Applications for the Stage 1 EOI have now closed.

Successful applicants for Stage 1 will be invited to submit their application to Stage 2

Industry Growth Program: Industry Partner Organisation grant opportunity

The Industry Partner Organisation grant opportunity provides organisations with up to $2 million to help them to give specialised sectoral advice and expertise to participating startups and innovative SMEs to help them to commercialise and grow.
Closed
This grant is currently closed to applications

What do you get?

Up to $2 million in grant funding.

Who is this for?

Eligible organisations working in the Australian Government’s priority areas for the National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) to give specialised sectoral advice and expertise to startups and innovative SMEs.

Overview

The Industry Growth Program provides expert advice to startups and innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with high growth potential who want to transform and significantly scale their business, and help build Australia’s manufacturing capability for the future within government priority areas.

Successful applicants of the Industry Partner Organisation (IPO) grant opportunity will receive funding to provide specialised advisory services, leveraging their expertise in one or more Government priority areas.

These specialised advisory services will be designed to complement the advice being provided by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources' Industry Growth Program Advisers and activities may include:

  • building specific industry connections, network introductions and engagement, including with industry, suppliers, customers and investors
  • providing access to specialised facilities, equipment, physical spaces and/or environments for innovation based collaboration, learning and networks
  • facilitating transformative growth activities
  • assisting with SME relevant and relatable know-how, information, education and training, that:
    • is deep in one or more of the government’s priority areas
    • helps address sector requirements and/or overcome barriers to entry
    • enhances SME leadership and management skills and experience needed to commercialise, grow and scale up
    • helps develop IP creation, utilisation and protection strategies
    • complements the journeys of both the Early-Stage Commercialisation and the Commercialisation and Growth matched grant funding opportunities
  • exploring private sector funding and other potential investment opportunities for the SMEs.

Offering combined sources of advisory services is designed to strengthen support to SMEs, building stronger industry connections and commercially viable growth propositions.

Questions and Answers

The Department of Industry, Science and Resources invited potential applicants to submit questions by 5pm AEDT, Thursday 8 February. You can download these Questions and Answers below:

Questions and Answers (updated 6:20 pm AEDT 14 February 2024)

pdf · 0.23 MB docx · 0.09 MB

It states that an eligible entity is a not-for-profit organisation and an entity incorporated in Australia. Does this criteria completely exclude a proprietary limited company?

A proprietary limited company is generally structured for businesses that operate for-profit businesses which, if for-profit, are not eligible entities.

To meet eligibility requirements an organisation must meet the eligibility criteria under section 4.1 of the grant guidelines, to be eligible you must:

  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • be registered for the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and
  • be a not-for-profit organisation, and
  • an entity incorporated in Australia.

Can I partner with an NFP?

Under section 7.2 of the grant guidelines ‘Joint (consortia) applications’, we recognise that some organisations may want to join together as a group or partnership to deliver a project. In these circumstances, you must appoint a lead not-for-profit organisation that is an eligible entity. Only the lead organisation can submit the application form and enter into the grant agreement with the Commonwealth. The application must identify all other members of the proposed group and include a letter of support from each of the project partners.

If a partnership with an NFP is created, the NFP would be required to become the lead organisation and would need to meet all the eligibility criteria as set out in section 4 of the grant guidelines.

If an organisation is registered as both a charity and a tax-exempt entity, would that exclude the organisation from applying?

Being a tax-exempt entity does not exclude you from applying. We have edited the wording on business.gov.au to clarify the eligibility of tax-exempt entities.

You do however need to meet eligibility requirements under the eligibility criteria, Section 4.1 of the grant guidelines. To be eligible you must:

  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • be registered for the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and
  • be a not-for-profit organisation, and
  • an entity incorporated in Australia.

Can you please confirm that PFROs are ineligible as per section 4.3 of the grant opportunity guidelines?

Publicly Funded Research Organisations (PFROs) are not eligible to apply, however joint applications (consortia) including PFROs may be acceptable provided you have a lead not-for-profit organisation that is an eligible entity, and who is the main driver of the project and is eligible to apply. For further information on joint applications, refer to section 7.2 of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines.

Is there a co-investment/matched funding requirement for the IPO grant opportunity?

No, there is no requirement for co-investment or matched funding for this grant opportunity.

Refer to Section 3.1 of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines which says the grant amount will be up to 100 per cent of eligible expenditure.

Does this grant include the development of software platforms?

Under Section 2.1 of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines ‘About the Industry Partner Organisation grant opportunity’, successful applicants of the Industry Partner Organisation (IPO) grant opportunity will receive funding to provide specialised advisory services.

