Read transcript of the 'MVP Ventures Program information session recording' video
Good morning, Welcome all to this highly anticipated NSW MVP Ventures Program information session. My name is Liza Noonan and I'm the Acting Executive Director of the Fostering Innovation Division at Investment NSW.
Before we get underway, I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land I'm joining the call on today, the Gadigal people of the magnificent Eora Nation and I pay my respects to elders past and present and extend that respect to any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people joining us for today's call.
The MVP Ventures Program is designed to support startups and innovate SMEs in a product life cycle between early-stage research and mature investment opportunity.
Grants of between $25,000 and $50,000 will be available to drive the commercialisation of highly innovative new products or processes. Applications will be considered on a non-competitive basis against the published eligibility and assessment criteria and will be assessed in the order of in which applications are received.
Opening dates: Applications for round one of the MVP Ventures Program open next Monday, 4th of December 2023.
This round will close the to applications on the 30th of April 2024 at 4:30pm, 30th of April 2024. Round two applications will be open on 1st of July 2024 and close 30th of April 2025.
Before we get into the deeper detail of this pProgram, I just wanted to highlight in my opening remarks a few key changes to the MVP Ventures Program. Grant amounts have changed from a maximum grant amount of $200,000 to a maximum grant amount of $50,000.
Grants of between $25,000 and $50,000 will be available. All applicants who submitted their applications prior to the pProgram being paused as part of the Comprehensive Expenditure Review undertaken by the NSW Government have been assessed and applicants have been notified of the outcome.
24 of the recommended applicants have indicated that they will accept the offered grant amount, which means that once final agreements have been confirmed, the pProgram’s remaining allocation for this Financial Year 23-24 is likely or estimated to be $1.8 million. Recipients of the grant will be published on the NSW Grants website and will be ongoing through the life of the Program as per the NSW Grant Administration Guidelines.
Based on feedback, the process has been streamlined for applicants and separated into two stages to provide a quicker response time for initial eligibility criteria. So, there is now a 2-stage application process. Stage One is an Expression of Interest followed by Stage Two: A Detailed Application.
All applicants who submit an Expression of Interest will be advised of the outcome within 15 business days.
Those applicants who are deemed eligible through the Expression of Interest process will be invited to submit a Detailed Application.
Applicants will be advised of the outcome of their Detailed Application within 30 business days.
Just a quick word on how the Program grant milestones are paid. So, there'll be two financial milestone payments. Milestone one, which is 35% of the total grant fund, will be paid upon execution of the funding agreement.
The remaining 65% will be paid upon completion of the project and acquittal of expenditure. Midway through your project. You are also required to submit a progress report.
Won't be able to address questions live. However, we have set Q&A time at the end of the information session to address pre submitted questions. In addition, FAQ's have been collated and are now available on the website, and that's at the Grants and Programs section of the Investment NSW website.
If your questions today are not addressed in this Information session or they do not appear on the FAQ's on the website, you may submit your questions through the QR Code which will be provided on the very last slide of this session.
Now for a deeper dive into the application process and details of the Program, I'm going to hand you over to Liz Jackson, Associate Director of Program Delivery and Operations at the Investment NSW team. Over to you, Liz.
Thank you very much, Liza. I also noted that part of the speech was missed and for those people who were unable to hear
We have had an overwhelming response with over 650 registrations to attend this session and we won't be able to address the questions live. However, we have set Q&A time to address pre- submitted questions and we will attend to them at the end of the session.
In addition, there are frequently asked questions that have been collated and are now available on the NSW Investment NSW MVP Ventures grant website.
Today's information session will take you through the key criteria of the MVP Ventures Program. I will identify the key revisions to the Program and undertake a Q&A session from the submissions made online.
If this session flags any additional questions, we do have a QR code where further questions can be sent and answered post session. We aim to conclude this session at 11:00 AM this morning.
As you can see, the MVP Ventures Program is about driving commercialisation of highly innovative and new products and processes.
The MVP Ventures objective has remained the same.
