On 27 November 2023, Department of Industry, Science and Resources officially opened the application for Industry Growth Program (IGP) and released the eligibility guidelines.

This program is designed for highly innovative and limited capital start-ups and SMEs that need assistance in bringing a new product or service to the market.

The Industry Growth Program will provide two distinct but complementary services:

  1. The IGP Advisory Services
  2. The IGP Grant Opportunities

These will be available for innovative small and medium-sized businesses pursuing commercialisation and/or growth initiatives. These initiatives must be aligned to the priority sector list of the National Reconstruction Fund (NRF).

IGP target businesses

To qualify as an innovative SME, applicants must have an innovative product, process or service which:

  • is new, unique or significantly different to any other previous product, process or service in the market or industry where the product is intended to be sold/traded; or
  • involves significant enhancements or developments of current products, processes or services that will enable the business to scale and transform.

Applicant SMEs must also be pursuing commercialisation of their innovation, either via:

  • Early-stage commercialisation projects should include feasibility studies, proof-of-concept development, and prototype fabrication and testing in a virtual or theoretical context. The innovative product, technique, or service should be tested for commercial viability. Various scales are referenced to demonstrate technological or market readiness, such as Technological Readiness Levels (TRLs). As a guide, early-stage commercialisation grant projects are intended to broadly include the journey through TRL3 to TRL6.
  • Commercialisation and growth projects should have feasibility studies and proof-of-concept. Projects should include product, process, or service development from early prototype to final application, scaling up to full production, and entering new markets. Various scales are referenced to demonstrate technological or market readiness, such as Technological Readiness Levels (TRLs). As a guide, early-stage commercialisation grant projects are intended to broadly include the journey through TRL4 to TRL9.

What are NRF priority areas?

IGP Advisory and Grant offerings

Participants may apply for one of both of the IGP’s advisory and grant offerings based on their commercialisation and growth prospects.

IGP Advisory Service

The department's IGP Advisers will assist innovative SMEs commercialise and expand in NRF priority areas. Program’s grant opportunities require participation in the Advisory Service, which is open to all eligible businesses. It will be expected that program participants have considered the advice received through this element of the program in their applications for grant funding.

IGP Grant Opportunities

The program’s Advisory Service is complemented by two grant opportunities:

  • grants of $50,000 to $250,000 to support early-stage commercialisation projects
  • grants of $100,000 to $5 million for commercialisation and growth projects.

Industry Growth Program Grants will open in 2024. Broad requirements for this will be the applicants to

  • participate in the Advisory Service element of the program and have received a report from their Adviser
  • meet the co-funding contribution for the grant opportunity

What are eligibility criteria for IGP advisory services?

SMEs can apply if they:

  • have a combined annual turnover of less than $20 million for each of the three financial years prior to the lodgement of the application
  • have an Australian business number (ABN)
  • are non-income-tax-exempt, and
  • are registered for the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

They must also be:

  • a company, incorporated in Australia
  • a co-operative, or
  • an incorporated trustee applying on behalf of a trust.

SMEs are excluded if they are:

  • an organisation, or the project partner is an organisation, included on the National Redress Scheme’s list of Institutions that have not joined or signified their intent to join the Scheme
  • an employer of 100 or more employees that has not complied with reporting requirements under the Workplace Gender Equality Act (2012)
  • an individual
  • partnership
  • trust (however, an incorporated trustee may apply on behalf of a trust), or
  • a Commonwealth, state or local government agency or body (including government business enterprises).

How to apply?

The Advisory Services and grant opportunity process will be administered by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources.

Guidelines for each grant opportunity, including the application procedure, will be posted on business.gov.au and GrantConnect.

The application must be submitted through the online portal. The applicant needs to set up an account when first log into the portal. The portal allows the applicant to apply for and manage a grant or service in a secure online environment.

It is advisable to exercise caution when engaging the services of consultants who claim to be able to assist you with an application. This is something your allocated adviser will assist you with for free.

Hnin Nwe Oo

Hnin Nwe Oo is Ai Group’s Economic Policy Analyst. She contributes to the broad work of the Research and Economics team, including overseeing the monthly economic newsletter. Hnin's professional experience includes working to facilitate international trade, most recently at Austrade. She is enthusiastic about economic development and collaborating with stakeholders from both the public and private sectors to achieve the best outcomes. Hnin holds a Master of Business Administration (Strategy) from the Asian Institute of Technology.