Up to $500,000 is available from the Coles Nurture Fund to help small Australian food and grocery producers, farmers and manufacturers to innovate and grow their business.
Coles Nurture Fund
The Coles Nurture Fund supports small to medium Australian businesses that want to improve existing services or products and create new systems or processes. Through the CNF, small-to-medium businesses may apply for funding to enable them to take the next step in creating value for business and customers.
Bulletpoint have assisted a number of food manufacturing companies secure manufacturing grants similar to the Coles Nurture Fund.
Bulletpoint assisted Harry & Larry’s Ice-cream secure $1,200,000. Based in Brunswick, Harry & Larry’s manufacture a range of specialty ice creams.
The grant will see 30 new jobs created and investment in a factory expansion with custom engineered production lines, including the latest freezing technology, to make a range of gourmet ice creams and desserts in complex shapes and layers.
Bulletpoint assisted Cottage Cheese Farm secure $765,000. Based in Glenroy, Victoria, Cottage Cheese Farm is a speciality cheese manufacturer making mainly Haloumi, Ricotta and Mozzarella cheeses.
They received funding to assist with construction of a $6M purpose built cheese and yoghurt manufacturing facility. The project will allow them to expand current operations and introduction of new product lines.
The Coles Nurture Fund is one way Coles can offer support and encouragement to small Australian businesses looking for assistance to take the next step in creating more productive and innovative ways of working.
Coles has launched an exciting initiative to assist small to medium Australian producers, farmers and manufacturers to innovate and grow their business.
Coles has announced the Coles Nurture Fund, and will allocate $50 million over five years intended to encourage suppliers and potential suppliers to develop new market-leading products, technologies, systems and processes.
Innovation is one of the primary drivers of competitiveness. Whether improving or developing new technologies for delivery systems, state-of-the-art refrigeration and lighting to generate better environmental outcomes, improved product quality in the farm sector or greater scale production in processed foods, the CNF seeks to support small to medium Australian businesses that want to improve existing services or products and create new systems or processes. Coles is proud to continue supporting small to medium Australian producers, farmers and manufacturers through funding allocations under the CNF.
Coles will, through the Coles Nurture Fund, allocate an aggregate total of $10,000,000 a year. Of this, $5,000,000 will be available each year for grants; $5,000,000 for interest-free loans.
The maximum single allocation of funds under the Coles Nurture Fund is $500,000.
To be eligible for funding from the Coles Nurture Fund, applicants must:
- have a turnover that is less than $25,000,000 per annum;
- employ no more than 50 full time employees (excluding casual seasonal labour);
- have a registered Australian Business Number;
- be an incorporated Australian entity registered for GST;
- have been trading for more than two years;
- provide financial statements for a minimum of the previous two financial years;
- provide a funding declaration from an external accountant on the accountant’s company letterhead confirming ability to fund applicant’s share of project costs and solvency.
To be eligible to apply for the Coles Nurture Fund all of the above criteria must be met.
Applicants that have already secured co-investments for their project from other entities will be considered.
However, funds cannot be allocated for general operational expenses including rent, utilities, marketing or remuneration for existing staff.
Nor can funds be used as security to obtain, or comply with, any form of loan, credit, payment or other interest or for the preparation of, or in the course of, any litigation.
How to get the Coles Nurture Fund?
You will need to be able to demonstrate:
- Growth Strategy –Whether the project is an expansion of an existing activity or diversification of existing businesses
- Cool Tech – The extent of new innovation, including new technology
- Jobs – The employment impact on other businesses
- Investment – The generation of further investment
- Competitive Neutrality – Trade impacts on other businesses including competitors
- Market – The extent to which the project will service the Australian market
- Management – Details of the your track record to successfully implement the new project
- IP – Did you develop any of the technology identified for the project
- Shovel Ready – Have you accessed suppliers and sourced distributors for the project
- Cash –How you will fund the project not covered by the grant
- Sustainability – how will the project continue after the completion date
- Goals – What are the longer term outcomes from the project
- Funding – Would the investment proposal proceed without the CNF funding
- Coles Nurture Fund – Guidelines
- Coles Nurture Fund – FAQs
- Coles Nurture Fund – Application Form
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Ovens Valley, Victoria
Nigel Stephens used a $127,270 grant to introduce a new irrigation system to reduce water use and cut electricity costs, allowing him to produce grass-fed beef year round. The Nurture Fund has helped fund a centre pivot irrigation system, replacing the farm’s outdated and less sustainable system, which has helped reduce his farm’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Goulburn Valley, Victoria
Oakmoor Orchards is introducing a new pear variety in Australia with help from the Coles Nurture Fund. The $500,000 grant has allowed Rocky and Carolyn Varapodio to establish a 13 hectare orchard for the Honey Belle pear variety. The Honey Belle originates from Europe and it is expected the first Australian harvest will be 2021. Oakmoor Orchards is helping to diversify the horticulture industry and expanding the fruit varieties available at Coles.
