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Food, beverage and technology grant opportunities: an Australian round-up

Dozens of grant programs relevant to CRC partners are offered to Australian businesses and other organisations by federal, state and territory government agencies. Some of these programs are focused on helping Australia’s ‘priority sectors’ bolster their resilience to future disruptions. Some funding is earmarked specifically for food and agribusiness ventures; some is for manufacturing ventures; still other grant programs and initiatives involve funding for R&D.

Click on the tabs below to skip directly to grants available nationwide, or in a specific state or territory.

Australia-wide (national)

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

New South Wales (NSW)

Queensland (Qld)

Northern Territory (NT)

Western Australia (WA)

South Australia (SA)

Victoria (Vic)

Tasmania (Tas)

Types of grants

Grant funds are available to assist businesses and other entities in food/beverage/nutraceuticals/health product manufacturing and processing, and in related technology and services, to:

  • modernise, innovate, scale up, export and/or employ more people;
  • develop new and/or associated products, processes or technologies;
  • help grow Australia’s regions and provide regional jobs – including advancing regional infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture, food, wine and/or related businesses such as hospitality and/or tourism (including food tourism, wine tourism and agritourism);
  • build businesses or develop processes and/or technologies that follow ‘circular economy’ principles, deploy and/or advance renewable energy technology and/or encourage uptake of such technology, and/or reduce or offsets food waste;
  • advance Aboriginal business enterprises;
  • develop ideas, businesses, processes and/or technologies that help streamline or bolster reliable supply chains for essential goods and services such as food, beverages and medicinals.

It’s worth checking (and re-checking, at regular intervals) the funding sections of the websites of relevant federal and state or territory government departments (business, industry, agriculture, energy, science and technology); peak industry body sites; and those of independent organisations, venture capitalists and investors.

Criteria for eligibility

Most funding bodies expect applicant enterprises, institutions and/or consortiums to have bona fide credentials and at least some runs on the board, with paperwork and business records to prove it. They also expect applicants to have sound, feasible ideas supported by business plans, documentation, and brief-fulfilling grant proposals – plus, in some cases, sufficient capital to match funds dollar for dollar (for co-funding grants).

For R&D grants, industry applicants may also need to have actual or potential research partners at the ready; and vice-versa – research entities applying for grants with an industry focus may need to apply with an industry partner on board.

A modern food facility: The federal government has funding available for Australian food and beverage manufacturing firms wanting to modernise, scale up or employ more workers. Credit: Shutterstock

Australia-wide

Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) Round 1 funding: Translation and Integration
The Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Environment and Resources (DISER)’s$1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI), a key part of the Modern Manufacturing Strategy, supports projects across Australia’s six identified National Manufacturing Priorities that reflect Australia’s competitive advantages and emerging priority areas. These include Food and Beverage manufacturing and Renewables manufacturing. Round 1 of the MMI funding is aimed at businesses wanting to scale up, employ more people and prepare to export. Funds are to assist such firms with translation and integration projects. For further information, view our news stories here and here.

Australian Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) Commercialisation Fund

The Federal Government recently announced a new $30m Commercialisation Fund for Australian manufacturers. The Fund is offering grants ranging from $100,000 to $1 million, dollar-matched by industry. For details, view our news story.

Entrepreneurs’ Programme

Get expert advice and grant funding through the federal government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme. The program aims to help small and medium sized Australian businesses to ‘strengthen, grow, innovate and commercialise’, nationally and globally. It connects SMEs with the capabilities and networks they need to do this.

The Programme can assist SMEs in: rebuilding their businesses after disruptive events; grow their businesses; improve supply-chain performance and/or capability to trade and export; develop innovative solutions and connect with the research sector; commercialise a product, process or service into production and onto the market; and/or fund incubators for Australian start-ups with an international focus.

Get grant opportunity guidelines here:
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Innovation Connections Grants

Administered under the Entrepreneurs’ Programme, Innovation Connections (IC) Grants help businesses in any of the Commonwealth’s six ‘priority growth sectors’ (or businesses that provide enabling technologies and services to these growth sectors) fund collaborative research projects. The eligible growth sectors include advanced manufacturing; food and agribusiness; and medical technologies and pharmaceuticals.