Do I have time to register as a not-for-profit?

Applications for Stage One EOI of the Industry Partner Organisation grant opportunity close 5pm Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time (AEDT) on Friday, 16 February 2024. To be eligible to apply for the grant opportunity you need to meet the eligibility requirements at the time you submit your application.

Under Section 4.1 of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines, to be eligible you must:

  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • be registered for the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and
  • be a not-for-profit organisation, and
  • an entity incorporated in Australia.

The information on limits for the two criterion are measured differently – 1,000 words and 5,000 characters. Can you please inform which measurement will be used in the application process via the online portal.

The online portal will limit your response to 5,000 characters (approximately 1,000 words) for each criterion as set out in Section 6.1 of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines.

Our organisation is a company limited by guarantee with Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) status. Are we eligible for this program?

To be eligible, under Section Under Section 4.1 of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines, you must:

  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • be registered for the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and
  • be a not-for-profit organisation, and
  • an entity incorporated in Australia.

We undertake an eligibility check once you have submitted your application. If you are ineligible, we will identify this at that time and you will be notified.

We are a for-profit organisation – are we still eligible?

For-profit organisations are not eligible.

Under Section 4.1 of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines, to be eligible you must:

  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • be registered for the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and
  • be a not-for-profit organisation, and
  • an entity incorporated in Australia.

Joint applications (consortia) are acceptable, provided you have a lead not-for-profit organisation that is an eligible entity, and who is the main driver of the project and is eligible to apply. For further information on joint applications, refer to section 7.2 of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines.

We undertake an eligibility check once you have submitted your application. If you are ineligible, we will identify this at that time and you will be notified.

Our organisation falls in to the PFRO category, would it be allowable for our organisation to join a consortia as a member of the group? Our organisation would not be the lead applicant, but would provide services as part of the program.

Public Funded Research Organisations are not eligible to apply, however joint applications (consortia) are acceptable, provided you have a lead not-for-profit organisation that is an eligible entity, and who is the main driver of the project and is eligible to apply. For further information on joint applications, refer to section 7.2 of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines.

Can you give any indication of:

  • the number of SMEs the Industry Growth Program will support
  • whether there are any targets for the number of SMEs supported in each of the National Reconstruction Priority areas.

We anticipate approximately 2,000 SMEs per year may apply and be eligible for advice under the Industry Growth Program. However, the number of SMEs that will be supported by the Industry Partner Organisations is dependent on the number of applicants to the program and the number of referrals from Industry Growth Program Advisers or the Department.

There are no set targets for the number of SMEs supported in each of the National Reconstruction Priority areas.

We are in the process of being incorporated but unsure if it will be completed by the closing date for EOI applications, can we still apply?

The Industry Growth Program – Industry Partner Organisation grant opportunity guidelines state in Section 4.2 Eligibility criteria that we cannot waive the eligibility criteria under any circumstances. You must be eligible to apply at the time you submit your application for the Stage One: EOI.

Will the IGP-IPO funding be able to be used to benefit applicant’s existing and/or potential members, as long as it includes IGP program participants, or will it be limited to only being used to service IGP Program participants?

IPO grant funding must be used exclusively to provide specialised advisory services to SMEs referred by Industry Growth Program Advisers or the Department.

How are SMEs transitioned from the initial advice and assessment phase to specialised support provided by an IPO?

Industry Growth program participants will be referred by Industry Growth Program Advisers or the Department for specialised advisory services provided by industry partner organisations. Please refer to Section 2.1 of the guidelines for further information.

How does the relationship between an IPO and Industry Growth Program Adviser work in practice? Additionally, how are responsibilities and advisory roles delineated between the IPO and the advisers?

This is determined by the parties involved and may be influenced by the needs of the program participants. The Advisers and IPOs offer different services to program participants which will influence their responsibilities. Please refer to Section 2.1 of the guidelines for further information.

If we’re already supporting NRF priority areas, is our current work eligible for IPO funding?

IPO grant funding must be used exclusively to provide specialised advisory services to SMEs referred by Industry Growth Program Advisers. Therefore, even if your current work is supporting NRF priority areas, program funding can only be used for the specialised advisory services you provide to referred IGP program participants.

Please refer to sections 2.1 and 5.1 of the guidelines for further information relating to the above.

Does the assessment preference national or regional-specific (e.g. Western Australia) respondents, or would it consider them on an equal footing if the responses are otherwise comparable? Would an otherwise comparable sector specific respondent be assessed on equal terms to one addressing all sectors focused under the NRF?

