Small businesses can receive up to $7000 in funding from the federal government’s Global Connections Fund to partner with a researcher overseas to develop commercial projects and foster co-operation with 17 other “priority economies”.
Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash announced on Monday the fund is now looking for applications from SMEs that want to meet with overseas researchers in nations including Brazil, China and the US to discuss formal partnerships, explore the possibility of seed funding and work on research-focused technologies in their fields.
“This is a great opportunity for eligible researchers and businesses to look internationally,” Cash said in a statement.
The Global Connections Fund Priming Grants program was launched by then Innovation Minister Christopher Pyne in 2016 and formed one of the opportunities targeted towards SMEs in Malcolm Turnbull’s Innovation Agenda.
Since the launch, Cash says 73 grant recipients have taken advantage of the $7000 boost, going on to raise capital of $2.3 million after taking part in the grant program.
The program requires Australian small businesses to form a new relationship with a research partner from one of 17 priority nations, with the aim of using the funds to head overseas and start work on ” activities preparing cooperative, international R&D projects or facilitating technology solutions”.
The funding is aimed at easing the burden of starting a partnership with experts overseas, but the funds must be used for projects that are working towards a tangible commercial outcome, rather than just being scoping studies or other research. The definition of a “small business” for the purposes of the grants varies depending on the nation the business is targeting, however, all businesses must have 200 employees or less to be eligible.
To apply, recipients of the grant must be Australian citizens and provide an outline of who they intend to partner with, the intended project and how the grant will make a business impact.
Be specific in applications and leave out the extras
Jason Conway is a grant and tender writing expert at Tsaks Grant Writing. He believes that when it comes to opportunities like this Priming Grant, too many businesses fail to take a long-term view in their applications.
“I would say about 70% of businesses’ thought processes would stop at the thought of them getting the grant,” he tells SmartCompany.
When applying for a program like this, Conway says the best applications will demonstrate how the funds would be useful to projects that a business is already undertaking, rather than being focused on just getting the money.
“Grant review committee members are experienced — they can generally see through people’s intentions,” he says. This means it’s important businesses don’t seem too “opportunistic” when applying for grants.
“The more specific, the better chance of success. So when you’re looking to partner with an organisation, even though you’re only looking for a $7000 grant, you have to show research — and a structured plan of what you assume will occur, assuming you get the grant.”
When applying for business grants worth a few thousand dollars, Conway recommends ensuring your application is well structured and focused on the project, rather than yourself.
“Don’t be self-focused, saying ‘I need this money’,” he advises.
Applications for the program close March 8. Read further details here.