Government grants to stimulate business and innovation are typically competitive and the new Victorian Government grant program, Future Industries Fund - The Manufacturing Program, is no exception. In preparing this article, we asked Business Victoria the tough question – Is it worth it?

The grant is one aspect of the Future Industries Fund launched late last month and touted to have a value of $200 million. We point out that The Manufacturing Program is only worth $5 million for the current financial year, with no indication from Business Victoria as to whether it would be extended into the next financial year. With individual grants being available for up to $500,000, anyway you slice and dice it, the total prize pool is limited for this aspect of the Future Industries Fund.

Victorian-based companies can apply for a grant to invest in new manufacturing technologies and processes that will create new jobs, increase productivity and boost economic growth. For every grant dollar, the applicant is required to invest $3. In contrast, the Federal Government grant program, the Entrepreneurs’ Programme requires only dollar for dollar funds matching.

While the Federal government grant is basically ring-fenced to commercialisation-related activities, the state government grant is for the implementation of new manufacturing technologies that may involve purchase of capital equipment as well as product and process improvements including prototyping, evaluation and testing.

One acute difficulty in making a business case for the Federal Government’s grant program is the need to show a ‘but for’ case, which is the need to show that the project is meritorious but cannot proceed because of lack of funds. This aspect is also inherent in the Victorian Government criteria and potential applicants are advised to seek the services of a grants consultant to assess whether they may fit within this criterion. We can put you in touch with suitable consultants.

To sum up the discussion with Business Victoria, they indicated that it would require a strong case to ‘hook us’.

We wait with anticipation, for the slice and dice of the remaining $195 million Future Industries Fund, yet to be launched. This includes:

  • The Sector Growth Program – to stimulate growth in 6 specified industry sectors;
  • The New Energy Jobs Fund – for renewable energy investment.

Snapshot of Future Industries Fund - The Manufacturing Program 

Click here to view table.