IC grants enabling a business to undertake a collaborative research project must be applied for within 12 months of receiving a Service report clarifying that business’s research needs and opportunities. It is recommended you contact a facilitator in your state or territory before starting the grant application process, to find out if your company meets the eligibility requirements, whether the service is suitable, and to assist with the application process. Also refer to the Customer Information Guide for information on eligibility criteria.

To apply for an Innovation Connections Grant, a business must have received a Service Report within the past 12 months; spoken with an assigned Facilitator about grant suitability; and found a PFRO research partner. It must also be able to fund the total project costs without using in-kind contributions or funds from other government grants or programs to do so. Once you’re your business has fulfilled all the eligibility requirements, apply here. For further information or assistance, contact the Grant Program admin or phone 13 28 46 (8am-8pm weekdays Australia-wide).

Accelerating Commercialisation fund

Part of the federal government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme, the Accelerating Commercialisation fund provides SMEs, entrepreneurs and researchers with access to expert advice and funding to help get novel products, processes or services to market. The new Accelerating Commercialisation guidance form is now available. For information, view our news story,

Wind turbines at Bald Hill Wind Farm in southern Gippsland, Victoria: The federal government’s Advancing Renewables Program has matched funding available to help businesses invest in renewable energy technology and solutions. Credit: Shutterstock

Advancing Renewables Program

The Advancing Renewables Program is aimed at businesses that require funding or finance to develop renewable energy technologies. Activities must either involve a renewable energy technology; or involve methods (including desktop studies and analysis) that can contribute to the program outcomes. The renewable energy technologies may include hybrid technologies and technologies that are related to renewable energy technologies (including enabling technologies). Apply at any time for matched funding of between $100,000 and $50 million.

To be eligible, firms must have an Australian business number (ABN); be an Australian incorporated entity unless applying for funding for desktop studies and analysis that do not include research (TRL 1-3). Unincorporated entities such as universities and not-for-profits can partner with an incorporated entity to help deliver a pilot, demonstration or pre-commercial deployment activity, as long as the activity is led by the incorporated entity. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply at Advancing Renewables Program, or contact 1800 804 847

R&D Tax Incentive

Offset your R&D costs to help innovate and grow your business. Your company needs to be liable to pay income tax in Australia, conduct at least one activity that meets the definition of a core R&D activity and incur the minimum eligible R&D expenditure. If your eligible R&D expenditure is less than $20,000, you can still apply for the offset if you use a registered Research Service Provider (RSP) to conduct your R&D. Apply with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy & Resources within 10 months of the end of your company’s income year. Watch this short video on the benefits of the R&D Tax Incentive and eligibility. Download descriptive transcript DOCX – 0.02MB Get more information: Key details. Eligibility. Applying. Contact.

Export and Regional Wine Support Package

The federal government’s $50m Export and Regional Wine Support Package has delivered three grant programs to date. Round 2 for 2020–21, currently open, is aimed at helping to counter the impacts of COVID-19 on in-market events.

Wine Australia is providing $1m towards this round of Wine Export Grants, which funds eligible wine producers for up to $25,000 towards reimbursement for up to half the cost of promotional activities incurred on or after 1 July 2020 in any export market.

The grant program is capped at $1 million, with funding accessed on a first-come, first-served basis. Around $870,000 remains to be allocated at time of publishing. SME wine producers (those with an aggregated turnover of less than $20m and export turnover of less than $5m in 2019-20) are eligible.

First read and understand the guidelines; refer to the Eligible Expenses table to collate supporting evidence; complete the Statutory Declaration; then apply here.  Ancillary resources that may help with your application:

AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award

Apply for the 2022 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award with innovative ideas and projects from August 2021. State and territory finalists and the national winner receive substantial bursaries as well as access to professional development opportunities.

Food Innovation Australia Ltd (FIAL) project grants

Though there are no FIAL grants available currently, it’s worth checking the grants section of the Commonwealth’s Growth Centre for Food and Agribusiness, Food Innovation Australia Ltd (FIAL) site occasionally for updates.

