Our REDS Grants Insights
Over the years, we’ve worked with clients across regional Western Australia on successful RED Grant applications, across the primary production, food and beverage manufacturing, manufacturing and tourism sectors. We understand well the potential pitfalls and how to avoid them. As a business, you can save yourself a lot of valuable time, money and stress by avoiding some common mistakes.
Planning on the run, last minute decision making, and a mismatch between the project and the aims of the grant are some of the biggest mistakes we see and can seriously jeopardise your chances of funding success. Every funding round we turn down enquiries from potential clients in just this position because our priority is to work with clients we can see have a competitive bid.
It’s important to understand that grant funding should be a part of a larger carefully planned business strategy rather than a last-minute decision (often reacting to an urgent operational need, rather than a long term plan).
With that in mind, here are our top five tips for RED grant success:
TIP 1: Clearly define your project
Ask yourself: Can I explain the What, When, Where, Who and How of your project?
You can’t clearly communicate this to the funder unless you’ve defined it yourself and this is a critical starting point.
TIP 2: Understand the purpose of the grant
RED grants focus on funding projects that support economic growth in regional communities. In other words, it’s not just about supporting your business and your project – there must be flow on benefits for other businesses and the broader regional economy.
Trying to retro-fit your project to match the grant objectives is a recipe for disaster. If your project isn’t a good fit with the grant, then look for one that’s a better fit with what you’re doing.
You also need to do a lot more than say ‘This project will benefit the local economy’ or ‘We will create jobs’. Sweeping statements won’t cut it – you need to be specific about the What and How your project will deliver value.
TIP 3: Read the guidelines – and then read them again.
Everything you need to know will be in the guidelines, so make sure you read these carefully. We’ve seen many potential clients overlook these and waste valuable time and money because they didn’t carefully read and understand this information.
It is critical to double check that your business/organisation is eligible, your project is eligible and that what you are going to use the money for is actually on the list of eligible expenditure items.
If there’s something you’re not sure about, contact the staff at your local Development Commission – they’re available to answer questions (and there are NO dumb questions!).
Tip 4: Establish your competitiveness
Carefully consider if your project is strongly competitive. This will depend on how well your project fits with the grant objectives. Make sure you understand the purpose of the grant – what it’s trying to achieve and how your project will support this.
You may be eligible, but you may not be competitive (there’s a BIG difference). Be honest with yourself – look at past funding recipients and ask if the scale of your proposal and it’s impact is similar. Does it past the pub test – if you heard about another business securing funding for a similar project to yours, would you think ‘Good government investment’?
If your project doesn’t strongly support the grant objectives, you won’t be competitive and you shouldn’t apply. Government wants to invest in viable projects that will have strong economic impact and flow on benefits beyond just your business – this is what’s going to give you a competitive edge.
TIP 5: Planning – get it out of your head and on to paper
Applying for grants does not work when it’s a rushed dash for cash. It is very difficult to write a grant proposal if your project planning is incomplete, and this will minimise your chances of success.
As part of your grant submission, you will benefit from attaching a project plan or a business plan to demonstrate your project is based on solid planning, including clear milestones and timelines, risk mitigation strategies and costings. It isn’t enough for this information to be in your head – it needs to be documented.
Confirm that you can start and finish the project within the prescribed timeframes. You CANNOT start your project until the grant has been approved – RED grants are NOT retrospective.
REDS funding can take four – six months to be announced, so it is not a good option if you urgently need funding to respond to a time-sensitive issue or opportunity. REDS grants are best for long term, visionary projects.
The RED Grants Wrap Up
If your business is looking to embark on a new project or you’re looking to scale and expand in the next 18 months, we strongly advise you to get your ducks in a row and strategically plan now for your REDS grant submission next year. If you need funding sooner than later in 2024, then you should reach out to us to explore other options for regional projects.
As part of our consulting services, the BlueSalt team can help you with project planning, business plans, grant writing and draft application reviews. Book in for a chat!