The Nukon team are spread far and wide across Australia. We have team members based in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Launceston. We also regularly meet with clients (virtually and face-to-face) and see their operations first-hand. We take the time to understand their operations.
As you can imagine, our team members chat to many business owners, operations managers and project managers. All of these stakeholders know the pressure of balancing an increasingly competitive environment with the need to modernise operations and adopt new technologies. In fact, these challenges are very familiar to us here at Nukon.
Recently, we’ve been drawing stakeholder attention to a Federal Government Grant as an opportunity to improve efficiencies and to empower your workforce. Open to manufacturing enterprises, the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund supports the investment in transformative manufacturing processes and efficiency upgrades.
This funding presents a huge opportunity to take the next step in your business’s digital transformation.
We understand that applying for a funding program can be a daunting process. To help you put forward a polished application, here are a few key things you need to know when applying for a grant.
What is the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund?
The Manufacturing Modernisation Fund is intended to support Australian manufacturers by co-funding capital investments and the associated reskilling. The first round of the fund closed in 2019, and applications for the second round are now open.
Funding obtained through this program can be used for:
- Technology upgrades
- Efficiency upgrades, such as process optimisation
- Transformative changes within the business that would allow for the production of new products or to expand into new markets.
The fund is made up of $50 million from the Australian Government and a further $110 million from industry. Round two of the fund runs over a 3-year period (2020-21 to 2022-23) and supports transformative investments in technologies and processes to help support investment in manufacturing processes.
To be considered for this fund, you must be a small to medium-sized manufacturing enterprise with no more than 199 employees.
Applying for a grant to modernise manufacturing operations
Grant applications can be time consuming, which is why it’s important to know where to start before you begin drafting. Give yourself adequate time to compile everything needed and to complete the application before the closing date.
The team at Nukon have considerable experience working with clients who are preparing grant applications. We want to help you confidently submit your grant application, so read our tips for completing an application and put your best foot forward.
Find the latest government grants in Australia: Grants and assistance programs
Check if you are eligible
Refer to the eligibility criteria before you begin work on a grant application to make sure you meet the requirements. If you are applying for an Australian Government grant, for example, your business may need to be an Australian entity. A number of grants also require businesses to contribute a portion of the funds, a payment that needs to be made in cash.
Keep in mind each grant may have different eligibility criteria, so check to make sure you aren’t wasting time on an application that isn’t relevant to your business. If you are unsure whether you meet the criteria, get in touch with the contact person for the funding provider. Spending a few minutes clarifying details with them is much more valuable than wasting hours on an application you’re ineligible for.
Review the structure of the grant
Once you’ve confirmed eligibility, review how the grant application is assessed.
Understanding the assessment criteria can help you determine a strategic direction, the strongest point of your application, and use this as the base.
Applications have strict word limits, so spend time breaking the questions down and draft some dot points to help you answer each of them. Plan what subheadings you might want to use and refer back to the criteria often to directly meet it for each section.
Ask for assistance drafting your grant application
Getting outside help with a grant application can be extremely valuable, particularly if you’ve never done one before. Take the opportunity to collaborate with a service provider you plan to work with on the project. In the past, Nukon team members have worked with customers to draft successful grant applications that leverage our technologies. Because we have a strong understanding of the potential value process optimisations and digital improvements can make to your business, we’re able to concisely highlight this and help with the details.
For grants that require a detailed budget as part of the submission, it is highly recommended to have the figures reviewed by another person. Make sure those numbers add up!
Always refer back to the question
Letting passion for the business shine through is fine in your application, but don’t get off-track to do it. Keep the question in mind each time you begin a response and each time you review it. Make sure you address the question completely — the judges will be assessing how your answers align with the assessment criteria.
Where you can, illustrate the point with a case study or an example from within your business. This helps to emphasise your point by supporting answers with evidence. You can also review recipients of similar advanced manufacturing Australia grants and see what helped them to stand out.
Highlight your strengths as an investment
A grant application should highlight your capabilities and strength as a business. Grants are an investment and a business decision — so make your business stand out as an enticing investment.
Establish business credibility by supporting statements with numbers and demonstrate how the funding will be used. Where relevant to your business, highlight job growth or upskilling, new market research or sustainability measures you plan to make.
Proofread your application and submit
Before submitting the application, have someone read it for you, preferably someone who hasn’t been involved in the application process. They can point out if the submission is easy to understand or if it assumes too much technical knowledge. Use this feedback to tighten up your draft before a final proofread.
A few things to check:
- Does your application follow the grant format?
- Have you stuck to the word count?
- Do you use heading and bullet points to improve readability?
- Is the language specific and clear?
- Have you compiled the attachments or documents needed? Are they in the correct format?
Once you’re satisfied that you’ve done everything possible to be successful with your application, submit it and confirm it has been received.
Writing a grant application
Some businesses see value in getting help from a grant writer to develop a funding application. This isn’t a viable option for everyone, so don’t feel daunted by completing the submission internally. As we’ve explained, you can draw on the knowledge of service providers you plan to work with if you are successful in obtaining a grant.
Nukon can support clients who are developing their submissions for round 2 of the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund. We will have team members available to assist with grant applications until the closure date of January 31st.
If you are considering taking advantage of this funding program, we recommend making a start as early as possible.