To view all federal government grant funding, visit www.business.gov.au.

Farmland, Australian Capital Territory: The ACT Government’s third round of Rural Resilience Grants is focused on supporting rural landholders across the ACT in addressing threats to farming operations posed by weeds and pest animals, or to improve the health and diversity of their lands or the condition of natural resources. Credit: AJ Nitz Images/ Shutterstock

Australian Capital Territory

COVID-19 Economic Survival Package ACT

Delivered by the ACT Government, the Economic Survival Package incorporates various support measures to help small businesses survive the impacts of COVID-19 including a business liaison centre; up to four hours of one-on-one fully subsidised, tailored advice; access to online business development resources for SMEs; waivers for food business registration, outdoor dining, liquor and other business licensing fees; rebates on electricity fees, commercial general rates; payroll tax deferrals and waivers for various industries; relief for commercial tenancies; and more. To apply, or find out more about these measures, view the Economic Survival Package or phone 02 6205 0900. View other COVID-19 grants and support.

2021-2022 ACT Rural Resilience Grants

The ACT Government’s third round of Rural Resilience Grants is focused on supporting rural landholders across the Australian Capital Territory in addressing threats to farming operations posed by weeds and pest animals. Farmers can use the grant funding to improve the health and diversity of their lands and the condition of natural resources.

Fruit and nut orchards near Bellingen, NSW. The New South Wales Government has funding available to boost the state’s regions. Credit: Shutterstock

New South Wales

NSW Government Regional Job Creation Fund

The $100m NSW Government Regional Job Creation Fund is designed to help regional businesses across NSW fast-track expansion plans, create jobs and stimulate the local economy. Grants of between $100,000 and $10 million are on offer. Each applicant must provide a minimum of 50 per cent in cash co-contribution.

To be eligible, applicants must be a registered business or cooperative, with an ABN, and at least $20 million in public liability insurance. Applications close at 5pm AEST, Friday 14 May 2021. For further information, click here.

NSW Regional Growth Fund

The NSW Government’s $2b Regional Growth Fund supports infrastructure to develop regional centres, activate local economies and improve services in communities across the state. More than $1.7b has been committed to more than 2,100 projects to date; another $300m will be allocated over the next two years to ‘vital community upgrades and job-creating projects for families and businesses across regional NSW’. Applications are open to local government, regional organisations, industry and other community organisations. The state government’s Regional Development Framework provides ‘an overall vision’ for the Fund, laying out a 30-year plan for regional development. Learn more.

Export Assistance Grants NSW

The aim of the state government’s Export Assistance Grants is to provide NSW-based exporting businesses, or businesses that were exporting goods or services before the impacts of COVID-19, recent bushfires or drought with funding to help them access global markets.

Funds can be used for: marketing materials; website internationalisation; pivoting to online delivery (for example, converting face-to-face training content to online content for international audiences); e-commerce development; market research; international tradeshow and trade missions; inbound business support; costs to support compliance/localisation of products for export; and costs to protect business in international markets. Businesses can apply at any time for funding of up to $10,000.

For eligibility and application guidelines, and to apply, visit the Export Assistance Grants web page. For further information, contact export.enquiries@treasury.nsw.gov.au or phone 13 77 88.

NSW COVID-19 grants and support

COVID-19 grants and support for NSW

The NT Government is offering grant money to Indigenous enterprises looking to commercialise ‘bush’ foods and ingredients. Credit: Shutterstock

Northern Territory

Innovation NT funding

The Innovation NT web page outlines and links to a broad array of international, national and NT-based grants, as well as to the sites of venture capitalists and lenders that may be of relevance to food or agribusinesses seeking funding for R&D, start-ups, expansion and commercialisation projects. For more information, contact innovation@nt.gov.au

Northern Territory (NT) Government Business Growth Program

The NT Government Business Growth Program is open to NT-based businesses, not-for-profit organisations and Aboriginal enterprises. It offers information, funding and development services to help businesses improve performance, profitability, employment levels and/or market penetration. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply. For more information or assistance, email business.itt@nt.gov.au.

