The current round is now closed for applications - the next round will open in early 2024.

What is the Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer: Full Grant?

Can you show you’re the best of the best?

The Ārohia Full Grant is a prestigious grant that sets an unashamedly high bar. It’s a contestable grant, which means:

  • only the best applicants from each application round will receive funding.
  • we may decide not to award any grants in a particular round, if no application is assessed as having sufficient merit.

Applying will involve completing a comprehensive online application, comprising questions about your innovation’s commercial potential, novelty (world-leading nature) and potential benefits for the innovation ecosystem.

A shortlist of the highest-ranked applicants will then be invited to present a live, virtual pitch to a Grant Evaluation Panel. Comprising external innovation leaders, the panel will help us decide who are the most compelling applicants, worthy of the title “innovation trailblazer”.

Getting your head in the game

We expect to hold a number of application rounds each year, so we recommend you don’t rush your application. Take the time needed to compile the information required, and get your application into the best possible shape.

We also recommend you prepare and practice a pitch presentation, in case you make it onto the shortlist. The presentations will generally take place around four weeks after we notify finalists, but it may pay not to leave things to the last minute.

You will be given a total of 20 minutes to complete your pitch in its entirety. 30 minutes will then be allocated to Q&A from the Panel.

You can view the actual application questions here, along with guidance on what information we’re looking for, and tips on how to develop and present an effective live pitch.

Needless to say, this grant is not for the faint-hearted. You’ll need to be confident you can blow us away with your application, and invest the time and effort to get it right.

If your application is successful, you’ll be well rewarded for your effort, and regardless of the outcome, the application process will prove invaluable in helping you prepare for future capital raises.

Benefits to your business

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Secure co-funding

If your application is successful, receive up to $4 (on a co-funded basis) to take your innovation to market for the first time.

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Get investor ready

Sharpen our pitch for future investment - the application process will prepare you for the scrutiny and rigour of real-world capital raises while the feedback you receive will help you refine your pitch.

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Build credibility

Gain recognition and build your reputation - our Grant Evaluation Panel includes industry experts and business leaders whose feedback and network could help you build credibility.

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Focus your team

The application process will help you get clear on your vision and how you’re going to get there so that you can focus your team for success.

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Raise your profile

If you are a grant recipient or finalist you will receive a digital badge and a branding kit to help showcase your connection to the Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer Grant.

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Get one step closer...

to launching your innovation in the market.

Is this right for me?

Entities eligible to apply:

You can apply for an Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer Grant if you are:

    • a Company registered (and incorporated) in New Zealand under the Companies Act 1993 that is not controlled* by the government or one or more government agencies 
    • a Limited Partnership registered in New Zealand under the Limited Partnerships Act 2008 that is not controlled* by the government or one or more government agencies
    • a Māori Trust or incorporation under the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993, or a similar organisation managing Māori assets under multiple ownership
    • a Company incorporated in another country but registered to do business in New Zealand (registered under the Companies Act 1993 on the Overseas Register - ASIC or NON-ASIC)**.
    • *Control means 50% or more of shares or voting interests in another entity, or control of appointments to an entity’s controlling board. 

**This definition of “Company” reflects what is referred to as a “Foreign Entity” in the Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer Grant Ministerial Direction.

Entities not eligible 

Entities not eligible for the Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer Grant include:

    • Local authorities, government departments or agencies
    • State Owned Enterprises and Public Finance Act 1989 Schedule 4A companies
    • Local, national and regional promotional bodies
    • Crown entities
    • Crown Research Institutes (CRIs)
    • Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs) including foreign-owned TEOs
    • Entities controlled by any of the above
    • Callaghan Innovation
    • Sole traders
    • Charitable trusts
    • Partnerships
    • Unincorporated Joint Ventures
    • Unincorporated charities
    • Incorporated societies
    • Trusts (other than a Māori Trust as expressly stated under eligible business criteria).