Coolac, New South Wales
Cattle farmer Michael Crowe received a $400,000 grant to build facilities to manufacture a highly-nutritious animal fodder, allowing him to produce grass-fed beef year round. Producing the high protein fodder on a daily basis will provide Michael’s farm with significant water savings, facilitate a more efficient farming process and ensure fodder production is unaffected by climate. The Crowes are passionate about innovation in the farming and food sector and hope the facility will be a blueprint for cattle farmers around Australia.
Kununurra, Western Australia
With a $500,000 grant from the Coles Nurture Fund, Kimberley Produce will exponentially expand its banana growing operations. Expecting to yield an extra 5 million bananas, Kimberley Produce are dedicated to bringing Western Australians more locally-grown fruit, with the majority of bananas currently on the market coming from northern Queensland.
Based in semi-arid Kununurra, Stewart and Rosalie Dobson, along with their sons, Lachlan and Craig are using the Coles Nurture Fund grant to introduce the latest technologies to meet the challenges of growing fruit in the dry region. Hard-work, determination and an adventurous spirit inspired the Dobsons to take on Kununurra for fruit-growing and we are proud to support them in their expansion project, especially when it ensures Western Australians can get their hands on fantastic local bananas.
Based in Central Queensland, Bill Crowther is using a $500,000 Coles Nurture Fund grant to plant a resilient tree-legume at his cattle properties to be used as cattle feed. This innovative practice increases the land’s productivity by 20 per cent and increases the production of grass-fed beef, while also ensuring the Crowther’s properties are better prepared for the impact of Queensland droughts.
The Crowther’s have been supplying beef directly to Coles since 2010, with this Nurture Fund supported project expanding their supply of grass-fed beef to Coles’ Graze program.
Lismore, New South Wales
A $400,000 interest-free loan from the Coles Nurture Fund will see Natalie Bell and Paul Lloyd grow the popular Eureka blueberries for an additional four months each year and create 20 new jobs in the region. The funds have been used to invest in equipment to grow new varieties of Eureka blueberries, which will produce the fruit earlier in the season, marking the first time this innovative growing method will be used on a large scale in Australia. At Coles, we are passionate about bringing customers locally-grown produce and that is why we are proud to support Natalie and Paul to help our customers get their hands on delicious Aussie blueberries for more months of the year.
Swan Hill, Victoria
A $300,000 Coles Nurture Fund grant allowed Arahura Farms to expand into new organic products by freeing up resources usually dedicated to packaging. Tony Croft used the Nurture Fund grant to install automated processing and packaging equipment, which has encouraged the family business to focus on growing more organic vegetables for Aussies to enjoy, including carrots, beetroot and mini cos lettuce.
Cattle producers David and Katy Gillett from Jalna Feedlot received a $500,000 Coles Nurture Fund grant to build a specially-designed roof over a portion of their feedlot. Aimed at enhancing animal welfare standards, the roof will protect their cattle against the winter climate, resulting in cleaner animals and reducing the amount of feed they consume to keep warm. The roof also helps to reduce water consumption at the farm by diverting rainfall into holding tanks with expectations that this will save 4.5 million litres of water each year.
