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How to Get a Small Business Grant

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Last editedMar 20223 min read

Australian start-ups have a multitude of options when it comes tofinding funding, frombank loans to angel investors. There are also numerous small business grants available at the state and Australia-wide level, both from government organizations and private entities. However, with millions of small businesses out there, the selection process can be competitive. The key to qualifying for these grants is to narrow them down to find the best fit.

How does a small business grant work?

Agrant is a sum of money given to an eligible business. Unlike a loan, it doesn’t need to be repaid. The grants will vary widely in scope and value, ranging from a few hundred dollars to millions in development funds. Private and government small business grants provide funding to individual entrepreneurs, brand-new start-ups, and small to medium enterprises (SMEs). You’ll occasionally find a grant that can be used for general funding. The majority, however, are designed to fund a specific project or endeavour. They might come attached with expert advice and training to help prepare a project for launch.

There are hundreds of grants available for small businesses in Australia, but most have very narrow eligibility requirements. To qualify, you’ll often need to not only be based in a specific region or state but also be part of a specific industry.

State-based grants for small business

Here are a few examples of grants for small business available by state.

  • NSW small business grants include theLocal Innovation Network, a commitment from the New South Wales government to support SMEs by region. It offers a potential $2.1 million in funds, connecting entrepreneurs throughout the state. Another NSW small business grant is theMinimum Viable Product grant which offers up to $25,000 to help emerging companies bring new products to market. 

  • Businesses located in Victoria might qualify for theFuture Industries grant, which supports the creation of new jobs in select industries including construction and energy production. Another Victoria-specific grant is theSmall Business Digital Adaptation Program, which helps start-ups purchase digital products.

  • South Australia grants for small business include theVenture Capital Fund, which provides start-ups with a percentage of their initial funding. The rest is meant to be matched by other investors.

These are just a few examples of what’s out there, state by state. To find options applicable to your business, you should look at your local government website.

Government grants for small business

Many grants are provided by the Australian government at the country-wide level. You can look at this directory to see acomprehensive list of small business grants that are currently available.

Highlights include theEntrepreneur’s Programme, which is Australia’s most expansive government grant for small business. It not only provides direct funding, but also enables access to a selection of relevant advisors and training initiatives. There’s up to $1 million available in funding through a variety of schemes, designed to help small businesses grow. To be eligible, your business must be part of the manufacturing, medical technology, food and agriculture, mining, energy, or pharmaceutical sectors. One component of the Entrepreneur’s Programme is its Growth Grants, which can help pay for 50% of specific project costs up to a maximum of $20,000.

In addition to direct grants like those mentioned above, funding might also come in the form of government tax incentives. TheResearch and Development Tax Incentive helps fund research and development for eligible businesses with up to a 43.5% tax offset in the form of a cash rebate.

Private grants for small business

The Australian government offers numerous schemes to help small businesses, but there are also private grants available. Many of these are industry specific. For example, some funds are designed for small businesses in the tourism industry, while others are specific to agriculture, artificial intelligence, or other areas. You can visit sites like theGrants Hub to find out what’s applicable to your business.

Whether you’re applying for government or private grants, the first step should be to read through the fine print to make sure you’re eligible. The next step is to be as thorough as possible with your application, providing all supporting documentation. Don’t send a generic application to every grant program – you should customise your details to suit the requirements of each form. It’s a competitive market out there, but with time and care you’ll often find funding to help fund business growth.

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