Regional Growth Fund FAQs

Regional Growth Fund Strategic Business Round 2020 FAQs

What is the Regional Growth Fund?

The $150 million Regional Growth Fund’s purpose is to facilitate new economic activity, and build and strengthen communities for regional South Australia.

The Fund provides opportunities to leverage government and private funding to deliver critical economic infrastructure designed to create direct economic benefits across industries or multiple entities in regional South Australia.

Valuable projects will include those committed to employing local people and sourcing products and services from local suppliers, and to fostering collaboration. Projects that seek to leverage funds from non-State Government sources will also be looked on favourably.

What is the Regional Growth Fund – Strategic Business Round 2020?

This Regional Growth Fund – Strategic Business Round 2020 is a once-off $15 million special round seeking applications under the Regional Growth Fund Strategic Pool to assist regions in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through this once-off Regional Growth Fund – Strategic Business Round 2020, the Government aims to unlock business investment to jump start regional economies by supporting shovel ready projects that drive new or enhanced economic activity. With the shift to recovery, there remains a need to focus on building a strong economy creating job opportunities and to establish processes that directly support businesses to more freely and quickly invest in their own capital, land and people to strengthen the local, regional, state and national economy.

Applicants will be required to demonstrate that their project or activity:

  • drives new economic activity to produce outcomes that would not occur otherwise
  • delivers transformational change for an industry or sector, rather than incremental improvement
  • creates new or additional sustained economic benefits for the community / region beyond the applicant
  • connects to a specific regional community
  • ensures that further intervention by government is not required to sustain the project or its benefits after the grant funding is provided.

Projects will also be assessed on their contribution towards:

  • growing regional population and promoting skilled migration Providing productive economic infrastructure
  • increasing merchandise and service exports, import replacement and direct investment into South Australia
  • business facilitation factors (eg. greater skills training opportunities)
  • building the resilience of the regional economy to deal with shocks and take advantage of emerging opportunities
  • reducing the cost of doing business in South Australia.

What is the definition of ‘shovel ready’?

A successful applicant must be able to commence their project within 3 months of approval. Development approvals and similar should have been sought and approved to enable the projects immediate commencement.

How will the funding support people to invest in their own land or people?

Funding will support organisations to invest in new or enhanced infrastructure on their land. However, funding cannot be used to purchase land.

Funding will support organisations to invest in upskilling their staff if they have purchased new equipment that staff are not trained in using. However, funding cannot be used to meet internal staffing costs or for training programs unrelated to the project (e.g. training for a forklift licence).

How do I get a copy of the guidelines and the application form?

The PIRSA website contains a guide to applying. Please note there is a special Addendum to the Regional Growth Fund Guidelines particularly relating to the Strategic Business Round 2020, which MUST be read in conjunction with the RGF Guidelines. The website also provides a link to the online application form. All applications MUST be submitted online not via email or mail.

Visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/regional-growth-fund

What is available?

This Regional Growth Fund – Strategic Business Round 2020 is a once-off $15 million special round.

Applications open: Wednesday 10 June 2020

Applications close: 12.00 pm midday, Monday 6 July 2020

Applicants can seek grants from $50,000 up to a maximum of $2,000,000 at a minimum ratio of $1 for each $1 grant. Projects that can demonstrate a greater private to government funding ratio and greater economic outcomes would be considered more preferable. In-kind contributions will not count towards the financial contribution of the applicant.

Who is eligible to apply for the Regional Growth Fund – Strategic Business Round?

Eligible organisations include:

  • Incorporated associations
  • Business clusters
  • Individual commercial enterprises.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Eligible organisations must:

  • Be legal entities, i.e. with which the Government of South Australia can enter into a legally binding funding agreement. Government may require third parties who have a significant financial interest in the project (for example, parent companies or landowners) to be a party to the Funding Deed
  • Have an Australian Business Number, and be registered for GST
  • Demonstrate the ability to complete the project, exclusive of in-kind contributions, and funding from other State and Commonwealth Government sources.
  • Demonstrate that they can commence their project within 3 months of approval from the Minister with the funds fully acquitted within 24 months of commencement. This will include projects that are well progressed in obtaining necessary approvals.
  • Demonstrates that their project aligns to one of the nine Growth State priority sectors of tourism; food wine and agribusiness; hi-tech; energy and mining; space industry; health and medical industries; defence industry; international education; or creative industries.

