Grants

Grants can provide entities (business and community) with much needed financial contribution to help get that next project become a reality.

Local, State and Federal governments, regularly provide a range of new grant funding opportunities to assist with economic and community outcomes.

RDA Barossa, Light, Gawler, Adelaide Plains is keen to support entities in securing funding to achieve those same outcomes through;

  • provision of links to grant search engines,
  • linking to subsidized service providers to help write grant applications for you through our Business to Business (B2B) network,
  • provision of information to make self-assessment and applications easier,
  • offering guidance on grant applications you are writing yourself, and
  • providing alerts to new grant opportunities through our newsletter.

Grant Search Engines:

Grant Assist (South Australian State Government)
Grant Connect (Federal Government)
Grant Guru (Private entity service)

Popular Grants Right Now:

Tourism Infrastructure Development Fund (open)

Regional Growth Fund (open – closes 12 noon on Monday 12 July 2021)

Building Better Regions Fund (closed – may be another round)

Modern Manufacturing Initiative – Manufacturing Integration Stream (closed – may be another round)

Wine Export Grants program (open – closes 2 May 2022)

Top 18 tips you will want to know – before you start

Grant programs will rarely provide funding for business-as-usual activity. If you have a project – it should also usually be related to something new or growth of the entity

This means you are never guaranteed to be approved for grant funding. You will be competing against many other entities for

grants coming from a fixed sum grant pool. Regardless of outcome, if you apply for a grant, please let us know as we may still be able to help you realise your project another way.

There will always be a section in the guidelines titled eligibility that outlines clearly who can and cannot apply for that grant (eg. Sole traders can apply, publicly listed companies cannot apply, etc). There will also be another section related to the eligible funding activities and non-eligible funding activities. (eg. Building related capital expenditure on site is eligible, administrative staff salaries are not eligible).

Is it open or closed – if it is open, check the closing date. Most times you will need at least a week to put one together, the more time you can allow, the better. If it is closed – check if it is ‘rounds’ based, ‘Rounds’ based grants mean there are staggered periods of time for accepting applications, so if for example round 1 has closed, there will usually be a round 2 coming up – keep checking back to ensure you are first in. If it is not ‘rounds’ based, it will be based on a first come, first serve basis– so get in early.

Most grants require the entity applying to contribute funds to the project (sometimes this may be in-kind, although usually not) to a minimum value – for example 50% of the total eligible project costs. There will also be a minimum and maximum grant amount per application (eg between $25,000 and $2 million). Using these figures to input to a hypothetical situation where your grant is approved:

Eg. Your minimum project costs will need to total $50,000 (and presuming all costs are eligible expenses) – you will need to contribute $25,000, the government will contribute the remaining $25,000 – giving you the total $50,000 funds required. Using the above scenario, if your project costs total $40,000 – you will not be eligible for this grant, as you need to contribute minimum 50% and the government minimum amount is $25,000. Similarly, if you project cost is $5 million total, the maximum government can consider funding is $2 million, meaning you will need to come up with the remaining $3 million.

There is no requirement for your pay a 3rd party to do a grant application on your behalf. Ok, so why would I engage someone to do it for me? There are 3 main reasons for hiring grant writers: 1) you don’t have the time, but do have the money to pay someone to do it, 2) Even though you may have the time, you don’t feel confident in doing it yourself, and 3) You cant be bothered doing it yourself.

Ask for relevant experience when engaging someone and evidence of grant outcomes or past clients you can speak to. Writing grants is a skill and putting together a good application will take time and reading and re-reading the guidelines and your application. Even if you are going to write it yourself, have someone else read your drafts who is impartial and can give you feedback to improve it. We at RDA are happy to help here – contact us.

The bigger the grant, usually the more onerous it will be in administering. Remember these are public funds and accountability for good use of these funds is always a key consideration of the issuing party. Some grant funds are paid as re-imbursements, so if you don’t have evidence upfront of the co-contribution you said you would provide – you are setting yourself up for failure. Similarly, the guidelines for a grant will have timeframes

that approved projects will need to commence and be finalised by – therefore, if you can’t achieve the intended project outcomes within those timeframes – you are again not going to meet guidelines. If you have time to spare within the prescribed window, give yourself more time than you think you need for each ‘milestone/stage’. It is always easier to advise you achieved the outcomes quicker than anticipated and agreed upon, than to have to try to re-negotiate the contract terms because your project is delayed – whatever the reason. Ensure you have the ability to deliver the ‘evidence’ on time to meet grant milestones – this is usually a resources and project management consideration. Executing a grant on time, on budget and as agreed/expected will have an impact on any future applications.

