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$50,000 grants on offer as Textile, Clothing & Footwear program reopens

Tuesday, 11 December 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

Government body AusIndustry has opened its latest round of applications for the Textile, Clothing and Footwear (TCF) Small Business Program, which offers grants of up to $50,000.


The TCF program aims to transform the culture of established small businesses in manufacturing textiles, clothing or footwear in Australia, or designing for manufacture in Australia.


A maximum of $50,000 is available for a particular project. It’s worth noting businesses that solely import products made overseas, or only undertake retail activities, are not eligible.


AusIndustry, the Federal Government’s specialist business program delivery division, is calling for round eight applications, and registrations for national workshops.


Applications close at 5pm on Friday, March 1, 2013.


Grant applications are invited from established small businesses or consortia, who have not received grants from other TCF programs, for projects to be undertaken in 2013/14.


Applicants must have fewer than 20 employees, a turnover of more than $100,000, and make a minimum cash contribution to the project of more than 25%.


Successful projects must transform the strategic approach or direction of the business, including systems and operational processes, to make it more sustainable and internationally competitive.


AusIndustry will also conduct nationwide workshops from January 30, 2013. These workshops will focus on making participants’ applications more competitive.


The workshops are recommended for applicants who have reviewed and confirmed their eligibility, have a specific project in mind and have started writing their application.


Since the TCF SBP grants were introduced, they have benefited more than 470 businesses including Tasmania-based business Besmitten, which received not one but two grants.


The company – founded by Carl and Nicole Mason – designs super fine merino clothing for men, women and children, including fashion and sporting ranges.


An initial grant of $45,000 helped the company prepare a strategic plan to change the direction of the business to include eCommerce functionality.


A second grant of $29,000 focused on unifying its production and design functions, underpinned by the installation of a computer-aided design (CAD) system.


According to Carl Mason, the adoption of eCommerce was a major success for the company, with online sales increasing by 400% in the first six months.


Meanwhile, the CAD system has helped the company significantly improve productivity and reduce wastage.


“Last year our online sales for November were $2,000. This year for the same month they were $12,000,” Mason says.