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Small businesses across Australia’s food and agriculture sector can now apply for a grant or interest-free loan from the Coles Nurture Fund to help them innovate and grow.
Since establishing the Nurture Fund in April 2015, Coles has already offered grants or loans to 17 different food and grocery producers as part of round one and two of its funding.
With round three now open, businesses with less than $25 million in annual revenue and 50 or fewer full-time employees can apply for a grant or loan. Applicants don’t need to supply Coles to be eligible for support.
Over five years, Coles will allocate $50 million in grants and interest-free loans to fund the development of new market-leading products, technologies and processes.
Successful applicants so far include:
- Ashley Wiese and his business partners from Three Farmers in Western Australia have used a $500,000 grant to help build mainland Australia’s first quinoa processing plant. They have now begun processing their own quinoa and in April began supplying Coles Brand with Australian white quinoa, which has replaced imports from South America in every Coles across the country.
- On the outskirts of Melbourne, Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs has used an interest-free loan of more than $430,000 from the Coles Nurture Fund to build a state-of-the-art greenhouse, which uses cloud technology to help know the best time to plant, pick and pack their herbs.
- The Clark family from Westerway Raspberry Farm in Tasmania has used a $260,000 grant from Coles to adopt new freezing technology to supply Tasmanian frozen raspberries to customers. Since receiving the grant in September, the business has produced more than 5,000 kilograms of Tasmanian grown frozen berries.
- Onion and garlic grower Moonrocks has used a $400,000 grant to allow his business to grow and pack garlic in remote Queensland and in turn extend the local season of Australian-grown garlic in Queensland.
- Family business Harvey Citrus has used a $500,000 grant to develop WA’s first seedless lemons and has planted thousands of additional lime and mandarin trees to provide locally-grown produce for the upcoming citrus season.
- Wimmera family business Australian Eatwell will use a grant of more than $200,000 to reinvent the healthy vegetarian favourite, tofu, by using locally-grown chickpeas as its key ingredient rather than soy beans.
- Bowen fruit and vegetable growers Rocky Ponds will receive a $400,000 grant to install cutting-edge technology which will boost productivity by up to 20 per cent and create 15 new jobs. The family business will build a state-of-the-art nursery, install energy efficient motors, and fully computerise irrigation and fertigation systems on the farm.