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Key benefits at a glance

Ārohia Seed Grant Customer Benefits

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Checklist: Is this grant right for me?

The Ārohia Seed Grant could be right for you if: 

  • you’re developing a potentially world-leading innovation that could benefit Aotearoa New Zealand's innovation ecosystem, by inspiring and enabling others to pursue innovative ideas and opportunities of their own

  • you’re not ready to apply for the Ārohia Full Grant, but that’s your longer-term aim

  • you've completed the initial steps towards validating the commercial potential of your innovation, by establishing that it has potential market impact

  • you need support to more fully validate your innovation, so you can keep driving it forward and be better placed to apply for the Ārohia Full Grant.

  • you commit to co-funding your share of the costs of eligible activities, if your Ārohia Seed Grant application is successful.


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How this grant works

Your path to becoming an innovation trailblazer starts here

The Ārohia Seed Grant is the ‘runway’ that could set you on your path to eventually becoming an Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer.

It’s designed to support you if:

  • you haven't validated all aspects of your innovation and therefore don’t have all the evidence needed to support an Ārohia Full Grant application, but

  • you can demonstrate that your innovation has potential to eventually meet the Ārohia Full Grant application criteria.

If you’re successful, you can use Ārohia Seed Grant funding to help you test assumptions and fill knowledge gaps regarding your innovation, so you can keep it moving along the development pathway and get better placed to apply for the Ārohia Full Grant in the future.

Unlike the contestable Ārohia Full Grant, which offers funding to only the most compelling applicants, the Ārohia Seed Grant is currently non-contestable. This means applicants who meet the required eligibility criteria can receive funding. 


Are you up for the path ahead?

The questions we ask on the Ārohia Seed Grant application are a smaller subset of those asked for the Ārohia Full Grant. This reflects that you won’t be at an advanced stage of market readiness yet.

However, you’ll still need to make a sound case for why your innovation:

  • has potential market impact

  • is potentially novel (world-leading)

  • will have potential benefits for Aotearoa New Zealand’s innovation ecosystem.  

If you can do that, you’re off on the trailblazer pathway.

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Is my innovation eligible?

Your innovation will need to show it meets the following three criteria to be eligible:

Market impact

Market Impact diagram

We want to support innovation that has a good chance of succeeding in the market, where it can help deliver the benefits to the innovation ecosystem we’re aiming to encourage. Market impact is one part of wider questions we will ask about your innovation’s commercial potential, if you go on to apply for the Ārohia Full Grant.

To determine if your innovation has potential market impact, you’ll need to show us that:

  • you’ve defined a customer problem or unmet need that the innovation will address, and 
  • you’ve developed some understanding of the market you propose to target.

Find out more about what we mean by market impact.



Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer Grant - Novelty

We want to support innovation that is world-leading, which can mean it’s the first of its kind to ever exist, or it meets or embodies what’s considered to be the global standard in its field.

To help us determine the world-leading nature of your innovation, we will consider how novel it is.

Find out more about what we mean by novelty.


Potential benefits for innovation ecosystem

Potential benefits to the innovation ecosystem full diagram

We want to support innovation that can deliver benefits beyond your business and customers, to the innovation ecosystem.

We’ve identified five types of benefit … but there could be more!

Find out more about what we mean by potential benefits for innovation ecosystem.


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How much support can I get?

The Ārohia Seed Grant offers up to $25,000 on a co-funded basis, as follows:

  • we can contribute 50% of up to $50,000 of eligible costs, on the basis you will fund the other 50%

  • based on the $50,000 limit, the maximum we can contribute is $25,000

  • you may choose to fund any costs over the $50,000 limit yourself, but we can’t co-fund any amount above this limit.

Co-funding examples

Costs of eligible activities $40,000 = grant funding of $20,000, your funding $20,000

Costs of eligible activities $60,000 = grant funding of $25,000, your funding $35,000

Funding duration


We will support eligible activities over a 12-month period.

We can’t cover costs incurred before the start date, or after the end date, of the Funding Agreement we will sign with you.

Crossover with other support

Funding is not available for expenditure supported by any other Government initiative, unless it is equity support (e.g. NZGCP).

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What can I spend the funding on? 

You can use Ārohia Seed Grant funding for a range of activities (excluding R&D) that will help you test assumptions and fill knowledge gaps regarding your innovation, and obtain evidence needed for a future Ārohia Full Grant application.

