Food and Beverage Manufacturer Grants - MMI Scheme Opening Soon

Friday 5 March 2021

Two Streams of the Federal Government's Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) Grant Scheme is set to open shortly for Australian Food and Beverage Manufacturers. Here is what you need to do to prepare your application...

The MMI represents a $1.3B investment by the Federal Government to help Australian manufacturers to scale-up, collaborate, and commercialise their ideas, focusing on six identified National Manufacturing Priority (NMP) sectors. The grants will be allocated via three distinct application streams: collaboration, translation and integration. If you missed our previous post on the Australian Government’s $1.5B Modern Manufacturing Strategy, which this Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) forms a part of, you can read more about it here.

Grant applications for Food & Beverage companies (the 4th of six identified NMP sectors) will open next week for the Translation and Integration streams. After analysing the current available information we have detailed the steps to best prepare for when applications open.

Step 1 - Determine Your Stream Eligibility

Determine if your project meets the definition of a Translation or an Integration Stream Grant

The Translation Stream provides support to later-stage commercialisation projects to assist businesses to adopt new technology and improve manufacturing processes. The core objective of this stream is to support Australian manufacturers to "do things differently". The late-stage commercial validation of a new product or service using high value manufacturing techniques is a good example of a perfect candidate project for a Translation Stream grant.

The Integration Stream is about supporting Australian businesses to integrate into new markets and value chains. The adaption of a facility to meet the required quality certifications and standards to access a specific market or value chain is a typical example of the types of projects to be supported by an Integration Stream grant.

Step 2 - Determine If You Meet the Company Eligibility & Expenditure Criteria

Projects must meet the following eligibility criteria:

1. For projects greater than $2M (grant amounts from $1M to $20M ie. 50% of total) – the department states that the anticipated average grant size is $4M.
2. Projects must be completed by 31 March 2024.
3. Have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
4. Be non-tax exempt.
5. Be registered for the Goods and Services Tax (GST)
6. Be an entity incorporated in Australia, including start-ups, and a trading corporation.
7. Be able to demonstrate your project aligns with one of the NMP (please note that the government welcomes applications from businesses operating in sectors outside the NMP, but they need to demonstrate that they are aligned with or contribute to one of the priority sectors).
8. Be able to provide evidence that your project is supported by your board/CEO.
9. Be able to provide evidence that you can meet the costs of the project not covered by the grant funding.

Projects must meet the following expenditure criteria:  

1. Be incurred by you within the project period.
2. Be a direct cost of the project.
3. Be incurred by you to undertake required project audit activities.
4. Meet the eligible expenditure guidelines.

Examples of eligible expenditure include plant and equipment, direct labour costs including on-costs and administrative overhead, contract expenditure and project related travel costs.

Step 3 - Develop Project Documentation

Develop a project plan that includes the following detail:

1. Project background and feasibility.
2. Purpose and description including scope, key activities and timeline of the project.
3. The objectives of the project and expected outcomes and benefits to the organisation.
4. The methodology or process for delivery of the project.
6. Break the project down into specific milestones including activities and start and finish dates.
7. The roles, responsibilities and skills of the key personnel and/or external contractors/consultants or partners to be involved in the project.

Develop a detailed project budget that:

1. Identifies costs under each head of expenditure
2. Includes an explanation of how the costs were determined.

Develop a risk management plan that:

1. Details how the project will be monitored and managed, and how risks will be reported.
2. The plan should include risk related to COVID-19.

Step 4 - Gather Key Company Information

Prepare the following company information:

1. Basic financial data from previous financial year (ie. revenue, R&D expenditure etc.)
2. No. of employees including breakdown of type (ie. full-time, part-time, casual, contract and
apprentices).
3. Brief description of business including history, supply chain and markets.

Step 5 - Get Ready to Start the Application

Completing the above steps will serve you well, as not only are the documents required supporting information for the application process, they will also be a valuable source of information when completing the written questions on the application including the assessment criteria.

The grant will be open for 4 weeks from the date of release which is anticipated to be the 11th or 12th of March, 2021.

The third MMI stream, Collaboration, which is for much larger projects is set to open in the latter half of 2021.

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