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This page will be updated regularly based on questions we receive.
We held information sessions to present an overview of the fund and application criteria.
Download the latest presentation slides (pdf, 1.25MB).
This video shows three speakers presenting at the Recycling Victoria Business Support Fund Information Session on 3 December 2020.
The speakers are:
[Opening visual of slide with text saying ‘Recycling Victoria Business Support Fund’, ‘Information session’, ‘3 December 2020’, ‘Sustainability Victoria’]
[The visuals during this webinar are of a PowerPoint presentation being played on screen.]
Okay. Welcome all. Thank you so much for coming today and joining our first information session for the recently announced $10 million Business Support Fund. For those of you I don’t yet know, my name is Travis Hatton, and I’m the program lead on this fund.
I’d like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners on the many lands on which we’re meeting from today. I’d also like to pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
So before we get started, I wanted to walk through a few housekeeping rules. So today’s session I’d like to let you know will be recorded and will be shared publicly. The agenda for today’s session is shown on this slide. During the session, please feel free to submit your questions via the Q&A function as we go through the presentation or at the end of the presentation.
Be sure to ‘like’ questions you’re keen to hear answers for, as the most liked questions will be answered first. I’m now going to pass the baton across to Guy Pritchard, who will provide an overview of the $300 million Recycling Victoria Policy and our recently announced Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre. So Guy, over to you.
Thanks. Thanks, Travis. Yeah. Welcome everyone to this session on the Recycling Victoria Business Support Fund. My name’s Guy Pritchard. I’m managing the team that’s delivering the Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre and this grant round which is associated with it. Before we get into the details of the grants, I’ll just give you a quick overview of the policy that this grant fund is situated in. It’s the Recycling Victoria New Economy Policy. It’s a ten-year policy and action plan that aims to transform how our economy uses materials. It represents the Victorian Government’s action plan to reform the waste and recycling system over the next decade. It does include a complete overhaul of our recycling system, with reform to kerbside recycling, the introduction of things like container deposit scheme, and also new investment in industry and the creation of waste management as an essential service.
It’s also an opportunity to change the way that we do business and to grow new jobs. Beyond recycling, the shift will fundamentally transform Victoria’s economy. Victoria’s ideally placed, we think, to advance and grow circular economy. We have a highly skilled workforce. We’ve got well-connected supply chains. We have really good design and engineering expertise, and we have that sort of world-class infrastructure, and leading education and research institutions here as well. So the Recycling Victoria Policy, whilst it is very much focused in that recycling area and improving that, it’s also an opportunity to move towards a circular economy.
The Recycling Victoria goals, as you can see here in the circle of the sort of diagram of the circular economy there, there’s four main goals. One is to ensure that we’re designing things to last, and to repair and recycle. We also want to use products to create more value. So it is very much about adding value there. We want to recycle more resources, and we want to reduce harm from waste. So those are the four key goals that the policy is pitched at, and the Business Support Fund is also aimed at those ones as well.
Now we’ve got the Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre, also known as CEBIC, is the frontend if you like to a lot of those programs. The Business Support Fund will be delivered through the CEBIC. It’s one of the two funds that support Victoria to kickstart the circular economy area. It is a virtual centre, and you can find it there at cebic.vic.gov.au. And that will provide you access to things like upcoming events and collaboration opportunities. We’re trying to make research insights and best practice for circular economy much more accessible, and there are obviously funding opportunities like this one coming through, and that’s all detailed on that website cebic.vic.gov.au.
Now there are two funds that are available here. The one we’re focusing on today is the Recycling Victoria Business Support Fund. That will be targeting individual businesses or collaborative partnerships that focus on the waste prevention, reuse, remanufacturing, upcycling, and also there is an element there of innovative recycling approaches where they develop new recycling markets in Victoria. We’re not looking at collection systems and established systems there. If we’re going to go into that recycling area, we’re looking at something that will be a bit new and innovative for this fund. The waste prevention, reuse, remanufacture and upcycling, we’re looking for proven approaches in that, and the projects must investigate – there’s two streams there – they must investigate how to adapt and apply circular economy opportunities, or they must implement that sort of evidence-based circular economy solutions. And they can be across one, or it can be across multiple businesses. And we’re also looking at delivering greenhouse gas emission reductions in Victoria.
That’s the Business Support Fund. Very much individual businesses or collaborative partnerships that focus on those ones.
The Innovation Fund is really about collaborative partnerships, focusing on designing out waste, and maintaining product and material value over a longer period. And the Innovation Fund is different in that we really want to identify opportunities, and looking at innovative circular economy business models and practices for food waste or food sector or other systemic barriers. So I mentioned the RV Innovation Fund, because it is also delivered through the CEBIC. There will be another opportunity to get more information on the Innovation Fund on Monday the 14th. This session today is very much focused on the RV Business Support Fund.
So I’ll hand you back to Travis, and he’ll go through a bit more of the detail about the RV Business Support Fund.
Awesome. Thank you so much for that introduction, Guy. Now before we continue, I just want to remind you to feel free to keep asking questions via the Q&A box, and to ‘like’ the ones you want answered first. We’ll answer these questions in writing during the presentation, during the Q&A, or maybe after the session if we can’t get on to them in time.
Now back to the presentation. So what this slide is showing are the objectives for the Business Support Fund. So there are a lot of objectives as you can see, which means this fund is open to a wide range of projects, which you’ll see as we progress through the coming slides.
So the top-level thing that I want to let you know, as Guy just mentioned, the fund’s objective is for businesses either to identify opportunities, to take advantage of circular economy opportunities and approaches, or to increase the uptake of circular economy opportunities and approaches. So that means you might be going out and looking for opportunities within your business to take a circular economy idea, or you’re ready to kickstart a circular economy idea and you want to apply for funding to make that happen.
The outcomes that we’re looking for in Victoria are really about increasing the access to circular economy products, services, for businesses and consumers alike. We want to increase materials efficiency. We want to increase the duration that products exist and their value across their lifecycle. We want to reduce the materials intensity of a product, service or business model. So doing what we’re doing today but with less resources, using those resources more efficiently. We want to develop new circular economy-based services, products, models and markets, and we want to create new local jobs and increase circular economy-based skills in the workforce. We want to reduce materials to landfill and any other waste destination. So that might be waste sent to the sewer. It might be waste that’s actually recycled at the moment that we can do something better with. It may be agricultural waste left on the farm. And finally, we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.
So what we’re really excited to announce, or were excited to announce on November 20, is that round one of the Recycling Victoria Business Support Fund is now open. As you might already know and can see on the slide, as Guy alluded to earlier, the fund has two different streams.
So Stream 1 is really designed to support businesses looking to take their next steps in adapting and applying circular economy business approaches to waste reduction. These grants won’t help you build a new business, but what this stream will do is help you build the business case. And this brings me to Stream 2.
So Stream 2 is really designed to support businesses to implement evidence-based circular economy business opportunities. So this is about taking the business case that you have, or maybe the business case that you’ve developed in Stream 1, and jumpstarting it into action.
Now both streams will support individual businesses and collaborative partnerships. So you can choose to walk it alone or work with others on your project. This is different to the Innovation Fund that Guy mentioned earlier, where a key condition of that fund is that you must collaborate with others on your project. We are more than happy if you’re an individual business to come to us for funding, just to fix that waste issue within your business or to dive into a new circular economy opportunity alone.
And now this brings me to the next section on who will be funded.
So for both Stream 1 and Stream 2 grants, each application must have a lead applicant. You could also choose to have a project partner or multiple project partners, but you don’t have to. So the lead applicants or project partners for these grants can be individual businesses, they can be charities, they can be other not-for-profit organisations, or they could be industry groups and associations. Now consultants can also be a lead applicant, but only in a collaborative partnership. If you’re a consultant, this means that you must be helping another business to identify or implement a circular economy opportunity. An example of this would be you’re a consultancy that performs material efficiency assessments. You could sign up as a lead applicant with project partners from the food industry for example, and provide your services to those businesses as a collaborative partnership.
If choosing to work as a group, you must provide evidence of a collaborative partnership if applying as one. Now the details around this are provided in the guidelines and application form and on the SmartyGrants application, which you can actually preview before you start a new application. In Stream 1, the lead applicants need to have been operating for a minimum of two years, or they can provide a director’s guarantee. So in Stream 1, two years operating, or you can give a director’s guarantee. There is a condition here though. If you do apply with the director’s guarantee and you’ve been operating less than two years, you will only be able to apply for a maximum grant of $75,000.
Now in Stream 2, we’re taking a little bit of a less-risk approach here, and we’re only accepting applicants from lead applicants that have been operating a minimum of two years. So to engage in one of these implementation projects, you will need to be operating a minimum of two years. Now unlike the Innovation Fund, these grants will not provide funding to government entities.
So getting into the fun part. What will be funded? So I’m going to talk first about Stream 1, and then I’m going to talk about Stream 2. And you’ll see some similarities between the slides, so I apologise if there’s duplication. I just want to make this as easy for you to understand as possible. And we’ll follow this up after the information session. You can visit the website to read more, and we will be posting any questions asked today, FAQs on the information bulletin, which will be available on our website at cebic.vic.gov.au. Just visit the Grants page.
So what will be funded under Stream 1? Stream 1, just to remind you, this was the stream about identifying opportunities for businesses to take advantage of circular economy opportunities and approaches. These grants must be focused in Victoria. At least 50% of the project activities and all of the required benefits must happen within Victoria. The project cannot have started or completed before the funding agreement is signed. I just want to pause on this for a moment. In yesterday’s information session, we had a lot of questions about this. If you’re applying for funding for a project, you cannot commence or complete the activities in that funding application before that funding agreement is signed. That is a really important thing to keep in mind.
Now you must also meet or exceed the minimum co-contribution requirement for funding. In this case it’s 2:1, and I’ll talk about co-contribution shortly. And for Stream 1 projects, these must be completed by the 30th of June 2022.
So what will be funded? And this is the fun part and the part that I get excited about. So projects funded under Stream 1 need to meet the objectives that we talked about earlier, and they need to focus on at least one of these areas. Feasibility studies, materials efficiency and flow assessments, business case development, accessing business advisory and support services, or pilot projects and trials.
So as you can see, all of these kind of activities are focused on building a business case, something that you are going to want to implement at a later time and you’re looking for what that opportunity is for the circular economy, either within your business or across a supply chain, or with multiple businesses across a supply chain. You’re developing the business case to later implement, and that’s the crux of the Stream 1 grant.
Now we will only fund costs directly related to the project.
The type of costs that could be included under Stream 1 funding include things like capital purchases for small-scale demonstrations or pilots, consultancy or contract work. So this is something like if you want to engage a consultant to help you on a feasibility study or to help you develop a business case. That’s certainly something that we’ll be funding under these grants. Business case development, as I just mentioned, is definitely in scope. Looking for advisory and support services for your business case and business idea are totally fine as well. Leasing and financing equipment for the duration of the project, conducting research and design on adapting and applying circular economy approaches. And when we talk about adapting and applying circular economy approaches, we’re talking about there is a circular economy idea out there. Maybe there’s a business model that you’ve seen, or maybe you know about materials efficiency assessment. It’s looking at these things that are already happening within the circular economy and trying to bring them to your business or to your industry or supply chain. We will fund demonstration, so trials and pilots, and we’ll also fund marketing, advertising and promotional costs of any new product services models or markets that are established through the grants. Although that’s a little bit more related to the Stream 2 project.
So that brings me across to Stream 2. So I just want to remind you the objective for Stream 2 is to actually increase the uptake of circular economy opportunities and approaches, to accelerate Victoria’s transition to a circular economy. So this is about taking those business cases, those feasibility studies, those materials efficiency assessments and the like, and accelerating them into action.
Now it’s not a prerequisite that you complete a Stream 1 grant before applying to a Stream 2 grant, but to implement a project and to receive funding in this stream, you really must have a clear evidence base to show that you have a viable project, a commercial project, and one that’s based on an existing circular economy approach or opportunity. These must be focused in Victoria, again, at least 50% in Victoria, and the benefits need to be seen in Victoria. They cannot have started or completed before the funding agreement is signed, and you must meet or exceed the co-contribution requirement, which is actually 1:1 on Stream 2. Apologies for the typo on this screen. We’ll go into co-funding agreements in a moment. They must be completed by the 31st
of December 2022, so you’ve actually got six months longer to complete these projects than you do in Stream 1.
Now what will be funded under Stream 2? So projects under Stream 2 should focus on at least one of these areas. That’s setting up a new circular economy-based establishment. So you might want to set up a whole new business built on the ideals of a circular economy. You could extend an existing circular economy-based establishment. So let’s say for example you’re already operating in a circular economy and you want to grow your business. You could apply for funding.
These grants are to diversify the output of an establishment into new additional circular economy‑based products, services, models or markets. So you might be a manufacturer at the moment or a retailer, and you want to develop a new product or service that is based on the circular economy. It might be a little bit of a pivot to your current business model, but it’s something that you’re excited about and you want some support to help realise. These grants would fund that. And finally, these grants are to improve circular economy-based outcomes within existing establishments. That could be within a business, within a group of businesses, or across a supply chain.
Now projects funded under Stream 2 must achieve at least one of these targets, and this is a requirement of the grant, so it’s something that you must be able to achieve through your grant application. So I’ll give you a couple of minutes just to have a look through the slide as I read through slowly.
So the grants must do one of these things. Reduce generation of product or material waste by 750 tonnes per year. So that’s about preventing waste, reducing waste that’s happening at the moment, and you need to do that by 750 tonnes a year at least. You could reduce the materials intensity of a product, service or model by at least 750 tonnes a year, and that’s looking at making something or performing a service with less resources than you currently need to do that service or product. You could focus on redistributing materials or products to prevent waste by at least 750 tonnes per year. So an example of this would be the likes of the food rescue and recovery industry. Food that was destined to go to landfill, they can intervene, rescue that food and redistribute it to people to stop it going to waste.
We’re looking at projects for reuse, remanufacture, or upcycling of materials or products, again by at least 750 tonnes per year. And then we have two different areas where we’re looking to increase processing capacity. So that could be capacity to prevent waste or to reuse, remanufacture, redistribute, or upcycle materials or products. Or to increase capacity to recycle materials or products that are currently wasted, through new and innovative solutions. For these we’re looking for an increase in processing capacity of 2,500 tonnes each year. So that might be building a new facility that can take these products and turn them into something new, instead of them being sent to waste.
So, similar to Stream 1 grants, only direct project costs can be funded. This includes costs like capital purchases, consultancy or contract work, dedicated project management costs, leasing or financing equipment for the duration of a project, and as I touched on earlier, marketing, advertising and promotional costs of the new product services models or markets that you’ve established through these grants. We don’t only want to support you to build the new circular economy idea, we want to support you to promote it, so all Victorians can participate and be aware of this new circular economy opportunity.
