In brief

The Queensland Government has recently launched a new round of grant funding through its Advance Queensland program. The Ignite Ideas Fund supports the development of new or improved products, processes or services to secure investment, launch into global markets and grow business.

Grants of up to $250,000 (excluding Goods and Services Tax [GST]) are available for Queensland based businesses to support activities that prove a business idea will work, or assist with identifying a market or investor for your product, process or service.

Online applications are now open. The closing date for first round applications is 22 April 2016. Applications must be received at least six weeks before the project commencement date.

In detail

Advance Queensland’s Ignite Ideas Fund is now open for applications. Set out below is some additional detail in respect of the funding available, the eligibility criteria, the project activities that may qualify and how PwC can assist you.

What funding is available?

Applicants can apply for up to $250,000 under the Ignite Ideas Fund comprising of two tiers:

  • Tier One: Applicants can apply for up to $100,000 (excluding GST) per project which may be used to fund from 60 to 100 per cent of total eligible project costs, depending on the size of the organisation. Tier One project activities must be completed within 12 months.
  • Tier Two: Applicants can apply for $100,000 up to $250,000 (excluding GST) per project which may be used to fund up to 50 per cent of total eligible project costs. Tier Two project activities must be completed within 24 months. 

The following table sets out the required matched funding contributions from the applicant, which are dependent on the organisation size and the choice of funding Tier level. In-kind and non-cash contributions are NOT considered eligible contributions.

Click here to view table.

Eligible Projects and Costs

To be eligible the project must:

  • commence within 90 days of the Queensland Government signing the application approval,
  • be completed within the agreed project timeframe, and
  • have a distinct set of activities, with aims and outcomes achievable within set timeframes.

The guidance materials set out that eligible activities are those that will assist the applicant to prove that their idea will work or to find a market or an investor. The following are provided as examples of eligible activities:

  • Proof of market Activities
    • planning activities to commercialise the project,
    • attendance at trade delegations/trade shows as an exhibitor or attendee,
    • specific customer/investor engagement activities,
    • travel to engage with potential investors or major customers,
    • market research,
    • market testing,
    • competitor analysis.
  • Proof of product, process or service
    • field tests,
    • specialist testing and/or demonstration to provide proof of technical feasibility,
    • intellectual property protection,
    • investigation of production and assembly options,
    • access to specialist equipment and facilities.

Advance Queensland provides some guidance on the eligible project costs which may include:

  • salary costs for staff and contractors working solely on activities for the funded project,
  • services provided by unrelated, external parties (including testing, design and other professional services),
  • legal and intellectual property costs,
  • consumables used for the project,
  • travel and subsistence costs,
  • capital expenditure on plant and equipment totalling up to $20,000 (excluding GST) – for project useonly.

Eligibility

To be eligible for funding, the business must:

  • be a Queensland based business with less than 200 full time equivalent (FTE) staff, which:
    • is a company incorporated in Queensland, or will be incorporated as a company in Queensland at the time of the award, or
    • can demonstrate a clear road to market that will deliver jobs and create new markets for Queensland.
  • be registered for GST
  • have a product, process or service which is at, or beyond, minimum viable product/working prototype/defined target stage
  • have both the ambition and the potential to achieve high growth
  • have an identified customer, industry partner or investor.

In addition to the above, applicants for Tier Two funding must:

  • have been trading for two years or more, and
  • provide accountant prepared financial statements (including profit and loss statement and balance sheet) for the previous two financial years.

Assessment Criteria

In summary the assessment criteria includes:

  • Innovation and market potential. This includes demonstration that the product, process or service is clearly innovative, unique or new, has market/commercial potential with high growth potential with a reasonably short timeline to commercialisation.
  • Demonstration of project feasibility, risk management and meeting budget and timeframes.
  • Technical and Management capability. This includes the demonstration of the capability to deliver the project, with evidence of an identified customer, industry partner or investor.
  • Projects Outcomes. This includes demonstrating the beneficial outcomes of the project to create jobs and how the project is likely to result in significant benefits for your business and Queensland.

This outline is a summary and other conditions and criteria apply. Further information is available online at http://advanceqld.initiatives.qld.gov.au/small-business/ignite-ideas-fund.aspx