NT Government Business Innovation Program

The NT Government’s Business Innovation Program (BIP) helps Northern Territory businesses develop and commercialise innovation concepts. Eligible businesses can apply for mentoring and funding to support planning, development and implementation of an innovation commercialisation plan (ICP). Successful applicants receive professional mentoring through the NT Government’s Innovator in Residence program; and funding of up to $30,000 on a dollar-for-dollar matched basis.

The program is run in three stages: planning; development; and commercialisation. Stage one (planning) applications are now open. Before you apply, you must read and accept the program terms and conditions. Business Innovation Program terms and conditions DOCX (1.3 MB) You must register your business as a supplier of goods and services to participate in the program, and must progress through one stage to get to the next. Click here to register as a supplier. To apply for stage one of the program, fill in the application on the SmartyGrants website. For more information, email innovation@nt.gov.au. Find resources to help with innovation on the NT Government’s Innovation in the NT website.

Aboriginal Business Development Program

This NT Government Aboriginal Business Development Program assists Aboriginal people interested in starting or expanding an existing business in the Northern Territory (NT). Eligible businesses can seek help with: business growth and sustainability; creating new enterprises; increasing the number of Aboriginal owned and operated businesses; increasing knowledge/skills; creating new employment; and/or developing new skills.

To find out if your enterprise is eligible for the program, you’ll need to talk with a small business champion. Applicants must be able to prove NT residency and show that the applying business is at least 50 per cent Aboriginal owned and operated, and is based and registered in the NT. An application must demonstrate a viable business. For more information, contact a small business champion.

Krista Watkins of successful Queensland-based start-up Natural Evolution, which pioneered green banana flour. Advance Queensland has grant funding available for Queensland-based start-ups and SMEs with ‘high growth potential’ in commercialising innovative products, processes and services. Credit: Natural Evolution

Queensland

Made in Queensland manufacturing grants Round 3

Queensland Government-initiated Made in Queensland (MIQ) grants program is designed to help SME manufacturers to innovate, become internationally competitive, increase their productivity and generate future high-skilled jobs by adopting new technologies. It complements the Queensland Advanced Manufacturing 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan.

Made in Queensland grants offer up to $2.5m in dollar-matched grants, providing 50 per cent of the costs of implementing innovative processes and technologies. After three successful funding rounds, the state government has pledged a further $15.5m to a fourth round of the program. At the time of writing, guidelines and eligibility requirements were under development.

Queensland Government agribusiness grants

The Queensland Government offers funding, grants and assistance to support existing agricultural businesses, help start new ones or help ag-related businesses surmount challenges, disruptions and other forms of hardship. Agribusiness loans, one-off grants and partnerships are available, with funding opportunities varying over time. Seek further advice from regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) groups, Regional Development Australia’s network of local leaders and industry associations as well as local councils, philanthropic funding bodies and government agencies. To search for specific grants, also use the:

Advance Queensland

Advance Queensland’s programs and funds can help turn agricultural ideas into commercial projects with access to finance, new business opportunities and management support. Programs are available for entrepreneurs and start-ups, industry, investors, small business, universities and researchers.

Entrepreneurs and start-ups; improving start-ups’ and SMEs’ access to finance, new business opportunities and management support.

Industry: supporting industry in collaborating with entrepreneurs, universities, businesses and government ‘to turn great ideas into commercial products and jobs creation’.

Small business: offering opportunities for small business to collaborate and build on innovations and ideas to help them grow, improve products and services, and compete in the global marketplace.

Universities and researchers: reinvigorating science, research and innovation to help create knowledge-based jobs for the future.

Ignite Ideas Fund

Advance Queensland’s Ignite Ideas Fund assists Queensland-based start-ups and SMEs with ‘high growth potential’ in commercialising innovative products, processes and services. Funds are to enable SMEs to grow and compete in a global market and create new jobs. Register for the AQ newsletter to ensure you’re informed when Round 8 of the fund opens. Funding is in two tiers: Tier 1 is for funding of up to $100,000 (excluding GST) for projects of up to 12 months’ duration; Tier 2 is for funding of between $100,000 and $200,000 (excl. GST) for projects of up to two years’ duration. Register for more information

Indigenous Native Food Program Qld

The Indigenous Native Food Pilot Program provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and innovators with support in developing and commercialising new and existing native food products and/or marketing opportunities; to validate product concepts; to determine what’s needed for commercial production of a native food product (e.g. equipment, processes, formulations; raw materials; food safety; or labelling); and/or to scale up products for commercial production, for existing or new markets.