With the help of a $200,552 grant from the Coles Nurture Fund, Australian Eatwell is reinventing the healthy vegetarian favourite, tofu, by using locally-grown chickpeas as the key ingredient, rather than soy beans. Australian Eatwell used the Nurture Fund grant to purchase the equipment to develop a production line and streamline the packaging process. With the support of the Coles Nurture Fund, the small family business has been able to develop an innovative and delicious vegetarian product for Aussies.
Gin Gin and Dry
Gin Gin and Dry have been able to treble production in its fruit drying facility with help from a $500,000 grant from the Coles Nurture Fund. The grant supported the family-owned business to build a state-of-the-art facility to expand its production of dried tropical fruits such as mango, pineapple, banana and kiwifruit, as well as dried fruit powder used in cooking. The funds have also contributed to employing an extra 20 local people to work in the business.
Pacific Reef Fisheries
Pacific Reef Fisheries used a $430,000 interest-free loan from the Coles Nurture Fund to introduce an Australian-first farming practice for its production of Australian Black Tiger Prawns. The business introduced a ‘nursery’ phase to support prawn growth, increasing overall yield and delivering larger prawns consistently through the year. This also supported hiring an additional 10 employees to help harvest and process the prawns at the farm at Ayr in Queensland. It also means customers can expect consistently large prawns at great value.
Riviera Farms received an $183,000 grant to increase production of watercress by building a fully commercialised growing and harvesting facility. This has resulted in increased production of the popular green to 12 months, yielding 300 per cent more watercress and creating 10 new jobs in the region. It has also encouraged the family business to diversify its salad leaf offering to customers.
Des and Paula Chapman used a $400,000 Coles Nurture Fund grant to build a state-of-the-art nursery, install efficient motors and fully computerise irrigation and fertigation systems on their fruit and vegetable farm. The technology used by the Chapmans means their farm can be controlled from anywhere in the world, boosting productivity, reducing electricity and water costs and creating 15 new jobs.
Port Wakefield, South Australia
With a Coles Nurture Fund grant of $300,000, P&L Rogers has built a state-of-the-art facility to boost mushroom production by 15 per cent. The new facility will give Phil and Linda Rogers greater control of their supply chain, ensure the long-term viability of the business and create 15 new jobs in the region.
Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs
Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs, based on the outskirts of Melbourne was able to build a state-of-the-art greenhouse funded by a $433,250 Coles Nurture Fund interest-free loan, as part of its new model of urban farming. The greenhouse uses cloud technology to tell employees when and what herbs to pick and has increased yields by about 75 per cent. This means Coles customers can enjoy locally-grown herbs all year round. Representing the criteria of the Coles Nurture Fund, the Victorian business is dedicated to innovation, best-in-class sustainable practices and providing Aussies with great produce.
Queensland and Myponga, South Australia
In a first for the strawberry industry, Berry Yummy has implemented cutting edge heat-seal technology to enhance food safety and quality through the support of the Coles Nurture Fund. A $500,000 interest-free loan meant Berry Yummy could install innovative heat-seal technology to help ensure a consistent quality supply of the popular fruit to customers. Pioneering the practice in Australia, the technology has helped to reduce packaging and food waste and speed up the time it takes for strawberries to get from paddock to plate.
Harvey, Western Australia
With a $500,000 Coles Nurture Fund grant, Harvey Citrus planted 9,000 new trees to bring customers more locally-grown limes and mandarins. Supplying Coles with top quality citrus for more than 30 years, Pina and Steve Pergoliti also used the support from the Nurture Fund to expand into new citrus varieties, including introducing a new line of seedless lemons. Bringing Western Australian locally-grown citrus to Coles customers is a top priority for the Pergolitis and that’s why Coles is proud to support them.
Katherine, Northern Territory and Townsville, Queensland
Since receiving a $500,000 interest-free loan from the Coles Nurture Fund, Manbulloo Mangoes in Queensland and the Northern Territory have sold an additional 4.5 million mangoes each season through Coles. The support from the Nurture Fund enabled Marie Piccone to embark on a major expansion project, planting nearly 22,000 new mangoes trees on 130 hectares at her Katherine farm, so that Aussies can enjoy more delicious and locally-grown mangoes all summer long. The expansion also supports regional employment with an 60 additional people needed during peak harvest season.
