This article first appeared in Convenience & Impulse Retailing, authored by Tom Oakley-Newell
Coles is offering Australian producers and manufacturers grants of up to $500,000 to support sustainability and innovation.
The financial support is available through the Coles Nurture Fund and is open to small to medium size businesses, with fewer than 50 full time employees, and turnover of less than $25 million, to help them develop market-leading products and sustainable processes and technologies.
Sally Fielke, General Manager of Corporate and Indigenous Affairs at Coles Group, said the fund was helping Australian producers being their ideas to life.
“Since 2015, the Coles Nurture Fund has committed more than $30 million in financial support to more than 90 Australian producers, helping them transform their infrastructure, reduce waste, become more energy efficient and install new equipment to support greater volumes of fresh produce.”
Tony Mahar, CEO of the National Farmers Federation, said Australia’s farm sector has such exciting opportunities ahead as they pursue and ambition to become Australia’s next $100 billion industry.
“We know that innovation and sustainability are critical to the future of Australian farming, and it’s great to see this investment helping farmers to innovate and grow their businesses.”
The Coles Nurture Fund has previously provided funding for initiatives like a vacuum truck to gather manure for the creation of renewable energy, Australia’s first quinoa processing plant, and a cutting-edge factory to grow grass indoors.
Endhill, a producer of beef in Victoria, was awarded a $400,000 grant from the Coles Nurture Fund in 2018 to purchase cutting-edge equipment that can gather lucerne from paddocks and turn it into pellets for cattle. The pellets can be fed to cattle as a supplement to grass because they are simpler to handle and store than hay bales.
Dane Martin, General Manager at Endhill, encouraged other Australian producers to apply to the Coles Nurture Fund.
“Without the Coles Nurture Fund, we probably wouldn’t have been able to get this project off the ground. I certainly would encourage other producers to apply for the Coles Nurture if they have an innovative idea or a plan to become a more sustainable business.”