What is the minimum requirement for my business to be considered an eligible small to medium size enterprise (SME)?

Your business must employ between 5 full-time equivalent (FTE) and 200 FTE staff at 1 September 2020.

Can sole traders apply for a grant through the program?

Sole traders who employ workers and meet all the eligibility criteria can apply for a grant.

What types of businesses are unable to apply for a grant?

The following are not eligible to apply:

  • Commonwealth, state and local government agencies or bodies
  • publicly funded research institutions
  • industry associations or business chambers
  • not-for-profit organisations
  • community-based organisations.

Can I apply for a grant in both streams?

No. Businesses may only apply as the lead applicant for a single grant in either Stream 1 or 2.

How can I ensure my project meets the set program objectives?

Please refer to the program guidelines for complete program objectives. Your application will be assessed against these objectives and the eligibility criteria by an assessment panel.

What type of projects will meet the eligibility criteria for grant support?

Applying Victorian SMEs must be investing in their business operations to help meet the program objectives.

Applicants will be asked in their application to make a case for how the project will support the TAIP’s objectives and show how the use of the grant funds will facilitate the project’s outcomes.

Stream 1 – SME technology and digital adoption
Victorian SMEs are required to propose a project that will assist them to on-board new digital or innovative technology that will improve their business growth, employment opportunities or ability to deliver goods or services into new markets. Examples of technologies within Stream 1 projects include but are not limited to:

  • adoption of specialised technology or equipment (including software)
  • introduction of digital tools to manage business systems
  • digital health and safety solutions
  • cybersecurity enhancements
  • robotic systems
  • 3D printing processes
  • materials science solutions
  • introduction of new eCommerce platforms for customers
  • virtual reality to enhance customer service and experiences
  • artificial Intelligence or machine learning processes
  • implementation of data analytical tools to improve insights of customer behaviours.

SMEs in partnership with their chosen technology service provider(s) will have up to 12 months to implement and finalise the adoption of the new technology solution into their business.

Stream 2 – Innovative, commercial technology development
Stream 2 projects will support the development of new innovative technology products and services, including but not limited to projects in the following areas:

  • application of micro or nanotechnology to enhance existing products
  • software and services (including fintech, B2B messaging, PCB software)
  • healthcare equipment and services
  • retail technology
  • technology hardware and equipment
  • manufacturing and process improvements
  • media and entertainment.

Stream 2 grant funding can be used for the following types of activities:

  • prototyping, evaluation and testing of new products
  • design work
  • enhancement with material science
  • hiring a new in-house technology specialist.

Any other activities will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Can my chosen service provider be based outside of Victoria?

Yes. Your chosen service provider (providing goods and/or services) does not have to be a Victorian-based organisation.

Will both Stream 1 and Stream 2 run concurrently?

Yes. Both streams of the program will be open for applications during the set program dates. If applying for Stream 2 funding, the SME must also demonstrate that its main business model applies to the provision of technology products or services.

How much funding is available through the program?

Grants provided through the program range between a minimum $20,000 and a maximum $50,000 across both streams.

Under both Streams each successful SME will be required to co-contribute a minimum of $20,000 (GST exclusive) towards eligible project expenditure.  

Grants will be provided on a co-contribution fund basis at a ratio of 1:1 for applicant cash contributions and government funding.

How will this co-contribution funding work?

Grants will be provided on a co-contribution basis:

  • Applicants contribute a minimum of $20,000 (excluding GST) towards the total costs of the project (and the total costs of the project must equal or exceed $40,000 (excluding GST); and
  • Grants will subsidise 50 per cent of the project up to a maximum of $50,000 (excluding GST) (co-contribution from Applicants may exceed $50,000 (excluding GST).

For example:

Example one: If the total project cost is $125,000 (excluding GST), the maximum Grant contribution will be $50,000 (excluding GST). The remaining $75,000 (excluding GST) must be covered by the Applicant.

Example two: If the total project cost is $62,500 (excluding GST), the Grant will cover $31,250 (excluding GST). The remaining $31,250 (excluding GST) must be covered by the Applicant.

Can my co-contribution amount include funding support from other State Government programs?

No. Funds from other State or Commonwealth Government programs cannot form part of the co-contribution funding.

Can I contribute more than the matched funding amount?

Yes, you may contribute more than matching the provided funding amount.

What are the key dates for the program?

The indicative key dates for this scheme are:

  • Applications open:  31 March 2021
  • Applications close: 19 April 2021
  • Program reporting: 4 month, 8 month, 12 month
  • Program end: 30 June 2022

How long does my business have to complete my project?

Companies seeking support for technology development will have up to 12 months to deliver and complete their project.

Applying businesses will be required to complete program reporting on the status of their ongoing projects after four months, eight months and 12 months.

Will my project need to be completed by program close?

Yes. Your program plan will have to outline an aim for completion on or before program end on 30 June 2022.

Can my Stream 2 project funding be used for a project outside of the listed areas?

Projects sitting outside of the listed areas will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

How will the quarterly reporting work, what milestones should my business be achieving?

This will be outlined in your project plan when applying. Key project milestones will be required as part your project plan as part of your application.

How will my application be assessed?

Eligible applications within both Streams of funding will be assessed by an expert panel on how well they meet the assessment criteria.

The panel will:

  • review and score applications individually against the assessment criteria
  • rank all projects against each other
  • determine the number of applications that will be recommended subject to funding being available
  • recommend the applications for approval.

All supplementary attachments and information provided as part of the application will be taken into consideration during the assessment process.

What do I do if I accidentally submit two applications?

If you have accidentally submitted two separate applications for the same premises, you do not need to do anything – we will only pay one grant for that premises.

When will I hear about the outcome of my application?

Your business will receive notice of outcome of your application via email within one month of program closing.

Can I dispute the outcome of my application?

No, the decision from the expert panel will be final.

How will payment be delivered after my application is deemed accepted?

Recommended applications will be considered for funding approval. Each applicant will be notified of the outcome of their application, and successful applicants will receive a Letter of Offer and grant agreement for signing.

What if I need any further assistance?

For further assistance please contact us or call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.

For email inquiries, contact innovation.programs@ecodev.vic.gov.au.