St George, Queensland
A $400,000 Coles Nurture Fund grant saw fifth generation farmers Andrew and David Moon purchase a controlled temperature storage facility, new machinery and equipment to size and pack garlic for their growing operation. Dedicated to reducing imports of garlic into Australia, the grant has allowed Moonrocks to provide more locally-grown garlic to Queensland customers. The project has been a great success, replacing garlic imports at Coles from September to December, and also supporting local community employment.
Narrogin, Western Australia
Western Australian grain growers, Three Farmers, received a $500,000 Coles Nurture Fund grant to help build mainland Australia’s first-ever quinoa processing plant, enabling the farming families to supply Coles with more than 800,000 packets of the super-grain each year. This Western Australian grown quinoa has replaced imported South American white quinoa, providing Aussies with access to locally-grown grains and cutting import costs.
Westerway Raspberry Farm
Derwent Valley, Tasmania
A $260,000 Coles Nurture Fund grant allowed Westerway Raspberry Farm in Tasmania to install new freezing technology, allowing them to freeze individual berries. As the first grower in Australia to adopt the Liquid Nitrogen berry freezer tunnel, the Clark family have been able to supply locally-grown frozen berries to customers on a large scale. This has also encouraged them to access exciting new markets.
Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs, based on the outskirts of Melbourne was able to build a state-of-the-art greenhouse funded by a $430,000 Coles Nurture Fund grant, as part of its new model of urban farming.
The greenhouse uses cloud technology to tell employees when and what herbs to pick and has increased yields by about 75 per cent.
This means Coles customers can enjoy locally-grown herbs all year round. Representing the criteria of the Coles Nurture Fund, this Victorian business is dedicated to innovation, best-in-class sustainable practices and providing Aussies with great produce.
Three Australian farming families have invested in innovation and helped to replace food imports after becoming the first-ever recipients of Coles’ $50 million Nurture Fund.
The Clark family from Westerway Raspberry Farm in Tasmania, the Wiese family from Yarranabee Pty Ltd in Western Australia and the Moon family from Moonrocks in Queensland were among the first recipients of Coles’ grants.
Ashley Wiese and his business partners from Three Farmers in Western Australia have used their grant to help build mainland Australia’s first quinoa processing plant.
The quinoa processing plant has then enabled Three Farmers to supply Coles stores across Australia with their locally-grown quinoa.
“It’s blown me away,” said Mr Wiese. “We were looking to send our quinoa overseas for processing. We applied for the Coles Nurture Fund and it all happened in a whirlwind. It just gave us the confidence to build the plant.”
In Victoria, Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs has used a grant from the Coles Nurture Fund to open a greenhouse which uses cloud technology and climate control that allows them to grow fresh herbs all year round.
“What’s fantastic about this technology is that we have shuttles that travel up and down the greenhouse and bring the produce all the way back to the shed,” said Jan Vydra, co-founder of Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs.
Harvey Citrus in Western Australia, Manbulloo Mangoes in Northern Territory and Butler Market Gardens in Victoria were also among the first recipients of the Coles Nurture Fund.
A new pear variety will hit Coles supermarket shelves and be grown in Australia for the first time, thanks to an Ardmona fruit grower.
Oakmoor Orchards owner Rocky Varapodio will pull out 13ha of old trees on his Ardmona property and replace them with Honey Belle trees. The European pear variety is owned by Freshmax Australia, which will also be the Australian marketer.
Mr Varapodio first saw the pear on a business trip to New Zealand and described the fruit as a ‘‘fresh eating pear’’.
‘‘The pears originated in Europe but are grown extensively in New Zealand,’’ he said. ‘‘I first came across the variety four years ago and when I’d eaten it, I thought ‘we’ve got to get this into Australia and get Australian consumers to enjoy it’.
Oakmoor Orchards is currently putting in the infrastructure before growing begins in the winter of 2018, a date that was brought forward thanks to a $500000 grant from the Coles Nurture Fund.
‘‘With the help of the Nurture Fund, we can fast track the planting and grow the variety using world’s best practice with high density planting, trellising and crop protection netting within 12 months rather than four years because of the investment required,’’ Mr Varapodio said.