There is usually a clause in the guidelines that states a timeframe that eligible funding must be spent/incurred to be eligible for payment of the grant. As an example, if the grant says eligible funding must occur between 1st May 2022 and 31st October 2022, and if you know you have expenses that occur in April 2022 related to this project – these expenses will likely not be considered able to be funded and may jeopardize your eligibility to apply altogether.

After lodging, there is almost always an extensive grants assessment and then approvals process which will usually take weeks if not months. This is usually due to the number of applications received coupled with resources to administer the grants process. These timeframes are usually indicated in the guidelines.

Quite often you may need to seek clarification on a point to do with eligibility or the application forms. If in doubt, email or call the grant provider to check. Contact details are always listed and whilst they may need to call you back, it will always be worth it.

Sometimes there is information you need to include that requires a third-party involvement – Financial reports from your accountant or letter of support from council or RDA are sometimes requested. It is good to have a clear understanding of these aspects of your application early on in your process and well in advance of the closing date. The guidelines usually outline this, but it is a good idea to print out a sample copy of the application to prepare your answers if you can. Allowing time for third party prepared documents is always a good idea.

Copy the questions across to MS Word or equivalent to make sure you have met the word/character count requirement and to more easily edit as required.

If it is jobs – make sure you clearly articulate how many jobs and of what type, full-time, part-time, casual it will generate. If it is social or community outcomes, provide as much information in a concise manner as to convey how this outcome will be achieved. Remember the issuer of the grant will want to see particular outcomes – so its important to highlight these and be mindful of their jurisdiction.

A lot of applicants think the maximum grant amount is the amount they should apply for – $20,000 for example has people applying for the full $20,000 amount. If you are looking it from an assessor’s perspective, they will be seeking to approve the maximum number of grant applications, that achieve the greatest outcomes sought by the grant program. If you have an almost identical application that is asking for $2,000 less and able to achieve the same outcome, with only one more application able to be funded, who do you think will get it? Remember, the assessors are essentially gifting public funds and are accountable to the public for the rationale behind the funding provided.

Grant funds are not usually given to entities that don’t have a need for the funds, – the idea that ‘I would rather use your money than mine to fund this’ is not going to work. Think about this aspect carefully.

There will almost always be a contract – or grant deed, that outlines all the payment milestones (what needs to be achieved to activate a partial payment of the overall grant funds). These are usually standard template documents, but you can negotiate some terms, and you may have commercial-in-confidence agreements that are tied to the project. Be aware the government will want to highlight their successful grant applicants and projects and the deeds are always listed for public access to ensure transparency and accountability of use of public funds; if there is sensitive information in the grant deeds – make sure you negotiate clearly prior to signing any grant deed any critical information that needs to be redacted or ‘blacked out’ and any announcements are sensitive to commercial in confidence dealings and announcements. Lastly, If RDA has been helpful in your application, we would love the feedback, you can do that here.

Don’t lose hope, government grant funding is competitive and this outcome is going to be the case for some. Learn from it and gain feedback if you can – you will get better from it. Consider alternative funding sources and speak to us at RDA about if we can help you get your project back on track.

Take it one step at a time – working through these points will help you to self-assess and assist in putting together the best application you can – giving you a better chance of funding. At the end of the day, if you qualify and these funds help bring a project forward or help get it over the line at all, it is a great way of building your next project without diluting your shareholding, pay interest on a loan or having to put it off for a time when it is a less risky proposition or even indefinitely.

 

This COVID era is a challenging one and government recognizes that industries and communities need support, they have been actively offering grants to help achieve the right outcomes and many of us can do with support to get our business, community or industry to the next level.

 

If you have identified you qualify and need to run through any aspects of your application – speak to us, we would love to help you.

Contact Zac McCrindle at 0425 883 332 or zac@barossa.org.au for grant support