Now, what won’t be funded? So for both streams, funding will not be provided for projects that have received funding or support for the same activities from other sources. Now this includes projects that have been awarded funding through other RV programs administered by SV. We won’t be providing funding for retrospective funding, so where the project has commenced or completed before signing a funding agreement with SV, as I was harping on before about. We won’t provide funding for operating costs, so existing staff costs, for example salaries. We won’t be providing funding for rent, electricity, water and other utilities. We won’t provide funding for leasing or purchasing of land, for travel, conferences and other educational activities, nor for the purchases of any vehicles.
Funding won’t be provided for projects focused on the following, and this is important to keep note of, because these are a lot of the questions that were coming through yesterday as well. So I’m going to go through these point by point. So we’re not going to provide funding for existing waste recycling solutions in Victoria, so for example composting. We’re looking at bringing new innovations to the circular economy in Victoria, not just building on those already here. Waste recovery and waste-to-energy are not in scope. We won’t provide funding to those projects. Bioenergy or biofuel production, waste disposal. So we’re not looking to give money towards building a new incineration facility, a new landfill or waste to sewer. Products or materials that are not currently wasted. We’re only focusing on products and materials that are wasted. If it’s not wasted at the moment, you won’t be able to apply for funding for the project. We’re looking at reducing waste in Victoria, and that’s a key flagship of this program.
So the development of specifications and standards cannot be funded. Solutions for household kerbside collections, litter and illegal dumping, compliance with regulation or a regulatory notice or order, or meeting minimum regulatory or industry requirements. They’re things that you have to do already, so you can’t access funding for these. Now community-focused share or repair initiatives will not be supported by this program. Routine or cyclical maintenance works, nor projects solely focused on water, energy or greenhouse gas emissions.
Now I want to be quite clear with this last point. We’re not going to fund you to develop a new windfarm. We would be very happy if these things were co-benefits of your project focused on waste reduction. So for example, if you targeted reducing food waste by 1,000 tonnes a year and that food waste was going to landfill, there would be a noticeable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and potentially improvements on water as well. So as co-benefits to your project, we’re going to be asking you questions in your application to help articulate what they may be. They just can’t be the main focus of your project. You do need to focus on what the objectives of the grant are, so on reducing waste.
Now co-contribution. So in Stream 1, co-contribution is 2:1. Now this means for every $2 that you apply for in your grant funding, you and your project partners need to provide a minimum of $1 in co-contribution towards the project. Now up to 50% of that co-contribution can be in-kind. Now in-kind means the component of the contribution can be goods or services other than money. I’ll talk about that in a second. Now for Stream 2, the co-contribution is 1:1, meaning that you must match or exceed the grant funding with your own contribution dollar to dollar. For every dollar you apply for in funding, you need to throw in at least $1 as well. Up to 10% of your co-contribution can be provided in kind, and the remainder must be a financial contribution.
Now in-kind costs can include existing staff time or time spent by volunteers, or donated goods or services. You cannot claim any operating expenses that are not directly associated with delivering the project, or opportunity costs such as staff downtime during the installation of equipment or the implementation of activities.
So applications will be assessed by a panel in a competitive, merit-based assessment. The application seeks answers for the panel to understand the what, the who, the why, the how and the how much of your project. You’ll need to answer each section of the application to allow us to assess which projects best meet the fund outcomes and maximise public value. There are a variety of questions. We will ask you to demonstrate how your project delivers on these criteria.
We’re going to be asking you ‘what’. So applications must demonstrate how the project meets Recycling Victoria policy and SV’s strategic objectives for this fund which we introduced earlier. That’s weighted at 45%.
The ‘who’. So who is the individual applicant or the lead applicant and project partners? Can they deliver the project? Do they have the capability and the capacity to deliver the project?
‘Why’? Why is this project needed? And to what extent will it deliver the desired outcomes and support Victorian businesses to take advantage of circular economy opportunities?
And ‘how’? How is this project commercial? How is it feasible and how is it capable of being delivered?
I’m not going to go through every question on the application form, but there are quite a few there. So I would encourage you to visit the website to read through the guidelines and application form to see the kind of questions that we’re looking for. You can also visit SmartyGrants to preview or start an application and read through some of the questions that we’re going to ask to find out more details on these points. We’re also going to be assessing projects for value-for-money. This isn’t a weighted criteria, and this is about how the funding requested provides value for money to Victorians.
So one recommendation I do have for you here is, to make sure you answer all the questions in the application form. That is mandatory. But to keep your answers clear and concise, because we may not be able to come back to you to ask any more details once the application’s closed.
So a risk-based approach will be used to assess the applicant’s social, economic and environmental risks in relation to the project. That is, if an application has been identified to have some compliance issues during an assessment, it doesn’t make it ineligible, however it does indicate a level of risk associated with the proposal. This assessment will include the applicant’s related entities and may include project partners. Applicants must clearly declare any compliance issues with EPA and WorkSafe, and provide evidence of financial viability. You will also need to provide insurances and declare any conflicts of interest. Your project delivery history with the SV funding programs may also be considered.
So, to the application process. So the first part of the application process is shown here. First things first, and super important, you need to check that you are eligible to apply. Now you’re only going to figure this out by really reading through the eligibility criteria clearly, and if you have any questions, please feel free to email our grants enquiries team. We’ll put a link in the chat box so you can refer to that quite easily. But first things first, and what we hear time and time again, is that a lot of questions come through that are quite clearly articulated in the guidelines and application forms, so I please ask you to read those first. And if you’re finding you can’t figure out whether or not your project actually meets the eligibility criteria or you have questions, feel free to flick it through to the grants enquiries team.
Second thing. Ensure your project meets the assessment criteria, then read the terms and conditions, read and understand the terms of participation, and plan, research and gather the information that you will need for your application form.
So when you’re ready to go, register or login to SmartyGrants if you already have one. If you need support setting up an account, you can contact our grants enquiries email or our 1300 number, or you can contact SmartyGrants directly if you’re having a problem with the system. We recommend you allow ample time to upload and submit your application, and please, please, please do not leave this to the last day. We will not accept late applications. We cannot accept late applications through SmartyGrants. They will be closing sharp at 3:00 pm on March 12.
Now I know this seems like a long time away from now. Trust me. That time will fly, particularly as you start getting your application through the system, working out answers to your questions and uploading the required information. I would make sure you aim to have that at least a week before the applications close, but you can start submitting from today, and you can continue working on your application and saving it along the way too.
Once you complete and submit your application via SmartyGrants, you’ll receive an electronic reply acknowledging receipt from SmartyGrants. The grants enquiries email is available on screen now, as is the 1300 number.
So key dates. Now key dates for both Stream 1 and Stream 2 are exactly the same, except when projects must be completed by. So I’ll walk through Stream 1 as an example. Stream 1 applications are now open and have been open since the 20th of November. Today you’re at the information session. We will be having another information session in February, and depending on how much need there is through grants enquiries, we may have another one in January. Applications close Friday the 12th of March 2021 at 3:00 pm. You’ll be notified of an outcome on Wednesday, 21st
of July 2021, and at this point we can start developing those contracts with you. Projects must start by Thursday the 11th of November 2021. And projects must be completed in Stream 1 by the 30th of June 2022, and in Stream 2 by the 31st of December 2022.
Now we’ve given indicative dates here for projects to be started by the 11th of November next year. That might seem like a little while away. If a funding agreement is finalised and signed by all parties before this date, it may commence ahead of this date, but not before a notification of outcome nor before the contract is finalised. In no circumstances can the project commence before funding agreement is finalised and signed.
Now we’ve got a list of commonly asked questions, things that have been coming through the grants enquiries line, and things that we know are commonly asked with grants applications.
So I’m going to read through these now, and then we’re going to kick over to you, because I know you’ve been asking some questions in the Q&A, and I’m sure you have a few more to ask. So examples of collaborative partnerships.
Question: Can you provide an example of a collaborative partnership?
So that might be an industry group with a lead applicant forming a collaborative partnership with ten of their industry members, each being an individual business. And potentially there’s a consultant to deliver a waste reduction project across multiple businesses. Or it could be a large food manufacturing company forming a collaborative partnership with three of their primary produce suppliers, each being an individual business.
Question: What are the responsibilities of the lead applicant?
So the lead applicant is the listed applicant for the purposes of an application, and is responsible for all of the details in the submission of an application. The lead applicant will be responsible for the contractual obligations of the funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria if successful for grant funding. Now the lead applicant is also responsible for managing the project outcomes and deliverables, including those if you’ve engaged in a collaborative partnership.
Question: So can I be a project partner in more than one project or funding application?
For sure you can. You can be a project partner in more than one application, but please note you are required to outline the resources and capabilities of the lead applicant and each project partner, and what they will contribute to the project. These are questions that we’ll be asking you in the application form.
Question: Can you submit multiple applications for different projects?
For sure. Eligible organisations can submit multiple applications for different projects. For example, you could apply to both the Stream 1 and the Stream 2 grant, or you could apply for a business support fund grant and an innovation grant for different projects.
As I’ve explained, all applications will be assessed using the contested process and the merit criteria in the fund guidelines.
Question: Can a single funding application include funding for multiple projects?
No, that’s not possible. A funding application can only include funding for one project, however that project could have multiple elements.
So for example, your project might involve first conducting a materials efficiency assessment, and then looking at a feasibility study to implement a known technology to fix that waste issue that you’ve identified, and then pulling together the business case with the use of consultancy services, all to pull together a business case that would then later be implemented.
Question: Can you apply for multiple grants?
Yes. You can apply for multiple grants if they’re for different projects. You cannot apply for funding for the same project in more than one of Sustainability Victoria’s funding programs. Each funding program has different objectives, eligibility requirements and assessment criteria, and your application should be specific to the funding program you’re applying for.
Now if you have submitted an application to another sustainability funding program and now find that this program is more relevant and suitable, you can withdraw your other application by emailing email@example.com.
Now probably the last question, the one that we hear the most is:
Question: Can SV review a draft of my grant application?
No, we can’t. I’m sorry. This is a competitive process. We are unable to review a draft or to provide any feedback on the merit of your project. So we encourage applicants to consider and address how the project meets all eligibility criteria, and to describe the project and how it addresses the merit criteria outlined in the fund guideline and application form.
That ends the commonly asked questions. So I’m going to open this to the floor and see what questions are coming through. Guy, I believe you might have a few questions lined up for me already?
Yes. Thanks. Thanks, Travis. We’ve got a few questions already here. There’s been quite a few questions posted here. We will try to get to them all, but I will just mention now that if they’re not covered here – and we’ll try and get to as many as possible – they will be published on the website, in the information bulletin on the Grants page as well.
So the first question here, Travis, coming through is from Nathan, and he’s wondering if the funds will cover a consultancy to help identify opportunities for – and sorry. I’ve just lost it again. I’ll go back. Nathan.
Question: Can funding be used to engage a consultancy to identify opportunities for our business?
A consultancy is definitely in-scope for either Stream 1 or Stream 2 applications. As noted, a consultancy must be part of a collaborative partnership. So if you’re asking whether or not as a consultancy you can apply within your own business to reduce waste, I would say yes, you can apply as a business, as your own business and not as a consultancy, to reduce waste within your own business. So let’s say you were a consultancy and you have 10,000 tonnes of waste that you generate each year within your own business. You could certainly apply for either a Stream 1 or Stream 2 grant. And if you’re a consultancy looking to support another business to reduce waste, yes you can apply as a lead applicant, with that other business being your project partner.
So as I mentioned earlier, if you conduct things like materials efficiency assessments, you could pull together a small group of project partners, form an alliance and a collaborative partnership and apply for a grant together, with you being the lead applicant.
Thanks. Thanks Travis. There’s another question here from Rachel about:
Question: What grant would be best option for a waste-to-energy project that focuses on converting food waste into energy products?
And I’ll just mention there too, there are quite a few other questions around waste-to-energy. I’m quite happy to answer this one if you want, Travis, or do you want to handle that one?
No. For sure. Take it.
I’ll take this one. Encouraging appropriate waste-to-energy is part of the Recycling Victoria policy, but it’s not an eligible project under this grant round. We’re focusing here on the business area and also on that sort of circular economy area.
There is some concern with waste-to-energy projects, about overinvestment in waste to energy infrastructure in the short term. So what is happening at the moment is we’ll be developing a waste-to-energy framework that will guide the development of those projects. So it is in the Recycle Victoria policy, and it’s acknowledged there. If you have detailed questions on that, we can give you the right contact in the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning about those projects.
But for this grant fund, waste-to-energy projects aren’t eligible.
I’ll come down. Some other questions. One here from Matthew.
Question: Research organisations are not mentioned. Does this mean universities are excluded from partnerships in this fund, or can universities then act as consultants?
And there are I think a couple of questions around a similar sort of theme in there as well. Travis?
Yeah. Okay. Thanks for that question. It is a really good question. Unlike in the Innovation Fund, we haven’t allowed for universities and research institutions to apply for grants in the stream. I do acknowledge that universities, as you mentioned, often play a consultancy role for businesses, particularly around the circular economy. So I think what I’d like to do is take that question on notice and talk with the team afterwards, and I’d be happy to provide a written response back on the information bulletin available on the website, which should be updated within the next week or so. So thanks for the question, and definitely taking that on notice.
Thanks Travis. Just another quick question.
Question: Do social enterprises fit under charities or not-for-profits?
Yes. Yep. Or under a business.
Nice easy one there.
A question from Fay.
Question: Does this mean councils or local government entities will not be funded if they are partners on the project?
I can answer that one too. I see it’s been provided. Under Stream 1 and Stream 2, local government will not be funded. But I will mention that there are further announcements to be made in the future about other funding sources, and it would be worth keeping up with developments there. When we know a bit more, we will be publishing the other grant rounds that will be available as well on the Sustainability Victoria website, so we will let you know on that one.
A question from Alice.
Question: Can the project be a mix of fund objectives?
Yeah. It certainly can. Like we mentioned before, projects have a requirement to target at least one or something of the objectives. Please read through the guidelines and application form to see what’s in scope, what we will fund, and it could definitely meet on multiple objectives. What we need to be very clear on though, one project cannot apply as something that is going to be an Identification grant and an Implementation grant. So you can’t have one project looking to go through feasibility and materials assessment and then implement the solution. They would need to be two different programs.
Excellent. Thanks. A question along similar lines from Wendy. Travis, you say that all of the benefits had to be for Victoria, and she says:
Question: I find it hard to see how with an Identification grant all benefits could accrue to just one state. Could you just please clarify what you mean by that?
Yep. I sure can Wendy. Thanks for that question. It’s a really great clarifying question.
So for both Stream 1 and Stream 2, we’re looking for at least 50% of the project to be focused in Victoria, and for the minimum amount of benefits to be delivered in Victoria. So for example, under Stream 2, if you were focusing on a waste reduction project, we need you to reduce waste in Victoria by 750 tonnes each year. If that project also had benefits to New South Wales, to Queensland, to SA, that’s okay, as long as you’re meeting the minimum requirements in Victoria, and then at least 50% of the project is focused in Victoria. So apologies. I did say all benefits earlier. What I should have said is that the minimum benefits are achieved in Victoria. And I very much understand that for national, even multi-national companies with supply chains, if you implement a change to your supply chain, that might have benefits across Australia and even internationally. We’re looking to make sure some of those benefits, at least 50%, are captured within Victoria, or that you can meet the minimum benefit in Victoria.