What is an eligible project?

Examples of eligible projects may include:

  • Power infrastructure e.g. solar, wind, biowaste Community infrastructure
  • Innovation
  • Branding and marketing associated with higher-value markets
  • Mobile and internet connectivity
  • Regional ports and airports
  • Efficient water infrastructure
  • Telecommunications
  • Regional roads (non-government owned)
  • Bridges
  • Weather stations.

What is an ineligible project?

Examples of ineligible projects may include:

  • Projects undertaken on behalf of third parties
  • The purchase of land or a business
  • Requests for retrospective funding, where projects have been completed or have commenced prior to the application being approved by the Minister
  • Projects relating primarily to operational expenditure, including but not limited to regular repairs and maintenance
  • Costs associated with upgrading non-fixed equipment, or relate to administrative or running costs that are normally the responsibility of businesses, state or territory agencies or local councils
  • Projects that require ongoing recurrent State Government funding
  • Feasibility studies, business cases and reports
  • Costs associated with the preparation of the application and project management fees and costs
  • Human resources (i.e. grant funding will not be provided to meet internal staffing costs)
  • Projects that have already received assistance from the Regional Growth Fund or other grant funds to achieve the same project outcomes.

Application process

What is the application process?

Applicants complete the application form online. This application is submitted to PIRSA with supporting documents.

Applications will be assessed by an independently chaired panel, which will make recommendations to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. The Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development will provide recommendations for Economic and Infrastructure Cabinet Committee approval.

Successful applicants will be invited to enter into a legal contract with the Government of South Australia.

Do I have to send detailed financial statements immediately?

Yes. Essential financial information required in your application includes:

  • Documents that demonstrate that the applicant (or lead of a cluster) is a legal entity eligible to apply, including an Australian Business Number (ABN) and / or Incorporated Association Certificate.
  • A project plan, which includes a detailed description of the project scope, budget and an outline of the major project milestones with the relevant timeline.
  • A detailed Business Plan showing demand / supply assumptions that underpin the project.
  • Financial modelling for the project, indicating cash flow forecast, profit and loss, capital expenditures, etc.
  • A funding plan showing where funding for the project will come from – any other grants, private investment etc. If the application is on behalf of a business cluster, the funding plan must include details about the capital contribution of each cluster member – financial co-contribution or other contribution, and how and what form the contribution will take.
  • Financial statements for the last 3-5 financial years, preferably audited, but if not, independently prepared. If the application is on behalf of a business cluster, financial statements should be included for every member of the cluster.

Can a university, school, TAFE apply for funding?

If it is an eligible organisation.

Can a community club apply for funding?

If it is an eligible organisation.

We are based in the metropolitan Adelaide; can we apply?

Yes, if you are an eligible organisation and can demonstrate that the project creates direct economic benefits across industries or multiple businesses or users in regional South Australia that extends beyond the metropolitan region.

Maps of the South Australian government regions are available.

What is meant by a ‘business cluster’?

A group of two or more non-associated organisations willing to share financial commitment to a project. They may be a joint venture, consortia, partnership, cooperative or other model, or only collaborating for the purpose of this project. It is up to the applicant to determine the right clustering model for their project. If no formal arrangements have been made to bring the non-associated organisations together, a lead partner must be identified who will accept responsibility for contractual obligations.

Examples of business clusters funded by the Regional Growth Fund in 2018-19 and 2019-20 include:

  • Lot 100 Beverage Consortium Goolwa Pipi Co
  • Apple and Pear Growers’ Association Bremerton Vintners Pty Ltd
  • Chalk Hill Wines Pty Ltd Artisans of Barossa
  • Limestone Coast Fishermen’s Cooperative

Examples of what are not business clusters:

  • Vertically integrated businesses which comprise a parent company (or other legal entity) and subsidiaries
  • A collection of business enterprises which have common ownership and control e.g. many businesses are structured as a principal trading entity with associated trust(s) which hold assets
  • Businesses providing goods and services to other businesses in the normal course of business.

