M&WNZ is calling for applications for funding for the Wool Enterprise Programme, which aims to help entrepreneurial wool businesses lay the platform for growth. The Wool Enterprise Programme is a funding initiative that was developed by the Wool Industry Network before it ceased operations, and will be overseen and managed by M&WNZ. "The programme is aimed at market-driven smaller wool industry initiatives from New Zealand farmer grower groups and manufacturers with strong links to farmer groups," says M&WNZ Chief Executive Officer Dr Scott Champion. Businesses may apply for up to $100,000 of funding. This funding must be matched 50:50 with funding from the applicant group. "The Wool Enterprise Programme is not designed to fund promotional projects. Instead, it offers general business mentoring and skills development and helps companies access industry networks. The focus is on improving returns to wool growers through developing general business capabilities, industry knowledge, and strategic and market planning skills. "The objective is to help produce sustainable and high performing companies that are ready to attract investment and achieve international success." To ensure the programme supports businesses with the greatest potential, applications will be assessed by an industry advisory panel. "The Wool Enterprise Programme will not seek to create or involve itself with primary value chains or primary routes to the market, as this function is better served by commercial enterprises," says Dr Champion. "The programme will require applicants to demonstrate a point of difference from the primary routes to the market. This may be through a particular technology, specific niche market requirement, brand proposition, or product specification. "To ensure the programme brings increased value to the industry, applicants will need to demonstrate at the very least some initial success with their value proposition. They will also be required to show that they have or are prepared to invest time, money and resources in the success of the project.