The Ārohia Full Grant could be right for you if:

    • you’re developing a world-leading innovation that will benefit Aotearoa New Zealand’s innovation ecosystem, by inspiring and enabling others to pursue innovative ideas and opportunities of their own.
    • you have a robust, well-evidenced plan and the necessary capabilities to take your innovation to market, and you can demonstrate why your innovation will be a financial success.
    • you’re up for the challenge of applying - you’re prepared to invest the time needed to complete your application, and you look forward to the rigour of the application process.
    • you accept that this is a contestable grant - this means only the most compelling applicants will be successful, and to ensure fairness, we can’t give you 1:1 assistance with your application.
    • you expect to spend at least $333,334 on eligible activities, and if your application is successful, you commit to co-funding your share of the costs of these activities.

If you decide the Ārohia Full Grant is not right for you, check out the Ārohia Seed Grant, which may be more appropriate for you at this stage.

The next round of applications for Ārohia Full Grant will open on February 12th 2024.

Is my innovation eligible?

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

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.

The questions we ask about commercial potential are based on questions asked in a typical pitch to investors, so it’s a great primer for future pitches you’ll be involved in.

Find out more about what we mean by commercial potential.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

How does the funding work?

How much support can I get?

The Ārohia Full Grant offers funding of up to $4 million on a co-funded basis, as follows:

  • we can contribute 30% of up to $13.3 million of eligible costs, on the basis you will fund the other 70%.
  • based on the $13.3 million limit, the maximum we can contribute is $4 million.
  • you may choose to fund any costs over the $13.3 million limit yourself, but we can’t co-fund any amount above this limit.
  • you can have up to six months to obtain your 70% share of the co-funded amount, from the date we sign a Funding Agreement with you (provided you have a strategy in place to do this when you sign the agreement).
  • your share of the co-funding doesn’t all need to be cash in the bank -  it can include contractual agreements to provide payments over the period of the innovation project.
  • once a grant has been approved, we can’t increase the amount of funding we can provide.
Minimum grant funding

The minimum grant funding is $100,000, therefore $333,334 total costs must be incurred to be eligible.

Co-funding examples

Costs of eligible activities $1 million = grant funding of $300,000, your funding $700,000.

Costs of eligible activities $15 million = grant funding of $4 million, your funding $11 million.

Funding duration

We will support eligible activities over a 24-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).

What can I spend the funding on?

You can use Ārohia Full Grant funding for a wide range of activities (excluding R&D) that are directly involved in taking your innovation to market.

Eligible activities* include:

  • research to finalise your innovation.
  • building a team to lead/deliver your innovation.
  • set-up of capabilities and infrastructure.
  • ensuring compliance.
  • some types of marketing, promotion and prototype building (subject to limitations).

Full details are available in the Eligible Activities for the Ārohia Full 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.

Application and assessment process

All applicants are required to complete an online application. The main purpose of this is so you can show us how your innovation meets the key criteria of:

    • Commercial potential.
    • Novelty.
    • Potential benefits for innovation ecosystem.

You will have up to eight weeks to complete this online application, from the date applications open. However, you must start the application within four weeks of the opening date for applications.

What level of information are we looking for?

In total, we ask you 14 questions about your innovation. We encourage you to be concise in your answers - the word limit for questions ranges from 300 to 600 words. Bullet point answers are OK.

If you wish, you are also welcome to upload the following, subject to certain limits regarding the size and total number of uploads:

    • diagrams/images to support your written answers.
    • copies of evidence to verify your answers to certain questions.

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, including the objective of these activities and their estimated costs.

View an example of the Ārohia Full 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).

If you just want to see the questions that we’ll assess regarding your innovation, see Questions about your innovation asked in the Ārohia Full Grant application.

How we assess your online application

We will assess how well your innovation meets the criteria outlined above, using the Ārohia Full Grant assessment framework.

Shortlisting of finalists

Following the internal assessment, we will invite the 10 highest ranked applicants to present to the Ārohia Full Grant Evaluation Panel.

Prior to the presentations:

    • an external agency will independently assess the potential novelty and benefits for the innovation ecosystem of each finalist’s innovation - the results of this assessment will be made available to you and the Grant Evaluation Panel, ahead of your presentation.
    • we will review your Work Plan to check that the activities are reasonable and meet relevant eligibility criteria, including any spending limits that may apply to particular activities or costs.

