The “Ford Funds”: not yet with a formal title but some $24.5m for our region. No firm guidelines are available at this stage, as they are still being firmed up at federal and state level. As I understand things, they’ll be based loosely around the same principles as the Greater Geelong Industry Fund (GGIF). This was intended to support new investment to generate sustainable jobs
in the Geelong region. Round 2 of the GGIF ($4m) is on hold while the “Ford Funds” are considered. I understand that it is hoped an announcement will be made this month, although recent ministerial changes may affect this.
Geelong Advancement Fund: managed by Regional Development Victoria. $11m for projects which “drive
jobs growth, increase skills and innovation and deliver economic and community infrastructure in Geelong.” Funding is available to support collaborative ventures with public and private sector, education and community
organisations. Again my understanding is that this pot is more likely to fund civic infrastructure projects. Government will assess projects and allocate them
to the most appropriate funding pool. Expressions of interest for this fund are invited now – closing date 31 July 2013.
Regional Growth Fund “Putting Locals First” program: this is a $100m Victorian fund. It is intended to “support stronger and more sustainable regional communities, by building their capacity to drive development in their region”. This has been open since 2011 and has a specific category of funding available for local economic development and job creation. Grants of up to $150k are available for these areas, matched 2:1 i.e. government pays $2, recipient pays $1.
Various other funds are available for specific industries or technologies. If you are a small business, you may be interested in the Grow Your Business grants for strategic reviews and business development planning.
I am advised that businesses wishing to apply for any of the above should speak in the first instance with the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation. This is the new name for the DBI as from 1 July 2013.