If your application is eligible, an internal panel (see section 8.2 of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines) will assess your application against the EOI assessment criteria (see section 6 of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines) and against other eligible applications. The panel will consider your application on its merits, based on:

  • how well it meets the criteria
  • how it compares to other applications
  • the distribution of meritorious EOIs across NRF priority areas.

The panel recommendations will inform which EOIs will proceed to Stage Two.

In Stage Two, under the assessment criterion 2 (capacity, capability, and resources to deliver the project), the panel will consider, amongst other things, your ability to provide access to equipment, resources, services and/or support to diverse businesses located across Australia, including in regional and remote areas (see section 6.2.2 of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines).

Can you confirm when the Stage 1 EOI is due as I downloaded the Sample Application form on the day the grant opportunity opened and on page 3 it says 5pm AEDT on 1 March 2024 however the grant opportunity guidelines say 5pm AEDT on 16 February 2024.

The Stage One EOI closes for applications at 5pm AEDT on Friday, 16 February 2024. We have edited the wording on the Sample Application form to clarify this.

The grant opportunity guidelines say that you are not eligible to apply for the grant if you are a publicly funded research organisation (PFRO) as defined in section 14 of the guidelines. Does this mean that Universities are not eligible to apply for the grant?

Public Funded Research Organisations (PFRO) are not eligible to apply for this grant opportunity.

Section 14 of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines contains the definition of a PFRO as:

All higher education providers listed at Table A and Table B of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (Cth) and corporate Commonwealth entities, and state and territory business enterprises which undertake publicly funded research.

If your University is listed in either of these tables they are not eligible to apply, however joint applications (consortia) are acceptable, provided you have a lead not-for-profit organisation that is an eligible entity, and who is the main driver of the project and is eligible to apply. For further information on joint applications, refer to section 7.2 of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines.

Are Regional Development Australia and Co-operative Research Centres eligible to apply for the IPO program?

As Regional Development Australia and Co-operative Research Centres are not Government Business Enterprises, they are eligible to apply for this grant opportunity. A list of Government Business Enterprises is available.

Check if you can apply

You can apply if you meet the eligibility criteria. The eligibility criteria are a set of rules that describe who we can consider for this grant. You can apply if you:

  • are an eligible entity
  • have an eligible project
  • have eligible expenditure.

The rules are in the grant opportunity guidelines.

You can apply if you:

  • have an Australian business number (ABN)
  • are registered for the Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • are a not for profit organisation and an entity incorporated in Australia.

We will only accept applications from:

  • entities who do not profit or intend to invest in SMEs participating in the Industry Growth Program
  • applicants who can verify their financial viability and sustainability through the project period/grant term (independent of the grant funding).

You can’t apply if you are:

Partner with other organisations

You can partner with one or more other organisations that also meet the eligibility criteria. But you must decide who the lead organisation is.

The lead organisation must fill out the application form.

If successful, the lead organisation signs the grant agreement and is responsible for the grant.

You can use this grant funding to:

  • support labour and on-costs
  • contractors
  • travel and other costs associated with delivering the project.

Refer to Appendix A and B of the grant opportunity guidelines for guidance on eligible and ineligible expenditure.

How to apply

Check if you’re ready to apply for a grant

Finding a suitable grant opportunity is just the start of the process to get funding. The application process can take time and effort. Understanding the entire process will help you be grant ready and may improve your chances of getting funding.

Use our checklist to find out what it takes to apply for a grant.

When you're ready to apply

If you are notified that you are successful under the Stage 1 EOI you will be invited to apply for the grant under Stage 2. You will be required to address all eligibility and assessment criteria and provide all the necessary documentation to support your application.

Applications for Stage 2 are by invitation only.

If invited to submit an application under Stage 2, your grant application must address the assessment criteria outlined below.

Responses to Stage 2 assessment criterion will require more detail than those provided in your EOI and you will be asked to provide evidence to support your answers.

  • Assessment criterion 1: Project alignment with grant opportunity objectives and outcomes (20 points).
  • Assessment criterion 2: Capacity and capability, and resources to deliver the project (60 points).
  • Assessment criterion 3: Broader benefits of your project (20 points).

The program delegate makes the final decision.

Contact

Need help?

Let us answer your question via phone, email or live chat. And if we can't help, we'll put you in touch with someone who can.

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Key documents

Grant opportunity guidelines

pdf · 0.68 MB docx · 0.59 MB

Sample application form – Stage 2

pdf · 0.43 MB docx · 0.31 MB

Sample grant agreement

pdf · 0.44 MB docx · 0.15 MB

Board or CEO approval letter template

pdf · 0.18 MB docx · 0.25 MB

Accountant declaration template

pdf · 0.01 MB docx · 0.04 MB

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