The federal government has just announced details of the Accelerating Commercialisation component of the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme, a funding program that replaces the Commercialisation Australia program.
The Accelerating Commercialisation (AC) program is designed to help small to medium businesses and researchers commercialise on what is being referred to in the information packs as “novel products, processes and services”.
There seems to be a stronger emphasis on connecting those applying with a network of commercialisation advisors to provide guidance on early-stage commercialisation.
There are certainly quite a few changes to the previous Commercialisation Australia program and there are some important points to note:
Two parts of the offer – portfolio and/or grants
First, being part of the Accelerating Commercialisation Portfolio gets your company publicly listed on a database, gives you a commercialisation advisor contact and also gives you opportunities to connect with a new Expert Network of advisors.
Secondly, you may apply for grants (up to $250,000 for the commercialisation group of a research agency and up to $1 million for a company).
Importantly, you don’t have to seek funding (grants) to apply to be part of the Accelerating Commercialisation Portfolio.
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Two stage application process
To apply, you’ll need to complete the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme (EIP) Accelerating Commercialisation Expression of Interest (EOI) form online at business.gov.au.
Your application will be reviewed by a customer service advisor, after which you may progress to the more detailed Accelerating Commercialisation application or they may point you in the direction of other applicable grants.
Grant eligibility criteria and funding
When applying for funding there are some things to be aware of around the eligibility criteria:
- Any funding needs to be matched 50:50. (Good news for companies in the BlueChilli incubation and accelerator programs is that BCVF qualifies as one of the matched fund providers).
- If you have already made sales and are looking for funding for scale or marketing you won’t qualify
- Funding for next versions of your product (unless major) don’t qualify. It’s worth completing the Expression of Interest BEFORE launching your MVP.
- You need to make your first sales in AUSTRALIA
- Maximum length of project is two years. Funding will be tied to agreed milestones around that timeframe.
Tech sector restrictions removed
Previously, there were limits on the tech sectors that could apply for commercialisation support. Now, companies from any tech sector can apply.
That being said, there are five key areas that have been identified as ‘growth sectors’. If your business targets a growth sector, you get bonus points:
- Advanced manufacturing;
- Food and agribusiness;
- Medical technologies and pharmaceuticals;
- Mining equipment, technology and services;
- Oil, gas and energy resources; or
- Enabling technologies and services for the above
Overall, this new program seems to be for earlier stage companies looking for funding to complete development, prove commercial viability, make first sales in Australia and move towards commercialisation of novel IP.
The new program has stronger ties into the Expert Network of advisors, industry, corporations and government which has the potential to help accelerate the commercialisation of these early stage businesses. It also aims to increase visibility of the ecosystem as a whole (this is a good thing!)
For more information, see accelerating commercialisation.
Catherine Eibner joined BlueChilli After spending her previous years mentoring startups as the head of the Microsoft Bizspark program in Australia. Eibner brings her passion and experience across technology and business to help the BlueChilli startups achieve global success.
This article first appeared at BlueChilli.