Round 7 Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why are you funding programs for Aboriginal Victorians?

This funding round will focus on increasing diversity and inclusion by investing in organisations to deliver quality new and existing entrepreneurial programs that improve access and participation in the Victorian startup ecosystem for Aboriginal Victorians.

The program is an initiative of Tharamba Bugheen - the Victoria Aboriginal Business Strategy 2017-2021 released by the Victoria Government in March 2017.  Tharamba Bugheen recognises that the economic advancement of Aboriginal Victorians is critical for self-determination and is making a number of significant investments across the board to support this agenda. The Government values the important contribution that Victoria’s many Aboriginal businesses make to the state’s economy and community.  Successful businesses give Aboriginal Victorians control of their own economic destiny and strengthen the economic position of Aboriginal communities.  They also provide role models for the young and inspire the next generation of Aboriginal entrepreneurs.

2. How many applications will be funded?

LaunchVic is seeking to invest up to $500,000 per application. The number of applications that will be funded is dependent on the quality of applications received.

3. My proposed program doesn’t fit the eligibility category, can I still apply?

LaunchVic is specifically looking to invest in organisations that will deliver programs that:

1.    support Aboriginal entrepreneurs through quality mentoring and responsive training programs that focus on startup thinking, global engagement and use of disruptive technology; and/or

2.    provide opportunities to support Aboriginal businesses and entrepreneurs in boosting their businesses through acceleration and incubation services.

Note: Preference will be given to applications that support startup business ideas and startup businesses that have high impact potential, are scalable and/or disruptive, consistent with LaunchVic’s Strategy.

If you are not eligible to apply we recommend you sign-up to our newsletter to hear about future funding opportunities.

4. Do I have to be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander to apply?

No, but you do need to provide your services to Victorian Aboriginal entrepreneurs and businesses.  As part of the Key Assessment Criteria, you will also need to outline your organisation’s and team’s experience in delivering programs for Aboriginal communities, especially in Victoria.

5. Can I have a phone conversation or meet with a LaunchVic team member to ask questions about the program and discuss my proposal?

If anything is unclear in the program guidelines, please contact LaunchVic via this email and we can clarify any issues. A call can be requested via this email address if the question can’t be resolved. All new questions raised in any of these forums will be added to the FAQs. You can also register for an information session - we will also be holding face-to-face and online information sessions where you will be able to ask specific questions. Details on information sessions can be found under the Guidelines – Key Dates.

6. Is it possible to have more than one submission?

More than one application will be accepted per organisation, however, we strongly encourage you to put in one strong application focussing on your core strengths. In the case of consortia bids, each application must be led by one organisation – the same organisation can be included in another application where they are not leading that application.

7. Over what time period will the grant support the program? 

LaunchVic is seeking applications for programs that will run up to two years. Applicants are required to propose a start and end date for the funded program, the announcement of successful applicants is due in August 2018.

8. How do you define an Aboriginal Business?

The Victorian Government defines an Aboriginal business as a business that is undertaking commercial activity, is registered in Victoria and is at least 50 per cent Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait islander owned.

9. How do you define an Aboriginal person?

For the purposes of this funding round, LaunchVic defines an Aboriginal person as someone who:

  • is of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent;
  • identifies as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person;
  • is accepted as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person by the community in which he or she lives.

10. What is a startup ecosystem?

The startup ecosystem is made up of founders, investors, startup teams, community organisations, corporates and government. Working together, we can collectively create a pipeline of successfully scaling startups that contribute to jobs and Gross Domestic Product.

11. Do you fund Startups?

LaunchVic invests in the infrastructure of the startup ecosystem that in turn supports startups and startup entrepreneurs in Victoria. Our role is to enhance competition, collaboration, and quality in the ecosystem, and advocate for the sector. Under this round, LaunchVic is specifically looking to invest in organisations to deliver quality mentoring, educational, acceleration and/or incubation programs that primarily benefit Victoria Aboriginal entrepreneurs and/or Aboriginal businesses.

12. What information will be required of the team members and their credentials and backgrounds?

Applicants are required to provide details on the key personnel (program management and delivery team members etc.) who will be involved in the program. Applicants are required to outline their roles and relevant experience. Please include bios, up-to-date LinkedIn profile links and/or website links.

13. Can LaunchVic outline what they feel success will look like for the programs? 

We want to support programs that support Aboriginal Victorians to become innovative entrepreneurs strengthening entrepreneurial culture and business experience.

14. How detailed does the submitted budget have to be?

Applicants are required to enter income (cash) and expenditure of the project via the online application budget table.

