The current round is now closed for applications - the next round will open in early 2024.
What is the Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer: Seed Grant?
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.
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.
Benefits to your business
On the path that could eventually see you apply for the prestigious Ārohia Full Grant.
Get support to test assumptions and fill knowledge gaps regarding your innovation.
If you’re successful you can receive up to $25,000 (on a co-funded basis) to help you move your innovation forward.
The smaller subset of questions for the Ārohia Seen Grant provides a foundation for the more comprehensive Ārohia Full Grant application.
The application process will help you get clear on your concept and plans so that you can align your team.
Gain feedback on your application to take into account when preparing future approaches to investors.
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
- Unincorporated Joint Ventures
- Unincorporated charities
- Incorporated societies
- Trusts (other than a Māori Trust as expressly stated under eligible business criteria).
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.
Is my innovation eligible?
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.
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.
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.
How does the funding work?
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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).
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
You can apply any time. We will assess applications on a monthly basis.
You can submit one Ārohia Seed Grant application per innovation project. If the application us unsuccessful, you can reapply one more time. You may wish to take into account feedback we provide if submitting a second application.
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.
We will conduct due diligence on applicants to ensure appropriate mitigation of risks, including reputational and financial risks.