New Victorian grant for SMEs


8th April, 2021

Grants available under Technology Adoption and Innovation Program for Victorian SMEs

The Victorian Government is accepting applications for its Technology Adoption and Innovation Program – a competitive scheme that offers matched funding for on-boarding or developing innovative technologies to improve internal process and boost Victoria’s economy.

To support local small to medium businesses working in the technology space, the Victorian Government has launched its latest grant scheme encouraging businesses to improve their traditional systems and adapt a technological mindset.

The grant, which will be accepting applications until 19 April 2021, is offering between $20,000 and $50,000 in one-to-one matched funding to eligible businesses with compelling applications that score highly against the grant’s merit criteria.

Two streams of eligible projects

Businesses that are looking to apply for this grant need to be intending on conducting activities that fall under one of the following two categories:

  1. Activities aimed at adopting innovative systems to improve existing processes and enable scalability. This includes the adaptation of tech-solutions for e-commerce, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and other cutting-edge technologies within the applicant business.
  2. Activities that involve the development of pre-defined novel commercial technologies. These technologies are vertical-agnostic, and activities can include prototyping, design, enhancement, and engaging experts to deliver the project objectives.

It’s expected that projects under both streams will enable the applicant business to contribute to Victoria’s economic recovery.

Successful applicants under both streams will be given 12 months to complete their projects.

Businesses applying through the second project stream are required to demonstrate that their primary business model is the provision of technology products or services.

While the full grant amount is available across both streams, businesses can only apply through one of them.

Other eligibility criteria

In addition to conducting activities that fall within one the two project streams, applicants need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be operating as a legal entity located in Victoria.
  • Have an ABN that was registered before 1 September 2020.
  • Have been registered for GST before 1 September 2020.
  • Have had a team of more than five but less than 200 full-time equivalent employees since 1 September 2020.

Additionally, businesses need to demonstrate that they can contribute their share of the funds for the project (meaning, 50 percent of the funding being sought).

Assessment criteria

Competitive grant schemes are almost always assessed based on a series or assessment (or merit) criteria. Each merit criterion holds a certain level of weighting, and the higher a submission scores against each of them, the more likely it is to be considered for the grant.

This program has four such assessment criteria:

  1. How the project aligns with Technology Adoption and Innovation program objectives (worth 30%)
  2. How the Victorian economy will derive benefit from the project (worth 20%)
  3. Project feasibility (worth 30%)
  4. Ability to deliver and need for funding (worth 20%)

The way in which each of these criteria are defined will vary depending on which project stream the application is being made under. The Victorian Government’s grant overview document provides a detailed explanation on how each criterion relates to the two different project streams.

Key documents required

As part of the submission process, applicant businesses will need to provide a series of documents that outline information about their proposed project, one of which being a detailed project plan.

Compelling project plans are expected to include an overview of the project itself, including timeline and budget details, quotations, and scopes of service from any potential third-party suppliers that are to be engaged to deliver the project, and evidence of the business’s internal capabilities to deliver on the project.

Project plans should also include details of any marketing strategies that will be undertaken to achieve project-related sales objectives.

Financial records will also need to be provided, including audited financial reports for the previous two financial years, interim accounts for the current year, as well as an overall business plan with cash flow projections.

Excluded expenditure

While the scheme covers all project related expenditure, there are a few key exclusions to be weary of, chief of which ‘business as usual’ expenses, including existing staff costs, travel, communications, and other routine operational costs.

Legal and accounting fees, website building, IP registration, GST, and routine replacement of office equipment are also excluded.
Costs associated with grant preparation are also ineligible under this program.

Where to from here?

Applications can be submitted via the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions grant application website.

Once an application has be lodged, a panel of reviewers will assess it against the eligibility and merit criteria, ultimately deciding as to whether they recommend the project to the minster.

If the minster approves the application, a letter of offer and grant agreement will be sent to the business for execution.

For more information about this grant program, including FAQs and additional guidelines, visit the website.