Incubator Support - New & Existing Incubators
At a glance
Provides new and existing business incubators with grants of up to $500,000 to assist Australian start-ups develop the capabilities required to succeed in international markets.
Who can apply:
At a minimum, you must:
- have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
- be an existing incubator or establishing a new incubator that will foster and develop innovative start-ups focused on international trade
- be either an entity incorporated in Australia, an incorporated trustee on behalf of a trust, an incorporated not for profit organisation, a publicly funded research organisation, or a local government agency or body.
Other eligibility requirements may apply.
Update on program status
On 14 December 2017, changes to the Incubator Support initiative were announced by Assistant Minister Laundy.
New guidelines have been issued for the program and new application forms are available.
Key changes include:
- an increased grant percentage of up to 65 per cent for New and Existing Incubators projects where at least 80 per cent of project activities are being undertaken in a regional area
- introduction of four Regional Incubator Facilitators to assist regional applicants to engage with the initiative
- expansion of the Expert in Residence grants component to allow for outgoing experts to visit host incubators
- a new maximum grant amount for Expert in Residence projects of $100,000
The $23 million Incubator Support initiative supports the Australian Government’s commitment to:
- assist Australian start-ups to develop the capabilities required to achieve commercial success in international markets and realise their economic potential faster than they otherwise would
- develop Australia’s innovation ecosystem including in Australian regions.
The initiative provides grant funding through two components to deliver Incubator Support projects, both of which require a funding contribution from applicants.
The other component is Expert in Residence.
The objective of the New and Existing Incubators component is to:
- help develop new incubators in regional areas and/or sectors with high potential for success in international trade
- boost the effectiveness of high performing incubators, including funding support to expand their services and/or develop the innovation ecosystem
- encourage incubators to work with more data-driven start-ups that use public data as part of their business.
For a New and Existing Incubators project you can apply for a minimum grant amount of $26,000 and a maximum grant amount of $500,000. The maximum grant period is 24 months.
The maximum grant percentage varies depending on your project location as defined in the regional locator tool.
For this initiative, we consider Inner Regional, Outer Regional, Remote and Very Remote locations as regional areas and all other locations as major cities.
- Incubators in major cities may receive a maximum grant of 50 per cent of the eligible project value.
- Incubators with projects located in regional areas may receive up to 65 per cent of the eligible project value.
If you apply for the greater percentage, you will need to demonstrate in your application that your project is located in a regional area. We consider your project is located in a regional area if you can attribute at least 80 per cent of your eligible project value to activities in a regional area.
To be eligible for a New and Existing Incubators grant you must:
- be an existing incubator or establishing a new incubator that can foster and facilitate the development of innovative start-ups focused on international trade
- have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
- be one of the following:
- an entity incorporated in Australia
- an incorporated trustee on behalf of a trust
- an incorporated not for profit organisation
- a publicly funded research organisation (PFRO) as defined in appendix A of the program guidelines
- a local government agency or body as defined in appendix A of the program guidelines.
You are not eligible to apply if you are:
- an individual, partnership or trust (however, an incorporated trustee may apply on behalf of a trust)
- a Commonwealth, state or territory government agency or body (including government business enterprises and corporate Commonwealth entities).
We define an incubator as a business support organisation that fosters innovative start-ups focused on international trade, through the provision of services such as seed funding, colocation, mentoring, professional services and access to networks. It can include accelerators and germinators.
Project eligibility criteria
To be eligible, your project must:
- include eligible activities and expenditure
- have an eligible project value of at least $52,000 for New and Existing Incubators projects in major cities
- have an eligible project value of at least $40,000 for New and Existing Incubators projects in regional areas
Eligible activities can include the following:
- expanding mentor networks to new mentors with national or international expertise
- providing or facilitating access for start-ups to new resources (such as purchase of technical equipment) to promote or facilitate international trade
- providing or facilitating access for start-ups to new knowledge (such as customer acquisition and/ or business development methods) to promote or facilitate international trade
- facilitating start-ups’ access to new international networks (e.g. investors, customers peer firms).
You can apply and receive funding for up to two grants at the same time. You can apply for more than two grants only after you have finished one of the funded projects and have provided your final report.
For more information on eligibility requirements you should refer to the program guidelines.
How to apply
To apply, read the program guidelines and complete the online application form.
You may submit one draft application before you submit your final application. We will provide feedback on your draft application, which may be provided by a regional incubator facilitator. You should address this feedback before submitting your final application.
How we assess applications
We will first assess applications against the eligibility criteria. If your application is eligible, we will refer it to Innovation and Science Australia to assess it against the merit criteria.
To be competitive you must score highly against all of the merit criteria.
- Merit criterion 1: Management and business capability (40 points)
- Merit criterion 2: Benefit to your incubator, start-ups and the broader innovation ecosystem (50 points)
- Merit criterion 3: Impact of the grant (10 points)
For more information on the merit criteria and how we assess your applications refer to the program guidelines.
Note:The New and Existing Incubators grants component is assessed against merit, and is highly competitive. We encourage you to use the application checklist when completing the online application form, to ensure you include all information to form a strong submission.
We also encourage you to view the two short Incubator Support videos: Submitting a competitive application and Addressing the merit criteria which provide further information and tips about how to submit a competitive application under the New and Existing Incubators component of the initiative.
If your application is successful
If your application is successful, you will receive a written offer. If you are unsuccessful, we will notify you in writing and give you the chance to discuss the outcome with us.
Successful applicants must enter into a grant agreement with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. The grant agreement will specify the reporting requirements, payment schedule and milestones necessary to receive payments.
We will make an initial payment on execution of the grant agreement. The initial payment and subsequent payments will be up to six monthly in advance, based on your forecast eligible project expenditure and adjusted for unspent amounts from previous payments. Payments are subject to satisfactory progress on the project. We set aside a minimum of 10 per cent of the total grant funding for the final payment. We will pay this when you submit a satisfactory final report.
Information sessions and a live webinar were recently held across Australian metropolitan and regional areas. These sessions provided an overview of the initiative, including eligibility and merit criteria, available funding and details on how to apply.
A recording of the live webinar held on 16 February 2018 is available to view.
- Program guidelines
- Sample application form
- Sample grant agreement
- Sample board or CEO approval letter
- Application checklist
- Accountants Declaration for grants over $50,000
- DataStart program information sheet
View grant recipients under the Incubator Support initiative.