Businesses can secure support for projects that drive innovation and provide sustainability benefits 

Coles has announced the opening of applications for round 12 of the Coles Nurture Fund, with grants of up to A$500,000 available to fuel projects that drive innovation, sustainability and growth.

Newton Valley Orchards owner Michael Giblet

Newton Valley Orchards owner Michael Giblet

Now in its tenth year, the Coles Nurture Fund was created to help Australian growers and suppliers develop market-leading products, technologies, systems and processes. The retailer has awarded more than $33 million in financial support to over 100 businesses from across the country since 2015.

The Nurture Fund has helped support a wide range of projects from carbon-neutral bananas to freezing technology that aims to reduce food waste. Newton Orchards in Manjimup, Western Australia received A$250,000 in 2001 to fix permanent netting over one of its flagship orchards to protect it from cockatoo attacks and outdoor elements. 

Nicole Giblet, director at Newton Orchards, said the netting has made a huge difference to the business, including the reduction of water used to irrigate the orchards by 30 per cent within one season.

“As a result of the nets, we have seen beautiful growth and clean, premium-quality fruit with very little bird damage,”  Giblet said. 

“Importantly, the nets will last the lifetime of the trees and the structure will last even longer. In this heating and drying climate, it’s unworkable and untenable to grow top-grade fruit without netting.

“We also invested A$10,000 of the grant into habitat restoration for the cockatoo — funding seedling purchase and helping plant appropriate native trees that provide a new place for them to live and eat, well away from agricultural areas.”

Coles executive general manager fresh Andy Mossop said he had seen firsthand the incredible impact of the Coles Nurture Fund on small and medium-sized businesses, and encouraged others to apply for the grant ahead of the Friday 23 February deadline. 

“We understand the vital role Aussie growers and suppliers play in providing fresh and quality food to our customers, and through the Coles Nurture Fund, we are not only investing in projects that drive innovation but also ensuring that our partners have the support they need to thrive,” said Mossop.

“Strong relationships are the backbone of our supply chain. By providing financial support to projects that align with our values, we are not just helping businesses; we are investing in the future of Australian agriculture.”

To be eligible, businesses must demonstrate their need for funding in a project that drives innovation and provides outstanding sustainability benefits. Businesses that generate less than A$25m in annual revenue and employ 50 or fewer full-time employees are encouraged to apply.