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Am I eligible for more grants, in addition to the R&D Tax Incentive?

Feb_2015_grants

It’s the question that remains on everyone’s mind- is there more than the R&D Tax Incentive to claim for a company in the software industry? Unfortunately the answer is not simple. It depends what you are doing. At the federal government level, there are a few key programs. The Export Market Development Grant for those aiming to achieve overseas sales and spending money on promotion, advertising and marketing to those overseas markets.

The Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme is offered but has been severely diminished compared to the previous grant that it replaces, the Commercialisation program. Unfortunately, the Commercialisation Australia grant was discontinued when the new government came to power. The other grants on offer by the federal government relate to different industries such as:

  • Growth Fund Grant – This one is for the Automotive, Manufacturing industries and regional infrastructure programmes, as well as skills and training initiatives
  • Collaboration Grant – This is for Cooperative Research Centres (CRC)
  • Energy and Fuels Grant – This one is for Charities Maritime and Aviation Support Programs
  • Import and Export Assistance Grant – This is for Certain Inputs to Manufacture and tradex scheme
  • Manufacturing Grant – This is for automotive transformation schemes (ATS), Clothing and household textile building innovative capability scheme (BIC), Manufacturing Transition Programme, Steel Transformation Plan (STP), Textile, Clothing and Footwear (TCF) and for New Air Combat Capability Industry Support Program (NACC-ISP)
  • Regional Innovation Funds Grant – This is for Australia Government Innovation and Investment fund (Tasmania), Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund ( GRIIF), Melbourne’s North Innovation and Investment Fund (MNIIF), Tasmanian Innovation and Investment Fund (TIIF)

However, the states governments across Australia have stepped up and put their hands forward in declaring they want to help this country in the software industry were our future lies. For the next coming months we will outline the many grants available to companies for each state and how we go about applying for them.

To kick it off we will start in our own backyard, New South Wales (NSW). The NSW government offers three different grants for our industry. In this post we will explore the Tech Vouchers Innovations Grant.

What is this grant for and can I apply for it?
This grant is to assist small business technology companies to collaborate with a NSW research organisation to overcome a technical challenge or test a new technology. The grant provides up to $15,000 for small to medium sized businesses to access technical research infrastructure and expertise such as testing, validation and feasibility studies in NSW public sector research organisations (PSROs) such as universities. To qualify, the following points need to be actioned:

  • The technology needs to be part of a business to business (B2B) solution. It cannot be for improvement of their own business processes.
  • The TechVoucher value should be matched by the applicant with a 50% cash contribution to the value of up to $15,000.
  • The TechVoucher can only be used in conjunction with a NSW-based public research organisation only.
  • The TechVoucher will be valid for a period of 6 months from date of issue.
  • The company needs to be incorporated in NSW.
  • The company needs to owned the IP for the solution (submissions from 3rd parties are not accepted)
  • The company needs to be operating for at least one year.
  • The research period must be completed within six months of receiving the grant offer.

This grant will not support project components already awarded through another government grant, subsidy, or fund. Therefore, companies applying for the grant will have an edge if they have not engaged with university or public sector research organisations in the past or if an existing relationship is in place it will need to be demonstrated that receiving this grant will enhance the collaboration that already exists.

The Tech Vouchers Innovations Grant is based on a competitive process. Even if the grant application meets the requirement criteria it does not mean the entity will be funded. The number of projects that will receive the funds will be determined by the government, based on available funding and strength of their submission compared to other company’s submissions.

The technology being introduced needs to identify a critical growth area of the NSW economy that needs improvement and in return will lead to jobs created, investment and export potential. The state government has its preferences as to the industries it wants to see technology* developed in the following: e-health, advance manufacturing, energy technologies and services, online and interactive education, and transport, logistics and infrastructure.

If you are successful, the grant is paid to the research organisation at the end of the project. No money is received by the company at all.
Stay tuned for part two of this topic next month. In the meantime, if you’re lost in the murky waters of the grant world we do happen to have a supply of extra paddles, life jackets and maps, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.

*NSW Trade & Investment defines ‘Technology’ as new technologies or new uses for existing technologies to enable new products or services to be more efficient leading to reduced costs, faster processing and address a barrier to growth across the sector.

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