South West producers encouraged to apply for innovation and sustainability funding from Coles Nurture Fund

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Harvey Citrus grower Steve Pergoliti with a Coles team member.
Camera IconHarvey Citrus grower Steve Pergoliti with a Coles team member. Credit: Supplied

Small to medium-sized South West producers are being encouraged to apply for funding to support growth, innovation and sustainability.

Coles opened the 12th round of funding for the Coles Nurture Fund last week, with grants of up to $500,000 offered.

A number of WA businesses have been supported by the fund since it was established a decade ago, with the family-run Harvey Citrus receiving two grants in 2015 and 2020 valued at a combined $674,000.

Grower Andrew Pergoliti said the grants had allowed the team to plant more citrus to produce additional fresh fruit and install a cool room with a capacity of 4000 cartons to store extra oranges, mandarins, grapefruits, lemons, limes and avocadoes.

“The cool rooms have made such a difference to our business,” he said.

“Previously, we had to leave the fruit on the tree which doesn’t work so well in summer with fruit flies, degradation and regreening. Now we have the space to store more fruit for longer periods of the year, meaning we can supply (the supermarket chain) with more consistent fruit stock for up to 10 months of the year.

“The grants have also allowed us to re-invest into other areas of the business, like packing and processing, and the recruitment of more people.”

Coles executive general manager Andy Mossop encouraged producers to apply for funding.

“Strong relationships are the backbone of our supply chain,” he said.

“By providing financial support to projects that align with our values, we are not just helping businesses; we are investing in the future of Australian agriculture.”

Applicants need to generate less than $25 million in revenue annually and employ 50 or less full-time employees, alongside demonstrating their need for the funding for a project.

Applications close at 2pm WA time on February 23. To apply, visit coles.com.au/nurturefund.

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