At Last, The Secrets To Small Business Grants Are Revealed

Who doesn’t like free money?

Government grants are one of the best places to look for some extra cash, but entrepreneurs don’t always look to Canberra for a boost. It’s easy to understand why. Getting a business running is no easy task, and normal paperwork is hard enough, let alone the seemingly huge library of forms required to get a grant accepted.

What a lot of entrepreneurs may not know is that accessing government grants isn’t as hard as it seems. In fact, there are plenty of grants available — ripe for the taking.

Grants are especially crucial for start-ups. Every dollar matters in the early stages. But experience matters too, and entrepreneurs may not know several grants give new businesses the ability to access not just funding, but knowledge and experience from industry mentors.

We’ve rounded up a list of government grants designed for entrepreneurs to get their start-ups off the ground and flying. Be sure to put some effort into investigating each one — the work will pay off.

Export Market Development Grants

If you’re a start-up exporting your product, then you can access the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG). The grant reimburses 50% of expenses incurred for export promotional activities, as long as the total expenses are at least $15,000.

To be eligible, businesses must have promoted either the export of goods and services, inbound tourism, export of IP and “know-how” or Australian events and conferences. Eligible businesses will have an income under $50 million in the grant year.

If you’re an exporter, you may be eligible — so get ready.

Entrepreneurs’ Programme

Entrepreneurs need support, particularly younger entrepreneurs who are new to the world of business. The Entrepreneurs’ Programme offers support and access to a network of 100 private sector advisors and facilitators. Designed to increase productivity, the programme helps entrepreneurs tap into a wealth of experience they may not have.

The program, which replaces the former Enterprise Connect program, consists of three parts:

  • Accelerating Commercialisation — This helps SMEs, entrepreneurs and researchers commercialise new products and services.
  • Business Management — Experienced advisers and facilitators review business operations and provide direction and strategy.
  • Innovation Connections — This helps businesses by working with facilitators to identify knowledge gaps hindering growth.

Benefits of the program range from advice, formal reports and co-funded grants.

Business growth grants

These grants are also part of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme, designed for businesses to engage external expertise to help your SME through business evaluations, facilitation of a supply chain or growing your services.

They’re generous, too. The grant reimburses businesses for up to half the cost of engaging a service provider, to a max of $20,000.

But there’s something to note: the grant supports strategies designed to improve your business’s skills and abilities. It doesn’t target operational, day-to-day improvements.

The R&D tax incentive

Research and development is such a huge part of getting businesses off the ground, especially in start-ups where early efforts in R&D can make all the difference.

The R&D tax incentive is one of the government’s biggest incentives for entrepreneurs working to get their start-ups running. This is also aimed to offset costs by providing a tax relief of up to 45%.

There are plenty of criteria, so make sure you read through each carefully before you apply. It may even be worth hiring a consultant to help you prepare the application.

Grow your business

For businesses in Victoria, the Government offers a range of comprehensive business grants. Among them is the Strategic Review grant, which assists businesses in developing a strategic plan for their business to follow.

To be eligible, businesses need to be based in Victoria, with at least two years’ of trading history, be financially viable and be a tradeable service.

Small Business Grants Melbourne + NSW

Both the city of Melbourne and New South Wales offer small business grants to help SMEs off the ground.

For the Melbourne grants, a range of support is available. For start-ups, grants for up to $30,000 are on offer by supporting the establishment of new and creative small businesses.

For those businesses already existing, and are introducing innovative services as part of an expansion phase, grants of up to $30,000 are also available.

Meanwhile, Innovate NSW offers grants to businesses in the state across a range of areas.

There are three types of grants:

  • Minimum Viable Product grants offer up to 50% of approved project costs, to a maximum of $15,000, to help SMEs engage a particular business customer to demonstrate an idea, prove a concept, develop a prototype or come up with a customised B2B solution.
  • Tech vouchers provide the same monetary value for tech companies to work with a research organisation to overcome a specific tech challenge, or test new technology.
  • The final part, Collaborative Solutions grants, provide up to 25% of approved project costs to a maximum of $100,000 for consortia to develop an innovative solution that address a high growth opportunity or challenge in a key sector.

There are different criteria for either state and for each grant so be sure to read up on the rules before submitting your application.

Business Development and Assistance Program

These grants are designed for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island business owners to help develop their ideas.

While the grant doesn’t actually provide any cash benefit, the program helps entrepreneurs get access to training, government or other assistance packages so they can start growing their business.

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