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Top Government Grants For Start-ups & Small Businesses In Australia

Published April 13, 2021 (last updated June 7, 2022) - Head of Operations
Start-up Business owner looking for Grants

Most business start-ups in Australia generally struggle with access to sufficient funding. However, the good news is that the Australian government offers various start-up grants and assistance programs that can be a great way of accessing much-needed funding without giving away equity. These opportunities exist on a federal, state, and even city level spanning different industry sectors. Below, you’ll find a handy guide for the top government grants for small businesses and start-ups in Australia.

1. The Research & Development (R&D) Tax Incentive

The goal of the R&D tax incentive is to provide funding to small businesses through a tax offset. It’s designed to help start-ups carrying out experimental and innovative activities to create novel processes and products in the science and technology space.

For more information on this grant, please visit the Australian Taxation Office Website here.

Please note that Employsure does not provide financial or taxation advice. Employsure recommends that you seek expert advice that is relevant to your specific circumstances from a qualified taxation professional.

2. Accelerating Commercialisation (AC) Grant

The next step after finalising your R&D activities is to figure out how to market your products successfully. That’s where the AC Grant comes in which is part of the Entrepreneur’s Programme. The AC Grant  is one of the best business grants for small businesses in Australia looking to introduce their products into the market. It offers up to $1, 000,000 in matched funding to commercialise new processes or products into new markets. 

Should you be successful; you’ll receive guidance, expert advice, and network support as part of the grant’s portfolio services. 

3. Export Market Development Grant (EMDG)

The Export Market Development Grant is designed to help businesses with their overseas market exploration phase. It offers start-ups a 50% reimbursement (capped at $150,000 per application) on their overseas market promotion activities of their products, goods, or services. The EMDG grant is set to go through some significant changes in the 2022 financial year, most notably how the funds will be paid out. Instead of the funds being paid out in arrears, it will now be paid out upfront through a three-tiered system.

4. State-Based Grants

Apart from national business grants, individual states also offer funding opportunities for small businesses. Let’s look at some lucrative small business grants from New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. 

1. New South Wales Government Grants

The New South Wales government offers various business grants to start-ups, but the most notable ones include: 

  • The Minimum Viable Product Grant (MVP): The MVP grant provides up to $25,000 funding for start-ups that are yet to bring in any revenue to progress from a proof of concept (POC) stage to an MVP stage. The grant is available year-round for startups across all industry sectors, and you can apply online, with assessment usually taking 8 weeks after submitting your application. 
  •  Building Partnerships Grant: Once you have a minimum viable product that is tech-based that you own the rights to, and your start-up is generating revenue, you can apply for the building partnerships grant to help you with customer and market acquisition.. Eligible businesses can receive a maximum grant of $100,000.  

2. Victorian Government Grants 

City of Melbourne Small Business Grants offers an excellent funding opportunity for Victorian start-ups located in the Melbourne CBD. Businesses can get up to $30,000 to either launch, export, expand their market-ready products and services. This government grant is available twice a year to small businesses from any sector.

3. Queensland Government Grants 

The Queensland government offers several business grants to start-ups, but the most popular one is the Ignite Ideas Fund – a lucrative business grant designed to support Queensland-based start-ups and small to medium businesses to commercialise innovative products, services, and processes that are viable and scalable in the long-term. This business grant offers two tiers of funding:

  • Tier 1 – up to $100,000 for projects of up to 12 months duration 
  • Tier 2 – $100,000 to $200,000 for projects of up to 24 months duration

5. Industry-Specific Grants

The Australian government also provides industry-specific grants and assistance to businesses working within the five growth sectors: energy, health, mining, advanced manufacturing, and agribusiness. For example, businesses in the energy sector can access industry-specific grants through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). You can find grants, funding, and support programs for various industry sectors using the Grants and Programs finder or the GrantConnect.

Making it Easy with BrightHR

From the idea’s phase to the commercialisation phase and overseas expansion, these government small business grants can play a significant role in funding your business along the way. Once your business is up and running you will most likely need to employ staff to help you reach your business goals. Employsure can help manage your employees, from Recruitment through to Termination, as well your health and safety obligations, with tailored software to make things easy.

You can manage and keep track of employee rosters, timesheets, leave and absenteeism with BrightHR, and more!  For example, the Blip tool allows employees to clock on and off so you can track their time and location. You can generate a report that will show the number of shifts and hours worked, breaks and their duration and the total number of hours worked excluding those breaks. You can then set up an employee profile and store wage and time records and any other related documents securely in the cloud to comply with your record-keeping requirements.

BrightSafe can help you manage your health and safety obligations with online learning modules, risk assessment templates, and the  Responsibilities Navigator, which allows you to set up task notifications and reminders, delegate responsibilities, and save task records.

The information in the above article has been compiled on the basis of general information current at the time of publication. Please note that the contents of this article and website and any information provided by our Fair Work Help Line do not constitute legal, financial or taxation advice and are not intended to be a substitute for legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as such. Your specific circumstances or changes in circumstances after publication may affect the completeness or accuracy of this information. You should seek legal advice or other professional advice in relation to any particular matters you or your organisation may have. To the maximum extent permitted by law, we disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions contained in this information or any failure to update or correct this information. It is your responsibility to assess and verify the accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability of the information on this website, and to seek professional advice where necessary. Nothing contained on this website is to be interpreted as a recommendation to use any product, process or formulation or any information on this website. For clarity, Employsure does not recommend any material, products or services of any third parties.

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About Employsure

 Employsure is one of Australia’s largest workplace relations advisers to small- and medium-businesses, with over 25,000 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Government Grants Are Available For New Businesses?

    It will depend on the type of industry as well as the State or Territory you are in. The following grants apply to eligible start-ups across Australia:

    • The Research & Development (R&D) Tax Incentive
    • Accelerating Commercialisation (AC) Grant
    • Export Market Development Grant (EMDG)
    • CSIRO Kick-Start
    • Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF)
  • How Do I Apply For A Government Grant In Australia?

    It will depend on the nature of your business and the type of grant you are applying for. Make sure you have a viable idea and a sound Business plan before you start looking for funding. A good place to start is the Australian Government’s Grant And Programs Finder.

  • Can I Get Multiple Government Grants?

    You may be able to get more than one grant depending on what the grant is for and each grant’s eligibility criteria.

  • Can Centrelink Help Me Start My Own Business?

    You may be able to get a business loan if you’re on Centrelink depending on the circumstances. The Australian Government provides assistance to jobseekers who want to start their own business here.

  • Who Qualifies For Business Grants?

    Businesses in all sorts of industries can qualify for different types of business grants, though grants are often for new businesses or products. Use the Australian Government’s Grant And Programs Finder to see what grant’s may apply to your business.

  • Is It Hard To Get A Small Business Grant?

    It will depend on the nature of your business and the type of grant, as each grant has different eligibility criteria.

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