I hope that answers your question. And we’ll provide a little bit more detail on that in the information bulletin, because I think it’s a really great question.
Thanks Travis. Another question from Helen.
Question: If you applied for a Stream 1 grant to formulate a circular economy plan, do you simultaneously apply for a Stream 2 grant to implement it, or wait for the outcome of the Stream 1 plan?
That’s a really good question. What we would be – one of the requirements of the Stream 2 grant is that you need to have the evidence base already built before you can apply for that Stream 2 grant. There will be multiple rounds of funding. At the moment we’re looking at two to three rounds of funding over the four-year Recycling Victoria program. So it’s our every intention to start seeing Stream 1 grants in the first year, then applying for Stream 2 grants maybe in year two or year three of the program in the next funding rounds. I think your question, the answer would be no. You couldn’t simultaneously apply, because if you’re looking to conduct the feasibility assessment in the Stream 1 grants, you’re not going to have the outcome of that ready to then engage the implementation of that project.
Alright. A question from Anonymous.
Question: Will operational costs or staff be recognised as an in-kind contribution?
Yep. That’s a great question. The in-kind definition that we’re using I described earlier. Staff costs directly associated with the project will be recognised as in-kind. We won’t be providing funding from the grants for any kind of existing staff costs and operational costs.
A question from Asha.
Question: Is production of oil from plastics waste considered waste-to-energy?
That’s a bit of a specific one there, Travis. Maybe we could take that one on notice.
That is a specific one that we might take on notice. My initial gut feeling would be no, as I believe that would be a biofuel production from waste, which would be out of scope. But I’m happy to consult with the team and we’ll provide an update on the information bulletin to see whether or not that kind of project could be in scope.
Yeah. Along similar lines.
Question: Will Stream 2 fund food waste diverted by AD (anaerobic digestion)?
Great question, and no.
Again, it’s the same answer with the waste to energy facilities. A question here from Jason.
Question: If we have a Victorian-designed and manufactured innovation that improves the way we compost, why would you not want to encourage that?
I think the waste-to-energy questions and the organics and composting ones are covered by either the waste-to-energy policy that’s in the Recycling Victoria there, or there are other funding sources for those solutions.
I’m just going through seeing these ones.
Another question about:
Question: What is the addressable market size for the funding being allocated? That is, how do you validate reduction in waste generation to a specific threshold that the funding is aiming to achieve?
I think it’s asking about what is the threshold that we’re going to look at in terms of how much waste is saved or diverted, I think that question is asking.
Yeah. That’s a good question and a complicated question. I think in the design of the grants, what we have looked at is the kinds of circular economy projects available globally, the kinds of things that we want to be bringing into Victoria, and an assessment of the state of play in Victoria with things like food waste or textile waste, plastic waste, construction waste. What is the ability for us to move forward to reduce that waste through these different kinds of projects, and what kind of funding could support businesses to tackle that?
Now we have some pretty firm targets for the fund in general on what we’re aiming to achieve with waste reduction and with increased processing capacity, kind of being the two flagship indicators that we’re looking for. That’s based on a certain amount of projects and a certain amount of funding being allocated to those projects. What we will do after round one is actually evaluate the kind of projects that came through, and we might switch around the program in the second round of funding or the third round of funding. If we’re finding that the funding amount or the projects coming in don’t meet those requirements for the fund, to flex them and make them work a little bit better for the fund or for industry.
Thanks Travis. A question from Anonymous.
Question: Is end-of-life tyres recycling applicable for this grant?
If it is a new innovation and creates a new recycling market, that could certainly be in scope for the grant. If end-of-life tyres are currently being recycled already, and it’s just looking at expanding that kind of process on recycling, I would say no. With recycling, we are looking for creating new recycling markets in Victoria. So something that couldn’t be recycled at the moment that is going to waste, they’re the kinds of things that we’re looking to support through these grants. If you can identify that there is an opportunity that these tyres are not being recycled, we would just ask you to articulate that in your grant application.
A question from Ivana.
Question: Are SV able to set up a forum for today’s session for attendees to have the opportunity to contact each other? They’re all going after the same goal. Maybe there’s a collaborator in there that we haven’t met yet.
That is a fantastic question. Thank you for asking it. It’s something that we’ve been brainstorming in the project team at the moment under the CEBIC, or the Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre, is, how do we better support you to collaborate. Right now we don’t have that forum available on the website. It’s something that I’m really glad you asked, because we’re always keen on getting user research to understand what kind of features that you want and how the CEBIC can actually help you achieve your goals. So definitely will be taking that on notice, taking it back to the project team and our IT team to see how we can do something like that.
Apologies that we can’t do that at the moment, but if you are looking at project partners and want to talk about collaboration opportunities, what I would recommend that you do, and invite you to do, is visit the website, click on the Contact Us button, and then actually set up a one-on-one time to either chat with myself or the other program lead on the CEBIC, Mel, and we can have a conversation with you about potential opportunities to link you up with different project partners and collaborators. It’s something that we’ve been doing for the last couple of weeks through that feature and we are really excited about continuing doing. So that’s a service that we’re happy to offer at the moment, which will be a one-on-one service.
Thanks. Thanks, Travis, for that. There are quite a few questions which are very detailed here, and I think we will need to be able to respond to those in a bit more detail as well. So if they’re not answered here, we will be answering those questions in the bulletin. So just to let you know, because there are quite a lot of detailed ones.
There are quite a few questions too around the requirements for IP, intellectual property. I’d suggest if you have got concerns about that, the best thing to do is talk to our grants teams. So go through to the grants enquiries if they’re more specific around concerns over that.
Question: Is plastic recycling eligible to get funded under this grant?
Yeah. That’s a good question. I would say no, if that’s just an existing plastic recycling option. Obviously in Victoria at the moment we have co-mingled recycling, we have soft plastic recycling through Red Cycle. If there is a kind of plastic that is not recycled at the moment and you’re looking to bring an innovation to increase the amount of plastic that can be recycled in the state, that’s certainly something that might be in scope for these projects. You would need to articulate in your application, if you are keen to apply, how you would be innovating an expanding the recycling markets in Victoria to allow for the recycling of a product that’s not currently recycled. That’s probably my advice to you on that.
I might quickly touch on the IP point that Guy mentioned before. We will write back to that as well, but unlike the Innovation Fund grants, we don’t have any requirements that you need to share IP through this program. It’s not one of the requirements of the Business Support Grant. So if you do develop IP or purchase IP, own IP etcetera, we’re not asking that you have to share that with the public or with Sustainability Victoria.
Alright. Travis, there are quite a few more questions, but we might just take a few more. A question about timing.
Question: Could a Stream 1 application be assessed, approved earlier than the 21st of the 7th?
No. The guidelines there on when you’ll be notified are firm. We acknowledge that they are a little long in the tooth to get that information back to you, and I’m sure you’re excited to get started on your project as much as we’re excited to get the project started ourselves. But because of the process involved and all of the due diligence, the approval steps and making sure we get the right projects and do the right checks and balances, that’s unfortunately what the timeline is going to be like. From the point that you were notified, if we can get a contract up, signed by all parties within weeks after that notification, there’s no reason that we couldn’t start the project as soon as that is commenced, bringing it back from the 11th of November, which is the last day that projects have to actually commence.
Alright. Another question about:
Question: Can you please confirm how we register with SmartyGrants?
And I see Mel has just answered that one. You can register via the link which is now in the chat there on sustainabilityvictoria.smartygrants.com.au, and you can go through that process to register there.
Question: Is there a preference or priority for particular material types?
Awesome. Thank you, Guy. That is a great question. No. Any material, any product, any industry, any business can apply if you have an issue with waste. We don’t care if that’s food waste, if it’s textile, construction, etcetera. Please feel free to apply if you meet the eligibility criteria. In the Innovation Fund there is a priority stream focused on food waste, and that is because under the CEBIC there is a priority focus on food waste, and we’ve reserved a bit of money to support those food waste-based projects. But if you have a food waste project, please apply for the Business Support grants if you think that is a more appropriate channel. Similarly if you have an issue with any kind of waste or a solution for waste, you can apply for either of the Stream 1 or Stream 2 Business Support Fund grants.
Thanks Travis. Another quick question from Anthea.
Question: If your not-for-profit is a lead organisation, is it okay to have local government authorities as partners on the application?
Thanks for that one, Anthea. A local government or any government entity will not be provided funding under these grants. You could have a non-funded project partner working with you and supporting your project. I think that would be fine. But we cannot provide funding or set up a contractual arrangement that involves an official project partner on a contract, I don’t believe. I’m happy to take that one on notice to provide a little bit more information in the information bulletin, but funding quite clearly will not be provided to government entities.
A question around definitions of consultancies.
Question: What do you define as a consultancy? Do you mean a sole trader or do you mean a knowledge work firm? So would design firms also be eligible?
That’s a really good question. I think it depends on what the nature of the relationship is between the lead applicant and the project partner. The way that we’ve been considering a consultant is someone that is providing a service to help a business, so to help one of the project partners achieve an outcome. So if that is working as a sole trader or as a consultancy firm, both might be in scope. You will just need to articulate what that relationship is, and that’s probably where we’re asking questions on that ‘who’ in the application. So who are you? What are the capabilities, and what’s the capacity to support the project?
If you wanted to ask a more detailed question, more than happy for you to send that through to grants enquiries, or we’ll take that on notice and have a look afterwards and post something to the information bulletin as well.
A question from Carol.
Question: Will the using of recycling materials in a project on solar energy be in scope for the grant?
Thank you for that question. Will re-using materials on a product in solar energy be in scope? Yeah. I’m just having a think about that one. It might be something we need to take on notice. I mean the kind of projects that we are supporting are waste prevention involving reuse, remanufacture, upcycling, innovative approaches to recycling. I guess it depends where that reuse is coming from. Is it going to reduce waste that’s generated at the moment, or is it using recycled materials back into a product? And that might be the point of difference. More than happy to take that one on notice and respond back to it on the information bulletin on the website, which I mentioned will be available by some time next week.
Thanks, Travis. And we might just take one or two more. There’s one here from Karen.
Question: Existing recycling businesses who want to enhance their productivity or improve their processes, are they eligible for these grants?
I think if you’re currently operating as a recycling business or recycling facility and you want to expand your facility, I would say no. If you are a recycling facility that wanted to diversify into a brand new area, so for example you currently recycle glass and you want to diversify to recycle something that isn’t recycled at the moment, that could certainly be in scope, if you can show that that’s an innovation within the recycling market that’s increasing recycling market capacity and processing capacity in Victoria.
Alright. And one more, Travis, from Athena.
Question: Can you please clarify eligible activities such as community-focused share or repair initiatives by providing an example?
So community-focused share and repair initiatives were ineligible. They were out of scope for this project. So I’m not sure about providing an example there, as it’s out of scope, but what I can say is that under Recycling Victoria, there are other programs coming out focused on community, focused on local government as well. I would strongly encourage you to have a look through Recycling Victoria policy, Recycling Victoria: A New Economy, and have a look through those programs to see what might be coming out in terms of other programs that you could participate on in that more community-based area.
Thanks, Travis. There are a number of other questions there that are more specific that we will be providing some answers to in that bulletin, and we will provide some written answers for those ones. But I think that’s the majority of them there though. So back to you, Travis.
Thanks for that, Guy. Well I would love to say thank you very much for attending today’s information session and for those great questions and very pointed questions. I hope we were able to answer some of them. Some of those more technical and tricky ones, we will be working on as a project team over the next couple of days to come up with responses to draft all of the questions that were asked today, answer them directly or thematically, and post that up to the information bulletin which is available on the CEBIC website, so cebic.vic.gov.au/grants, if you wanted to jump directly into the grants page.
[Closing visual of slide with text saying ‘Thank you’, ‘It’s up to all of us to help shape the State of the Future’, ‘f @SustainVic’, ‘t @sustainVic’, ‘ln Sustainability Victoria’, ‘Sustainability Victoria’, ‘Victoria State Government’]
[End of Transcript]
On 16 February 2021, a second virtual information session was hosted by SV. This session was a repeat of the first information session, with minor differences. You can refer to the updated information bulletin for FAQs raised at the second session.
A recording of the second information session is available on request. If you require a transcribed copy, this is also available with a lead time of 5 business days. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to access the recording.
Learn more about how to prepare your application for this grant.
This video shows two speakers from Sustainability Victoria presenting at the Recycling Victoria Business Support Fund: Stream 1 grant application workshop. The workshop was held on 24 February 2021.
The presenter is Travis Hatton, Program lead, Circular Business Grants. The other speaker is Sarah Jedrusiak, Program Support Officer Grants.
[Opening visual of slide with text saying ‘Business Support Fund’, ‘Grants Workshop – Stream 1’, ‘February 2021’, ‘Sustainability Victoria’]
[The visuals during this webinar are of a PowerPoint presentation being played on screen, with each speaker appearing to the side of the screen via video.]
Hello all. Welcome to today’s workshop for the Business Support Fund. Thank you so much for joining us. So firstly what I would like to do before we get started is just thank you for coming along. I’d also like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the many lands on which we’re meeting today, and pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
So as a bit of an overview of what we’re covering today, we’re going to go over the application form for the Business Support Fund Stream 1. This is going to include SmartyGrants, which is our online application tool, and the key dates for the process. We’ll go through the assessment process and the outcomes. We’ll go through the application form in a lot of detail. We’ll tell you how to write about your project in the application form. So we’re going to be talking a little bit about the questions that we’re asking you and the kind of responses that we’re looking for, and there’s going to be plenty of time for you to ask questions.
So in terms of housekeeping for today’s session, there will be time for you to ask questions during the presentation. What I will ask you to do is to please keep your questions relevant to the application form section that we’re in. So throughout the presentation I’m actually going to be opening up the application form and going through it with you. If you do have questions about the application form, just keep them relevant to what’s on the screen at the moment. If you do have any questions that aren’t relevant to the application form process that we’re going through, just save them till the end. There will be time at the end of the presentation to ask any other questions.
So in terms of where you can ask questions, this can be done via the chat box on the right hand side of your screen like the live event Q&A. Your questions will come through to the team, and they’ll publish them. And they’ll either respond to them via writing, or my colleague Sarah will read them out to me at certain times throughout the presentation so I can respond to them verbally.
So during today’s session, we can only help with application process questions. We’re not going to be able to help you out with specific project questions, because we don’t have probably enough time to go into detail about your specific project. If you did have any queries about your project, either throughout this session or in general, please email email@example.com. We’ll send through all of the relevant links at the end of the session as well.
