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NSW Climate and Energy Action

Ecosystem grants FAQs

We recommend you review these frequently asked questions (FAQs) when developing your grant application. If your questions are not addressed in the FAQs, please contact us at NetZeroIndustry@environment.nsw.gov.au

About the grants

What types of activities will be funded in round 1 of the clean technology ecosystems grants? 

For the first funding round, these grants will support incubators, pre-accelerators and accelerators to equip clean technology start-ups and researchers with the skills and resources they need to succeed. 

These facilities will directly benefit clean technology start-ups and researchers by providing or facilitating at least one of the following activities: 

  • access to key partners, networks, investors, customers or mentors 
  • access to resources or knowledge to facilitate commercialisation 
  • access to Australian and International markets 
  • workshops, conferences, networking events, commercial training or entrepreneurial courses 
  • access to national and/or international experts. 
What is an incubator, pre-accelerator and accelerator?  

Incubator - An organisation that supports innovative start-up businesses. It may provide a variety of services including co-location, mentoring, professional services, access to networks or seed funding. 

Pre-accelerator - A program targeted at entrepreneurs who have a technology-based idea for a start-up, want to establish a business and develop a minimum viable product (MVP). These programs generally run for a fixed period of time, and participants ‘graduate’ from the program having followed a set methodology. A pre-accelerator program can often provide a pathway to an accelerator program. 

Accelerator - A program targeted at early-stage companies that typically already have a MVP. These programs generally run for a fixed period of time providing a cohort of innovative start-ups with education, resources, mentorship and connections to investors and potential business partners as a way to help them rapidly scale up.   

What are the decarbonisation priorities of these grants? 

Priority areas are guided by the NSW Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer’s NSW Decarbonisation Innovation Study and include: 

  • electrification and energy systems – accelerating renewable energy solutions and supporting the uptake of electrification in other sectors 
  • land and primary industries – coordinating and aligning efforts in the next wave of sustainable primary industry practices
  • power fuels including hydrogen – growing an environmentally sustainable NSW power fuels industry. 

These grants will prioritise investments in these three areas. You are strongly encouraged to review the NSW Decarbonisation Innovation Study to ensure your project aligns with the identified decarbonisation priority areas. 

We recognise that clean technology innovations are constantly emerging. The grant initiative has flexibility to allow for projects that fall outside these priority areas, but they must demonstrate outstanding merit.

Will online information sessions be held?   

An online information session was held on 18 March 2022 to provide further information about the grants. A recording of the session is available online.

Eligibility

What projects are eligible for funding? 

Projects are generally eligible for funding if they: 

  • align with clean technology innovation’s decarbonisation priority areas 
  • are based in NSW and will support NSW-based clean technology start-ups (minimum 50%) 
  • will be completed within 4 years of commencement   
  • can meet the minimum matched funding co-contribution requirements 
  • involves scaling up or establishing a new incubator, pre-accelerator or accelerator that supports clean technology start-ups or providing additional commercialisation training to researchers of clean technology at public research institutions 
  • can demonstrate the project would not proceeds without NSW Government funding 

For further information about eligibility, please read the guidelines

What is the minimum matched funding co-contribution requirement for these grants? 

The minimum co-contribution requirement is dependent on the project location. Projects in the Greater Sydney Districts must provide a minimum of 1:1 matched funding co-contribution or 2:1 ($2 from Government to $1 from applicant) for projects outside the Greater Sydney Districts. 

The project location is the address where the majority of project activities will take place. For projects delivered primarily online, the project location is the lead applicant's registered business address. 

Which areas are in the Greater Sydney District?  

Local Government Areas captured within the Greater Sydney Districts boundary are available on our website.  

Are collaborative projects between entities encouraged? 

Yes. Promoting collaboration is a key objective of these grants, so we welcome applications with multi-disciplinary expertise and financial co-contributions. You should showcase the strength of your project collaboration as part of your application.  

Am I eligible if I’ve already received other Australian Government grants?  

You are welcome to submit applications that have also accessed other government funding. You must clearly demonstrate that your application would not proceed without funding from this grant. 

My project is not located in NSW. Does this mean I’m not eligible? 

