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Future Industries Investment Program FAQ

NSW Future Industries Investment Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Overview

When was the Program launched?

The NSW Future Industries Investment Program was launched as part of the Future Economy Fund on 3 December 2022.

What does the Program aim to achieve?

The objective of the Program is to increase productivity in the economy by attracting new investment in NSW for the priority industries, technologies and focus precincts identified in the NSW Industry Development Framework.

The Program offers new opportunities to support businesses to locate and grow in NSW, boost local productivity and support the industries and ecosystems that form the foundation of a resilient and sustainable economy.

What are the key dates?

  • 9am (AEDT) Thursday 8 December 2022 – Eligibility applications open
  • 5pm (AEDT) Friday 13 January 2023 – Eligibility applications close
  • Friday 3 February 2023 – Applicants notified of eligibility assessment outcome and eligible applicants invited to submit a Detailed Application
  • Thursday 5pm (AEDT) 2 March 2023 – Detailed applications to be submitted

How much funding is available for the Program?

Up to $30 million is available in grant funding under the Program. For projects specifically in the Western Parkland City, an additional $4.75 million is available in grant funding from the Western Sydney Investment Attraction Fund.

What is the Western Sydney Investment Attraction Fund?

The Western Sydney Investment Attraction Fund (WSIAF) is a $4.75 million grant program to attract and grow innovative, high-growth businesses in priority industries and drive productivity growth in the Western Parkland City. This includes the Local Government Areas of Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Liverpool, Penrith, and Wollondilly.

What is the maximum amount of funding I can apply for?

There is no cap on maximum funding available for individual projects. However, all projects will be required to fund at least 50 per cent of their total project costs.

Total project costs are all costs associated with the project, within the project period, excluding variable inputs, and wages and salaries. Variable inputs are costs that vary with level of project output e.g., raw materials used to produce finished goods.

Do grant applicants need to contribute funding to the project?

Yes. Eligible projects must have a minimum co-contribution of at least 50 per cent of the total project cost.

What will be considered as co-contribution for a project?

A minimum 50 percent cash co-contribution to total project cost is required. In-kind inputs will not be recognised as part of the applicant’s co-contribution.  The cash co-contribution could come from different sources, for example, available funds in applicant’s bank account/s, available or approved credit facilities from a lender etc. We will request evidence of available cash at Stage 2 Detailed Application.

I’m not sure my project can commence with 12 months of signing the Funding Agreement, should I still lodge an application?

All projects must demonstrate that they can commence with 12 months of signing the Funding Agreement. If projects cannot commit to this timeframe, they will be deemed ineligible or withdrawn.

If I have received Australian Government assistance towards this project, can I apply for funding through this program?

You can apply for funding through this Program if the project requires funding from both sources (Australian Government and the Future Industries Investment Program) to enable the project to proceed in NSW. If the project can proceed in NSW with assistance from the Australian Government only and achieve the same outcomes, then the project would not be funded through this Program.

Can I apply for other NSW Government grants in addition to this one?

If funding is received or will be received from another grant, then an application for funding from this grant must specify how that funding is for different or additional project scope. Such projects must also demonstrate why the aspect for which FIIP funding is sought can only proceed with funding from this grant and meet all other criteria set out in the guidelines, including disclosure of receiving or applying for of any other NSW government funding.

What are the priority industries and focus precincts in the NSW Industry Development Framework?

framework priorities

The NSW Industry Development Framework can be found here.

Applicant Eligibility

How many FTEs are required to be eligible?

An Australian business is required to have at least 20 full time equivalent (FTE) employees at the time of the application.

An international business has the same requirements – they can be based globally.

How are FTEs calculated?

FTE means the full-time equivalent employees (including contractors) directly engaged in the business based on a 35-hour week.

Part-time, casuals, or contractors can be included, but need to be converted to FTE (35 hours) on a pro-rata basis. For example: a person working 17.5 hours per week is equal to 0.5 FTE. (17.5/35)

Can joint applications be made?

Yes, joint applications can be made.  A joint application will need a lead organisation.

Program eligibility requirements may be assessed across all project partners jointly or across each member of the project partners separately depending upon the structure of the joint application. Joint applications need to supply written commitment from all entities within the structure that they agree to the application and that the newly formed entity will have its staff located and paid in NSW.

Who within the business can lodge an application?

There is no designation of who can apply on behalf of the business. However, it should be noted that if the application progresses to the detailed application stage, a range of documents will be required. The applicant will need to have access to and be able to supply these documents when requested. Examples may include: details of the proposal scope, details of how the proposal will be implemented, a completed data sheet, financial statements, a copy of a feasibility study and/or project plan.

What is the definition of a business that has been operating for at least three years?

For Australian applicants, the start date for the business will be the date they acquire their ABN.  This means the ABN check should reveal the total length of time the business has been in operation.  The ABN check should show that the business has been operating for at least three years from the date of application. 

International companies may apply if they intent to establish a presence in NSW.  Those international companies are still required to produce evidence of three years of operations and meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the Guidelines.

Who is not eligible to apply?

As stated in the guidelines, applicants are not eligible for the program if they are: insolvent, an individual, an unincorporated association, a partnership, a Commonwealth, state, territory or local Government agency or body (including Government business enterprises or Section 355 Committee), a charity or not-for-profit organization or a publicly funded research organisation.