15. Should the project have an ongoing life after 2 years?

Ongoing sustainability is not a key assessment criteria. Should your project be ongoing beyond LaunchVic funding, this should be outlined in your application as a measure of success.

16. What are the payment milestones?

Successful applicants will be required to enter a contract (with LaunchVic and provide project reporting and/or evidence of project progress to receive payments under agreed milestones. Approximately 15% of the total grant is allocated to milestone one and contracts include approximately five to seven milestones. The number of milestones, and amounts, are dependant on factors such as the grant amount, scope and length of project. A sample contract is available here.

17. What is a Reconciliation Action Plan?

A RAP is a strategic document that supports and organisation’s business plan.  The RAP program contributes to advancing the five dimensions of reconciliation by supporting organisation to develop respectful relationships and create meaningful opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. For more information on RAP plans visit here.

18. What is the timeframe for approval and then implementation of the grant?

We plan on announcing successful applicants around August 2018. We would be looking for funds to be expended by end June 2020. However, there is some flexibility, and we would encourage applicants to put a case forward in your application to justify this.

19. What is meant by value for money?

We would like you to clearly articulate what is being delivered for the funds requested.  Things to consider include: number of people expected to participate in program, quality of the program (ie. contact hours, quality of team), expected outcomes and potential program sustainability.

20. Does the program need to be delivered right across Victoria?

We would like to make the program accessible to as many Victorian Aboriginals as possible but this does not mean that each funded program must cover the whole State.  Programs that service Aboriginals in regional Victoria are welcomed but not mandatory.

21. My application aims to target small businesses/new ventures that are scalable – am I eligible to apply?

Yes, provided those businesses are innovative. We recognise the fine line between small business and a startup.  Preference will be given to applications that support startup business ideas and businesses that have high impact potential.

22. I’d like to offer entrepreneurs pathfinder activities – is this type of program eligible?

Yes, this would be considered an activity under a Mentoring program. Participants don’t need to be proven entrepreneurs – they could be aspirant and benefit from programs that provide skills and confidence.

23. Is this program based on research outlining audience size, barriers etc.?

The program is based on the Tharamba Bugheen Strategy that identified both and opportunity and market failure in participation in the startup ecosystem by Aboriginal Victorians.  This was backed up by LaunchVic’s Ecosystem Mapping Survey that did not identify a single startup run by Aboriginal Victorians yet we know they exist. This program aims to address awareness and access issues for entrepreneurial Aboriginal Victorians to Victoria’s ecosystem. Statistics indicate a lack of diversity across this ecosystem.  This is something LaunchVic is looking to address through this funding round under our Diversity and Inclusion stream. We believe that this could positively differentiate our ecosystem.

24. Does the program apply to all industry sectors?


25. Are social enterprises eligible?

Yes, however, this program aims to deliver mentoring, educational, acceleration and incubation services for Aboriginal Victorians. There are several other programs underway and planned through Tharamba Bugheen that seek to address other priorities.

26. Are current funding recipients or previous applicants eligible to apply?

Yes – provided the application meets the new guidelines.

27. Would you look favourable at partnerships between Aboriginal community groups and established accelerators and incubators?

Yes. In fact, we would encourage and welcome partnerships that bring together experience and understanding of the community with the expertise of the startup ecosystem.  This could be achieved through partnership arrangements or licencing of content. We recommend you review   organisations that are currently supported by LaunchVic found here

28. Do you fund Aboriginal Startups or entrepreneurs through this round? 

LaunchVic is specifically looking to invest in organisations (that may be startups) to deliver either an accelerator program, incubator program, educational program or mentoring program that benefits Victorian Aboriginals through this funding round.

29. Do I need to be an Aboriginal person to be eligible to apply?

While you need to provide services to Victorian Aboriginal entrepreneurs and businesses, you do not need to be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander to apply.  As part of the Key Assessment Criteria, you will need to outline your organisations’ and team’s experience in delivering programs for Aboriginal communities, especially in Victoria.

30. Are organisations who have received funding from LaunchVic eligible to apply?

Yes organisations who have received LaunchVic funding can apply under this round but must fulfil the eligibility criteria.

31. How many Aboriginal entrepreneurs and businesses should this program benefit?

The program is jointly funded by LaunchVic and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. It is an initiative of Tharamba Bugheen - the Victorian Aboriginal Business Strategy 2017-2021 released by the Victorian Government in March 2017. The overall targets for this program are to deliver mentoring and education programs to a minimum of 10 Aboriginal Victorian entrepreneurs, and acceleration and incubation services to a further 10 Aboriginal Victorian businesses. We hope to exceed these targets.  Each successful applicant would only be required to contribute to these targets.

