The Australian federal government doles out several grants for small businesses annually, ranging from anywhere between AU$500 to AU$2 million. These grants encompass almost all types of industries at all business development periods.
While there are a lot of options available for government funding for small businesses, it pays for business owners to know what grants are applicable based on the type of business and what development stage they’re in.
Some of the well-known government grants that offer financial assistance for small businesses are:
- Export Market Development Grant
- Entrepreneur’s Programme
- Certain Inputs to Manufacture (CIM) Programme
- R&D Tax Incentive
- Business Development and Assistance Programme
- Australian Apprenticeship Incentive Programme
Export Market Development Grant
The Austrade Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) implements a reimbursement scheme for Australian businesses who want to enter the international export market. Once a business gets accepted into the EMDG programme, they will automatically become eligible for a reimbursement of 50 per cent of their total costs, provided that the business has spent AU$15,000 or more on export promotional expenses.
Promotional expenditures as defined by the EMDG can include any of the following: marketing-related travel overseas, attending trade events, paid advertising and attending international events or conferences. The EMDG programme also caters to foreign investors who want to enter the Australian market.
The Entrepreneur’s Programme is ideal for startup business owners with innovative ideas. Startups with groundbreaking products and/or services can apply at the Accelerating Commercialisation grant with matched funding amounting up to AU$1 million. If business owners are more interested in reimbursements, they can also apply for a Business Growth Grant under the Entrepreneur’s Programme. The Business Growth Grant allows startup businesses to reimburse up to 50 per cent of total costs but not exceeding AU$20,000.
Lastly, the Entrepreneur’s Programme also offers the Innovation Connections grant for startups, allowing business owners to access free ventures advice, allowing businesses to connect with the research and development sector and access to funding for collaborative projects up to AU$50,000.
Certain Inputs to Manufacture (CIM) Programme
The CIM programme is primarily designed to suit the needs of businesses in the Australian manufacturing industry. The programme supports businesses that import raw materials from foreign vendors by way of import duty concessions. In order for a business to become eligible for the CIM programme, the business must be importing products that are of superior quality compared to its Australian counterparts, if not exhibiting a definitive advantage in terms of its overall design. Materials that are considered under the CIM programme can include paper and plastic goods, chemicals, metal products and food packaging products.
R&D Tax Incentive
The R&D Tax Incentive supports Australian businesses by offering tax offsets for activities that concern research and development. Businesses with less than AU$20 million annual turnovers will be able to claim 43.5 per cent of refundable tax offsets by up to AU$100 million. If businesses are unable to reach the said turnover mark, they can still be eligible for the said programme if they can claim tax offsets by up to 38.5 per cent which can be used or carried forward within the same fiscal year.
Business Development and Assistance Programme
The Business Development Assistance Programme primarily caters to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander business owners. This particular grant allows business owners to have access to financial aid which can be used either as a startup capital, buy other businesses, purchase equipment and materials and procure commercial assets.
Australian Apprenticeship Incentive Programme
Australian business owners who are looking to hire an apprentice for their business are considered eligible to apply for the Australian Apprenticeship Incentive Programme. Under this particular grant, businesses with an apprentice will have access to one-off payments amounting to anything between AU$750 and AU$4,000, depending on the level of expertise of the apprentice. Businesses can apply for additional financial support if they employ persons with disabilities or mature-aged apprentices.