A NSW Government website

The Fostering Innovation Sponsorship Program is a bi-annual program. Round 1 closed on 15 February 2024 and Round 2 submissions will open in July 2024.

The Program is designed to support the timely identification of activities within the innovation sector that address the focus areas below:

  • Innovation ecosystem development - activities that increase visibility of, and participation in, the innovation precincts across NSW that are helping to enable this work
  • support for activities that advocate or represent industry, startups and scaleup interests in priority sectors relating to the adoption of innovation, and support for capital and investment, and R&D commercialisation etc.
  • equitable participation - support for diversity and inclusion initiatives for the innovation sector

Key information

Status: Closed

Sponsorship Amount: Funding is provided on a bi-annual basis. For Round 1, successful applicants were awarded funds from a maximum available pool of $400,000 (excluding GST) with the final amount decided at the discretion of Investment NSW. Round 2 funding will be announced in June 2024.


Round 1 applications open 25 January 2024
Round 1 applications close 15 February 2024 10am AEDT
Notification of outcome March 2024
Earliest start date of the sponsorship activity April 2024
End date of the sponsorship activity 31 December 2024

Sponsorship guidelines

These guidelines contain information about the Program, whether you are eligible to apply, and how you can make an application.

You must read and understand the guidelines before applying.

Download Fostering Innovation Sponsorship Guidelines (PDF, 212 KB)Download File

This document sets out:

  • the purpose of the Program
  • the eligibility criteria
  • the assessment criteria
  • how applications are assessed
  • how recipients will be monitored and evaluated
  • responsibilities and expectations in relation to the Program

These guidelines may be updated by Investment NSW at any time. If this occurs, the revised guidelines or any addenda will be published on this website.


Investment NSW cannot consider your application if it does not satisfy all the eligibility criteria outlined below:

1. Who is eligible to apply

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • be a legal entity
  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN) or be registered as a not-for-profit organisation or charity
  • have appropriate insurance cover for the proposed project activity
  • be registered for the purposes of GST
  • have an account with an Australian financial institution

2. Who is not eligible to apply

You are not eligible to apply if you are:

  • insolvent
  • an individual
  • a partnership
  • an unincorporated association
  • a Commonwealth, state, territory or local government agency or body excluding government corporate entities.

Sponsorship Criteria

The assessment panel will make recommendations for funding against the assessment criteria:

1. Role of NSW Government

Demonstrates contribution to one or more of the following:

  • the need for and impact the activity will have on the NSW innovation ecosystem
  • how the opportunity/event will help grow and develop the NSW innovation ecosystem.

2. Enablers of Innovation

Demonstrates link to key enablers of innovation such as:

  • entrepreneurship education
  • capital and investment
  • talent pipeline
  • global expansion
  • R&D commercialisation.

3. Priority Sectors

Be aligned to one of the following NSW Government Industry Development Framework priority industries:

  • Agriculture and agrifood
  • Clean energy and waste
  • Medical and life sciences
  • Digital systems and software
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Biotechnologies
  • Digital technologies.

4. Innovation Precincts

If applicable, demonstrates connection to Investment NSW priority precinct(s):

  • Tech Central
  • Westmead Health and Innovation District
  • Randwick Health and Innovation Precinct
  • Macquarie Park Innovation District
  • Western Sydney Aerotropolis
  • Liverpool Innovation District
  • ANSTO's Lucas Heights Campus
  • Central Coast Innovation District
  • Newcastle Innovation District
  • Wollongong Innovation District
  • Special Activation Precincts (regional NSW).

5. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Demonstration of how diversity, equity and inclusion will be considered and implemented in the planning and delivery of the sponsorship activities.

Note: Diversity metrics may include gender, age, cultural and linguistic background, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, neurodiversity, LGBTIQ+, non-binary or gender diverse, disability/chronic illness, and regional/remote location.

6. Value for Money

Demonstrates value for money through:  

  • outlining how return on investment is achieved though sponsorship benefits  
  • outlining the other opportunities available as part of participating in the event/opportunity e.g., building networks, connection to industry etc. 
  • demonstrate need for funding through a budget breakdown, including co-sponsorship and other financial contributors.

The assessment panel will assess your application based on equal weighting given to each criterion above.

How to apply

Before applying, you must read and understand the sponsorship guidelines.

The sponsorship application form and guidelines may be found on this website. Any alterations and addenda will also be published here.

All applications must be submitted electronically via the website.

To apply you must:

  1. Complete the Application Form in its entirety to be eligible for consideration.
  2. Provide a proposal addressing:
    • eligibility criteria 
    • assessment criteria 
    • indicative budget for the sponsorship funding provided
    • clearly mark any information that should be treated confidentially
    • clearly outline the sponsorship benefits that will be provided to the NSW Government
    • submit your application by the timelines outlined.

Assessment process

Stage 1: Eligibility Assessment

Investment NSW will conduct an initial eligibility screening for all applications according to the published eligibility criteria in these program guidelines that are set out in Section 2: Eligibility Criteria. Only applications which meet all eligibility criteria will progress to assessment against the assessment criteria.

Stage 2: Assessment by the team

The membership of the assessment panel (the Panel) will be determined by the Department in its sole discretion and may include independent assessors from the broader NSW public sector.

The Panel will assess each application against the assessment criteria and compare it to other eligible applications before recommending which applications should be awarded sponsorship.

On behalf of the Panel, the Department may seek additional information about you or your application. The Panel has the discretion to recommend that an applicant receive a smaller amount of funding than indicated in their application.

The Panel members are expected to assess all eligible applications unless they have a declared conflict of interest for a certain application(s). Panel members will individually assess all eligible applications against each criterion set out in Section 3: Assessment Criteria. All criteria have equal weighting.

Notification of application outcomes

We will advise the outcome of your application via email and/or letter. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified via email and/or letter of the outcome of their application within 10 business days from the assessment panel meeting and will be offered feedback if requested.

If unsuccessful you can submit a new application for a future grant opportunity. Your submission must meet the eligibility criteria and should include new or additional information to address any feedback from your previous application.

If you are successful, we will advise you of any specific conditions attached to the sponsorship. This could include a request to keep the sponsorship confidential for a specified period due to an announcement being made by the NSW Government in relation to this program and your award.

Standard Sponsorship Agreement

All successful recipients of the Bi Annual Sponsorship Program will be required to sign a Sponsorship Agreement with Investment NSW. A copy of this agreement can be found below.

Download Outgoing Sponsorship AgreementDownload File

Support and contact

If you have any questions regarding the Program, please contact us at [email protected]

Previous funding

In previous years the Fostering Innovation Team within Investment NSW have provided sponsorship support to the following ecosystem building activities held in NSW:

Startup Festivals/Conference Events

  • Spark Festival 
  • Quantum Australia 2023 Conference
  • UTS Startup Summit
  • Climate Salad Conference
  • Catalyst West 
  • Innovate Western Sydney

Award Ceremonies

  • InnovationAus Awards for Excellence
  • Startup Daily Awards