For the 10 finalists, this is your opportunity to amaze the judges and convince them how compelling your innovation is.

The panel will include external members who are leaders in the innovation sphere.

Panel members will not be aware of the specific ranking of applications resulting from our initial internal assessment.

You can involve whoever you want from your team in this virtual pitch. Keep in mind that it may pay to have a cross-section of expertise on hand, to answer specific questions that panel members may ask.

See who's on the Grant Evaluation Panel

What’s the format of the presentation?

Each presentation will provide you with approximately 45 minutes to:

    • deliver your pitch (20 minutes)
    • engage in Q&A with panel members, and receive their feedback, following your presentation (25 minutes).

Note: you must deliver your presentation within the same funding round as your application. You can’t apply in one round, then present in another.

How will panel members assess applications?

The panel will make recommendations to Callaghan Innovation, taking into account:

    • the Ārohia Full Grant assessment framework, and
    • their own expertise, experience and sector knowledge. 

Callaghan Innovation will be the final decision maker on granting funding to successful candidates.

Get guidance on how to deliver a successful pitch

The presentation will separate the greatest from the great, so for those on the shortlist, you’ll want to give it your very best shot.

Check out our Ārohia Full Grant Guide to Pitching.


Ensuring fairness in a contestable setting

Can you assist me with my application?

To ensure fairness in the contestable setting, Callaghan Innovation employees and representatives, i.e. our partners in the Regional Business Partner network, will not be able to give you 1:1 assistance to help you complete your Ārohia Full Grant application.

This is because it could unfairly advantage one applicant over another, and we need to ensure there’s a level playing field for all applicants.

If you’re already using Callaghan Innovation products and receiving support from our employees for your innovation, you can continue to do so - however, we can’t specifically direct our support towards helping you complete an Ārohia Full Grant application.

If you're completing an Ārohia Seed Grant at the same time for the commercialisation of the same innovation, we are not able to provide support for either the completion of the Ārohia Seed Grant application or the Ārohia Full Grant application.

To avoid any conflict of interest, any Callaghan Innovation employees or representatives you’re currently working with regarding your innovation will not be involved in assessing your Ārohia Full Grant application.

How we you address any questions about the Ārohia Full Grant?

We’ve endeavoured to ensure that all the information you need to complete your application is provided on this website.

If there’s anything you’re unsure about or you have a question that’s not answered on this site, we invite you to send the question to us using this Ask Questions about the Ārohia Full Grant form.

We will regularly publish anonymised answers on this web page to questions we receive (see “Q&As” below) so that the information is available to all potential applicants. 

Please check this web page regularly for updated Q&As.

Is the Ārohia Seed Grant a better fit?

If you feel you would need more intensive support to complete the Ārohia Full Grant  application, this could indicate that the Ārohia Seed Grant may be a better fit for you at this stage.

The Ārohia Seed Grant can help you access the information and expertise you need to complete your application, and drive your innovation forward.

Other information about applying

When can I apply?

We expect to hold a number of application rounds per year. 

How often can I apply?

You can submit one Ārohia Full 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.

Can I have an active Ārohia Seed Grant and Ārohia Full Grant for the same innovation project?

You can apply for the Ārohia Full Grant while you are still carrying out activities supported by the Ārohia Seed Grant. However, the Ārohia Seed Grant Funding contract must be finalised before the Ārohia Full Grant Funding Agreement begins.

Due diligence

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

Potential conflicts of interest with Grant Evaluation Panel members

The Ārohia Full Grant application asks you if you’re aware of any potential conflict of interest between your business and a member of the Grant Evaluation Panel. We will ensure any potential conflict of interest is managed appropriately, on a case-by-case basis.

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Frequently Asked Questions

View our full Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer Grant FAQ section.

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Get started today!

If you’ve never had an approved Ārohia Seed Grant, contact your Callaghan Innovation Navigator if you have one, otherwise contact us.

If you’ve previously had an Ārohia Seed Grant approved, contact your Funding Engagement Specialist directly.

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