Regional Growth Fund opportunities
Right now there is an unprecedented amount of funding up for grabs in regional NSW. The State Government is investing $1.6 billion into regional NSW with the combined Regional Growth Fund programmes. Great news for those of us in regional NSW! So how do you get your region’s share of this once in a generation opportunity? In short, you need a convincing business case.
As they say, “winners are grinners” – so in this post we share our tips on how to make your business case stand out from the crowd and get your application across the finish line.
Different funding streams available
In essence, the Regional Growth Fund will invest in projects that facilitate regional development. There are six separate funding streams with differing selection criteria and grant processes:
- Regional Sports Infrastructure
- Stronger Country Community Fund
- Resources for Regions
- Regional Cultural Fund
- Connecting Country Communities
- Growing Local Economies
The Environment and Tourism Fund is a further funding stream which supports regional NSW.
Each stream operates if different ways, with applications being open to some or all of the following: local councils, regional organisations, industry and other community organisations. Some of these funds have already undertaken an expression of interest process, with detailed applications now being submitted. Further funding rounds are expected over the coming year or being open at any time.
Competitive grant process
Importantly, many of the streams of the Regional Growth Fund will be competitive grant processes. This is to ensure that the State Government gets the best return on its investment. In order to succeed in this environment, you will need a solid and well-crafted business case. This is how the State Government will be assessing and comparing applications.
The State Government has recently published a host of materials to help you do this. This includes simplified guidelines for preparing a business case, a business case template and sample business case.
But note, these materials are just a starting point. The level of information that you will need to include will depend upon the size and scale of your project. Obviously, the larger the project, the more complex the business case is likely to be. That has obvious resource implications.
Writing a compelling business case
Most importantly, your business case needs to convince the State Government that your project represents a good return on investment and will deliver value for money for the NSW public. To do this, you will need to:
- tell the story behind your project
- identify and quantify the problem in an easy to understand way
- use visuals (photos, maps, plans) to explain your project
- define the outcome and impact of your project based on evidence
- align your project with local, regional and State priorities
- demonstrate strong community and stakeholder support
- show how your project will be funded
- have thought through other options for solving the problem
- highlight the benefits of the project – backed up with data
- have a quantifiable scope of works
- prepare realistic and detailed cost estimates for construction, operation and maintenance
- have a plan for implementation
- prove that your organisation has the capacity, capability to deliver the results on time and on budget
Critically, and as noted in our earlier tips about grant writing, your application needs to be supported by evidence and data. Unsubstantiated and unrealistic proposals will not get a look in. The business case also needs to be succinct and easy to read, but not skip over the benefits and risks of the project. This is a difficult balancing act. A significant amount of strategic planning is required at the outset.
Need help with your business case
Summing up, you need to commit a lot of time and effort to prepare funding applications for significant infrastructure projects. This will be no different under the Regional Growth Fund. Our advice is to get prepared early – identify your projects that fit the funding streams and start putting together the building blocks of your business case.
We have a proven track record in securing grant funding for our clients in regional NSW and are able to assist you with your Regional Growth Fund applications – we like our clients to be winners after all!
If you would like to talk more about your project and how we can help boost chance of your funding success, please get in contact with Steve: