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NAB Foundation opens applications for $1.2 million grant program targeting regional sustainability

The National Australia Bank’s NAB Foundation has announced that it has opened applications for its second round of 2017 grants, focusing on startups and social enterprises working with solutions that promote sustainability.

Totalling $1.2 million, the bank will be offering its grants to businesses looking to scale, as well as idea-stage startups who want to build or test their product.

According to Andrew Loveridge, NAB’s head of government, education and community specialised banking, the grants will be offered to startups that are helping regional communities better manage their natural resources, in a move to strengthen regional sustainability.

“A healthy environment is essential to productive, successful communities, but we know complex challenges such as water quality, biodiversity loss, land degradation and climate change can be difficult to resolve,” said Loveridge.

“Managing and supporting the environment is of particular significance to regional communities, many of which rely heavily on natural asset-dependent industries such as agriculture and tourism.”

“These NAB Foundation Environmental Wellbeing Grants will help regional communities respond to this challenge, address some of these unique issues, and encourage others to do so as well.”

Starting at $100,000, grants of up to $1 million will be offered to successful applications over a maximum period of three years.

Listing examples of sustainability work that may be eligible, the bank said it was looking for startups working to improve areas such as climate change, biodiversity enhancement and water quality.

Expanding on the funding opportunities, the bank said it will also be taking a “flexible” approach with its grant program, by opening the door for social enterprises and non-for-profit organisations to apply.

Loveridge said the expansion will help the bank maximise its impact of the community, by providing support across the spectrum of innovation.

“We know that a good idea can come from anywhere. These days many for-profit social enterprises innovate in the space traditionally occupied by philanthropy, addressing societal problems in new and unique ways. It’s because of this that it makes sense for us to widen the criteria – especially when our end goal is to grow environmental well being, in a meaningful and sustainable way,” he explained.

“It’s important that through these grants we strengthen regional communities by enabling and inspiring sustainable living, which will, in turn, enhance the natural environment and support businesses working off the land,” Mr Loveridge said.

Also looking to focus its sights on sustainability in regional communities, Asia accelerator network SparkLabs Groups recently announced that it had partnered with the NSW Government to launch food and agtech accelerator Cultiv8.

Based in the Global Agtech Ecosystem (GATE), a new agricultural global and research and development centre located in Orange’s Agricultural Institute, the accelerator will provide accepted teams access to an eight month long mentorship and training program.

By focusing on startups working with agtech and foodtech solutions, the accelerator will help “digitise” the target sectors and contribute towards building a sustainable future, according to SparkLabs Cultiv8 partner Malcolm Nutt.

“We intend to cultivate early and growth stage Ag and Food Tech companies with researchers, farmers, investors and global corporate partners,” he said.

You can read more about the NAB Foundation grants here.

Image: NAB Group CEO – Andrew Thorburn. Source: NAB.





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