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Artificial Intelligence (AI) Adopt Program

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Adopt Program

  • Applications are open until: 29 January 2024
  • Grants: Funding is available in the range of $3 million to $5 million over four years, covering up to 50% of eligible project expenses.

The AI Adopt Program offers funding to establish up to five AI Adopt Centres, supporting small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) involved in international and interstate trade. These centres aim to facilitate the adoption of responsible AI-enabled services, enhancing the business operations of the participating SMEs. The program's overarching goal is to establish a network of AI Adopt Centres, serving as a primary entry point for SMEs interested in exploring the responsible and safe adoption and usage of AI.

Key Requirements

The objectives of the program are to:

  • facilitate the safe and responsible adoption, implementation, and demonstration of real-world AI applications to address sectoral and local challenges
  • assist SMEs in responsibly integrating AI products to develop new or improved products and services
  • enhance Australia’s future prosperity and productivity growth by promoting AI adoption in SMEs and upskilling Australian workers in AI technologies
  • support the growth of a network of Australian AI capability, providing expertise, business and technical skills, connectivity, and access to research and partnerships, including collaboration with the National Artificial Intelligence Centre and the Responsible AI Network
  • ensure equitable access to SMEs nationwide operating within identified sectoral areas aligned with National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) priorities.
  • foster growth in the AI technology market by meeting increased international demand for Australian AI capabilities
  • positively impact the participation of underrepresented cohorts in technology, including women, First Nations Australians, and individuals with disabilities
  • contribute to the Australian Government’s target of achieving 1.2 million tech-related jobs by 2030.

The intended outcomes are to:

  • increase SMEs’ capacity to responsibly, safely, and effectively utilize AI technologies through guidance, specialist training, and access to specific talents and expertise
  • raise awareness and workforce skills within the SME sector regarding responsible AI adoption
  • enhance SMEs’ productivity by utilising AI products to promote product development and build efficiencies in NRF priority sectors.

The Australian Government’s NRF designates seven priority areas to enhance primary products and leverage Australia’s natural and competitive strengths. AI Adopt Centres must align their service offerings with one or more of the priority funding areas, including:

  • value addition in resources
  • value addition in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, covering agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food, and fibre
  • transport
  • medical science, including medical manufacturing
  • renewables and low emissions technologies
  • defence capability
  • enabling capabilities, including critical technologies and advanced manufacturing.

What is eligible for funding?

Eligible projects and activities:

  • For eligibility, your project must establish a physical or virtual hub/centre with national reach for SME access.
  • It should focus on achieving objectives and outcomes by engaging in activities such as developing and delivering educational programs (e.g., business-ready workshops, online videos) targeting SMEs in nominated NRF priority areas, providing tailored expertise for AI solutions aligned with SME sectoral needs, and offering other education or capability uplift courses/services.
  • Eligible activities must directly align with the project, occurring in Australia and encompassing activities like staff training in inclusivity within the technology field, supporting positions for First Nations advisors, advancing the growth of Australia’s AI ecosystem, using AI to enhance commercial outcomes, and providing services and training to SMEs.

Eligible expenditure:

  • Grant funds can be utilised for various purposes, including contracting subject matter experts, covering labour and on-costs for program delivery, facilitating travel and accommodation, purchasing IT and software, supporting workshop delivery, and covering design, development, IP protection, and commercialisation costs.
  • Expenditure must be incurred by you within the project period, directly related to the project, incurred for project audit activities, and meet eligible expenditure requirements.

What companies are eligible for funding?

To qualify, you must have an Australian Business Number (ABN) and be either an entity incorporated in Australia or an unincorporated entity. If successful, unincorporated entities need to commit to forming a company incorporated in Australia or one of the eligible entity types before entering into a grant agreement.

Joint applications (consortia) are allowed, with the lead organisation being responsible for submission. The application must identify all members of the proposed group and include a supporting letter from each project partner. Each joint application must involve at least one Australian industry partner, such as domestic AI or technology firms.

Additional eligibility requirements:

  • Submitting evidence of board support for the project and the ability to cover costs not funded by the grant is crucial. This process involves demonstrating financial capacity through an accountant declaration.
  • Additionally, applicants must certify having or implementing relevant intellectual property arrangements, ensuring at least $6 million in eligible expenditure for the project, and committing to becoming accredited as part of the Responsible AI Network (RAIN) within three months following the grant agreement’s execution.
  • The certified activities should support either building awareness and implementation opportunities for AI products in SMEs for an overseas or interstate market or enhancing SME capability to responsibly implement AI for creating or improving products or services for an overseas or interstate market.

Is this grant competitive or entitlement based?

Competitive. Your application will be assessed among other applications by a judging panel.

How can I increase my chances of winning this grant?

By engaging an accredited government grants consultant, such as Avant Group.

Competitive grants often require significant business case development and project analysis to support the application, this may include detailed presentations supporting the project’s merit, projected sales, cost-benefit analysis and more.

As part of your engagement with Avant Group, your account manager will assess the required documents and will provide the following as needed to support your grant submission.

Grant application writeup including a detailed presentation illustrating how the grant funding will contribute to your project, how the funding will contribute to the project’s budget, a project milestone plan, delivery timeline, impact on employment if applicable and a breakdown of the management and leadership team for the project

  • Industry analysis presentation
  • Competitor Analysis Presentation
  • Marketing and Sales Analysis Presentation
  • 3-5 year Cashflow Forecast
  • 3-5 year Balance Sheet Forecast
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis of Grant Funding
  • End-to-end grant application including information collating, analysis and application writing
  • CAPEX (Capital Expenditure) cost-benefit analysis
  • Stakeholder relations and Risk Mitigation Plans
  • Any other relevant forecasting that will support your application

How can I get help with my application? Or know if I’m likely to win funding?

Avant Group offers a no-obligation assessment of your eligibility for funding and will assess your likelihood of a successful grant application.