$25,000 to assist companies raise capital and accelerate the commercial uptake of their technology.
The Innovation Pathways Program assists NSW SMEs with innovative technologies supported by intellectual property to accelerate technology commercialisation through an integrated program of skills and capability building, and grant assistance. The program has been developed in this way to reflect the fact that successful technology commercialisation depends not just on innovative technology but also on the capacity to execute.
The Pathways program has two major components:
- Skills and Capability: A program of diagnostics, workshops and one-on-one mentoring, to increase the capacity of a company to commercialise their technology.
- Grants : A program of matching grants up to $25,000 to assist companies raise capital and accelerate the commercial uptake of their technology. Grant assistance is only available to companies with products that are beyond prototype, with a reference site, and where the company has a clearly articulated commercialisation strategy.
The program is designed to complement I&I NSW’s Australian Technology Showcase and International Markets programs, and eligible companies may be able to access additional grants up to $25,000 under the ATS and Trade programs. Companies qualifying for grant assistance under the Pathways, ATS and Trade programs may therefore be eligible for up to $50,000 of assistance in a 12 month period. The program also complements Commercialisation Australia, the Federal Government’s recently launched commercialisation initiative.
The program is open to NSW SMEs with turnover less than $15m, and with innovative technology supported by IP. The grant funding is assessed on a competitive basis, and is available to companies with market ready products, i.e. beyond prototype, and with a current reference site.
The grants are only available following submission of a completed Application Form and when supported by a clearly articulated commercialisation strategy. Where the strategy is unclear or where a company’s commercialisation strategy has stalled, the company will be recommended to participate in the diagnostic and high growth workshop program.
Skills and Capability
Free One-Day High Growth Diagnostic
The first element of the Skills and Capability component of the Pathways program is a free, one-day, high-growth diagnostic, to assist entrepreneurs to evaluate their current progress against their commercialisation goals. Conducted by experienced facilitators, with a small group of like-minded companies, this free, one-day diagnostic will provide you with an update on the next steps in your high-growth strategy, while benefiting from lively interactions and feedback from other technology entrepreneurs facing similar issues.
Feedback from recent diagnostic sessions:
“Best part of the workshop is to allow us to benchmark ourselves against other companies looking to expand into export markets.”
“It has given me a direction to head within the company.” For established SMEs, this one-day diagnostic provides an opportunity to step back from the business and look beyond day-to-day issues at the pathway ahead.
High-Growth diagnostics are held regularly. To book now or to find out more, contact Jean Hsu on 9338 6788 or [email protected]. (You do not need to complete a Pathways application form to participate in the one-day diagnostic).
High Growth Workshop
Following the one-day diagnostic, companies may choose to participate in a program of four workshops, one-on-one mentoring and a Graduation Showcase over a period of 10-12 weeks. The High Growth workshop program is designed to assist a company deal with the opportunities, complexities and uncertainties of high-growth commercialisation pathways, helping to reduce risk and increase the probability of successful, sustainable high growth.
As with the one-day diagnostic, the workshops are conducted by experienced facilitators to address the issues relevant to innovative technology SMEs, by assisting the company to gain new skills and knowledge while learning from, as well as assisting, fellow entrepreneurs. Participants will be supported with a minimum of six hours of one-on-one mentoring from the workshop facilitators, to assist with particular growth challenges the company faces, including capital raising and new market development. The workshops are heavily subsidised by I&I NSW, so that the cost to the company is only $2000 + GST. I&I NSW can also assist with a timed payment plan when cash flow is an issue.
The culmination of the High Growth Workshop program is a Graduation Showcase, providing the opportunity for participants to present their growth strategy to an expert panel. The panel will provide valuable feedback and provide recommendations to the company and to I&I NSW about the next steps, which may include access to grant funding under the Market Ready and Capital Raising components of the Pathways program.
Market Ready and Capital Raising Grants
The Market Ready and Capital Raising grants components of the Pathways program provide dollar-for-dollar funding to support capital raising or to accelerate the market uptake of proven products (i.e. products beyond prototype with an identified reference site).
Subject to eligibility and competitive assessment, the maximum available under the grants component of the Pathways program is $25,000. The maximum for Capital Raising is $10,000, so that a further $15,000 may then be available under the Market Ready component. (In exceptional circumstances, $15,000 may be available for capital raising, which would reduce the maximum available under the Market Ready component to $10,000). Applications for grant funding should be made on the Application Form. Companies seeking grant assistance will be expected to identify realistic, specific objectives to be achieved within a 12 month period in terms of jobs, export sales, capital raised and government grants. Further assistance will be dependent on progress against these objectives.
Market Ready Program
Under the Market Ready component of the Pathways program, grant assistance may include funding of up to $25,000, for up to 50% of external costs to assist established businesses with innovative products to accelerate their product’s market penetration. In certain cases, e.g.: product customisation, assistance may also cover internal costs.
Eligible projects may include:
- IP strategy and assessment of freedom to operate
- Market validation testing
- Manufacturing feasibility/capacity assessment
- Technology demonstration site development
- Market driven product refinement/customisation
- Regulatory/Compliance Advice and Testing
- Accreditation to meet quality standards
- Other product development activities that enable the product to access new vertical/geographical markets.
Under the Capital Raising component of the Pathways program, and subject to competitive assessment, matching funding may be available up to $10,000 to fund the cost involved in engaging an adviser to assist in the process of raising capital to fund growth. Organisations applying for assistance under this component will need to demonstrate a reasonable understanding of their capital raising options. Advisers will need to show experience in raising capital across a range of sources and must not be a current or potential investor in the organisation. Funding will not be available to cover listing fees, or where the consultant is promoting a particular funding option. Funding will not be available to offset the costs of a lender’s due diligence.
Assessment will be merit-based, and carried out by a Departmental panel on an ongoing basis. Grant applications will be assessed against the following criteria, to establish the strength of the commercial opportunity, and the capability of the company to execute the opportunity.
- Strength of IP (key entry criteria)
- Level of Innovation (key entry criteria)
- Management capability
- Commercial opportunity
- Product maturity
- Business maturity
- Need for assistance
- Outcomes of previous assistance
- Forecast outcomes of the assistance
International Trade Assistance
Matching grants for assistance with participation in the Department’s international exhibitions and trade shows, for exhibition or business matching costs of an independent market visit, or for other export focussed activities such as export market planning and research or internationalisation of a website, are available where a company has turnover greater than $1m, and demonstrated export capability. Maximum available assistance in a 12 month period is $15,000, on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
Australian Technology Showcase.
The Australian Technology Showcase assists the commercialisation of innovative technologies that are marketready with international market potential, by established Australian SMEs. Applications for membership are assessed by a panel of independent experts, and successful applicants may access up to $20,000 to support export market development during their three-year membership period. Eligible expenditure includes 50% of the cost of economy class airfares and a $200 per diem to support export market visits.
Members of the ATS will have access to networking and showcasing opportunities, and will be entitled to use the ATS logo to promote their technology. Application forms are available here.