Now any questions that we answer that are new questions and will add value will be made available on our Information Bulletin, which is available online on the grants page. Now this session is being recorded, and we are actually going to make it available online afterwards. So if you do want to look at it afterwards or if you want to share it with your colleagues if they’re going through this application process with you, we will be making it available hopefully within about a week, and that will be posted to the Information Bulletin as well. On the Info Bulletin you can also see a copy of the information session, which we’ve held two as of now, and they provide more general information about the grants. This session is going to be very specific to the grant application form, and what we want to hope to do through the session is help you write a really good application. We want to give you the tips on how you can write well so that you put your best foot forward really.
So the next section I’m going to go through is just a bit of an application overview, so looking at the tips and tricks, the really important information for you to know, and some key dates.
So firstly, what you’re going to have to do to apply is actually create an account at sustainabilityvictoria.smartygrants.com.au. Now on our website under the Grants tool, you can click through to create an account, and that’s going to drop you into this SmartyGrants platform. We’re going to take you there shortly. So there are different ways that you can access the form. You can have a look through by previewing a copy of the form, or you can register an account and actually just start plugging away in your application. Now know that we’re not going to see anything in your application form until you click the ‘Submit’ button. So feel free to play in it as much as you want. Go back and forth. Now make sure that you save your application along the way. If your computer crashes, you might lose the information. If the web crashes, you might lose your information. So we think it’s always best for you at the end of every page just to save the work that you’ve done before you move to the next page.
Now one thing I will say is a big tip is to allow ample time to upload attachments and to submit. We have had applications in the past through SmartyGrants that missed the cut-off time, and unfortunately they cannot be submitted and won’t be reviewed in the application process. Technical difficulties is not a reason for having a late application, and our SmartyGrants platform will not allow you to click the ‘Submit’ button after 3:00 pm on Friday, the 12th of March.
So there are mandatory fields in the application form. These are going to be marked with a red asterisk, and they must be completed. You won’t be able to click ‘Submit’ if you have incomplete mandatory fields. Some areas have a word limit on the application form. You won’t be able to exceed this word limit. Now the word limit that we’ve provided to you is really a guide of the kind of answer that we’d be looking for. So if it says a word limit of 50 or a word limit of 100, we’re looking for a short response. If there’s a word limit of 500, we’re probably looking for something a little bit more substantial there. Don’t feel like you need to use all of the words and max it out. We would rather have clear, easy-to-read and simple answers where possible.
Now once the application is submitted, one thing I want to let you know is, you cannot go back in and edit the form. If you do need to edit the form after you’ve submitted – let’s say it was an accident that you submitted – you will need to email Grants Enquiries. They may be able to open your form again for you, but we’re not going to be doing that on the day that applications are due. We need to have a 2-day turnaround to get back to your queries generally. So what I would say is try to submit your application as early as possible, at least a couple of days before the due date, because if you do have any technical errors, any issues or any questions that are preventing you from submitting, or if you need to re-open a submitted application, you need to give us the time to get back to you to help you out. And that’s probably not going to happen a minute before or an hour before the applications are due. And the worst thing for us and for you would be if you can’t get that application in, because we know how much hard work you’re going to put in to it.
Now as I’ve said a few times already, late applications just cannot be accepted. There may be some circumstances where we will accept a late application, but the only one that I can really think of is health-related, and we will be asking for evidence of that if you do have a late application. This needs to be a fair process to all, so we need to be making that a 3:00 pm sharp cut-off in SmartyGrants, and really only considering certain circumstances, like health-related issues that have prevented you from submitting that button. Like I said, try to get things in as early as possible.
Now SmartyGrants, if you do have any technical difficulties, you can directly contact the SmartyGrants team. If there’s any platform problems, that’s your best chance of hearing from someone, and they’re available from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday.
So a few pro tips. As I’ve just said, plan your time. Don’t submit at the last minute. Incomplete or late applications will not be submitted. Now submit only when you’re certain that everything is done and complete. Click the ‘Save’ button before you submit, and it will let you know if anything is missing. Go back and finish those things. Read through and be very thorough, because once you click that ‘Submit’ button, it is quite hard to get back in to that application form.
Now one thing that we want you to do is include all critical information in the application form. We don’t want you to be attaching and attaching and attaching a whole bunch of documents and then referring to them in your application form. You’re going to be assessed based on the words that were written in your SmartyGrants application form. So the things that we don’t want to be seeing here is we ask you questions, for example describe your project, and your answer is ‘Refer to Attachment A’. That’s going to be very difficult for the assessment panel to understand what your project is. So do include all relevant information directly in the text box in the application form.
Now a little acronym that’s really good for you to remember as you’re going through the application form and answering questions is ‘C-A-S-H’. We want you to be clear and consistent with the information. So clear. Write clearly. Be consistent. Some questions will be asked in different ways a couple of times through the application form. Just make sure you’re consistent. If you’re asking for a certain amount of money to do an activity, that’s going to be backed up in the budget table and then backed up later on in the milestones. We want to see a consistent pattern to make sure that we know that you understand what your project is and what you’re asking funding for. Be accurate. Be as accurate as possible. Be succinct. So be very clear and succinct. Dot points are totally fine, and even encouraged in parts of the application form. We will have a large volume of applications coming through. The assessment panel will need to review all of these applications, and the easier you make it for the assessment panel to read the questions and understand what you’re saying, the easier it’s going to be for them to actually understand the merit of your project and to assess it.
Now lastly, just be honest. Be honest and truthful. We want to know the right information. We want to know realistic things. You’re going to be assessed, and the assessment panel will look at the information that you provided and use their expertise to understand that you’ve applied for something and you need $1,000 to do this or $100,000 to do that. The assessment panel is going to be looking at value for money and providing a measured assessment around ‘is that a feasible cost’. The other thing is we’re going to be asking about any EPA or WorkSafe compliance issues. We will be sending any applications through to EPA and WorkSafe, so you may be subject to them actually reviewing your application. And if we do find certain things in the application that you haven’t been forthcoming with, it will generate us probably asking a question of you.
Now the key dates, so kind of what’s happening next. These dates are indicative only, but this is kind of where we’re sitting at at the moment. So the applications have been open. We’ve had a couple of information sessions already. This is going to be the last information session or workshop for the first stream of the Business Support Fund. Applications are closing Friday, March the 12th. You should be notified towards the end of July whether your application has been successful or unsuccessful. Now that in particular is subject to change, depending how many applications we get through and how long the approvals process is. We’re providing that as a guide only. Now projects must start by Thursday the 11th of November. Again, this will be slightly flexible, depending when you’re notified of your application. One thing that isn’t flexible though is when Stream 1 projects must be complete, and that’s by the 30th of June 2022. So all contracts that we enter with you, funding agreements, must complete by the 30th
of June 2022.
So what is the application process? Firstly, eligibility assessment. So if your application does not meet eligibility criteria, it won’t be accepted. Your application will be assessed based on what is written in your application form. Make sure that you’re eligible. Make sure that your project is eligible. Merit assessment. So an assessment panel will review and assess all the eligible applications against the merit criteria. If we need any extra information from you, we may seek this as the clarification. Now don’t take this as an assumption that you can leave fields blank in the application form. You certainly can’t. We can only ask clarifying questions. So if you’ve written something in a particular way that we didn’t quite understand, or if you provided a certain amount of information or evidence that we needed to find out a little bit more about, that’s a clarification question. If you leave a section blank in the application form, we’re not going to be asking you any more information to complete that.
So eligible applications are individually assessed. What I would say is pay attention to weighting in your application. You need to focus on the areas with a higher weighting. If it’s worth more, we’re probably going to be asking more questions there, and there’s going to be more room for you to talk about your project there.
Now any clarification questions are going to be emailed to you. You’ll have around 2 business days to respond to any queries. Now this period is likely to be in the week commencing April the 12th, so about one month after you submitted your applications. A strong recommendation is be aware of those dates. Book the dates out in your calendar. This period could coincide with any Easter holidays that you have booked. What we’re going to do is email you any clarification questions. So firstly, make sure that your email address is correct. Secondly, if your email address changes, notify us as soon as possible. And thirdly, have access to that email address during the clarification period. But during the whole process you should have access to that in case we need to get in touch with you.
So due diligence checks are going to be conducted on recommended applications only, and applications that pass all of these checks will then continue through our approvals process. This could last several months. And as I mentioned earlier, you should be notified of the outcome in July 2021, not before, and could potentially be after. That is an indicative date only.
So one of the FAQs that we generally have, something that we hear quite commonly, is why does the approvals process take so long? Now there is a very thorough assessment process in place to ensure that all applications are assessed in a fair, transparent and accountable manner. Applications are first assessed against the eligibility criteria, followed by the merit criteria, and then due diligence checks are carried out on applicants involved in the delivery of the project. Finally, the recommendations of the grants are then approved by the CEO or the Minister. So this is quite a long process, particularly depending on how many applications we get through. We do need to ask for your patience during this process, and we understand that there is a long timeline and that you’re probably excited to get started on your applications, but you cannot begin any projects that are going to be funded, or project activities that you’re seeking funding for, until you have a signed contract.
So we’re going to dive in to the application form now. So I’m going to end our slideshow and take you directly in to the application form. Before we do that, I might welcome you to ask any questions, just initial questions on the process, anything that I’ve said to date. If you do have any questions, feel free to post them in the chat now. Our moderators can answer those in writing. And now we’re going to move across to the application form.
So when you click in to SmartyGrants to start an application, this is the page that you’re going to land on. It’s the Sustainability Victoria SmartyGrants page. So as you can see, there are a few different rounds of funding currently open with Sustainability Victoria. We have the Business Support Fund Stream 1 and 2. We also have the Recycling Victoria Communities Fund, Councils Fund, and the RD&D Fund for Materials. You can find out any information about that by visiting the Sustainability Victoria grants page.
Today what we’re looking at is the Stream 1: Identification Grants. So when you start your application, you’re going to click on this, and it’s going to bring you to the next page. Now you can have 3 choices right now: you can start a submission; you can preview the form; or you can download a preview form. So the download is really if you want to go through the application form offline, maybe make some notes, share it around with the team. If you want to start your submission, you’ll click on this button, and now you’re going to have to either log in or register. I’ve already got my own login. If you don’t have a login, what you’ll need to do is register. You’ll put your details in there, you’ll get an email from SmartyGrants, and then you’ll be able to get started.
Today what I’m going to do is go through previewing the form. Now remember we’ve got a lot of links on this page as well, so if you ever get lost, come back to this page. You have your Fund Guidelines, we have the Information Bulletin, and then you have FAQs from the SmartyGrants process. So if you’ve got questions while you’re going through the application, feel free to keep this page open and come back to the Fund Guidelines or have a look at the Information Bulletin, because the questions that you have might be answered already. They might have been asked by someone else, or they might be quite clear in the guidelines and application form. So right now I’m going to preview the form.
So first things first is the instructions page. So this is the first page of the application. So eligibility is the first thing that we’re going to be looking at. We’re going to go through here. We’re talking through which kind of organisations are eligible, the kind of project that you can be involved in, whether it’s a lead applicant or a project partner, the length of operation. Be really clear about noting this. You need to be operating a minimum of 2 years; or if you’ve been operating less than 2 years, you’ll need to provide a company guarantee. Now details of the company guarantee are provided in the Information Bulletin, so I’d encourage you to have a look for that question in the Information Bulletin if you’re uncertain about the 2-year timeline.
Okay. So if you are eligible to apply for funding, click ‘Yes’ and it will take you through to the next page. Or if you’re not eligible, click ‘No’ and you’re not going to be able to proceed. One question that we are commonly getting is around eligibility, particularly with government organisations, TAFEs or universities for example, can they be part of the application process. Now only eligible organisations and entity types can apply. Government cannot apply as either a lead applicant or a project partner. If you’re curious about whether an entity is a government entity or not, or if they’re an eligible entity, what we do recommend doing is going to the ABN Lookup, which you can access via ABR.business.gov.au. I’m going to post an announcement right now. This is a really handy tool for you to go in and see whether or not an entity is eligible. So let’s say you are eligible. We’re going to go to the next page.
Okay. So in Section 1, what we’re looking for is your legal entity and type of organisation. Now this is an eligibility hurdle. So you’re going to be completing the applicant details here. Now your business must demonstrate that it’s been operating for at least 2 years by the closing date on March 12th. If you do not meet this criteria, company guarantee must be provided. No exceptions are allowed. It has to be operating 2 years by March 12th. Details of company guarantees are available on the Information Bulletin. Now one thing here is your email. If you change your email, you need to notify us, because this is the only way we’re going to keep in touch with you. If there’s anything that we need to seek clarification on in your application form, this is how we’re reaching you. If we don’t reach you, there’s a risk that we may not be able to proceed with the application.
Okay. So project manager contact details. Pretty self-explanatory. I won’t go through there. It’s not going to help you much. And then related entities. There’s a bunch of information for you here to read about related entities. Make sure you answer this appropriately and honestly. If you do have any related entities, put them in here. You can view an example of what we mean.
I’m going to move to the next page. So Section 2 is where things start getting a little bit more fun. So this is where we’re going to start asking you about your project. On this page you’re going to be putting through your project title, a project description, talking through your project location, and providing a project timeline.
Now grant types. The first thing to consider is, are you applying as an individual business or a collaborative partnership. That’s actually on the previous page, and that’s where you’ll be providing those details. Project description. What we’re asking for here is a summary highlighting all of the key points of your project. We want you to be selective with your words.
Now time of project time at location, or percentage of project time at location. Now this refers to the specific amount of time that your project will be focused on this location. The answer cannot be below 50%. We need you to have at least 50% of project activities happening in Victoria. So for example, you might be implementing a project at a food manufacturing facility in Dandenong. Maybe 100% of the project time will be there. That’s where you’re going to put in the address and a percentage of the project time at that location. Or maybe there’s a couple of different locations. You’re going to be able to add multiple locations here by clicking the plus button. So you might have 50% at Dandenong and 50% at Keysborough for example.
Now project timeline is when you’re anticipating you’re going to start the project and when you’re going to complete the project. Now projects must be completed by the 30th of June 2022. Do not put a date after that in here, because that will make your project ineligible. We need to be able to be sure that you can complete your project in time within the Funding Agreement by the 30th of June 2022. Now one thing I’m going to stress here is that we cannot fund any activities that you’ve already started or that have been finished. We can’t retrospectively fund projects. An example of an activity that’s been started for example is you’ve already purchased equipment and installed it. So that’s been started. Or if you’ve purchased the equipment, you’ve already started down the process of that project. We’re not going to be funding that, because you’ve already committed the money, and it’s not going to seem good value for money, because you won’t be able to demonstrate that funding is needed.
So I’m going to click through to the next page now.
And this is Section 3. And as you can see as you continue through the form, you’re going to be able to navigate via this side bar. Section 3 is when we’re actually going to start getting into the assessment criteria. So in Section 3, this is kind of the big thing, the area that you’re going to have to focus the most on. So you’re going to be assessed against 4 criteria in your application form. Each has specific weightings to each area, and you should spend most of your time in the most weighted areas.
