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Incubator Support initiative
Open to applications December 2017
Incubators help innovative startups to rapidly transform their ideas into globally competitive businesses by giving them mentorship, funding, resources, knowledge and access to business networks.
More high-performing incubators will mean more startups can realise their economic potential earlier. To support existing incubators and to encourage development of new ones, particularly in regions and sectors with high innovation potential, we have added a new component to the Entrepreneurs’ Programme, to complement the existing suite of assistance already provided to businesses under the Program.
The objective of the Incubator Support initiative is to improve the prospects of Australian startups achieving commercial success in international markets. This will be achieved through assisting Australian startups to develop the capabilities required to realise their economic potential in international markets faster than they otherwise would. The initiative will support entrepreneurial activity and contribute to the development of Australia’s innovation ecosystem.
Originally announced as an $8 million initiative, the Government has committed a further $15 million over 4 years, increasing the support to both incubators and the startups that benefit from their services.
Update on program status
On 14 December 2017, Assistant Minister Laundy announced changes to the Incubator Support initiative.
New guidelines have been issued for the initiative and new application forms are now available.
Key changes include:
- an increased grant percentage of up to 65 percent for New and Existing Incubators projects where at least 80 percent of project activities are being undertaken in a regional area
- introduction of four Regional Incubator Facilitators to assist regional applicants to engage with the initiative
- expansion of the Expert in Residence component to allow for outgoing experts to visit host incubators
- a new maximum grant amount for Expert in Residence project of $100,000.
A series of information sessions and a live webinar providing more information on the changes are expected to take place in early 2018. For further information about these events, go to https://www.business.gov.au/ep.
What is it?
The Incubator Support initiative provides funding through two components to deliver Incubator Support projects.
The first is support for New and Existing incubators:
- to help develop new incubators in regions or sectors with high potential for success in international trade,
- to boost the effectiveness of high performing incubators, including funding support to expand their services and/or develop the innovation ecosystem, and
- to encourage incubators to work with more data-driven start-ups that use public data as part of their business.
The second is support for Expert in Residence:
- to increase the capabilities of incubators and improve the chance of commercial success for start-ups in international markets by organising and providing access to top quality research, managerial and technical talent through incoming and outgoing secondments of national or international experts.
Grant funding will be available as follows:
- a minimum grant amount of $26,000 and a maximum grant amount of $500,000 for New and Existing Incubators per project with a maximum grant period of 24 months.
The maximum grant percentage varies depending on your project location as defined in the regional locator tool available on business.gov.au. For this initiative, we consider Inner Regional, Outer Regional, Remote and Very Remote locations as regional areas and all other locations as major cities.
- Incubators in major cities may receive a maximum grant of 50 per cent of the eligible project value.
- Incubators with projects located in regional areas may receive up to 65 per cent of the eligible project value.
If you apply for the greater percentage, you will need to demonstrate in your application that your project is located in a regional area. We consider your project is located in a regional area if you can attribute at least 80 per cent of your eligible project value to activities in a regional area.
- a minimum grant amount of $5,000 and a maximum grant amount of $100,000 for Expert-In-Residence per project with a maximum grant period of 12 months.
When is it happening?
The Incubator Support initiative will re-open to applications in December 2017.
Key role of incubators in startup success
Incubators are a vital part of any effective innovation ecosystem. Australia already has a number of incubators and accelerators, with many of them located in capital cities or focused on information and communications technology.
By providing mentoring, office space, professional services and finance, incubators help many startups validate their ideas and achieve success.