Some ineligible applicants, such as a charity, not-for-profit or research organisation, may submit a joint application with a lead eligible organisation. 

Is there a limit to the size of a company that can apply?

No, there are no size limits, only a minimum eligibility as stated in the Guidelines.

Project Eligibility

What is an eligible project?

Applicants must demonstrate how the project:

  • will lift industry productivity in NSW
  • aligns with the Industry Development Framework priorities and
  • either creates a minimum of 20 ongoing net new FTE jobs in NSW OR invests a minimum of $3 million capital expenditure (excluding funding from this Program) within NSW.

There are also timing and financial project eligibility criteria – please see the Guidelines.

What can the grant be used for?

All pre-approved expenses must be demonstrated to be critical to the success of the project.

Rebateable items will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis but may include:

  1. Capital works related to the project
  2. Machinery and equipment
  3. Externally provided training for staff who will be involved in the project
  4. Infrastructure connectivity such as internet, roads, utilities
  5. Information technology and data facilities
  6. Set up costs for the business or project as approved by DEIT
  7. Project site rent

What can’t the grant be used for?

Items that may not be considered could include (but not limited to):

  1. Standard office equipment
  2. Training that is delivered in-house
  3. Costs already incurred in relation to the project
  4. Costs of existing business activities
  5. Research and development spend
  6. Staff wages

Do the new employees have to reside in NSW?

Yes, new employees must reside in NSW.

Can I apply for support for expenses already incurred?

No, funds cannot be for expenses that have already been incurred.

Can staff wages be included in co-contribution calculations?

No, ongoing staff wages and salaries are not an eligible project cost.

Is there a technical readiness level requirement for projects to apply?

No technical readiness level is required.

When do I have to start and complete my project?

Projects must commence within 12 months of all parties signing the funding agreement and must demonstrate the project will meet the employment or capital expenditure criteria within 24 months of all parties signing the funding agreement and without additional NSW Government support beyond the agreed assistance.

I have already started my project, can I still apply?

Generally, no. Under the Program Guidelines an applicant must show that business investment would not take place in NSW on the same timeline, or at all, without NSW Government assistance. Eligible costs will generally only be those incurred after a grant has been awarded.

My project will go ahead regardless of funding, can I still apply?

No, a project that would have proceeded in NSW without Government support as deemed by DEIT will be considered ineligible.

Can I submit more than one application?

Yes, applicants may submit separate applications for multiple projects, however, they will need to be able to demonstrate that they can deliver on multiple projects against the assessment criteria. Only one application per project is permitted to be in the system at any one time.

Should I include GST in my project costs/expenditures?

Project costs and total funding requests should be GST exclusive.

How will you measure how my project contributes to productivity increase?

Table 1 in Section 5 of the Guidelines suggest productivity related information to address in your application.

Assessment Process

Who will assess the applications?

DEIT and the NSW Future Industries Investment Assessment Panel will review eligibility and assess detailed applications. You may be asked to provide additional information to assist in the assessment process. Advice may be sought from other NSW Government agencies or other sources to assist in the assessment of projects as required.

The NSW Future Industries Investment Assessment Panel will provide its recommendations to the Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade. The Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade will make final decisions on whether to fund projects.

How will my application be assessed?

The assessment process is detailed in the Guidelines.

When will the successful applicants be announced?

Successful applicants will be notified via email and/or letter by 11 May 2023 through their DEIT Relationship Manager. 

Note: Applicants may be requested to keep announcement of funding confidential for a period of time if an announcement is likely to be made by the NSW Government. The NSW Government may choose to publicly announce funding for individual applications and the expected outcomes of such funding.

When will unsuccessful applicants be notified?

Unsuccessful applicants will be notified in writing within 30 days of the determination and will be offered a feedback information session.

Once approved, how is the support paid?

The funding will be paid as a rebate to the business once proof of payment has been received.  These rebates will be for pre-approved project expenses only (as assessed in the application process with agreed milestones). It will be the responsibility of the proponent to submit their support claim.

Can I amend my application after submission?

No. If you find an error in your application after submitting it, you should contact us immediately at https://investment.nsw.gov.au/contact-us. We do not have to accept any additional information, nor requests from you to correct your application after the closing time.

I no longer want to pursue my application. How do I withdraw my application?

Please state in writing that you wish to withdraw your application and submit to your relationship manager at DEIT. 

Others

I’ve been approved for funding, but due to unforeseen circumstances I can no longer meet the project goals.

Notify your DEIT NSW Relationship manager as soon as possible. Circumstances will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

I’m having issues with SmartyGrants (can’t create an account, unable to log-in, I receive an error when submitting)

Please check the SmartyGrants FAQ here, or contact SmartyGrants on +61 3 9320 6888.

I need to have documents translated for submission with my application. Who is an accepted translation Agency?

Multicultural NSW provides interpretation and translation services in over 100 languages and dialects.  Multicultural NSW provides services to all Government departments and agencies, private and commercial organisations, community groups and individuals.

For schedule of fees and enquiries, link to their website: https://multicultural.nsw.gov.au/services/document-translation-services

Who do I contact if I have further questions or feedback?

DEIT staff are available to support applicants with their applications, after the initial screening stage. Applicants should contact their designated Relationship Manager in the first instance or call on +61 2 4908 4800 or visit https://www.investment.nsw.gov.au/contact-us/.