So the first thing that we’re going to look at is what you’re going to do. That’s worth 45%. My strong pro tip there is spend a lot of your time in the ‘What’ section, where they’re going to be looking at who’s going to deliver the project. So that’s when you get a chance to talk about the lead applicant and any potential project partners. Now you’re going to have to demonstrate why funding is needed, and that’s a weighted criteria. And then you’re going to talk about how the project is going to be delivered. So that’s what I’m going to go through now, is each of these sections of the application form.
The other thing that we will assess for is value for money. Now this isn’t a weighted criteria, but it is something that we will be considering.
Now what are you going to do? So 45%. That’s this section now. And you can see by these green bars where you are in the application form as well. So this is worth 45%. 100% spend the most of your time in this section. Now question one, we’re going to be asking for a detailed overview of what you will do in your project. Now think about the major milestones and deliverables of your project. How are you going to deliver these? What are you going to do to achieve those? What will the benefits be? These are the kind of things that you want to articulate in this section. And earlier when I talked about the CASH acronym, being consistent, that’s all we want to see. We want to see that your project overview flows in to what you’re going to be doing in your project, and later that’s going to flow through to your milestones and your budget table.
Now strong recommendation here is that you refer to the Fund Guidelines. Question two is asking how you’re going to deliver on the RV policy and strategic objectives. These are highlighted in the Fund Guidelines, and you can also refer to the Recycling Victoria Policy: A New Economy.
So questions 3, 4 and 5, we’re asking for you to provide details on the types of products or materials your project is going to focus on. Now this includes what products or materials your project will focus on, how much waste there is, and where this waste is currently disposed or how it is managed. Question 6 is going to ask you about could your project potentially benefit any other materials, products or sectors? Could it grow over time? Could it influence broad change in an industry? So if your project – potentially it’s a pilot project in the food industry. Potentially that could be rolled out to other businesses across the food industry. That’s what we want to know in that application question.
Now one thing I’m going to be highlighting here again is that the word limits provided in this section are a guide. As you can see here, it must be no more than 250 words, 250 words, 100, 100, 500, etcetera. Judge the questions based on the amount of words that we’re asking you to write, and that’s going to help give you a hint on the kind of depth of response that we’re looking for from you. Now this is a guide only. What I would say is, less words can sometimes and often be better. What we want you to do is, be succinct and to the point, and dot points are totally fine. We don’t need you to write in eloquent prose.
When it comes to objectives, some projects are going to address one or 2 objectives strongly. That’s fine. Just review the policy and objectives and write how your project is going to respond to that. You don’t need to meet every objective. You might meet one, you might meet another, or you might meet a few. Where possible, use what information is available to you to quantify and provide the most educated estimation. So in these questions 3, 4 and 5, I understand that this is an Identification Grant. You might not quite understand what the opportunity at the moment is, otherwise you may not be applying for an Identification Grant. What we want to know is as much information as you already know. For example, you might not know how many tonnes of waste is being generated by your business, but you might know how much waste disposal costs your business – how much you’re paying. Say you’re a food or drink manufacturer, how much it costs to dispose that to sewer. You might know that you’re sending X amount of tonnes of waste to landfill or X amount of trucks a day, or you might know broadly across the industry that this amount of waste is created, and this is the impact of that waste. You can use a variety of different kind of information and evidence bases to help your make your case here. The clearer you can be with information the better though, and the more specific is going to help us understand what the potential benefit and impact of your project is going to be.
Now I’m going to pause here for a moment and ask Sarah if any questions have come through so I can answer them as related to this question page on ‘What’.
Thanks Travis. There are a few questions. One question, I think we have seen it before.
Question: If someone has operated for 3 years but the business has changed structure a year ago, is that an issue?
If the business has changed structure a year ago, then they would have an operating history for one year only. What I would recommend with that question – we have seen it come through – is email Grants Enquiries. They’ll have a response, and they can give you a little bit more detail than I can provide over the phone at the moment. I know we’ve referred that one off to our legal counsel for some advice. So please send that through and we’ll get back to you.
Thanks. And another question that has come up twice is:
Question: If someone does not have a specific address for their location, so they’ll be going through various sites, either auditing various sites or events at random locations, what would the address of the project be or what would you want people to put as their location?
I guess the key criteria here is that 50% of the activities are happening in Victoria. If you are headquartered in Victoria, you could put your location as the headquarter there. If you are looking at a couple of other sites, then provide some additional details around the sites that you’re looking for. If you’re not able to provide exact information, estimate of information, maybe it’s something that you could attach. If for example you’re a consultant and you’ve got in principle support to go and perform a materials efficiency assessment at a couple of different sites, articulate that in your application from. And we just want to be able to ensure that we know that 50% of project activities and any project benefits are delivered in Victoria, so that we can sense check that that’s meeting the eligibility criteria for the grant.
Great. Thank you. That’s all the questions for now.
Easy. Well I’m going to jump on to the next section then, which is ‘Who’. So who will deliver the project? Now this is worth 20%. So there’s two things that are going to pop up here. If you selected originally that you’re an individual applicant, you will only complete details for yourself as the lead applicant. If you in the early page of the application form said that you’re going to start the application as a collaborative partnership, then you’re going to be completing details for the collaborative partnership. And this is including the lead applicant details as well as all details for the project partners.
So individual details, as I said, will complete for their application only. Now note that Funding agreements are only going to be established with a lead applicant, not with the project partners. The project partners may be subject to the same checks and balances that we do on the applicants. Now what we’re looking for here is do you have the appropriate experience to deliver this project? Do you have a proven track record in delivering projects? The evidence we need to see is provided for project partners. One of the things that we get commonly asked is what evidence do you need to show that someone is a project partner? So it’s a good question that we hear. Firstly I’ll say that the lead applicant has all responsibility for delivering the project, all legal responsibility, and we, as in SV, will only contract with that lead applicant in a collaborative partnership.
Now for project partners, by the time funding agreements are signed, we may need firm evidence of a formal commitment from project partners such as a Memorandum of Understanding, or an MOU, or a contract. Now at this stage of the application, so when you’re going through your application now, missing a formal MOU will not make your project ineligible. We might want an overview of the type of relationship that you’ve built with potential project partners already. Now if you do have an MOU or a contract with project partners, any information to substantiate your claim of project partners, do please include this. It could be an email between you and a project partner, or it might be something more formal, or it might be a written explanation of the project partners that you have contacted, and we’ll firm that up throughout the application process after we’ve approved applications and start working with you on funding agreements.
So as I said, that’s worth 20%. Don’t spend most of your time here. It’s probably quite a quick-and-easy section to get through. But again, if you’ve got any questions around who, please ask them now and I’ll get Sarah to read them aloud.
Sorry, Travis. Where am I reading aloud from?
Just if there’s any questions that have come through around this question.
Yes, there is.
Question: If there is a project to reduce food waste with special technology and UTAS is doing the validation, in order to be eligible, do these people need to move to a uni in Victoria who may not have the ability for perishables?
Sorry. I probably don’t quite understand the question being asked. It sounds like it is a project‑based question. Maybe ask that again, Sarah?
So if they’re working with a university in Tassie, does it need to be located here in Victoria?
That is a really good question. Look, we are looking to support Victorian businesses. We do need 50% of the project activities to take place in Victoria. We do understand that project activities will take place in other states, but if 100% of the project activities are taking place in another state, that would be ineligible for funding. If you did have some more questions around that project, what I would encourage you to do is email that through to Grants Enquiries. It sounds like something quite specific, and I wouldn’t want to say no to you right now. What I would say is that there is an eligibility hurdle, that 50% of project activities take place in Victoria.
Thanks, Travis. And that’s the only question about that.
Cool. Well, that’s a pretty short section, so I’m going to move to the next one. And I apologise that all of the text is a little bit greyed out. That’s just the way the preview form comes through.
So the next section that we’re going to look at is ‘Why’, and this is about why is the funding needed. This is worth 15%. So through these questions, what we want to understand is why funding is needed for your project, and how it represents value for money. What benefits will your project deliver? Now you need to reference the objectives of the program, the proposed deliverables of your project, and how your project will help us achieve the objectives of our program. Now the application will be assessed as a whole, so make sure your vision is clear.
What we want to do is also understand how it’s good value for money. You might be applying to complete an activity for example that we don’t think is good value for money in delivering a certain objective. That’s the kind of question we’re going to be looking for. In this section I want you to remember CASH again. Be clear, consistent, be succinct, be honest. In this section we really want you to be honest and truthful about what would happen if you do not receive money, and we want to know a realistic estimate of what the broader benefits of your project are going to be. Now the assessment panel will be experienced in this field, and we may call on technical experts throughout the application process to help us understand certain projects.
So a frequently asked question that we get is, what if my project will not create direct or indirect jobs in the short or long term? So if you’ve seen this application form, we’re asking around the estimated fulltime-equivalent employees generated as a result of the project.
This is not an eligibility hurdle. Your project may not create any jobs, or it may create jobs. What we want you to do is answer this as truthfully as possible, and again, your application is going to be assessed as a whole. So preference will be given to projects that help us achieve our objectives. Now some projects are going to do this in different ways. We’re going to take this all into account during consideration of your application. So for example, you might not deliver any additional FTE, but you might develop a business case in Stream 1 that helps prevent waste by 10,000 tonnes. So this is really a weighted process, as I keep saying.
So similarly, if your project has no training opportunities, which is another question that we’ve asked here about ongoing employment opportunities and training opportunities for local community, it’s not going to make your project ineligible if you don’t have that. What we want to understand here is if your project can help support Victorian businesses to better understand and act on circular economy opportunities. What I’d ask you to consider, is there an option through your project to upskill employees or businesses during your project, now either directly with training or indirectly, maybe via marketing the project outcomes? So things like publishing case studies, news articles, media engagements, industry reports in magazines. Promoting the work that you’re doing will actually help indirectly provide training for Victorians to upskill them in the circular economy. You can provide details about that here.
So any questions on the ‘Why’?
Yes, there are.
Question: Can you start working on market research for your project before the funding is announced?
Certainly. I would imagine that you are doing market research and project planning as part of you need to work out is this project something that you can apply for. What we won’t fund are activities that you’ve already done. So if you for example in your funding application said that you needed $20,000 to complete the market research but you’ve already done that work, we’re not going to fund it. Anything that you’re asking for money for in the application, you can’t start until you have a signed Funding agreement. But you will need to do research on your application, and we strongly encourage you doing research, looking for the market opportunity, looking at how much waste is out there, looking what the benefits of your project can be, looking at what potential solutions are, looking at the cost of particular things, because that’s going to help you write a more complete and thorough application form. When we ask you what are the milestones of your project, what are you going to do, we’re also going to ask you how much that’s going to cost. So having an idea of those things. Go out and get quotes. Google things. Find information. Find as much information as you can, because that’s going to help your application form.
Thanks, Travis. One more question.
Question: Do customers of a business from whom we collect waste, are these considered to be project partners?
A project partner is only someone that’s going to be involved in your project. Some of it’s going to be working on the project. That’s up to you to define who the project partners are. By the sounds of what you’re suggesting, is a customer of the person that you’re working with is not a project partner. So if you’re the lead applicant, you’re working directly with someone who is contributing to that project, they could be your project partner. Their customers would not be project partners I don’t imagine, but that’s something you’re going to have to look at with reading through the questions and finding more information about the project partners, which you can have a look at in detail in the Fund Guidelines and also on the Information Bulletin.
One thing that I would suggest here is a project partner is not necessarily let’s say a consultant, so someone doing the work, doing the activity. If you are a business that wants to do a materials efficiency assessment, you might say that we need X amount of dollars to hire a consultant to complete this for us. That’s totally fine. That consultant wouldn’t be a project partner. That’s just an activity that you’re funding through your project.
Great. Thank you, Travis. That’s all the questions for now.
Cool. So what I’m going to do then is go through to the last of the merit-based criteria, which is how the project will be delivered.
So under the ‘How’ section, we’re asking you how will the project be delivered? We’re asking you what are the key activities and timeframes, and we’re providing you with a table to complete these. So government grants are managed to milestones. Milestones are how grants are paid. So each milestone requires evidence of completion, and they can include several activities. We’ve provided an example on this page, as you can view, of how to complete this section. What we want to do is understand what are the major milestones of your projects and how are we going to pay you for those, and what kind of evidence would we be looking for to prove that you’ve completed those milestones. You’re going to have to have at least one. That’s mandatory. A lot of projects that we work with have three milestones, but some have several, up to a dozen milestones, depending on the complexity of the project.
The information you provide in here will form the basis of contracts with any successful applications, and will inform the development of your funding agreements. It also really helps you step out and plan your project. The information that you provide here will show us that you have a really good and clear understanding of the phasing of your project and the activities of your project, and the estimated cost to complete those activities.
In this table, it’s going to be saying the total milestone costs. That automatically populates. We’re going to be looking for milestone number, which will be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, depending how many milestones you have, who’s responsible for delivering that milestone. So for example, if you’re a lead applicant, an individual applicant, you’re going to be responsible. If you have project partners, project partners may be responsible for some of those. So for example, the University of Tas example, maybe the lead applicant is based in Victoria, they’re running the project, but the University of Tasmania was completing one part of that project, and that would be maybe one milestone. We’d want to know what the key activity is happening under the milestone or activities, when it’s going to start, when it’s going to end, and what the estimated cost is going to be, so on and so forth. You can add as many milestones as needed. What I would suggest is try to bucket them so you don’t have 20 different milestones throughout your projects. And if you do have any queries, just get in touch with us and we can help you out. But do review the example that we provide as well.
So the other thing that we want to understand is how will you ensure the project timelines are realistic and achievable? We’re asking you about the timelines here against the milestones, and we want confidence that you can deliver within those timeframes, and that’s why we’re asking this question. If you have a project plan, we want to know. And this gives you a chance to attach your project plan here. This is going to help give us even more confidence that you know what you’re going to be doing through the project. This is about providing the assessment panel with confidence that this can be delivered within the time, which is until June 30, 2022. If you don’t have a project plan, that won’t make you ineligible at this stage. You can provide details. Through the milestones it will show a bit of a high -evel version of a project plan, but what we can also ask you to do here or what you can provide is information on when a project plan will be finalised and who will be involved in this. So it’s a question that you’ll be asked to write in to a text box.
Now, has a project plan been agreed to by your project partners? Obviously this is only relevant to collaborative partnerships, but we will ask you to provide details here to suggest what is that relationship with the project partners, and do they agree with the project plan. Again, if you don’t have that in place, provide some words to explain how you are going to be getting that project plan into place and what your plan is to work with your project partners to ensure that the project plan is finalised before the signing of the Funding agreement.
We need to know that you have the right permits for your project. You may not have them in place at the moment. That is totally fine. But what we want to know is that you’ve researched what permits are going to be required, and we want to know how you’re going to obtain it. Now we can’t advise on the permits required for your project. That’s something that’s going to be in your technical realm of expertise. We just want to know that you’ve researched and are aware of the kinds of permits that are required to complete the work that you’re doing.
