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The seventh round of the Coles Nurture Fund opened this week. Farmers and food producers can apply for financial assistance to develop new products, processes and technologies.

Small and medium businesses with “innovative ideas” that employ less than 50 full-time people and have an annual turnover less than $25 million are eligible to apply for grants up to $500,000.

“We know Australian farmers and food producers have new and innovative ideas to take their business to the next level,” Coles chief operating officer Greg Davis says.

“By providing financial support from the Coles Nurture Fund, we want to help bring their plans to fruition to set their business up for the long term. Together, we hope we can help extend growing seasons, improve productivity, reduce imports and drive differentiation.”

The $50 million Coles Nurture Fund was launched in 2015, allocating grants and interest-free loans over five years to businesses.

Since the the launch of the fund, more than $19 million has been provided to 50 businesses to introduce technology, improve productivity and efficiency or establish new products.

Producers have used their grants for a number of initiatives, inlcuding the regulation of cool room humidity to reduce water use, solar system installations and introducing fodder storage sheds to combat the drought.

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