What are the responsibilities of cluster members?

The lead organisation will be responsible for entering into a legally binding funding agreement. Cluster members are required to provide a letter of commitment, and will be required to be named in the application and include their financial co-contribution.

Can I apply for more than one project, which together meet the funding threshold?

Your project may include a number of strategically linked projects, which together form a Package of Works that will deliver sustainable economic benefits to a region or regions and does not require ongoing State Government funding.

Can a project be in multiple locations?

Your project may include multiple site locations but must be located in South Australia and demonstrate that the project will deliver economic benefits to a region or regions that is beyond the metropolitan region.

Can I apply even if I have not yet secured funding from my bank / financial institution?

You need to demonstrate that you have the capacity to commence the project within three months of the grant being approved and complete the project, with all funds acquitted, within 24 months.

Therefore, if any project costs are to be met by borrowing additional funds, you will need to provide a copy of the letter of offer from your financial institution.

Can I apply if I have no finalised architects’ drawings or development approval yet?

Projects are required to commence within three months of approval, therefore it is important to have the relevant planning documentation and development approvals either in place or significantly progressed.

In your application you should supply the latest version of the architect / engineering plans for the project with the final costings. Where appropriate, please supply letters / documentation confirming relevant planning approvals are in place or progressing.

When will I find out if the application has been successful?

Applications will be processed as quickly as possible from the time applications close.

Please note, the number of applications and their levels of complexity may result in a longer assessment period. We ask you to be patient.

If I am successful, what happens next?

You will be contacted by PIRSA via email.

Details regarding the funding deed and ways to promote and launch your project in conjunction with the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development will be provided to you.

If I am rejected after the initial round, can I reapply when I have more information for the same project?

The Regional Growth Fund – Strategic Business Round is a one-off round, specifically to assist regional economies in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. For this special round, individual commercial enterprises are eligible to apply, which will not be the case in future funding rounds of the Regional Growth Fund Competitive Pool.

Assessment

How will my application for the Regional Growth Fund – Strategic Business Round be assessed?

Applications will be assessed on a competitive basis against the Fund’s criteria.

Applications will be assessed by a panel of cross government representatives, which will include an independent chair.

The panel will consider applications and submit its advice through PIRSA to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development for consideration.

Applications will undergo comprehensive due diligence by the South Australian Financing Authority to determine the applicant’s financial capability and the project’s commercial feasibility.

Assessment of criteria will be weighted to ensure projects are prioritised against the Fund’s principles.

The assessment will also consider whether a project, or elements of a project, are more appropriately funded by other State, Commonwealth and / or Local Government or industry sources.

Against what criteria are applications assessed?

All applications to the RGF Strategic Business Round are assessed and prioritised based on how well the project meets the following criteria:

  • Drives new economic activity to produce outcomes that would not occur otherwise
  • Delivers transformational change for an industry or sector, rather than incremental improvement.
  • Creates new or additional sustained economic benefits for the community / region beyond the applicant.
  • Connects to a specific regional community.
  • Ensures that further intervention by government after the funding is provided, is not required to sustain the project or its benefits.

Projects will also be assessed on their contribution towards

  • Growing regional population and promoting skilled migration
  • Providing productive economic infrastructure.
  • Increasing merchandise and service exports, import replacement and direct investment into South Australia business facilitation factors (e.g. greater skills training opportunities).
  • Building the resilience of the regional economy to deal with shocks and take advantage of emerging opportunities.
  • Reducing the cost of doing business in South Australia.

What does it mean that assessment of criteria will be weighted?

Assessment of criteria will be weighted to ensure projects are prioritised against the Fund’s key principles.

What documentation should I supply?

