Economic Development Sponsorship Program

The Economic Development Sponsorship Program (EDSP) has been developed to support local economic development initiatives designed to help achieve Council priorities and generate local economic development benefit in one or more of the following areas:
  1. Supporting business growth and employment
  2. Encouragement of innovation and creativity
  3. Developing the visitor economy of Newcastle.
Applications for the 2016-17 Economic Development Sponsorship Program will close at 5pm on 2 May 2016.

Applicants must be a registered organisation with an ABN (or ACN) or a Not for Profit organisation. 

Council will not fund individuals or government agencies. A complete list of eligibility criteria is included in both the application form and policy documents (attached).

Applications that fully satisfy the Eligibility Criteria will then be assessed against the published assessment criteria which are also included in the application form.

The following key items may also be included in the assessment of applications:
  • All applications need to acknowledge Council’s support as part of the project.  Applicants may submit a marketing or communications plan with their application (no more than three pages).
  • Applicant’s experience and track record (Note: Council may assess all information available to Council about the applicant when making this assessment including data from sponsorships.)
  • Adequacy of the overall budget proposed for the project as part of the required application process.
  • Grants of up to $20,000 are on offer.
Funds will be available from 1 July 2016 and the project or activity must be completed by 30 June 2017.
The application form is attached and can be completed and submitted on line.

For further information, please email your questions to

Funds are distributed in accordance with the Economic Development Sponsorship Program policy.  It is important you read the policy before completing your application.

Summary of 2015-2016 EDSP projects

Council endorsed the recommendations from the assessment panel for the 2015-2016 Economic Development Sponsorship Program for the following projects:

Catapult Dance ($10,000)

Catapult Dance is a new emerging not for profit contemporary dance and multi- arts organization based in Newcastle West that is building its capacity as a nationally recognised choreographic dance hub, multi- arts research space, and inclusive youth dance environment.  Catapult dance is becoming a regional arts leader bringing to Newcastle professional choreographers from across Australia to collaborate with Hunter based established artists, emerging artists and young people from Newcastle, the Central Coast and Greater Hunter.

DIG Festival ($10,000)

DIG Festival is an event that aims to be the showpiece design, innovation and technology event in Australasia. The organisers want to showcase the region of Newcastle and what it has offer prospective businesses and individuals looking to relocate or expand their activities in Newcastle.

Facon Creative Studio ($15,000)

Styling By Lara Lupish is a creative space/studio employing locals to build a creative industry servicing national and international advertising, fashion, creative needs and markets. The space will be integral in planning and executing runway shows, a Fashion Festival for Newcastle, photo shoots, creative events and projects utilising a newly constructed cyclorama.  The aim is to create a fully functional, high industry standard production studio in Newcastle to achieve a creative hub for the entire region. These projects will attract high end fashion labels, designers, advertising companies and creative talent to the area which will result in the positive outcomes for the creative industries sector in the Newcastle region.

Smart Future Cities Conference ($20,000)

This conference will bring together international and national experts, researchers and businesses to present their latest findings on how to grow a smart city. The conference will be combined with an electric vehicle show and clean energy expo showcasing the latest in commercial and experimental electric vehicles and clean technologies.  The two featured public evening events will provide access to world renowned experts in autonomous vehicles and the "internet of things" and the move towards Newcastle becoming a Smart City.

The Lock Up Program ($15,000)

The Lock up (TLU) relaunched as a multi-disciplinary, contemporary arts space and inner city hub for creative thinking and doing. TLU aims to promote local, national and international artists in a unique historic setting. The project will allow TLU to increase visitation to TLU and Newcastle through building its capacity to market and promote activities through a variety of creative platforms. The aim of the project is to elevate the visibility of TLU's existing programs through marketing and promotion of its activities through a variety of channels.

Women in Business - Fast Tracking Business Success ($15,000)

This project will provide an opportunity for business women in Newcastle to join with others to learn practical business strategies, network and improve management skills to fast track business success and growth while creating employment opportunities and potential economic growth throughout the region.

The Women in Business Mentoring Program brings fundamental knowledge to achieve business success with the aid of co-operative learning and mentor guidance. The initiative will involve up to 50 businesses in Newcastle. The area of need targeted in this program is women who are small business owners or in a small business management role.

2015 Newy Awards for Digital Creativity ($5,000)

The NEWi Awards celebrate the year's best digital innovation. The awards are open to any regional business involved in designing, building, managing, maintaining, marketing or promoting a digital asset in Australia or overseas. In its 5th year the awards have quickly grown to become the leading awards program for regional digital innovators, offering an outstanding platform to get the deserved recognition and an opportunity to promote to a wider Australian audience.