QLD Female Founders Co-investment Fund

QLD Female Founders Co-investment Fund

  • Applications are currently open on an ongoing basis.
  • The Fund provides grants ranging from $50,000 to $200,000, matched at a 1:3 ratio, to businesses founded by women in Queensland who are securing new early-stage investment as part of a capital raise.

The Female Founders Co-Investment Fund (the Fund) is geared towards boosting both the quantity and quality of investments directed towards female-founded businesses in Queensland, particularly those with a strong focus on innovation, also known as innovation-driven enterprises (IDEs). Eligible businesses will receive assistance to access funding and attract new early-stage investments aimed at enhancing their operational capacity.

The Fund's objectives include:
- supporting female founders in Queensland to successfully close early-stage investment rounds with Government support
- assisting female founders in Queensland to expand their innovative ventures across various industries
- increasing the participation of female founders in the Queensland innovation ecosystem
- contributing to the development of an investment pipeline specifically tailored for businesses founded by women.

Key Requirements

Female founded business

The Fund is set to allocate grants to IDEs founded and led by women, displaying innovative potential and poised for substantial growth, provided they secure early-stage investment from a qualifying investment entity. These IDEs must have progressed beyond the proof of concept stage in their primary business function (product/service).

For eligibility, a female-founded business (the applicant organisation) must meet the following criteria for at least six months prior to the application:

  • majority female-owned: at least 51% of shares held by a woman/women
  • female-led: at least one primary executive decision-making position held by a woman, such as Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Technology Officer, or Chief Scientific Officer. If the female founder’s shares are held within a trust, the applicant organisation must demonstrate compliance with these criteria.

An Innovation-Driven Enterprise (IDE) is defined as a business that prioritises innovative solutions to drive growth, competitive advantage, and value creation. These enterprises concentrate on developing and commercialising new products and/or services to achieve strategic objectives.

Available funding

The Fund offers grants ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 (excluding GST), matched at a 1:3 ratio (i.e. $1 in grant funding for every $3 of secured investment), disbursed over 12 months, for a raise round led by an eligible investment entity. To qualify for a minimum grant of $50,000, the organisation must secure a minimum of $150,000 in external investment.

Provisionally approved applicants will have 180 calendar days to secure additional investment as part of their nominated raise. The final grant amount will be determined based on the provisional approval, the 1:3 ratio, and the actual total investment secured. This final amount may vary from the provisional approval depending on the actual total investment secured.

Application process

Applications can be submitted at any time, and the Program will remain open until all funds are allocated. Applicants meeting the eligibility criteria will undergo a competitive assessment process and will be notified of the outcome by email within approximately 6-10 weeks.

Provisionally approved applicants must secure their raise or investment within 180 calendar days from the provisional approval date to qualify for grant funding.

The funding process consists of two stages:

  • Stage 1 – Provisional approval: Successful applicant organisations will receive provisional approval for grant funding. This provisional approval can be utilised to attract further investment needed to successfully complete the nominated raise.
  • Stage 2 – Full approval: The applicant organisation will obtain full approval once it:
    • provides evidence of securing the nominated raise (excluding the grant funding) within 180 calendar days from the provisional approval date
    • satisfies due diligence and probity assessments.

What is eligible for funding?

The expenditure of the Female Founders Co-Investment Fund grant funding must be directed towards the growth and/or scaling of the business.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • salary expenditure (including salary-related on-costs) for new employees directly contributing to the organisation’s growth plan.
  • salary expenditure (including salary-related on-costs) for founders and existing employees directly contributing to the organisation’s growth plan, capped at a maximum of 20% of the total grant funding
  • product research and development
  • marketing and promotion activities
  • acquisition of new customers
  • expansion into new markets
  • scaling production and delivery processes
  • utilisation of professional services provided by external parties.

Wherever possible, the grant funding must be spent within Queensland or through suppliers based in Queensland.

What companies are eligible for funding?

Applicant organisation

To be eligible to apply, the applicant organisation must meet the following criteria:

  • be a business headquartered in Queensland, operating with its head office located in the state
  • hold an active Australian Business Number (ABN) and be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • fulfill the definition of a female-founded business
  • have no more than 50 full-time equivalent employees
  • not operate as a subsidiary of a group of companies with a total of more than 50 full-time equivalent employees
  • not have received investment exceeding $500,000 through previous capital raises
  • engage in or have plans to engage in an early-stage capital raise from a new eligible investment entity or entities.
Investment method

At the time of application, the applicant organisation must adhere to the following:

  • plan to secure and finalise their capital raise within six months (180 calendar days) after receiving provisional approval from the Fund, OR
  • have obtained an offer of investment from a new eligible investment entity within the past three months (90 calendar days) and intend to secure and finalise their capital raise within six months (180 calendar days) after receiving provisional approval from the Fund.

The applicant organisation must pursue its capital raise using an eligible investment method, which includes:

  • issuance of new shares
  • issuance of new convertible notes that cannot be redeemed within the first 12 months
  • entering into a new SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity).
Investment entity

The applicant organisation must be actively pursuing an investment arrangement with an eligible investment entity that:

  • is not currently a shareholder or investor with the applicant organisation (prior to the current raise)
  • holds an active ABN, unless operating as a trust or international entity
  • is not associated or affiliated with the applicant organisation in any way
  • meets the minimum fiduciary requirements outlined for sophisticated investors in the Corporations Act 2001, holds a current Australian Financial Services (AFS) License, or operates as a practicing investment organisation, such as:
    • an Angel Investor/Group/Network/Syndicate
    • a Venture Capital fund
    • a Professional Investor or Investment Fund Manager
    • an Early-Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnerships (ESVCLP) or Venture Capital Limited Partnership (VCLP)
    • a Managed Investment Scheme or Management Investment Trust
    • a Family Office
  • demonstrates a proven track record in early-stage venture, research, or relevant innovation investments.

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.