Now the final section here is around project monitoring and evaluation. So we want to know throughout the project how you’re going to monitor and report on the results. So we want to know how you’re going to collect data, whether it be quantitative or qualitative, throughout the project. How are you going to evaluate the project? How are the outputs going to be measured? How are the outputs going to be shared with SV and the broader Victorian Community. So again, that comes back to the earlier question we asked around what kind of education opportunities will you provide to accelerate a circular economy in Victoria, and what risk management strategies and practices are in place?
One of the questions that we do get here and queries is around outputs. So an output from your project is the tangible and the intangible products that result from your project activities. So for example, a written feasibility study is an output. This is different to an outcome, which we do ask questions on. An outcome is the benefits that a project or intervention is designed to deliver, so for example, reducing waste by 500 tonnes or reducing emissions, etcetera, etcetera.
I’ll pause here again for any questions that have come through on the ‘How’.
Yes, there is one question just come through about in-kind staff work.
Question: If the lead applicant is also the manager of the project within a small team to deliver the project, is the time of the manager allocated to the project considered in-kind work?
We provide a really comprehensive response on what is in-kind on the Information Bulletin. What I’d do is encourage you to have a read through that, and if you have any specific queries, get in touch with the Grants Enquiries team. And I’m sorry to sound like I’m going on and on about sending things through to the Grants Enquiries team. I just want to make sure that we’re giving consistent advice, and that is the advice that we send to anyone that has sent through a query around what is in-kind and what is not in-kind. What we don’t fund within the project is operational costs. If there is a dedicated project manager, that may be an in-kind expense. Have a look at the Information Bulletin, and please get in touch with us if you do have specific questions around that once you’ve had a read through. And you might have had a read through already and you want to ask the question again. Do feel free to get that in writing so we can give you a really thorough response on that.
Thanks Travis. I’ve also just linked the email address for the Grants Enquiries team in the chat. Another question is:
Question: You mentioned the latest a project can start is November, but what will be the earliest a project can start if approved in July?
If everyone has signed off a contract in July – let’s say that you’ve been approved, notified, everything is written and signed up in July, you can start the project as soon as all parties have signed that final agreement. We just want projects to start by November, and we think that’s going to give enough time between when you’re notified, which is about a 3-month window, I believe, from when you will be notified to when the projects would start. We do have fairly tight timelines on these projects. Obviously it’s around 12 months or a little bit less from when you’re going to be notified about the Funding agreement. So we want things to be happening as fast as possible, and once a contract has been signed, you can start working straight away.
Thanks, Travis. This might be a bit project-specific, but:
Question: The collection of data and sustainability initiatives, analytics and software development, does that qualify as a project, to collect this information?
Look, it is a project-heavy question, which I don’t want to get in to details on specific projects. So I’ll set a precedent by not answering it at the moment. But please feel free to email that through to Grants Enquiries, and we’d be happy to look at the eligibility of that kind of project, whether it’s in scope or not in scope for this.
Thank you. And one more.
Question: With project monitoring, it’s a bit unclear if we’re providing monitoring over the identification project or anticipating what monitoring will be in place for the implementation. Which is correct?
For this project, it’s going to be what’s happening during the project. That’s what I could say. We don’t know that your project is going to be implemented afterwards. These are Stream 1, so these are Identification Grants. You’re looking for the opportunity and you’re building the business case. We don’t need to know what happens after that necessarily, unless you have information on that. What we do want to understand with this, is throughout the process – so for example, you’re doing a materials efficiency assessment or you’re developing a feasibility study – how are you going to monitor and report on the results of that work throughout the project? So let’s say it’s a materials efficiency assessment. How are you going to collect the data from that assessment? That would be quantitative data. So it could be the volumes of the waste. And then how are you going to be reporting on it? So you might say we’re going to be doing a waste assessment. We’re going to be recording volumetric data because it’s liquid, or weight data, etcetera. We’re going to be looking at the composition of the waste. This is how we’re going to be collecting the data. That kind of thing throughout this project would be suitable. This isn’t about the long-term evaluation plan, the next steps. We’re only looking at within the project.
I hope that answers the question.
I think so. That’s all for now.
Awesome. So I’ll move on to the next section. This is the final part of Section 3 actually, and this is around your project budget. So the co-contribution for Stream 1 projects is 2:1, so for every $2 SV provides in funding, you must provide $1. Now that co-contribution can be made as cash or in-kind. So we give $2 of cash, you can give $1, and that can be made up of 50 cents in-kind and 50 cents cash. It needs to be no more than 50% in-kind of your co-contribution. Now this is a difficult thing to describe verbally, because it is quite a complicated idea of in-kind and co‑contributions. Again, I would really encourage you to have a look at the Guidelines and also have a look at the Information Bulletin. And if you do have questions around what is in-kind, what is a co-contribution, please get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help out.
So in the budget table, we’re telling you what the project contributions are. So the minimum amount that you can request from us is $75,000. We’re not going to provide less than $75,000, so you need to make sure that your project meets that requirement. The maximum amount for these grants is $200,000, excluding GST. All of our numbers are excluding GST. So the co‑contribution ratio, 2:1 as I said, $2 SV to $1 for the applicant. And the maximum in-kind contribution, so that’s your non-financial contribution, is 50%. So all contributions need to be supported by evidence, so things like detailed staff timesheets if you are going to have a dedicated project manager or employ someone to run the project, and any other relevant documentation before contract milestone payments are going to be made. And again, that’s looking at what amount of money are you looking for, what is the milestone, what is the activity, how much are you asking for. We’re going to want the evidence to make sure that you’ve completed the milestone.
So in this table – and it’s going to be difficult to see actually, the way that it’s been set up at the moment. What you’re going to have here in your actual application form is a budget table, and you’re going to be able to write out what the numbers are and what you’re looking for, providing estimated costs for the certain activities that you’re looking for. We’re going to look at the activity item, how much funding that you’re looking for, what your contribution in cash is going to be, what your in-kind contribution, and then what the total item cost is. So that’s per activity. So it might be consultants is something, feasibility study, developing collateral etcetera. The kind of activities that are allowed and in scope are covered in detail in the Guidelines, so have a look at the Guidelines. We also provide a budget table example to help you understand how to complete the budget table. Now that is going to be super high-level and generic, so don’t copy what’s in there. Be very specific to your project, and provide as close an estimate as possible at this stage. We understand that you may not have the exact costs, but we want to know what the close estimates are going to be. Activities and items are going to need to be realistic. The thing that can really help you out here is get a quote if you can and research it.
So a couple of FAQs that we do get in this section.
Question: Can I apply for funding for the same project in more than one of Sustainability Victoria’s funding projects?
So applications cannot be awarded funding for the same project in more than one of SV’s funding programs. So each funding program has different objectives, eligibility requirements and assessment criteria. So any application should be very specific to the funding program applied for. Now if an applicant fits the criteria and meets the objectives of more than one funding program, then they can apply of course. But Sustainability Victoria would not award funding from 2 different programs for the same project.
The other question that we often get is, can we apply for funding for a project partly funded through another organisation?
No. So if projects have already received funding or support for the same activities that you’re applying for from other sources, including other projects awarded by funding through either Recycling Victoria, Sustainability Victoria, government initiatives, grant initiatives, they’re not going to be eligible for funding. If a project is seeking funding for new activities however that haven’t been funded from other sources, these may be eligible. We understand that with feasibility projects you might go through different phases before you reach that implementation. So you might do a pre-feasibility study, you’ve received a grant for that, and then you’re looking at doing the feasibility study or the site specific feasibility study. We’re not going to fund that initial work that was done in your pre-feasibility, but if the feasibility or the site-specific feasibility is what you’re looking for, or maybe a pilot project or trial, and you’ve not received grant money from that, that’s the kind of thing that you could apply for, because you’ve not received money for that activity before. Even though it’s a related project or the same kind of long project, we’re looking really at the activities that have been funded. If it’s been funded before, don’t apply for more funding. If it hasn’t been funded, that is something that you could apply for funding for.
I’m going to pause there again and see if any more questions have come through around the grants and around the funding, the budget and co-contribution.
There is a question, not specifically to that. The question is just about:
Question: How innovative does the project need to be? What if there is already a solution in use in Victoria but you want to deliver something similar in a much bigger way? Is this enough to be eligible?
Again, I don’t want to get into project questions at this time. What I would say is email that through to the Grants Enquiries team. Also have a look through the Guidelines. We do go into detail around innovation. Have a look at the definitions of the project. So in the Guidelines, right at the bottom we actually define a lot of things, including recycling. We do get a lot of questions about innovation in recycling. We also get a lot of questions from people that probably haven’t read quite thoroughly the application form. We tell you what kind of projects are in scope and what we’re not going to fund. So projects that we say we’re not going to fund, we won’t fund. That might be kerbside recycling. It could be existing recycling solutions. If you’ve got a specific question for your project, get in touch with Grants Enquiries and we’ll be able to help you out.
Thank you Travis. And one more.
Question: Requirements such as hardware, equipment, warehouse logistics, will these be funded and justified as part of project costs?
So what can be funded and what won’t be funded is in the Guidelines and application form. In the Stream 1 projects we’re looking not for mplementation projects. We are looking for things like – I mean if you’re looking for hardware, we may be able to fund purchasing or leasing of equipment to complete for example a feasibility study, to complete a pilot project or a trial. We do cover that in detail in the guidelines, so please have a look through there of what’s in scope and what we won’t fund. And if you did have specific questions to your project – you know what I’m about to say – Grants Enquiries email.
Thank you, Travis. That’s all.
Awesome, cool. So the next page that we’re going through is one of the final sections, and this is about due diligence. So this section is covering your insurance. This is about public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance, WorkCover insurance, and then we’re going to look at environmental safety and workplace compliance. Now when it comes to insurance, insurances are mandatory and non-negotiable. Do not try to negotiate with us on this point. If you do, we’re going to say it’s not negotiable. We say what the minimum insurance is, and that is fixed. So for example these projects, for public liability insurance you will need to have a minimum $10 million policy. For professional indemnity, you will need to have a policy amount at a minimum of $5 million, and you will need to have WorkCover insurance, if relevant to the project that you’re looking for. No agreement can be signed if there’s no appropriate insurance stated at the minimum dollar value. Now please speak to your insurance advisor if you’re unsure.
If you don’t currently have the insurance, you can provide an explanation on how you’re going to get the insurance before the Funding agreement is signed.
Now environmental safety and workplace compliance. Your history with environmental safety and workplace compliance will be investigated by relevant authorities if your application does proceed through the approvals pathway. Please be honest about these. Each application is taken on a case-by-case basis, and we may seek clarification. So for example, having a breach of environmental safety or workplace compliance history is not necessarily going to rule you out, but we may need to investigate that further and have a discussion with you about that.
Now finally we’re going to ask you about conflicts of interest. If you’re unsure about potential conflicts of interest, please review the definitions in the Fund Guidelines and email any further questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We do provide a comprehensive detail in the guidelines of what constitutes a conflict of interest. If you’re unsure, please do email us.
The other thing that we will do – and this is the reason why we have the 2-year minimum threshold – we will conduct financial checks. That happens quite quickly once we get through the eligibility process of applications. So we need you to agree to provide information to third parties so that we can complete that financial assessment.
Before we move forward, did we have any more questions about the due diligence section?
There is one question about:
Question: If someone is currently running a project that is funded by Sustainability Victoria and it is not yet finished, can that person apply for this RV grant as a realisation of the current project, that is, to manufacture the pilot plant equipment? Does the current project need to be finished before they apply for a new grant?
It’s a good question. I mean each project is going to be different and are at different stages of readiness. What we need to have with these projects – we’ve got start dates, we’ve got completion dates. You need to start within a certain time and you need to complete it within a certain time. There are certain objectives that you’re going to meet. If you can meet the objectives of the project, if you can meet them within the time and within the amount of funding that’s being looked for and you’re eligible, then I certainly wouldn’t be saying no. Get an application in if you meet all of those criteria. What we would want to be understanding is the evidence base that’s taking you from the work that you’re doing now in to the next work. Is the thing that you’re applying for predicated on the work that you’re doing now that’s incomplete? Will it be complete before you do the next step? You can articulate those things in your application form in the what are you going to do, and a bit of a program outline at the very beginning.
Great, thank you. And there’s a question here.
Question: How would the deviation of scope during a feasibility study be handled?
That sounds super technical, and I’m probably not the right person to answer that question. I guess it’s going to be related to each project.
Yeah. I think that might be a question for Grants Enquiries, because it does sound quite technical, and I myself am not someone that is versed in doing feasibility studies, so I wouldn’t want to provide advice on deviation of scope.
Great, thank you. That’s all.
Cool. So final page that we’re going to get to is the checklist and declaration. On this page what you want to do is review everything, make sure the information is clear and accurate and complete. One thing I would recommend doing is saving your application before you get to this page and just reviewing anything that wasn’t completed to make sure it was. You can go back through your application by using these navigation tools on the side. One thing that you can do on this page, you’re going to be stating that everything is to the best of your knowledge true and correct, which is why I keep harping on, making sure that you’re true and honest through the application process.
You’ll be providing your name, position and a date. Now there is an option to attach additional information. One thing that assessors really don’t like is when applicants attach everything that they have to do with the project. We’re going to be looking at the words in your application. That’s what’s going to inform what you’re applying for money for. We do have to, or the assessment panel does have to review every attachment that you submit. So what I would say is attach only the relevant attachments. So for example if you have a company guarantee, that is a relevant attachment. What isn’t relevant is 100-page project plan. If you can’t describe your project in the 500 words allocated, it’s going to be very difficult for the assessors to understand your projects. They will read through the 100-page application, but it’s going to be very difficult for them to understand what you’re going to be delivering if that’s the level of detail that you need to convey. So attach only the relevant attachments, only things that are going to substantiate the application.
Don’t attach something you’re already said in the form. We don’t want duplicated information. If you’ve got a mock up of a product for example, or a website being developed, this might be useful. Things like drawings or site plans, just to substantiate where you’ve gotten to in the project already. The question that was asked already, we’ve been doing this project and we’re looking to take the next step. If you’ve got that, details of that project completion date, or one page about that project. You could attach that in. Maybe it’s a letter of support. What we don’t want is you completing questions and then referring to attachments in your response. So refer to Attachment 3, Section 4.1. We don’t want to be doing that. It makes it a really difficult process. Our assessors will have a lot of applications to read, and you want to make this as easy as possible for them to understand your projects. That’s my 100% top tip for you, is make this easy, make it really clear. Help them to understand really clearly what your project is, how it’s meeting the outcomes of the fund, and what we’re going to get from investing in your project.
Be succinct through your application. Be clear. Avoid jargon, avoid unnecessary words. Avoid unnecessary attachments.
