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Advance Queensland Ignite Spark Program

Advance Queensland Ignite Spark Program

  • Expression of Interest (EOI) applications for Round 11 are open until 31 October 2023
  • Funding ranging from a minimum of $50,000 to a maximum of $75,000 (excluding GST) is available for projects lasting up to 12 months. To access this funding, applicant organisations are required to provide a matched funding contribution, as outlined in Key Requirements.

The Ignite Spark Program is designed to assist small to medium-sized innovation-driven enterprises based in Queensland, which have the potential for high growth, in advancing the development of innovative products or services closer to the market. Specifically, the program seeks to aid these enterprises in advancing prototypes to more advanced product or service stages. These advanced stages should entail testing, validation, customer endorsement, and readiness for commercialisation.

Key Requirements

In terms of this program’s significance, the project must revolve around the development of an innovative product and/or service within the following contexts:

  • new to world innovation
  • innovative solutions to existing problems
  • innovation diffusion (a unique application of a technology that is significantly different to any previous innovation in the market)
  • innovation in the Indigenous context – identified by the applicant as innovative to cultural and community practices.

Available funding:

  • Tier 1: For applicants headquartered in South East Queensland, a 20% matched funding contribution is mandatory.
  • Tier 2: For Indigenous businesses and/or applicants headquartered in a Queensland region, a 10% matched funding contribution is mandatory.
    • An Indigenous business is defined in accordance with the Queensland Indigenous Procurement Policy as a business that is ‘at least 50% or more owned by an Aboriginal person and/or a Torres Strait Islander person. It may take the form of a company, incorporated association, or trust. For clarity, a social enterprise or registered charity may also be considered an Indigenous business if it operates a business.’
    • A Queensland region encompasses any location in Queensland except for the following South East Queensland regions: Brisbane City Council, Toowoomba Regional Council, Redland City Council, Ipswich City Council, Lockyer Valley Regional Council, Logan City Council, Moreton Bay Regional Council, Noosa Council, Scenic Rim Regional Council, Somerset Regional Council, Sunshine Coast Council, and the Gold Coast City Council.

Successful applicant organisations will have the opportunity to access incubator and other business development support services through an expanded Ignite+ program.

The Ignite Spark Program employs a two-stage application process:

  1. Stage 1 – Expression of Interest Round: Expressions of Interest should be lodged through the Advance Queensland website, with the application deadline set for 11 am on Tuesday, 31 October 2023.
  2. Stage 2 – Full Application Round: After evaluating the Expression of Interest applications, select applicants will receive invitations to submit a Full Application.

What is eligible for funding?

To qualify for funding, projects must meet the following criteria at the time of application:

  • Possess a functional prototype for a product and/or service that can scale to meet industry or market demands.
  • Show readiness to validate the product and/or service in an industrially or operationally relevant setting.
  • Confirm that the product and/or service is not currently available in the market.

Please note that, for the Ignite Spark Program’s purposes, a functional prototype is defined as a fully operational integrated model that showcases the fundamental functionalities and features of the product and/or service. Such a prototype is constructed for the explicit purpose of assessing and confirming the technical aspects and performance of the product and/or service.

The Ignite Spark Program’s funding and the contribution from the applicant organisation can be applied to the following eligible project costs:

  • Salary expenses, including on-costs, for employees directly involved in project delivery, such as founders, current staff, and new hires. This allocation is limited to 20% of the total project cost.
  • Minor modifications driven by market demands, including adjustments resulting from validation testing outcomes.
  • Industry compliance testing, which encompasses obtaining product accreditation from universities or technical institutes.
  • Product validation activities, including design for manufacturing assembly and scaling up for manufacturing.
  • Small-scale production of prototypes for presentation and demonstration purposes.
  • Third-party technical services to support testing and validation, such as engaging external experts for design reviews, developing product cost models, and conducting risk assessment activities.
  • Third-party services for guidance, strategy, and planning related to intellectual property protection, including associated costs.
  • Equipment purchases, with individual items not exceeding $9,000 each, capped at 10% of the total project cost.
  • Procurement of consumables specifically required for project-related activities.
  • Essential travel expenses necessary for project activities, covering economy airfares and reasonable accommodation costs. This component is also capped at 10% of the total project cost.
  • Expenses related to overseas testing and validation, if no adequately equipped laboratory or facility exists in Australia for conducting such tests.
  • Reasonable freight or transport costs essential to support testing or validation processes.

What companies are eligible for funding?

In order to qualify for funding, applicant organisations must meet the following criteria at the time of application:

  • The organisation must have its headquarters located in Queensland.
  • Possess a valid Australian Business Number (ABN).
  • Be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) at the time of submitting the Full Application.
  • Maintain a workforce of no more than 50 full-time-equivalent employees.
  • Not function as a subsidiary of a conglomerate of companies that employs more than 50 full-time-equivalent personnel.
  • Not have previously secured funding for the proposed project activity from state, federal, or local government sources.
  • Commit a cash contribution to the project, which must be at least 10% of the requested funding value for Tier 2 applicants or 20% of the requested funding value for Tier 1 applicants.

It is important to note that matched funding may originate either internally from the applicant organisation or from investors, but it may not include any other grants from the Queensland Government. Contributions in the form of in-kind or non-cash assets are not eligible as matched funding contributions.

Furthermore, organisations and their affiliated entities are limited to submitting only one application per funding round.

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.