Industry groups have just under two weeks to apply for a share of $10.8 million in grant funding to deliver advisory services to innovative small to medium-sized enterprises under the Industry Growth Program.
Industry and Science minister Ed Husic opened the ‘Industry Growth Program: Industry Partner Organisation (IPO) grant opportunity’ on Monday, offering groups up to $2 million grants to “provide expert, sector-specific advice” over two years.
The Industry Growth Program (IGP) is the Albanese government’s flagship early-stage commercialisation initiative for small to medium-sized enterprises working on projects aligned with seven National Reconstruction Fund priorities.
The IPOs will be expected to deliver advisory services, which may range from “industry connections and opportunities for investment, through to specialised facilities and support with IP creation”.
The IGP-IPO program aims to help innovative SMEs tap into national and global supply chains, access to private sector investment opportunities, and navigate regulatory pathways.
The government will evaluate the success of the program and whether it achieved its stated outcomes and objectives, up to two years after IPOs cease delivering services.
Mr Husic said the IPOs will play a “signified role”, delivering “critical sector-specific know-how to ensure small and medium businesses with big ideas have the best chance of success”.
“Industry organisations are completely immersed in their sectors and can offer unique and invaluable advice and support to smaller and newer operations,” Mr Husic said in a statement.
The IPO tranche of the program was first announced in a consultation paper about the Industry Growth Program, released at the end of June 2023, although the expected funding was not outlined at the time. The grant guidelines, released on Monday, says up to $10.8 million will be awarded through the IPO grant opportunity.
Of the headline $392.4 million set aside for the program, $53 million has been set aside for “advisers, industry partner organisations and the independent assessment committee” that will assess SME grant applications.
The services to be delivered by the IPOs are in addition to the advisory services that SMEs can apply to receive from an Industry Growth Program adviser.
19 IGP advisers were engaged in December 2023, with all but four performing similar advisory roles under the Coalition government’s Entrepreneurs Programme.
Industry groups can apply to become an IPO until February 16. A shortlist of applicants will then be invited to apply for grant funding by March 8.
Grant applications will be assessed by a panel made up of Department of Industry, Science, and Resources representatives.
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