OPINION: Businesses seeing red in Peel

Question: When is it a good time for a business to be awash in RED?

Answer: When it has been awarded a Regional Economic Development (RED) grant from the state government.

The state government has allocated $4.5 million for round four from a total investment of $40.85 million over seven years towards the RED Grants program. These grants are available for business and community-driven projects that support regional WA's economic growth and development.

In our region of Peel, that means up to $250,000 is available for leveraged funding. The targets for this round are projects that increase or sustain jobs, expand or diversify industry, develop skills or capability, improve business productivity, and attract new investment to the region.

Round one, two and three saw more than $2.2million go towards 23 Peel projects that have created real economic impact and employment opportunities. These projects included a bean to bar chocolate business, a new farmers market, engineering, manufacturing, equestrian arena upgrades, community recycling, and tourism attractions. Together they show the diversity and innovation of Peel's businesses and communities.

For small businesses, the opportunity for access to capital that is non-dilutionary and doesn't increase liabilities or incur debt is worth more than a second look. Indeed, you need skin in the game (level of leverage is one of the evaluation criteria). Still, a successful RED grant can bring forward your project's timeline, make it more substantial, or de-risk the decision-making. We are looking for organisations to access and create new markets, value, growth, and jobs through new ideas, processes, and products.

And while RED grants are highly competitive, we stand ready to help you develop and submit the best project proposal you can. Please reach out to us at the Peel Development Commision, discuss your ideas (all information shared is confidential), and avail yourself of one of the discussion sessions we are running.

Food innovation and local produce are fast becoming a feature of the Peel and ties in so well with the development of our high-quality tourism products capitalising on the region's unique natural environment. Innovation within these industries, as well as in agriculture, manufacturing and fabrication, construction and retail, lead to increased capacity, competitiveness and more jobs for the Peel.

RED Grant funding is a real opportunity for financial support for projects and garnering recognition for their contribution to building a more robust local economy, creating jobs and diversifying our regional industries.

For more information about RED Grants and full details about Round 4 applications, go to the Peel Development Commission website peel.wa.gov.au

  • David Doepel is chair of the Peel Development Commission.