Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer Grant

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Funding for activities (excluding R&D) involved in taking to market a world-leading innovation that can help transform Aotearoa New Zealand’s innovation ecosystem.

Application for the Ārohia Full Grant

Applications for the current funding round are now closed. Please refer to this timeline for more key dates in this current round of the Ārohia Full Grant.

The next round of applications for the Ārohia Full Grant will open Monday 12 February 2024.

Get up to speed on the grant then:

  • if you’ve never had an approved Ārohia Seed Grant, 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
  • if you’ve previously had an Ārohia Seed Grant approved, contact your Funding Engagement Specialist directly.

Get support to start the application process

Q&A about the Ārohia Full Grant

Our Q&A page provides answers to questions that have been raised in relation to the  Ārohia Full Grant.
On this page, you can see questions and answers that have been asked by customers, and ask questions of your own.


Apply for the Ārohia Seed Grant

You can apply for the Ārohia Seed Grant any time. Applications will be assessed monthly.

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



From time to time we may update this website - view recent updates.


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Are you an innovation trailblazer?

Does your business believe that cooperation is as crucial as competition when it comes to making Aotearoa New Zealand a place where innovation thrives?

Are you currently developing a world-leading innovation that could help bring about more innovation in Aotearoa New Zealand, by inspiring and enabling other innovators to seize new ideas and opportunities of their own?

Would you like up to $4 million to help take your innovation to market, along with the recognition and esteem that will come from being awarded the title “Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer?”

Or, if you’re not quite ready to shoot for the top tier funding and trailblazer title yet, could you benefit from up to $25,000 to help you advance your innovation, and get better prepared to apply in the future?

If the answer is yes, then the Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer Grant could be just what you’re looking for:

  • Many different types of innovation are eligible. This includes a product, a process, a service, a business model or a combination of these. Find out exactly what we mean by product, process, service, business model.
  • We want to support world-leading innovation - this can include an innovation that’s the first of it’s kind to ever exist, or that meets or embodies what’s considered to be the global standard in its field, and is new to a sector/industry in the world; new to Aotearoa New Zealand; or new to a sector/industry in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • We can also support an existing, world-leading innovation (including infrastructure) that you’re bringing into Aotearoa New Zealand, and will deliver benefits to other innovators here.
  • Regardless of the outcome of your application, you’ll get value from applying. That’s because we’ll ask you questions based on factors you’d be expected to address in a typical pitch to investors. So you’ll get better aligned with investor expectations, and better prepared for future capital raises!

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What's the focus of this grant?

Innovation Ecosystem Simplified Diagram

The Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer Grant is about supporting world-leading innovation that can deliver benefits beyond your business and customers, by inspiring and enabling other innovators to pursue innovative new ideas and opportunities too.

We’re not talking about wider social, economic or environmental benefits here, even though these may well result from your innovation. 

Rather, the focus is on benefits for the “innovation ecosystem”, i.e. the network of people, organisations and resources in Aotearoa New Zealand that together enable innovative ideas to be formed, supported, adopted and spread.

You’re welcome to refer to wider benefits if you apply, to provide context and help us understand your vision, but please note they won’t be assessed and won’t impact the outcome of your application.

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Supporting you at different stages

We recognise that businesses developing potentially groundbreaking innovations will be at different stages; some will be at an early stage of concept development, others will be closer to taking their innovation to market. 

That’s why the Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer Grant consists of two grants:

Ārohia Full Grant

If you’re ready to blow us away with the new innovation you’re developing, and your robust, well-evidenced plan and ability to take it to market, the Ārohia Full Grant could be right for you.

Ārohia Seed Grant

If you’re not quite ready to have a crack at the Ārohia Full Grant, but with financial support you could move your innovation forward and be better placed to apply in the future, the Ārohia Seed Grant could be right for you.

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Before you apply

Important points to be aware of if you’re interested in applying:

  • The Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer Grant supports:

- Non-R&D activities. If you want support towards R&D, check out the RDTI or New to R&D Grant.
- Innovation that you haven't yet taken to market. If you've already taken your innovation to market and you're looking to expand internationally, check you the support available from NZTE. Find out more about what we mean by "not yet in market."

  • Your business must be an eligible entity to apply. See Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer Grant eligible entities.
  • Funding available under both grants is provided on a co-funded basis. This means you must also contribute towards the costs of eligible activities (full details about how this works are provided on the pages dedicated to each grant - see links below).
  • For the Ārohia Full Grant, you will have up to 6 months to arrange your share of the co-funding. This needn’t all be cash in the bank, it can include contractual agreements to provide payments over the period of your innovation project.
  • The Ārohia Full Grant is a contestable grant. This means only the best applicants in each application round will be successful, and we may decide not to award any grants in a particular round, if no application is assessed as having sufficient merit.
  • The Ārohia Seed Grant is currently non-contestable. This means applicants who meet the required eligibility and assessment criteria will receive funding. The Ārohia Seed Grant may become contestable in future depending on demand.
  • It’s not compulsory to apply for the Ārohia Seed Grant before applying for the Ārohia Full Grant. If you’re confident the Ārohia Full Grant is right for you, you’re welcome to bypass the Ārohia Seed Grant.

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Get up to speed with the grants



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Ministerial Direction

Ārohia Full Grant

Ārohia Seed Grant

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Tell us what you think!

This is the first time that a grant of this nature has been launched in Aotearoa New Zealand.

In designing the grant, we looked at comparable models overseas, but the Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer Grant also includes some features unique to Aotearoa New Zealand.

We’re excited by the new types of support offered and the grant’s potential to help transform the wider innovation ecosystem, and we welcome any feedback you may wish to provide.

Because this is a new grant, we are open to making changes over time, based on user experience and subject to our obligations under the Ministerial Direction.

Please provide feedback here.

Updated: 17 August 2023