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Regional Manufacturing Clusters

Supporting manufacturers to innovate, develop capability and grow.


The Regional Manufacturing Clusters initiative provides support to manufacturers seeking to invest in innovation, capability development and business growth, with a focus on tangible actions, peer learning and collaboration. Overall, the initiative will grow jobs and investment in regional Victoria.

This initiative is being delivered in partnership with the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), as well as Regional Development Victoria, regional councils, industry groups, research bodies and chambers of commerce.

At a glance

Through this initiative, regional manufacturers will have access to a range of services such as:

  • training and practical assistance with innovation, upskilling, scaling up, trade and supply chain opportunities
  • introductions to appropriate partners and resources, including information about available government support
  • the opportunity to learn from peers about strategies for success
  • mentoring from manufacturers that are local or global leaders in advanced manufacturing.

The initiative will also build connections through networking events and digital platforms.

Clusters have been announced in Ballarat, Bendigo and Wodonga. Other locations will be announced progressively.


Support will be provided through two programs:

  • Innovation Culture will deliver systems for incorporating innovation into business operations, engaging employees in innovation and setting up an innovation culture
  • Collaborative Business Improvement will deliver business improvements in innovation, upskilling, production efficiencies and export readiness.

Participation in each program will require co-contributions from participants:

  • Innovation Culture requires a once-off contribution of $5,000 plus GST per business
  • Collaborative Business Improvement requires a $2,500 plus GST contribution per business per year over two years for a total of $5,000 plus GST per business.


The initiative is intended for businesses located in regional Victoria that are on a growth trajectory.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible for assistance under the initiative:

  • Be a business registered in Victoria with an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Meet any co-contribution requirements
  • Be a legal entity that is currently engaged in manufacturing 
  • Meet all industrial relations obligations as an employer in accordance with the National Employment Standards
  • Have an operating presence in regional Victoria
  • Agree to participate in future program evaluation activity.


  • Applicants for the Innovation Culture program are required to have over 55 employees
  • Applicants for the Collaborative Business Improvement program are required to have 15 to 70 employees.

NOTE: Commonwealth, State and Local Government agencies and bodies are not eligible to apply.

How to apply

Please contact Rod Nelson, Project Director – Regional Manufacturing Clusters, Ai Group by calling 0437 286 975 or emailing

Alternatively, please contact your local Victorian Government Business Office (VGBO) by calling 13 22 15 for more information about how to get involved.

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