Projects must be located and delivered within NSW to be eligible for this grant. 

Can international organisations apply for these grants? 

This grant is only available for organisations registered in Australia with an ABN.   

How is "clean technology" defined for the purposes of this grant?

The guidelines define clean technologies as those that substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including low emission technologies. ‘Technologies’ refers to processes, products and services including hardware, software and business model innovations.

How should I demonstrate the ongoing sustainability of the project beyond the grant?

We recognise that incubators, pre-accelerators and accelerators awarded an ecosystem grant may have to scale-back some of the services they provide following the final grant payment. However, we encourage applicants to consider:

  • whether their business model will continue to be viable in the future, and
  • demonstrate the organisation doesn’t rely entirely on grant funding to operate.
Do the contractors used in the grant funded project need to be from NSW?

We recognise that expertise needed for your project, such as contractors, may not be available within NSW or Australia. This is fine, if the project is delivering benefit to NSW. For example, the end product resides in NSW to create technological, economic, social and/or environmental benefits.

Applying for a grant

What is the application process for a grant? 

This application includes a two-stage competitive process including an initial expression of interest (EOI) followed by a full application. If your EOI is successful, you will be invited to the full application stage. Applicants who are successful at the full application stage will enter into a funding agreement with us.

Section 6 of the guidelines provides more details on the application process. 

Is there any limit on the number of EOI’s that can be submitted? 

Yes, there is a limit of one EOI from each lead applicant. However, there are no restrictions on organisations partnering with other lead applicant organisations submitting an EOI.

Who will assess the application? 

An assessment committee will assess the applications based on the merit criteria outlined in the grant guidelines. All EOIs and full applications will be assessed on a competitive basis.  

How do I know if my project has progressed to the full application stage? 

After assessing all EOI applications, we will notify all applicants on the outcomes of their application by mid-2022. 

If my application is unsuccessful can I seek feedback?  

Yes, if you are unsuccessful, we will advise you in writing and provide an opportunity to receive feedback on your application. EOI and full application outcomes cannot be appealed. 

Funding

What is the total funding available and what is the maximum grant amount?

This is a $10 million grant initiative, with $4 million available in 2022. The minimum amount for a single grant is $250,000 and the maximum amount is $2 million (regardless of the number of partners collaborating with the lead applicant).

What is the average funding amount expected for individual projects? 

The funding amount for each project will depend on the size and scope of the project.   

Can previous contributions (cash or in-kind) be considered as part of an application’s co-contributions? 

No. Only new contributions will be considered. 

Can the co-contribution be all in-kind? 

Co-contribution cannot be all in-kind, it must include a cash component. Higher cash contributions will be considered favourably. 

Can applicants use revenue to meet their co-contribution requirements? 

Grants will only be awarded to applicants that can confirm committed co-contributions by the time they submit their full application.

Applicants that propose meeting their co-contribution requirements by using future revenue streams must provide strong evidence that those future revenue streams will be available. For example, sharing an existing customer contract.

We will consider co-contributions that are already available or committed by the lead applicant or a partner organisation more favourably than future revenue streams when assessing grant applications.

At what stage will an application need to demonstrate the cash component of the co-contribution funding is available? 

Co-contribution, including the cash component, should be confirmed by the time a full application is submitted. If there is likely to be a delay in confirming co-contribution funds, you should advise us as early as possible. We will not enter into a funding agreement unless co-contribution funding is confirmed (this may include letters from funding bodies or private investors). 

Are there any limitations to the source of cash contributions?

Cash contributions can be from any source. All co-contributions must be confirmed prior to grants being awarded and any conditions or requirements of co-contribution funding must be compatible with these grants.

Submitting EOIs

How do I submit an EOI for grant funding?  

EOIs closed on 22 April 2022. 

What happens if I miss the application deadline? 

Late submissions and incomplete applications will not be accepted. 

Privacy and confidentiality

My application and registration will include personal information. How do you manage this information?  

We have legal obligations under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW) in relation to the collection, storage, access, use and disclosure of personal information. 

If collecting your personal information, we will provide you with a privacy statement at the time of collection that details how this information will be managed in accordance with privacy law.