Funding to support accelerator and incubator programs that help regional NSW businesses build their knowledge, skills, networking and investment opportunities.
- Status: Closed
- Grant amount: From $300,000 to $700,000
- Application opened: 4 August 2022
- Application closed: 30 September 2022, 2:00 pm
The NSW Government’s $2 million Accelerating Regional Innovation Fund (ARIF) will support incubator and accelerator programs that help new businesses in regional NSW. Grants are available to deliver programs that improve capability and competitiveness, and build the skills needed to innovate and expand. These programs can provide new knowledge and skills, networking and investment opportunities and other activities that will help new businesses prosper.
Programs funded under the Accelerating Regional Innovation Fund will support businesses to:
- develop business capability and performance
- expand networks within the regional NSW innovation ecosystem
- achieve growth in revenue and profitability
- access capital raising opportunities
- create sustainable jobs in regional NSW.
The NSW Government’s 20-year Economic Vision for NSW highlighted a number of key and emerging industries that have the potential to drive the future social and economic growth in regional NSW. Under the Accelerating Regional Innovation Fund, grants are available for accelerator and incubator programs that support regional businesses and entrepreneurs in these new and emerging industries.
The focus industries are:
- advanced manufacturing
- renewable energy and gas
- technology-enabled primary industries
- critical minerals
- ecotourism (technology-enabled)
- recycling and waste management
- high-quality food products.
This program is administered by Department of Regional NSW.
Who can apply
To be eligible for funding under the Accelerating Regional Innovation Fund applicants must:
- be an existing incubator or accelerator that can assist entrepreneurs, new businesses and start-ups in the focus industries
- be an existing incubator or accelerator that has been operational for at least two years
- have an Australian Business Number (ABN) and be registered for GST
- be financially viable and demonstrate they are likely to remain so over the duration of the project
- have the demonstrated skills and capacity to deliver relevant programs and support
- have at least $20 million public liability insurance or be able and willing to secure before entering into a Funding Deed if successful
- be based in regional NSW, Wollongong or Newcastle
- be able to demonstrate they can commence within six months of the announcements of funding and be completed by 30 June 2024.
Applicants must also be one of the following entities:
- a company, incorporated in Australia
- an incorporated trustee on behalf of a trust
- an incorporated not for profit organisation
- a publicly funded research organisation
Organisations that are not one of the entities identified above but meet all other criteria of the program may also be considered. Joint applications are acceptable, provided the lead applicant is an eligible entity. If the application is successful, the lead applicant will enter into the Funding Deed and be ultimately responsible for the project.
Who can’t apply
Ineligible applicants include:
- an individual (including sole traders and partnerships)
- Australian or NSW Government agencies, State Owned Corporations or statutory authorities
- Local Government Authorities or their Section 355 Committees
- organisations that do not have an ABN
- unincorporated associations
- organisations that are insolvent
- incubators or accelerators located in Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Wollondilly, and Hawkesbury Local Government Areas.
The Department of Regional NSW, at its sole discretion, can take other factors into account to determine that a business is ineligible for funding, including any person or business activity that could cause reputational or other risk to the NSW Government.
Examples of eligible programs include:
- providing new knowledge and business skills, including technical knowledge, customer acquisition and/or business development methods
- creating or providing access to new networks, including mentors, researchers and customers
- Delivering innovation-based events, training, and workshops
- facilitating access to investor networks for capital raising opportunities.
What you can't apply for
Ineligible programs include:
- funding the day-to-day operations of an organisation not related to an eligible program or focusing primarily on marketing and promotion of the organisation
- programs focused on certificate or degree level qualifications
- programs requiring ongoing funding from the NSW Government
- programs not aligned to the objective of the Accelerating Regional Innovation Fund
- programs that have already received NSW Government or other funding for the same outputs and outcomes.
What your application needs to include
Applications to the Accelerating Regional Innovation Fund must include the following documents:
- completed application form
- detailed project scope identifying all the elements of the program
- detailed project budget
- financial statements (trading, profit and loss statements and balance sheets) for two continuous years starting from the latest available year, or other evidence of financial viability if statements are not available, for example a signed statement form an external accountant
- evidence the program aligns to at least one of the new and emerging industries of the refreshed 20-Year Economic Vision for Regional NSW
- evidence of experience delivering projects similar in scope and scale to the program, or otherwise can demonstrate capability and capacity to deliver the program
- confirmation of the applicant’s co-contribution to the program if required
- how the program will contribute to employment and training outcomes for young people, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander individuals and people with disability and how these will be measured
- other expected outcomes of how the program will support the regional NSW innovation ecosystem
- evidence of at least $20 million in public liability insurance.
For more information about the Accelerating Regional Innovation Fund, including key dates, eligibility, funding streams and assessment criteria, please see the Program Guidelines (PDF 434.36KB).
Start the application
After the application is submitted
The Department of Regional NSW will assess applications against the Accelerating Regional Innovation Fund eligibility and assessment criteria. During the assessment process, applicants may be asked to provide additional information. Advice may be sought from other NSW Government agencies, industry experts or other sources to assist in the assessment of projects.
An Assessment Panel will be convened comprising representatives from the Department of Regional NSW, Investment NSW and an independent probity advisor. The Assessment Panel will consider the relative merits of each program against the assessment criteria, including if the program is suitable and recommended for funding. The Assessment Panel may recommend part-funding of programs if there is insufficient funding available for the whole program or where only a component of the program is considered suitable/eligible.
Successful applicants will be notified via email and/or letter. Applicants may be requested to keep the grant confidential for a period if an announcement is likely to be made by the NSW Government. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified in writing of the outcome of their application and will be provided with the opportunity to arrange a feedback information session.
|Assessment period (target)||Mid-September – November 2022|
|Notification / Announcements||From 9 December 2022|
|Programs completed||30 June 2024|
Support and contact
Department of Regional NSW staff are available to support you with the application process.
Phone: 1300 679 673