Eligible activities* include:

  • conducting research into customers or market factors, e.g. to validate market demand

  • proof-of-concept testing with stakeholders, including creating a low fidelity prototype for the purpose of learning (not sale)

  • obtaining professional advice and services to help develop the innovation concept and determine if it represents a commercially feasible and viable opportunity

  • purchasing published reports and data

  • pitch preparation - shortlisted applicants for the Ārohia Full Grant will be invited to present to a Grant Evaluation Panel, and you may wish to obtain support to help you develop your presentation skills and create a pitch deck.

Full details are available in the Eligible Activities for the Ārohia Seed Grant guidance. 

*Eligible activities are what are referred to as “Eligible Non-R&D Activities” in the Ministerial Direction.


R&D activities are not eligible

This grant supports non-R&D activities and costs. R&D is what’s defined as R&D under the RDTI, i.e. activity that seeks to resolve a scientific or technological uncertainty, and any supporting activity that’s integral to resolving that uncertainty.
R&D is supported by other initiatives including the RDTI and New to R&D Grant.

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Application and assessment process

Ārohia Seed Grant end-to-end process

What’s involved in applying?

You will need to complete an online application. The main purpose of this is so you can show us how your innovation meets the key criteria of:

  • potential market impact

  • potential novelty

  • potential benefits for the innovation ecosystem.


What level of information are we looking for?

In total, we ask you seven questions about your innovation. We encourage you to be concise in your answers - most questions ask for a maximum of 300 words. Bullet point answers are OK.

If you wish, you are also welcome to upload diagrams/images to support your written answers (subject to certain limits regarding the size and total number of uploads).

The application will also ask you to complete a Work Plan, showing what eligible activities you propose to carry out using any grant funding you receive, and their estimated costs.

View an example of the Ārohia Seed Grant application and Work Plan. Please note this is a word version of content in our online application portal (we will give you access to this when you apply).


How we assess your application

We will assess whether your innovation shows sufficient potential to meet the criteria outlined above, using the Ārohia Seed Grant assessment framework.

As part of this assessment, we will also review your Work Plan to check that the activities you propose doing are reasonable and meet relevant eligibility criteria, including any spending limits that may apply to particular activities or costs.

Other information about applying

When can I apply?

You can apply any time. We will assess applications on a monthly basis.

How often can I apply?

You can submit one Ārohia Seed Grant application per innovation project. If the application is unsuccessful, you can reapply one more time. You may wish to take into account feedback we provide if submitting a second application.

Is there an overall cap on applications?

There’s no limit to the total number of applications you can make or have active at any one time, provided they’re for different innovation projects.

Due diligence

We will conduct due diligence on applicants to ensure appropriate mitigation of risks, including reputational and financial risks.

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What happens if my applications is successful? 

Entering into a Funding Agreement

If your application is successful:

  • We will enter into a Funding Agreement with you. We will aim to do this within two weeks of the decision on your application.

  • We will generally fund eligible activities over a 12-month period. We can’t cover costs incurred before the start date, or after the end date, of the Funding Agreement.


How to receive your funding

  • Once the Funding Agreement is signed, you can invoice us to receive half of your funding up front.

  • We’ll pay the other half at the end of the funding term, upon receipt of a Final Report and Claim for the balance of the approved funding. This must be supported by invoices evidencing the full costs incurred.


What happens if I need to change eligible activities?

  • We acknowledge that as your evidence-gathering progresses, you may need to make changes to your eligible activities. 

  • In this scenario, please contact us to discuss the changes. We will consider this on a case-by-case basis. 

  • If the approved innovation project is no longer viable, funding is not transferable to another innovation project.


What happens if I don't go on to apply for the Ārohia Full Grant?

We won't ask you to repay Ārohia Seed Grant funding if you don't go on to apply for the Ārohia Full Grant, unless you breach your contract. We understand not all Ārohia Seed Grant recipients will go on to apply for the Ārohia Full Grant, e.g. because you obtain funding from another source, or you discontinue or need to change the direction of your innovation project.


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Where to start if you’re interested in applying

If you’re interested in applying for the Ārohia Seed Grant, we suggest you start by familiarising yourself with the:


This is important because:

  • there is a more rigorous application and assessment process for the Ārohia Full Grant, and you will need to be sure this is something you feel confident aiming for

  • reviewing the Ārohia Full Grant questions regarding your innovation will help you identify what knowledge gaps you have, and what evidence you need to obtain, to support a future Ārohia Full Grant application.

Once you’re sure the Ārohia Seed Grant is right for you, get support to start the application process by clicking the button below.


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How to apply

Get up to speed on the grants then contact your Callaghan Innovation Navigator if you have one, otherwise click the button below, follow the prompts and connect with our team who can support you with your application:

Get support to start the application process

Updated: 7 August 2023