One big thing is, give it to someone to read who doesn’t know anything about project. Assume that we’re not going to know anything, because we’re probably not. Each application we’re going to be learning new things, we’re going to be learning new things about your project. The circular economy space is really new. It’s new to Victoria, to Australia, to Sustainability Victoria. This is one of the first times that we’ve really invested in projects focused on waste prevention, and the scope of the Business Support Fund is so wide that we are going to be seeing a whole range of new things that we haven’t seen before. It’s your job to make that so clear that we really understand what you’re applying for funding for and what the benefits of that project are going to be.
There are tools that can help you with writing if you’re looking for that. Grammarly is one tool. Hemmingway app is the tool that I use all the time to help with my writing. And basically you can review the words that you’ve put down, and it will help you write more simply. It will tell you if you’re writing too complex, and they often provide simpler ways for you to write sentences. I would really recommend you have a go at looking at those applications, just to help bring your writing down to what I would say is a Grade 8 level, is a really easy way for people to read an application. And Hemmingway app, which I use all the time, it will tell you what grade your writing is at. Don’t feel like you need to blow us away with impressive technical talk of your application. Simple and clear is always going to be your best friend in writing these grant applications.
Once everything is done, you will be asked to submit. I don’t have that button here, but ‘Close’. Submit your application. Once it’s submitted you can’t get back into it. If you do need to get back into it, email us as soon as possible and we will help you try and open the application form. As I said earlier, don’t do that within the last day or two of the applications. Try to submit as early as possible.
What happens next? Each application will need to be reviewed, assessed for eligibility criteria. It’s going to be assessed. We might gather some extra questions or information from you. As I mentioned earlier, be free during that week in April around Easter. If you are successful, we’ll be in contact to negotiate or finalise the Funding agreement. This will happen around late July, but it is subject to change. I don’t imagine it’s going to come forward. If anything, it will go backwards, like into August. Once the Funding agreement is agreed and signed, you can start your project. If you are unsuccessful, you’ll be notified via email. You can request any feedback or apply again in future rounds or different funding programs. So being unsuccessful is not going to stop you from applying through future rounds. And if you did want feedback, we can provide that to you if you were unsuccessful.
So that really wraps up everything I wanted to cover for you today, which is really just a deep dive into the application process. Feel free to ask. We’ve got 15 more minutes. If you do have any questions, please try to keep them to the application form and process. I’d be happy to try to answer them now. And if you did find this session valuable or if it wasn’t quite what you were expecting, feel free to write some comments in there as well. This is the first time SV’s actually gone through and done a deep dive into the application form. It’s the first time I’ve done this. It would be really great to get some feedback from you whether or not you found this helpful or not helpful, or if you wanted to see something else. At the end of the day, we really want to help you write a good application. We want you to get through this process as easily as possible so at the end of the day we can get some great projects happening in Victoria. We’re open to the different tips and tricks that we use to help make the process easier for you.
And as someone that manages grant processes, I am super open to feedback from you on things that have worked or things that aren’t working or things that you need clarity on. So any feedback that you can provide is always welcome. You can do that via emailing Grants Enquiries. You can do that by emailing CEBIC inbox, which you can access on the website where the grants are posted. Or you can provide some feedback now. If you just say yes, this is great, or no, this wasn’t great. Please just feel free to put that into the chat. It’s not going to be sent to anyone. We won’t post it publicly, but it’s just really good for us to know.
Now I’ll throw across to Sarah just to see if any questions have come through and spend the last 15 minutes or so answering them.
Thanks, Travis. There are a couple of questions.
Question: The Guidelines state that successful Stream 1 projects can apply for funding to implement opportunities under Stream 2. When will Stream 2 be starting?
So right now there is a Stream 1 and a Stream 2 in market. We haven’t announced when the future rounds would be. But that is certainly the workflow that we would be looking at doing. Pay attention to the key dates. Obviously Stream 1 projects need to be finished by the 30th of June, so what we would like to do is make sure that there is kind of a pathway forward for those projects in the future, and it wouldn’t necessarily happen while you’re actually conducting the projects. We haven’t provided any advice on that. That needs to go through an approvals pathway before we announce any of the next streams though.
Thank you. We spoke a bit about supporting documents and attachments.
Question: What sort of supporting documents are helpful?
So at times throughout the application form it will provide you areas to substantiate things with the supporting documents. So a project plan would be an example of something you could attach, and we’ll ask you specifically around the project plan to attach it there. If you have drawings, like I said. So you want to develop a piece of equipment or something that is going to do this thing that prevents waste, any drawings that you have or site plans that you have to conduct a feasibility assessment. Little things like that. We don’t want 100 pages about your project. We don’t want all of the information in the world about your project, because we think that you should be able to articulate that in the application form. I would rather you not attach anything in your application at all if it’s not needed. You should be able to make your case and get your best foot forward during the application form, and that is my strong recommendation, what you do. If you’re asking what is a good idea of something to attach, don’t attach it, because it’s not needed.
Question: In regards to a partnership or collaboration budget, does the partner have to provide in‑kind support?
So there’s 2 ways that you can apply. Obviously you can apply as an individual applicant or you can apply as an applicant in a collaborative partnership, where you have the lead applicant and a project partner. Our contract is with the lead applicant. That lead applicant needs to make sure that the funding requirements are met for the project. So this is the 2:1, two SV dollars to one project dollar. That dollar could be serviced by the lead applicant or the project partner in whatever split they want, as long as they’re meeting the co-contribution and the ratio of in-kind allowed. We don’t care what the split is between lead applicants and project partners, as long as you meet that kind of headline objective, which is 2:1 within the price that we’re saying that we will give funding for, and within the in-kind support, which can’t be more than 50% of the co‑contribution towards the project.
So don’t think about it as who is delivering the money. Just think about it as what money is needed for the project and from the funding.
Great, thank you, Travis. And that seems to be all the questions that we have.
Awesome. Well if you’ve got any more, feel free to flick them through now. I’ll give you a few seconds to write something down. And if not, we might wrap up early and we can all have 10 minutes back in our calendars for the day. What I will say, while you might be writing any more questions, we are going to be putting this video online, probably in the next week, and anyone that’s attended today’s session, we’ll just send you an email afterwards to thank you for coming along and send you a link to when the video is posted in case you wanted to have a look at it again.
Any questions come through, Sarah?
No, nothing else. I think you’ve done a good job of covering everything.
Awesome. Well thank you all for coming along today. Again, please feel free to let us know if this was a good session or if it wasn’t quite what you were expecting. If there’s anything that’s been missing through the information sessions or workshops that you really wanted some help with, please let us know. There will be future rounds of this funding, and I want to make this as seamless as possible for you and help you as much as we can so you can get some really good applications in. But thank you again. Great to see you. I can’t see anyone that’s in the session. But looking forward to seeing some of your applications come through in a few weeks’ time. Thank you.
Can I submit multiple applications for different projects?
Yes, eligible organisations can submit multiple applications for different projects. Please note: eligible applications will be assessed in a contested process against the merit criteria listed in the Guidelines.
When will I know the outcome of my application?
Applicants will be notified of outcomes on or by Wednesday 21 July 2021.
Will you accept late applications?
Late applications will not be accepted unless exceptional circumstance apply (see our Terms of Participation Grant Programs for further detail). Our online grant application portal will not accept applications lodged after the closing date and time. We recommend that you submit your application well before the closing time. Refer to the Terms of Participation in Grant Programs for further details. Note the closing date for this program is 12 March 2021.
When will funding applications be assessed?
Applications will be assessed against the weighted/merit criteria. The time between receipt, assessment and decision will be subject to a variety of factors including the number and quality of applications received. Applicants will be updated about the status of their application by Wednesday 21 July at the latest.
Is an EOI process involved in the fund application or can businesses apply now?
The application does not include an EOI process. Both grant streams are now open and will close on 12 March 2021 at 3:00 pm. Please see the grant information pages for key dates.
If I apply for a Stream 1 grant to formulate a circular economy plan, should I simultaneously apply for a Stream 2 grant to implement it?
No. This situation is unlikely as to apply for a Stream 2 grant, you must have the evidence base to show this solution can be implemented. Under this scenario, you would need to develop the evidence base first (Stream 1) before you could apply for funding to implement the solution (Stream 2). There will be multiple rounds of funding to support Stream 1 applicants in applying for a Stream 2 grant in subsequent rounds.
Is there a template or an online form to fill as part of my grant application?
To apply, you will need to register an account online through SmartyGrants, our online grants portal. Once you’re logged in, click on Recycling Victoria Business Support Fund and choose the stream you’re applying for (Stream 1 or Stream 2).
Is the time between notification of outcome and project commencement fixed, or could a project commence before 11 November 2021?
If a project agreement is finalised and signed by all parties prior to November 11, it may commence earlier. Sustainability Victoria cannot provide any guarantees regarding how long this will take as each contract negotiation and development is different and there may be other applications also in development during this time. We recommend your application is as clear and complete as possible to help expedite the contract development phase.
Can applications be approved before Wednesday 21 July 2021?
We cannot advise if applicants will be notified earlier than this time, but due to the amount of applications received and internal processes to ensure due diligence, it is unlikely you will be notified before this date.
We have already identified the need for investment and completed a feasibility assessment. Can we go straight to Stream 2 with our application?
If you have already completed assessments and can provide evidence of the solution to justify its implementation, you can apply directly for Stream 2.
Could you please explain what applicants need to consider when it comes to the Local Jobs First Policy (LJF) as mentioned in the guidelines?
The Local Jobs First Policy is applicable when the Victorian Government contribution meets the monetary threshold of $1 million. The Policy is about creating opportunities for local businesses and workers with the aim to develop the local industry and grow the next generation of skilled workers in Victoria.
Is an applicant required to be registered in Victoria?
No, applicants can be registered outside of Victoria but must have a current and valid ABN. Applicants need to ensure that 50% of the project activity is completed within Victoria and that all the benefits of the project are delivered in Victoria.
Can Sustainability Victoria review a draft of my grant application?
No, this being a competitive process, we are unable to review a draft or provide feedback on the potential merit of a project.
We encourage applicants to consider and address how the project meets the eligibility criteria, and to describe how the project addresses the merit criteria outlined in the Guidelines and Application Form.
Who can I contact for assistance or further information?
Please email email@example.com and quote Recycling Victoria Business Support Fund or phone 1300 363 744 and ask to speak to a grants representative.
How can I connect with other potential collaborators through the CEBIC on potential group projects?
This is something the team is working on. For the moment, we are happy to offer a one-to-one service if you contact us. Please feel free to book a chat with us via the website by visiting the Contact us page.
Where can I find more information about the Recycling Victoria (RV) Innovation Fund?
You can find information on all grant streams, including the RV Innovation Fund, on the Grants page.
Who owns the intellectual property created out of the project?
In Sustainability Victoria’s grant funding agreements (both the short form for grants up to $50,000 and the long form for grants over $50,000), you (the grant recipient) will retain ownership of your IP.
If you are developing that IP or creating any new IP as part of the funded project, then the new IP that you create or develop is called “Project Intellectual Property”. Under the funding agreements, SV gets a (non-exclusive) licence to use this Project Intellectual Property for any purpose consistent with its general objectives. SV’s general objectives and its statutory functions are set out in the Sustainability Victoria Act 2005. It is not a general objective of SV to commercialise IP (whether our IP or yours) or to grant third parties the right to commercialise others’ IP. SV respects the intellectual property rights of owners and would not knowingly or intentionally do anything to infringe or undermine those rights. As a government entity, SV is required to act reasonably, honestly and ethically at all times and in the public interest.
Note that this is not intended to constitute legal advice to you. Should you have any particular concerns about the IP or other clauses or your rights under the funding agreement, you should consider obtaining independent legal advice.
Will Sustainability Victoria fund lease costs of equipment?
We will fund lease costs of equipment that are directly related to the project and for the duration of the project. For example, leasing equipment to complete a trial or pilot project.
SV will not fund long-term lease contracts, as this would be considered business-as-normal. The program will only fund the leasing costs for the duration of the project. If applicants would like to continue to lease the equipment, they can cover it at their own cost.
Can research organisations apply for a grant as a lead applicant or partner?
If a university is a business, charity, other not-for-profit or consultancy, they would meet this eligibility criteria. Government research organisations may not apply for a grant as a project partner or lead applicant but may informally participate in projects without receiving funding.
Can a consultant be the lead applicant in a partnership?
A consultant may be a lead applicant in a collaborative partnership with any approved project partner. Alternatively, a business may use the services of a consultant as a project activity (for example, to support a feasibility study or manage a project) and this could be funded. In this example, the consultant would not be a lead applicant or project partner; they would be a service provider for the applicant/s.
Do social enterprises fit in the category of ‘charities’ or ‘not-for-profit’?
Social enterprises are considered as businesses and are eligible to apply for this fund as a business.
Can a university research centre be a project partner?
Project partners can be the following organisation types: individual businesses, charities, other not-for-profit organisations, or industry groups and associations. If a university is one of these organisation types (for example, an incorporated business) they may apply as a lead applicant or project partner. If they are not one of these organisation types (for example, they are considered as a government entity), they may not apply. Only approved organisation types may apply as project partners and receive funding.
Will councils or any level of government be funded by these grants either as a lead applicant or project partner?
No. Government organisations will not be funded by Stream 1 or Stream 2 of the Business Support Fund as either a lead applicant or project partner. Government organisations may apply for the RV Innovation Fund and there may be future programs in Recycling Victoria that provide support for local governments.
Can I apply for a grant if my organisation has operated for less than two years?
For Stream 1, if you have been operating for less than two years, you can provide a company guarantee from an entity (Related Entity or Project Partner) that has been operating for more than two years. You will be able to apply for a grant of $75,000 only. This is outlined in the funding guidelines.
For Stream 2, your organisation must have been operating for a minimum of two years.
You need to have been operating for at least two years by the application closing date.
Are these grants solely targeting existing businesses that are already implementing circular initiatives? What if my business has already conducted testing to do something innovative that is not just ‘an upgrade’?
This funding is targeting eligible organisations that plan to reduce waste either within their business or more broadly. If your project has already gone through the feasibility stage and is seeking funding to scale up this solution, then a Stream 2 grant may be suitable. An example of this is: installing new equipment in a textile production facility so that clothes are made more efficiently and with less waste. If the solution is new, innovative and requires research and development, it may be more suited for the RV Innovation Fund.
If I represent an existing recycling business and I want to enhance our productivity or improve our processes, will we be eligible for these grants?
If you are operating as a recycling business and want to grow your current operations (for example, increase your commingled recycling capacity by 20%), then you would not be eligible.
If you are from a recycling facility that wants to diversify your business into a completely new recycling area that is not serviced in Victoria, this would be eligible. For example, you introduce an innovation that enables you to recycle a material not previously recycled in Victoria. Alternatively, you may choose to pivot your operations and develop a solution that prevents waste through reuse, remanufacture, redistribution or upcycling.
Can a self-employed consultant apply for funding if they assist industry partners in waste minimisation projects?