Queensland-based Indigenous businesses with ABNs that are registered for GST and have fewer than 50 employees who ar3e developing a native food with a business plan, and the intention to scale up rapidly (within 12 months) can apply at any time to receive support and collaboration from food experts from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF). Get more information about eligibility and how to apply at the Indigenous Native Food Program.

COVID-19-related funding

Find COVID-19-related grants and support in Queensland.

Jakarta, Indonesia: Australia’s populous northern neighbour is set to be an increasingly important export market for Australia’s food and beverage producers. Credit: Gede Suhendra on Unsplash

Western Australia

Agribusiness Innovation Fund

The Government of Western Australia’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (WA DPIRD) is committed to supporting the growth and development of the state’s food and agriculture to capitalise on growing demand from emerging markets.

Its Agribusiness Innovation Fund promotes ‘scale, efficiency and innovation … to enhance competitiveness and encourage growth in new markets’ via targeted, industry-driven R&D investment in key productivity drivers along the whole supply and value chain.

Access to new markets, notably premium and high value Asian markets, is a priority. WA DPIRD aims to achieve this through a mix of market, product, industry and investment-focused research ‘to inform the delivery of grants programs to industry consortia, grower groups, supply chain participants and research providers’.

Science and Agribusiness Connect Program

The Government of WA’s Office of Science (OSS) oversees the $3.41m Science and Agribusiness Connect Program, managed via a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between OSS and DPIRD. The Program aims to equip WA agrifood businesses to increase productivity; intensify and expand operations; access capital; pursue new market opportunities; make better-informed investment decisions; and increase jobs in regional Western Australia.

Priority areas under the Program include agribusiness, food and trade; agricultural exports; and export services. State government grants and funding opportunities are listed under all three of these areas. See especially:

For further information, email Anita Wyntje or phone +61 (0)8 9363 4045.

Export Competitiveness Grants (ECG)

The state government’s $1m Export Competitiveness Grants program (ECG) funds projects that ‘help build the WA agrifood industry’s collective capacity for world-class production and primary/wholesale/value-adding processing for export’.

Industrial Hemp Grants Scheme

Following Commonwealth approval of hemp for human consumption, the Government of WA pledged $463,000 to the state’s industrial hemp industry, investing $300,000 of it in the Industrial Hemp Grants Scheme: individual grants for research into new varieties suitable for WA conditions and opportunities for processing industrial hemp. Grants can also be used for the development of major infrastructure and to explore market opportunities for industrial hemp products as informed by an industry-wide needs survey.

Investment Services

The Government of Western Australia’s Investment Services division supports sustainable development in agribusiness and food with grants, infrastructure, sponsorships, events, partnerships and investment opportunities. The overarching aim is to ensure industry across the state remains internationally competitive.

South Australia’s Lead Educate Assist Promote (LEAP) Grants offer funding to coordinated business groups, peak industry bodies or associations seeking financial assistance in transitioning to sustainable, circular-economy-based operations. Credit: Elnur/ Shutterstock

South Australia

Research, Commercialisation and Startup Fund (RCSF)

The South Australian Government’s Research, Commercialisation and Startup Fund (RCSF)  supports researchers, entrepreneurs and businesses in accelerating progress, under three competitive funding streams.

  • Stream 1: Strategic Research Initiatives has closed.
  • Stream 2: the Startup and Early Stage Company Incentive aims to provide funding for entrepreneurs to start and scale innovative early-stage businesses. The state government is accepting EOIs for this stream:
  • Stream 3 supports programs, events and activities with broad benefit to the start-up community. Funding from this Stream will be awarded through calls for proposals to address specific initiatives. Details of timing and funding available will be specified with each call.

