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Southern Cross University’s Innovation Districts R&D Challenge #2

Seeking products or solutions that build economic resilience for NSW businesses to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Expressions of interest close Friday, 5 March 2021 (now closed)

Frequently Ask Questions

More information

Are you ready to take your business or idea to the next level?

Do you fit the bill?

We are looking to partner with SMEs that are looking to accelerate the commercialisation of products or solutions that build economic resilience for NSW businesses to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to ‘life as normal’. Government efforts to limit the spread of the virus has inevitably seen Australia’s economy shift into its first recession in 30 years. 

Our spread prevention measures have resulted in the cancellation of events, closures of and restrictions on hospitality and tourism businesses, closures of offices and shifts to people working from home, and disruptions to international trade and the inability to have unfettered access to imported goods, some of which include our household necessities. By contrast, online communication platforms and home improvement goods and comforts have benefited as many of us move to an at-home and online day-to-day. These changes have had and continue to have a significant impact our economy.

The theme for Innovation Districts Challenge Two is economic resilience with a focus on projects that address problem areas such as:

  • Business sectors most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (for example tourism, international education etc).
  • Ongoing supply chain weaknesses and sovereign supply chain capacity.
  • Strengthening local communities in the management and recovery from outbreaks.

NSW businesses that are seeking to participate in the 2nd Innovation District's Challenge must:

  • have an ABN registered in NSW and be based in NSW
  • have fewer than 200 employees
  • have been in operation for at least 12 months, based on date of ABN registration
  • have at least $75,000 in sales revenue within the last 12 months
  • have a product or service that that build economic resilience for NSW businesses to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic ready for market within 12months
  • be at least 75 per cent Australian-owned, and not more than 50 per cent owned by another business.

Eligible businesses must also provide:

  • an operating profit and loss statement for the last 12 months or previous financial year
  • brief profiles of key personnel such as CV or LinkedIn accounts
  • nomination of their primary innovation district partner.

Exclusions

The following will not be considered eligible for funding: 

  • solutions that do not directly respond to the challenge statement for economic resilience solutions that address the impacts of COVID-19
  • solutions designed to improve internal business processes
  • a Commonwealth, state or local government agency or body including government business enterprises.

For more information please contact:

Rhianna Poole
Sponsorship & Outreach Officer (Engagement)
The Office of Engagement
enterpriselab@scu.edu.au 


What is the Innovation Districts R&D Challenge?

The purpose of the Innovation Districts C19 R&D Challenges is to accelerate the commercialisation of research products that address the impacts of COVID-19 by businesses in partnership with universities and CSIRO ecosystem networks in New South Wales.

The Innovation Districts Challenges (IDC) is the first of three projects under the new NSW Government COVID-19 R&D Commercialisation Fund, complementing C19 Edition TechVouchers and the C19 R&D Product Fund.

Proudly funded by the NSW Government

NSW Government logo

Our challenge partner

Sourdough logo

Aerial view of rocky ocean scene

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the Innovation Districts R&D Challenge?

A. The purpose of the Innovation Districts C19 R&D Challenges is to accelerate the commercialisation of research products that address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses in partnership with universities and CSIRO ecosystem networks in New South Wales.

The Innovation Districts Challenges (IDC) is the second of three projects under the new NSW Government COVID-19 R&D Commercialisation Fund, complementing C19 Edition TechVouchers and the C19 R&D Product Fund.

Q. What is the Second Challenge?

A. The theme for The Innovation Districts Challenge Two is economic resilience with a focus on projects that address problem areas such as:

  • Business sectors most impacted by COVID-19, (for example tourism, international education etc.)
  • Ongoing supply chain weaknesses and sovereign supply chain capacity
  • Strengthening local communities in the management and recovery from outbreaks.

Q. When will the challenge take place?

A. The challenge will launch in February and end in April 2021.

Q. Is my business eligible?

A. NSW businesses that are seeking to participate must:

  • have an ABN registered in NSW and is based in NSW
  • have fewer than 200 employees
  • have been in operation for at least 12 months, based on date of ABN registration
  • have at least $75,000 in sales revenue within the last 12 months
  • have a product or service that directly addresses the impact of COVID-19 ready for market
    within 12 months
  • be at least 75 per cent Australian-owned, and not more than 50 per cent owned by another busines.

Q. Exclusions?

The following will not be considered eligible for funding: 

  • products or solutions that do not directly respond to economic resilience in the face of COVID-19
  • solutions designed to improve internal business processes
  • a Commonwealth, state or local government agency or body including government
    business enterprises.

Q. If selected I can go into a competitive pool for?

A. A grant of $250,000 for the first placed submission; $100,000 for second place, and $30,000 for third place.

Grant funding of $10,000 will also be awarded to the highest ranked in each of the twelve innovation districts.

Q. What’s the process between submitting an EOI and developing my pitch?

Southern Cross University will assess your submission against the criteria. If suitable, you will be informed of your successful application to the next phase of the process. If you are not successful in this round, Southern Cross University may assess your businesses suitability for other accelerator or mentorship opportunities.

If your EOI submission has moved to the next phase, Southern Cross University, in partnership with Sourdough Business Pathways, will facilitate a short series of mentoring workshops that will assist in developing your businesses pitch and submission to NSW Treasury. Southern Cross University may also align your business/solution with a key thought leader, whom will be able to assist you in developing complementary evidence in your pitch and submission.

This process will culminate in a brief pitch session with the Southern Cross University panel. Each of these pitches will be ranked with the top three submissions being recommended to NSW Treasury. The top ranked submission will receive a $10,000 grant as being the local innovation district winner. If you are not successful in this round, Southern Cross University will assess your businesses suitability for other accelerator or mentorship opportunities.

Once the top three solutions are submitted to treasury, they will judge the solution/product against the criteria and select the first, second and third placed submissions, informing the innovation districts of the results of the first challenge, approximately two weeks* after pitch submission. If you are not successful in this round, Southern Cross University will assess your businesses suitability for other accelerator or mentorship opportunities.

Q. Where must I be based to submit my EOI with Southern Cross University?

A. You must be based in one of the following LGAs:

  • Bellingen
  • Coffs Harbour
  • Clarence Valley
  • Richmond Valley
  • Ballina
  • Byron
  • Lismore
  • Tweed
  • Kyogle
  • Tenterfield

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