Yes, consultants may apply as a lead applicant, with businesses as their project partners. Alternatively, a business may engage a consultant and the engagement can be considered as a funded project activity, as a service.
As a sole trader, you will apply as a business. When filling in the application form, select ‘consultant’ from the field ‘Organisation type’.
What are the key differences between the type of projects for Recycling Victoria Business Support Fund and Recycling Victoria Innovation Fund?
Both of these funding programs were established through the Recycling Victoria policy to transform how our economy uses materials. Some of the key differences are:
Focus on material, product or sector
Expectation on innovation
For more details, view the Recycling Victoria Innovation Fund page.
Is biomass in scope as a waste material for this funding?
Any product or material currently wasted may be in scope for this funding. Applicants must demonstrate how this waste is currently treated (for example, sent to landfill or composted) and how the proposed solution will reduce this waste (for example, transforming this waste into a new product to prevent waste).
Are waste-to-energy projects able to apply for this funding?
Waste-to-energy projects are not eligible for the Business Support Fund. For other funding opportunities, please see Sustainability Victoria’s Grants section.
Why are waste-to-energy projects not eligible for these grants?
This program focuses primarily on reducing waste, not recovering resources from waste generated. This is aligned with the top of Environment Protection Authority (EPA) waste hierarchy (where prevention is the top priority) and the core principles of a circular economy – to prevent waste and pollution. We acknowledge for waste that cannot be prevented, waste-to-energy has a role to play in a circular economy; there are other programs within the Recycling Victoria policy that focus on waste-to-energy. For more information, please see the Victorian Government’s Transforming recycling in Victoria page.
Can projects focused on developing education about or guidelines for circular economy approaches apply for grants?
Projects must demonstrate how they will meet the funding objectives. Please read the guidelines and application form for each grant to better understand their requirements and eligibility criteria.
Can a project include a mix of fund objectives?
Yes. Projects can deliver on a range of fund objectives. An application cannot however include multiple projects in one application form, but a single project can include multiple elements (for example, installing equipment to make a new circular economy-based product, and marketing that product).
Can I apply for a project where benefits will be shared across multiple states of Australia?
At least 50% of the project must be focused within Victoria and the minimum benefits of the project must be achieved in Victoria. For example, a business implements a new refrigeration system to reduce waste during transport of food from Queensland to Victoria. This new change would also benefit other states. For Stream 2 funding, this project must reduce waste in Victoria by at least 750 tonnes per annum to meet the minimum benefits. If the project also reduces waste in New South Wales, this is OK and would be a good example of a circular economy supply chain solution. For this project, at least 50% of the activity should be focused on the transport into Victoria.
Could a project focused on software solutions for redistributing food apply for this Fund?
Yes, if the project meets all eligibility criteria. This Fund is looking to support waste reduction initiatives, including redistributing food to prevent waste.
Is production of oil from plastics waste considered waste-to-energy?
This is considered bioenergy production and is not in scope for the Business Support Fund.
Will this Fund support anaerobic digestion projects?
No. This is considered waste-to-energy and is out of scope for this Fund.
Will this Fund encourage industry to take up existing innovations and approaches to reuse waste streams or will only new innovations be supported?
The Business Support Fund will support the uptake and growth of already established circular economy solutions and approaches. This program will fund tried-and-tested approaches proven to reduce waste and to increase reuse, re-manufacture and upcycling. It will also support the development of new recycling systems in Victoria based on proven models, to create more recycling pathways for products and materials currently wasted.
Are once-off projects that reduce waste to landfill, for example by 100,000 tonnes, eligible for funding?
Stream 2 projects must deliver ongoing benefits to waste reduction. The grants will fund projects that contribute to Victoria’s target of reducing waste per capita by 15% and are seeking long-term solutions that eliminate waste by design, rather than focusing on short-term fixes. If your once-off waste reduction project can demonstrate how it will help prevent waste on an ongoing basis – for example by developing a new process that could be replicated by other businesses with similar waste stream – this could be in scope, but you must clearly articulate how the project will achieve these long-term goals.
Will this fund support existing waste recycling solutions (such as composting) in Victoria?
No. This Fund is primarily supporting waste prevention through waste reduction, reuse, remanufacture and upcycling. New approaches to recycling will be supported; for example, new systems or technologies that increase the range of products that could be recycled in Victoria. These new approaches must be based on evidence-based solutions in operation outside of Victoria.
Is end-of-life tyre recycling applicable for this grant?
If a project helps Victoria to recycle something that is not currently recyclable, this would be in scope, permitting the idea is based on an approach that is currently working outside of Victoria. If a product or material is already recycled in Victoria, this would not be in scope.
Are the funding schemes applicable to unregulated waste streams?
Yes. Any product or material waste is in scope for these grants. This does not need to be a regulated waste stream. In fact, we’re looking to prevent waste happening in the first place, which will help reduce the burden of waste on our existing waste and recycling system.
What products or materials are considered to be "not currently wasted"?
The aim of these grants is to ultimately eliminate waste in Victoria. This can occur by reducing waste in the first place or by facilitating the reuse, redistribution, remanufacture or upcycling of products or materials that are currently wasted (that is, sent to a waste processing destination such as landfill, the sewer or even a recycling facility). In a circular economy, we want products and materials to have long and high-value life cycles, not end up in landfill or recycled as a default option when that waste could be stopped or slowed.
If a project is implemented in Victoria but the waste reduction happens interstate or overseas, will this be funded?
No. The project must deliver minimum benefits to Victoria, for example by reducing waste in Victoria by 750 tonnes per annum. It the project delivers minimum benefits in Victoria and additional benefits outside Victoria, this would be eligible.
Is plastic recycling eligible for funding?
This is not likely. Plastic recycling or any other existing recycling solutions will not be funded. However, if there is a type of plastic that is not currently recycled in Victoria, and your solution will facilitate it being recycled in Victoria, this project could be eligible for funding.
For Stream 1, can I apply to do a business case study plus a proof of concept (for example, trial or demonstration) as the means to validate that business case?
Yes. You can apply for multiple project activities within one project. For example, a materials efficiency assessment; a feasibility study; a pilot project or trial.
Is the recovery of phosphorus and potassium from bioenergy within scope?
If these products are currently wasted and not recovered, then these would be considered a waste product. If your project seeks to reduce a waste product, this is in scope for both streams.
Will projects using recycled materials in the development of new products be in scope for this Fund?
No. Projects funded must ultimately reduce waste, increase materials efficiency (do more with less), or develop new recycling systems. Although using recycled materials is important in a circular economy, activities to minimise reliance on virgin materials do not support the objectives of the Fund. Under Recycling Victoria: a new economy, the Markets Acceleration Program does focus on end-markets for recycled materials and may have future support for these projects.
Do repurposed goods that are destined for waste need to be received and used in Victoria, or could they have been received from other states?
The minimum benefits of the project must be delivered in Victoria. For example, your project must reduce waste by 750 tonnes per annum in Victoria. If your project additionally reduces waste elsewhere, this would be acceptable if the minimum benefits have been achieved locally in Victoria.
If you prevent waste in Victoria by rescuing a product and redistributing for sale or donation to another state (if it is not managed as waste there), this may be in scope too; you may not simply redistribute waste across borders. For example, you rescue food from waste in Victoria and ship it to a buyer in Sydney where the food is consumed. In this example, the waste is prevented in Victoria and this meets the eligibility criteria.
Would projects that require less than the minimum grant amount be eligible for funding (even if the project may meet the objectives and outcomes)?
No, unfortunately all projects must apply for at least the minimum grant value. This is due to the administration required to manage a grant program as we are a small team and cannot process many smaller contracts. This may be reviewed in subsequent funding rounds.
You may be able to apply with project partners in a collaborative partnership to boost the size of your project and deliver even greater benefits than going solo. For example: implementing a waste reduction solution across multiple businesses or sites; engaging a materials efficiency assessment across multiple businesses in a supply chain.
Is the Fund technology-agnostic?
The Fund is agnostic about different solutions and technologies that prevent waste. All applications will be assessed based on merit criteria. We have largely excluded waste management systems, including recycling, as this has been a focus of investment in Victoria for many years. CEBIC aims to prevent waste so that waste does not need to be recycled; CEBIC also aims to extend the duration and value of a product or material so it has a longer useful life before it is recycled. For materials not currently recyclable in Victoria, the Fund will support innovations in the recycling market that allow new, additional products and materials to be recycled.
If we use recycled materials instead of virgin materials in our products, can we apply for these grants?
No, as this would not prevent waste. An example of a similar project that could be supported is: replacing plastic milk bottles with glass bottles that are delivered full, collected when empty, and reused. In this model, the new delivery-and-collection service is an example of a ‘reuse’ model where the packaging (the bottle) is reused repeatedly without needing to be recycled.
Do the targets need to be met within the first year of the project? OR is it sufficient if those targets are met once the project is complete?
Targets are related to project outcomes (benefits delivered by the proposed project). Project outcomes are likely to happen once the funded activity is completed (e.g. a processing facility is built). During the project, all these targets must be completed (e.g. the activities you seek funding for, with evidence of their completion).
Projects that have annual targets will need to be met yearly. We are seeking an ongoing system change. The outcomes (benefits) happen after you implement the project.
Your funding agreement will include certain milestones, and if a particular milestone depends on a specified amount of waste reduction, then these will need to be met. Each project will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Can you provide some examples of a collaborative partnership?
Some examples are:
A lead applicant can be an individual business, charity, other not-for-profit, industry group or association or a consultancy.
The lead applicant will need to provide evidence of the partnership or alliance and must have entered into a collaborative partnership agreement before signing the funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria.
Can I be a project partner in more than one project or funding application?
Yes, you can be a project partner in more than one funding application. You may not however receive funding for the same activities across multiple applications.
Please note: each application requires the resources and capabilities the lead applicant and each project partner will contribute to the project.
Can collaborative partnerships include organisations from other states if the lead applicant and project are based in Victoria?
Applicants may be based in Victoria or in another state. We understand many organisations have national operations and that supply chains are both national and international. We cannot fund international organisations as we cannot complete due diligence on their business operations, but national organisations may apply for grants if at least 50% of the project activity and minimum project benefits are delivered in Victoria (where applicable).
The lead applicant and all project partners must have a current Australian Business Number (ABN).
Are contractors considered to be Project Partners?
As a lead applicant, you may be applying with a contractor to carry out a project, in which case this would be defined as a project partner. Alternatively, contractors can be part of the activities that you apply for; they do not need to be project partners. For example, a contractor may be a university that provides business development services, which is an activity you seek funding to develop a business case (Stream 1). In this example, this would be a project activity which you would demonstrate in your application, and not a project partner. It is advisable to research prices and/or seek quotes for work to support your application.
Can my co-contribution be made up of staff time and resourcing contributed to the project?
Yes, this is considered “in-kind contribution”. For Stream 1, this can be up to 50% of your co-contribution. For Stream 2, it can be up to 10%.
Can a single funding application include funding for multiple projects?
No, a funding application can only include funding for one project. However, the project can include multiple elements.
Can I apply for funding for the same project in more than one of Sustainability Victoria’s funding programs?
Applicants cannot be awarded funding for the same project in more than one of Sustainability Victoria’s funding programs. Each funding program has different objectives, eligibility requirements and assessment criteria and any application should be specific to the funding program applied for.
If an applicant fits the criteria and meets the objectives for more than one funding program then they can apply, but Sustainability Victoria would not award funding from two programs for the same project.
What other funding opportunities will be released by Sustainability Victoria soon?
There are multiple funding opportunities as part of the Recycling Victoria policy.
To be kept up to date on future funding rounds, or to find out more about eligibility, please visit Sustainability Victoria’s grants and funding webpage and register for grant updates.
Who can provide the project’s co-contribution?
The co-contribution can be provided by the lead applicant and/or project partners.
Will you consider funding projects requesting less than the minimum funding specified?
No. In this round of funds distribution, funding requests must be at the minimum amount specified.
The Fund will be open for up to three rounds or until the funding is fully subscribed or closed at the discretion of SV. The program’s merit criteria, eligibility, scope and budget allocation may vary from round to round.
Will SV fund the cost of a lease to land or premises for the purposes of my project?
No. See the sections 'What will be funded' and 'What will not be funded' in the 'Guidelines' tab above.
Will SV fund my staffing costs for those staff working on the project?
For this Fund, staff costs directly related to the project can be included in the total project costs.
How do I calculate the value of my staff time for the purposes of quantifying my co-contribution?
See the 'Guidelines' tab above for a definition of Full-Time Equivalent Employees (FTE) or the example budget table for further explanation.
Can we apply for funding for a project partly funded through another organisation?
No, if projects have received funding or support for the same activities from other sources – including projects that have been awarded funding by other Recycling Victoria programs administered by SV – then they are not eligible for funding. If a project is seeking funding for new activities not funded by other sources, these may be eligible.
Can funding be used to engage a consultancy to identify opportunities for our business?
Yes, consultancy fees are allowed as project activities. Additionally, a consultancy may apply as a lead applicant to support one or more businesses in identifying or implementing opportunities.
Is the funding mainly targeting the food industry or does it cover other industries?
No. The funding is not targeted at a single or specific industry, product or material. Food waste is in scope as are any other types of product or material waste, for example electronics, furniture and textiles.
Will operational or staff cost be recognised as in-kind contribution?
Staff costs directly associated with the project can be included as part of your in-kind co-contribution.
Does co-contribution of 2:1 mean we need to pay twice the amount of grant we receive, or the other way around?
For Stream 1, the funding ratio is 2:1. This means SV will provide $2 for every $1 provided by the applicant.
For Stream 2, the funding ratio is 1:1, which means the applicant must match funding dollar for dollar to either meet or exceed the grant amount.
Are these funding schemes applying a measurement and verification protocol that is internationally recognised?
No. If your project does align with an international measurement and verification protocol, this may form part of your application and be submitted as evidence to support the impact of your proposed project. Please see ’Definitions’ in the Guidelines for details on specific terms used in the Fund.
The grant allocations seem large (up to $1 million) in relation to the total fund amounts for the RV Business Support and Innovation Funds. Are you discouraging people from applying for the higher grant amounts?
This Fund is looking to support projects that will deliver significant benefits in Victoria. We understand these types of projects may be expensive and this is reflected in the value of the individual grants offered. As this is a competitive grant process, we will assess all applications for their merit and their value for money. We understand that sometimes a smaller project may have big impact.
For Stream 2 projects, grants over $500,000 must be for collaborative projects only and these projects could deliver benefits across multiple sites or businesses. We are seeking a spread of projects and locations (for example, metropolitan and regional locations) and this is outlined in our diversity criteria.
Can Sustainability Victoria fund projects that have started before a funding agreement is signed?
We cannot fund activities that have already been completed. If you have already started research and development and compiling evidence towards conducting the project then it would need to be clear how and why this work would be different to apply to this fund again. If you have completed your research and development, and you want to continue with further research, then this could be eligible for funding as a next step in your project, if it has not already started, has not been funded by another grant, and is otherwise eligible for funding.