To determine your eligibility, read the Research, Commercialisation and Startup Fund Guidelines (updated November 2020) Download PDF | 168 KB; and FAQs Download PDF | 193 KB View a video recording of the Research, Commercialisation and Startup Fund information session.. and/or the information session slides. For more information, email rcsfcontact@sa.gov.au. Express your interest under funding Stream 2: apply now,

Regional Growth Fund 2021–22

Through its Regional Growth Fund, the Government of South Australia pledged $150 million over 10 years to support regional South Australia. The fund is a part of its Recharging Our Regions policy. Each FY, of the $15m allocated to the Fund; $5m goes to Competitive Grants. Applicants can seek grants from $50,000 up to $2 million. The fund is open year-round. To apply for the strategic pool, first consult your local Regional Coordinator; read the Regional Growth Fund Guidelines (PDF 721.5 KB); and peruse the contents of the RGF online application form (PDF 424.5 KB). For more information or further assistance, visit the PIRSA website or contact Regions SA via email on pirsa.regionssa@sa.gov.au. 

Lead Educate Assist Promote (LEAP) Grants SA

Lead Educate Assist Promote (LEAP) Grants offer funding to coordinated business groups, peak industry bodies or associations seeking financial assistance in transitioning to circular economy-based operations. LEAP Grants are designed help such organisations undertake projects that ‘lead, educate, assist and promote sustainable business practices’.

The program supports change in areas such as improved waste management, resource efficiency, and transitioning to a more circular economy. Projects must be delivered in partnership with independent service providers that are experts in their field (circular economy, waste and materials management, resource efficiency, and/or lean production). Find out more about eligibility and how to apply at Lead Educate Assist Promote (LEAP) Grants. For further information or assistance, contact aubrey.thomas@sa.gov.au or phone 08 8204 2051.

Valuing Business Waste Grants SA

Through its Valuing Business Waste Grants SA, the South Australian Government offers funding for businesses and not-for-profits seeking to improve their waste management practices and operations. Funds are allocated to projects that ‘identify better ways to manage waste and transition to a circular economy’. Apply at any time for funding of up to $15,000. To be eligible, you must be a business, not-for-profit organisation, tertiary education centre or government organisation; and be willing to engage an independent service provider (consultant) to deliver the project. Find out about eligibility and how to apply at Valuing Business Waste Grants. For more information or assistance, contact aubrey.thomas@sa.gov.au or phone 08 8204 2051

Government of South Australia grants finder

For a comprehensive list of grants offered by the South Australian government, click here.

Farmland in west Gippsland’s Strzelecki Ranges. Business Victoria has committed $3 billion in cash grants, tax relief and cashflow support to enterprises state-wide ‘most affected by COVID-19 restrictions’, including food and beverage companies and agribusinesses, to help them stay afloat and keep Victorians in jobs. Credit: David L Young/ Shutterstock

Victoria

Victorian Business Resilience Package

Business Victoria has committed $3 billion in cash grants, tax relief and cashflow support to Victorian businesses ‘most affected by COVID-19 restrictions’, including food and beverage companies and agribusinesses, to help them stay afloat and keep Victorians in jobs. Learn more about the Business Resilience Package on Business Victoria’s website.

View more COVID-19-recovery grants and support.

Tasmania

Tasmanian COVID-19 recovery grants and support

View the state’s COVID-19 recovery grants, support funding and assistance.

Other useful sources of funding

CSIRO Kick-Start

CSIRO Kick-Start provides matched funding for start-ups and small SMEs to access CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities. Matched funding of between $10,000 and $50,000. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply by contacting Megan.Sebben@csiro.au or phoning 03 9545 8543.

Coles Nurture Fund

Coles’ $50 million Nurture Fund, launched in April 2015, helps SMEs to innovate and grow. Over its first eight rounds, more than $24m in funds were awarded to 60-plus Australian food and liquor producers. Among them were the first quinoa processing facility in Australia, a company manufacturing chickpea tofu, a home-grown garlic enterprise and the nation’s first prawn farming technology.

Under each round of Nurture funding, SMEs can apply for grants of up to $500,000 to help develop new market-leading products, technologies and processes. Round 9 recently closed. (For reference, view the Round 9 guidelines and application form here). Stay tuned for Round 10.