring to be classified as industry partner organizations must undergo government selection processes to ensure a rigorous selection process. Grant applications will only be accepted if they are invited by IGP advisers, industry partner organizations, or the IGP’s executive director. Additionally, projects aligned with an NRF priority area must secure at least 50% funding from the SME, demonstrating their commitment and ability to support the remainder of the project.
Program Evaluation and Expansion
A new committee, established under the delegation of the Industry Innovation and Science Australia Board, will oversee the program’s implementation, assess grants, and make recommendations. As part of the consultation process, the government welcomes feedback on the program’s criteria, including the possibility of limiting eligibility to businesses with a turnover of $20 million or less. The government is also exploring opportunities to integrate the IGP with other initiatives, such as Australia’s Economic Accelerator and CRCs, to maximize synergies and further support innovation.
Nurturing Innovative Companies
The Australian government is committed to nurturing innovative companies that will become the future’s major employers. The Industry Growth Program aims to be a high-impact and cost-effective way to back Australian ideas and foster capability building by focusing on commercialisation and early-stage business growth advice coupled with grants.
The consultation period for the $392 million Industry Growth Program is now open until July 30, 2023. Australian SMEs working on innovative projects aligned with the NRF are encouraged to provide feedback and shape the program’s criteria. By addressing the funding challenges startups face and facilitating their growth, the program aims to unleash the full potential of Australian entrepreneurs, driving economic growth and cementing Australia’s position as an innovation powerhouse. Access the discussion paperhereto learn more and participate in the consultation.
If you would like to learn more about the Industry Growth Program or need assistance navigating the intricacies of the program, we encourage you to reach out to our experiencedR&D teamat Fullstack Advisory. Our team is well-versed in providing accounting and advisory services to innovative businesses, and we can guide you through the process, ensuring you make the most of this exciting opportunity. Contact us today to discuss how we can support your business’s growth and success.