Essential information required in your application includes:

  • Documents that demonstrate that the applicant (or lead of a cluster) is a legal entity eligible to apply, including an Australian Business Number (ABN) and / or Incorporated Association Certificate.
  • An outline of the applicant’s Corporate Structure (ownership and governance structure). If the application is on behalf of a business cluster, the Corporate Structure should be included for every member of the cluster.
  • A project plan, which includes a detailed description of the project scope, budget and an outline of the major project milestones with the relevant timeline.
  • A detailed Business Plan showing demand / supply assumptions that underpin the project.
  • Financial modelling for the project, indicating cash flow forecast, profit and loss, capital expenditures, etc.
  • A funding plan showing where funding for the project will come from – any other grants, private investment etc. If the application is on behalf of a business cluster, the funding plan must include details about the capital contribution of each cluster member – financial co-contribution or other contribution, and how and what form the contribution will take.
  • Financial statements for the last 3-5 financial years, preferably audited, but if not, independently prepared. If the application is on behalf of a business cluster, financial statements should be included for every member of the cluster.

Do I have to supply information about who my local suppliers are?

No.

Can I be considered for funding if I have received funding from another Government source?

While leveraging funds from other sources, such as the Commonwealth and other State agencies is encouraged, you will need to be able to demonstrate clearly the outcomes of your funding contribution to the RGF project separately to the outcomes being funding from other Government funding sources.

You cannot use the funds received from another Government source as your matching funds for this application to the Regional Growth Fund – Strategic Business Round.

Projects that have already received assistance from the Regional Growth Fund or other grant funds to achieve the same project outcomes are ineligible.

Is grant funding subject to tax?

Yes. Before applying for the Regional Growth Fund, applicants should seek advice on tax implications from their tax advisers or the Australian Taxation Office.

Can I include in-kind contributions into my financial contribution?

In-kind contributions are not included in calculating the financial contribution to the project.

Can my cluster members be based in another state but have a project happening in South Australia?

Yes. The project must benefit regional South Australia beyond the metropolitan region. Who can provide further information to assist with my application?

Applicants are encouraged to seek the support of PIRSA’s Regional Coordinator for their region when developing a project or application.

Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu, Kangaroo Island Barossa, Light and Lower North
Trevor Bennett
0428 543 135

Limestone Coast
Peta Crewe
0427 012 510

Eyre and Western
Karen Hollamby
0459 897 020

Yorke & Mid North
Angela Ruddenklau
0417 519 228

Far North
Tiffany Davies
0447 766 914

Murray and Mallee
Barbara-Ann Cowey
0488 951 790

If I make a mistake with my application, can I resubmit it?

To amend a submitted application, the application needs to be withdrawn, amendments made and the application resubmitted before the closing date.

Can I add extra information to my application after the closing date?

Once the application period has closed, further information cannot be submitted. However, PIRSA or the South Australian Financing Authority may contact you to seek further information or to clarify submitted information.

What if I am having technical issues with the online form? Who can I contact to help me?

Applicants should avoid submitting applications at the last minute, as high volumes of users can slow the system and may result in difficulties for you in completing your application.

If you are experiencing technical difficulties when trying to submit your application, it is important you seek assistance from PIRSA. For initial assistance, please contact PIRSA’s Regions SA Strategy & Programs Manager on 8429 0709.

Funding administration

How will the funding be administered?

The South Australian Financing Authority will negotiate the Schedule of a standard Crown-approved Funding Deed with successful applicants.

Is there a legal contract for the funding?

Successful applicants will be required to enter into a standard Crown-approved Funding Agreement with the Government of South Australia in order to receive assistance. The clauses outlined in the standard agreement are not negotiable.

What does the Funding Deed commit us to?

The following conditions will be expected of any recipient of financial assistance, including but not limited to the following:

  • Complete the project as stated in the application
  • Meet all key milestones and obligations as defined in the Funding Deed
  • Seek prior consideration and approval, from the Minister through PIRSA, before making any changes to the project.

When do we receive the funding?

Grant payments are generally made on a reimbursement basis upon completion of milestones set out in the Funding Deed.

Payments are made upon presentation of paid invoices for approved project expenditure, including evidence of eligible applicant contributions.

However, upfront payments can be negotiated for projects approved under the Fund.

Final payments are made on receipt of a final report evidencing project completion.

Page Last Reviewed: 10 Jun 2020
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