Innovative firms who successfully complete projects funded under the Program are permitted to reapply for additional funding to make further progress along the TRL Readiness scale. This is to focus on increasing commercialisation of innovative products and processes in NSW along with attracting and retaining commercialisation activities within NSW.
Kindly note, we have updated our guidelines to reflect only submissions for products and processes. We will no longer be assessing services.
For an MVP Ventures overview and of processing timelines, please refer to the slide.
There are key details before we go into more details of the Program. The Program will provide $3 million per annum over four years.
The Program will be available between the Financial Years of 2023 to the Financial Year 2027. The program will provide grants sizes between $25,000 and up to $50,000
The processing timeline has been updated to reflect a two-stage process instead of one. Stage One is now referred to as an Expression of Interest and Stage Two is a Detailed Application.
For Stage One, the applicant will be required to submit eligibility documentation and satisfy the Innovation criteria.
Outcomes to the Expressions of Interest will be provided within 15 business days. If the applicant is successful, an invitation to submit for Stage Two will be extended.
In addition, Stage Two, the Detailed Application includes additional requirements such as evidence of cCo- contribution and satisfying Criterias 2 and 3, of Commercialisation and Deliverability.
Applicants will be advised of the success of their stage two application within 30 business days. Please note, processing times are dependent on the department receiving all required documentation with your submitted application.
Based on the key dates and processing times. Please ensure you leave adequate time to submit your application.
On the screen you can see key criteria for Stage One outlined within the box.
Now I'll go into details around the Stage One Expression of Interest.
The website has been updated to reflect the requirements for each stage of the process. The Expression of Interest requires a completed EOI (Expression of Interest) form which will be available on Monday the 4th of December when the pProgram is officially open. The EOI form will outline additional information to be supplied for submission. Applicants will need to meet all the eligibility criteria and submit before the key dates.
Please be mindful that we have a strict deadline of the 30th of April. If you submit your EOI just before this cut off, there will be no extension provided. Your detailed application will need to be submitted prior to this date.
Which means pPlease ensure that you are mindful of your own timeline before you submit an EOI.
You will receive a notification of outcome within 15 business days.
If you are successful, you will be invited to submit a detailed application. If you are unsuccessful, you will be provided with the reasoning why and you will have the opportunity to discuss your outcome with members of the Program and Client Operations teams.
Funded projects must align with at least one of the framework's priority sectors listed here.
These sectors can be found within the MVP Ventures Program guidelines on page 4, u. Under Eligible Criteria,
The Technology Readiness Level overview is provided on this slide. The Program targets new products or processes from Level 3 to Level 9 of the Technology Readiness Level Scale to enable projects to move along the TRL scale, with the goal of enabling projects to attract large-scale private investment.
More details on the TRL scale areis found in the appendix on page 16 of the MVP guidelines. Those who successfully complete projects funded under the pProgram are permitted to reapply for additional funding to make further progress along the TRL scale.
Part Two: Detailed Application. If you have received an invitation to submit a detailed application, you will have until the hard deadline of the 30th of April to submit the required documentation.
For this portion of the submission, you will need to complete the additional online forms provided. These will be available on Monday the 4th of December. Additional supporting documentation such as evidence of your cCo- contribution will be required. The remaining assessment criteria of commercialisationommercialization and deliverability will need to be met here.
Just going into some more detail around the assessment criteria in each aspect. As you can see on the slide, it is broken into two stages. Expression of Interest, which is Stage One includes Innovation. Looking at the technological characteristics which are significantly different from before. Stage Two includes the detailed application, which covers Commercialisation and Deliverability.
Have a look at the helpful tips on how to meet each of the assessment criteria.
We encourage you to read the questions carefully and review the hints. Model your answers based on these hints.
In regards to cCo- contribution: Matched Funding has now been renamed to cCo-c Contribution. To be eligible under this Program, you must provide a 50% cash cCo- contribution towards the cost of the proposed project. Your project should only include Eligible Expenditure and cannot use in kind non-cash Contributions as Match Funding.