32. What is the difference between a small business and a startup?

A startup is a business with high impact potential that uses innovation and or addresses scalable markets.  It is typically globally focussed and grows large enough to list on the stock exchange.  A small business does not seek to dominate a sector, it focusses on tried and tested products and services and usually remains small in size. An example of this in the accounting sector. A small accounting practice serving a limited number of clients in proximity to its physical location is classified as a small business. MYOB and Xero are examples of startups in the accounting sector. They have used technology to develop cost effective services reaching clients globally. They are large companies providing significant economic impact in terms of job creation.

33. Are programs focussing on financial literacy eligible?

Yes – these would be eligible as part of the educational and mentoring program categories.

34. What is the selection process?

The selection process is outlined in the Program Guidelines under ‘Assessment and Selection’. The program guidelines can be found here. 

35. Is the $500,000 capped?

Funding up to $500,000 per application for programs that run up to two years will be accepted. Applications requesting more than $500,000 will be considered, but must be exceptional! 

36. What is the key assessment criteria?

Information on the key assessment criteria is detailed in the Program Guidelines that can be found here.  There are five criteria applications will be assessed against:  Project Overview; Impact & Measures of Success; Organisation and Team (relevant experience); Timeline; and Funding & Budget. 

37. How are successful applicant services promoted to indigenous startups?

This should be driven by the successful applicants leveraging strong community connections marketing funds are eligible as part of the application.  LaunchVic will cross promote programs leveraging our own and the Department’s channels and networks however this should not be relied on to promote your program to reach your targets.

38. How many applications are made in a program similar to this?

Applications vary greatly between funding rounds - LaunchVic received 71 applications for our Round 3 funding program that focussed on increasing participation for migrants and refugees. 23 application were not eligible and 5 applicants were awarded grants.

39. Are you looking for a program delivered in one location or are programs located in multiple sites with different cohorts eligible?

Both are acceptable – we would like you to demonstrate that you have links and support within the communities you plan to work in.

40. Is this program exclusively for Aboriginal entrepreneurs and businesses in Victoria?

Your proposal must primarily, rather than exclusively, benefit Victorian Aboriginal entrepreneurs and businesses.  This is a competitive round, so we strongly recommend that you provide a strong case should you choose to submit a non-exclusive program.

41. How is an education and mentoring program different from an accelerator?

Education programs focus on the development of specific skills and are short term (eg. I day or 1 week courses focussing on financial literacy). Accelerators typically run for 12 weeks. These programs are about helping businesses grow and cover all aspects of a business rather than a specific area.

42. How does this funding differ in its expectations from other Indigenous entrepreneurship funding schemes (ie IBA)?

This program focuses specifically on the startup sector in Victoria. IBA has a national footprint.  Extensive consultation with the Victorian Aboriginal community and stakeholders during the development of Tharamba Bugheen: Victorian Aboriginal Business Strategy 2017-2021, indicated a strong need to encourage entrepreneurial and disruptive thinking and build the startup sector in Victoria.  It was also agreed that the community should have choice and options regarding service providers.  From the perspective of growing a successful local startup ecosystem, more education, mentoring, accelerator and incubator services equals a stronger startup community.

43. Are you please able to let me know if participants in an incubator and / or education program that is funded by LV via the Round 7 funding can be charged to participate? 

There are no restrictions to proposing a program that includes a fee for participants however high registration fees are not looked upon favourably for diversity and inclusion rounds for under-represented groups. If you do propose a program with a fee, you will need to state the amount and outline the rationale.

44. I want to submit a separate application for each of the 4 components (mentoring, education, acceleration, incubation), should I do this separately or on one online application form?  Do you have any suggestions on how to submit separate applications for each component?

You can complete one application that encompasses more than one component or if you have targeted information for each component you can create and submit an application for each component. To submit a separate application for each component you need to ‘Start a Submission’ via the online application system You can start and work on more than one application at a time as each application will have their unique application ID number.

45. Is there any stipulation within the guidelines that participants have to be over 18?

There is no stipulation on the age requirements of the participants.

46. Do you have to be an established business with its own proven track record?

An organisation with an ABN is defined as ‘registered’ so if you are a Sole Trader with an ABN you can apply. You will need to outline your relevant experience in delivering programs for Aboriginal communities (especially in Victoria); and delivering programs for startups, businesses and/or entrepreneurs under the Key Assessment Criteria. Applicants who don’t have relevant and/or proven experience in delivering the program they are proposing would not score well under these criteria.