Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme – Part 1

The Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme was announced under the 2014-15 Commonwealth Budget, replacing previous programs such as Commercialisation Australia and the Innovation Investment Fund.

With $484.2 million over 4 years to be spent, the Government’s aim for the programme is to:

1.  provide strategic support to business

2. bring research and business together to develop and commercialise novel intellectual property; and

3. equip small and medium businesses with the management and business skills needed to lead change and expansion.

So what does that all mean? Well, it seems the government is taking on more of a guidance councillor approach. Whilst funding is still provided (on a co-contribution and competitive grant basis, as in past schemes), money granted is to be spent on activities recommended by appointed ‘Advisors’ and ‘Facilitators’. There is a significant focus on internal business practices, improving business capabilities, business relationship management and access to the Government’s ‘network of advisors’.

The Programme consists of three elements

1. Business Management

2. Research Connections

3. Accelerating Commercialisation

1. Business Management (commenced 1 July 2014)

The services offered under the Business Management element of the Programme include:

  1. Business Evaluation – on-site analysis of all aspects of a business, carried out by independent, appointed Advisors. A Business Evaluation Report is prepared and presented, along with suggested improvements to the business.
  1. Supply Chain Facilitation – access to services that assist individual businesses improve their interactions with suppliers and customers, to increase participation in new and existing markets. Improvements are suggested in a Supplier Improvement Plan.
  1. Business Growth Services – supports eligible businesses with ‘high growth potential’ for up to two years, so that they may develop and implement agreed business improvements to facilitate growth, as outlined in a Growth Services Plan. Businesses are assessed against specific merit criteria to determine the existence of sufficient growth potential, including financial capacity to fund growth.
  1. Business Growth Grant – reimbursement of up to half the cost (no more than $20,000) of appointing an external consultant to implement business improvements outlined in the above services. The total cost of engaging a consultant must be funded by the business before claiming the Grant.

To claim the grant, the business must provide two different consulting quotes and demonstrate:

i.) that the chosen consultant is providing new knowledge to the business

ii.) that the work involved in not simply a part of the normal business operations, and

iii) how the activities undertaken will help to develop the capabilities previously identified as lacking.

Note: The business must have received advice offered under at least one of the areas outlined above in points 1-3 above, and be implementing the recommendations, to be eligible to claim the Grant.

Eligibility

To be eligible to access the services offered under the Business Management stream, businesses must:

–   Be a registered business/corporation

–   Be registered for GST

–   Not be tax-exempt

–   Have operated in Australia and filed business activity statements for at least 3 years

–   Be financially solvent

–   Have an annual turnover or operating expenditure thresholds between $1.5 million – $100 million

–   Be operating in the following industries: Advanced Manufacturing; Food and Agribusiness; Medical Technologies & Pharmaceuticals; Mining Equipment, Technology & Services; Oil, Gas & Energy Resources; or Enabling Technologies of these sectors, or demonstrate the business has the ability to operate in one of these industries in the future

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Nov 3, 2014.