Evidence of having the full cCo-contribution amount or immediate access to it must be clearly demonstrated at the time of submitting the application and at the time of the funding agreement execution. Accepted evidence includes: a letter or transaction or bank statement from your financial institution dated within the last 30 days, a duly executed investor agreement within the last 30 days.
This can be conditional on receiving the grant.
Next we have the Validating Entity. A slight terminology adjustment here. We have removed the “eligible”.
It is our requirement at the time of your application that you nominate a Validating Entity who you intend to use to validate your eligible project.
The purpose of the Validating Entity is intended to support us to assess your project.
Fundamentals of the Validating Entity has remained the same. It must not be affiliated with you or your business and is required to be at arm's length from your business.
A Validating Entity may be one of the following: A company incorporated in Australia;
Or a statutory corporation; or an incorporated trustee on behalf of a trust in Australia; or a publicly funded research organisation. The Validating Entity must be able to demonstrate that they have the relevant technical or industry expertise in your respective field.
The Validating Entity you select should be a third-party organisation that is not affiliated with you or your business and is required to be at arm's length.
For example, if your Validating Entity is involved in the development of the intellectual property of your product or process, it is highly likely that there is a conflict of interest and will not be considered at arm's length. A Validating Entity could be a consultant with relevant technical experience, an industry leader in your field, or a potential customer with an understanding of the product or process being developed. The consultant or industry leader
will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
In regards to the project budget which is also part
Of the detailed application and has been renamed
From the original "project information template" (now called project budget). The assessment team will require a clear
a breakdown of all costings associated with product or process.
Please check that your budget includes the following: suppliers names and an ABN (Australian Business Number) along with a very clear description of the product and service being purchased.
Costs must be accurately categorised as the project budget will be the foundation of categories that will form part of your funding agreement.
You are allowed to swap suppliers, however, please note any costs more than the approved amount will be at your own expense.
Now we move to the eligible and ineligible costs.
We have been able to provide a breakdown within our guidelines of costings that are eligible and ineligible for the grant.
Eligible costs must be recorded and must be direct costs of your project.
We reserve the right to update these pages from time to time, so I would advise you to refer to these documents during your application and before you submit your application.
Appendix A and Appendix B can be found in the pProgram guidelines on page 14 and 15.
Wages, consultants and other expenses can be from overseas.
Moving to the funding agreement.
The funding agreement must be signed by the relevant authorised officers. The agreement will require additional documentation for fraud mitigation purposes. Should you be successful in receiving the grant, you will be required to upload your information into Smarty Grants. The following information will be required: a certified copy of photographic identification; A certified copy of a recent bank statement
that is no more than 30 days old.
A copy of your bank statement in the company's legal name that you have received cCo- contribution, if this was conditional on being successful of the grant.
In regards to acquittals and payment; you will have 40 days from the date of a written offer to execute a funding agreement with Investment NSW. There are three milestones in total, two financial payments and one non-financial payment.
35% of the pProgram funding will be provided upfront upon the signing of the funding agreement. At the halfway point milestone, you will be required to submit a progress report.
The remaining 65% of Program funding will be provided upon completion of the project and post receipt of a satisfactory completion report.
The final milestone cannot be less than six months from the date of your executed funding agreement. There will be no further installments made after milestone three. Any unspent or unclaimed project costs will be forfeited. You should not make financial commitments reliant on this pProgram until we formally advise that you are successful, and a funding agreement is signed and executed by both parties.
In regards to monitoring and reporting, you will have two reporting requirements during the MVP Ventures Program. A progress report will be required for milestone two. This will be to ensure your project is on the right track and to flag any potential issues or foreseeable delays. You will then need to submit a completion report at the conclusion of your project. This will need to be satisfied to receive the remaining 65% of the funding.
Both reports will be submitted via Smarty grants.
In relation to the Christmas shutdown period. We do understand the timing of this grant is close to Christmas, so we want to make sure there is clarity around the assessment process during this time. The Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade will be closed for Christmas closed down period from Monday the 25th of December to Friday the 5th of January inclusive.
Over the Christmas New Year holiday. The department will take an additional 10 business days to assess and respond to submitted applications.
For those wishing to understand alternative grant options, the NSW Government has a variety of alternative grants available.
We understand that receiving an unsuccessful outcome in relation to your grant may be a difficult outcome. However, we are here to help and support the startup ecosystem to thrive. If the application that was submitted was deemed unsuccessful, you will be more than welcome to reapply should you wish. Alternatively, this slide shows some of the support and pPrograms currently available.
These can all be accessed via the nsw.gov.au or help.grants.gov.au website.
Now we're going to move on to the Q&A questions submitted prior to this event. Thank you for those who took the time. We did receive a high volume of questions and we will do our best to address as many as possible.
Frequently asked questions will also be made available on the Investment NSW MVP Ventures grant website.
First question “Can I speak directly to an assessor regarding my application?” Assessors are not permitted to speak directly with applicants to avoid probity and conflicts of interest. All communications will need to be conducted via our Client Engagement teams.
Next question, “Why has the funding been reduced?” The MVP Ventures Program funding was reduced following the Comprehensive Expenditure review coordinated by the NSW Treasury.
Next question, “Will apps be eligible to apply?” This has been addressed within the Frequently Asked Questions. Please refer to the website for the detailed response.
Next question, “Can you tell us if we are eligible or not for the MVP Ventures?”
The Client Engagement teams are not the assessment team, therefore unable to advise if you are eligible. We do suggest reading the guidelines carefully and submitting an Expression of Interest if you believe you are eligible.
Next question “Where can we find the information for the successful recipients?” Successful recipients will be posted on the Grants Finder website within 45 days of their funding agreement being cosigned.
Next question “What are the priority sectors? as referred to in the slides, these can be found on page 4 of the Program guidelines.
Next question, “What does a non-tax-exempt company mean?”
This question has also been addressed in detail in the Frequently Asked Questions available on the website.
Next question “How is my assessment marked? What is the internal process for reviewing my assessment?”
All projects will be processed via a two-stage assessment process, including an Expression of Interest and a Detailed Application Assessment
Applications are assessed against eligibility and assessment criteria by the assessment team.
Next question, “What happens with my application during the Christmas period? Will I expect a delay?” As mentioned, the Christmas period shutdown is from Monday the 25th of December to Friday the 5th of January. Processing times for applications submitted prior to or during this time will be impacted.
Next question, “Can I get someone from Investment NSW to help me with my initial application?”
As mentioned, the Client Engagement Team can provide general advice regarding the application process, however, cannot provide specific advice for circumstances as we are not the assessment team. We encourage you to submit an Expression of Interest.
Next question, “Why are you no longer assessing services?”
This is a question that has an additional and detailed response provided in the Frequently Asked Questions available on the website.
Next question, “Do you forecast another pause happening this time?” No. The NSW Government is pleased to confirm funding for the MVP Ventures Program through until the financial year 2027.
Next question, “Can a Validating Entity be one of our customers?”
Again, this has been a frequently asked question that is posted on the website.
Next question. “We have been asked to provide a certified copy of our driver's license. What does this mean and where do we get the copy certified? How do I submit this document?” Authorised certifier such as a Justice of the Peace, Lawyer or Accountant can provide a certified copy of your driver's license. This submission is completed through the Smarty Grants online application form.
Next question, “I have already spent a certain amount of money on my project. Can I claim it?” As outlined on page 14 of the Program guidelines, cost incurred prior to us executing our funding agreement
with you is deemed ineligible.
If you have any further questions regarding the MVP Ventures Program that have not been addressed today and are not available on the Frequently Asked Questions page
of our website, please scan the QR code now and submit your questions. The standard response time will be two business days, however, be mindful it could be longer due to the volume and complexity of the questions received.
Thank you everyone for your time today and once again I encourage you to go to the Investment NSW website, select Grants and Program and you will find the MVP Ventures website available with additional information.
Thank you again for your time.