Small Business Grants 2019 – A to Z about SME Grants NSW, QLD, VIC

Small business grants Australia
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Australia offers small businesses billions of dollars worth of support through grants that are available to those that meet the criteria. At any given time, there are government small business grants available for all types of small business and the options available are numerous. We also have a range of small business loans available for Australian SME’s.

10 Australian Small Business Grants for Start-ups

It is always best to do some research before deciding on which grant to apply for because the time and effort spent on the application is considerable. The important criterion to look for is eligibility and the application should be tailored to the specific grant, with all sections of the application completed fully.

The Entrepreneurs’ Programme

This is the largest grants project run by the Australian Government and is aimed at improving business competitiveness and productivity.

The program concentrates on four key aspects:

  • Novel products, services and processes in small and medium businesses, assisting them to reach peak commercialization.
  • Business advisers are provided to assist in the management process, giving the small business the opportunity to become more competitive. Small businesses are guided into understanding how to take advantage of growth opportunities through trade within Australian and with foreign markets.
  • Business incubators are deployed to assist small businesses and start ups with developing their business competence.
  • Innovation Facilitators collaborate with the business to help identify issues that may hold growth back.

How the small business is facilitated:

  1. Collaboration opportunities are ensured through a network of over 100 private sector advisers and facilitators with experience from around the country.
  2. Co-funded grants are made available for commercializing products and services.
  3. Funding is available for growth, business evaluation services, supply chain facilitation and consulting services for growth and opportunities.
  4. The program includes funding, ongoing business guidance, and reviews.

How to determine eligibility:

  • Businesses that are involved with food and agriculture, mining, energy, advanced manufacturing, medical technology, and pharmaceuticals are eligible.
  • Tourism businesses that operate in Northern Australia also qualify.
  • Any person committed to and capable of operating any of the above businesses in the near future can apply.

Export Market Development Grants

Exporting of products and services can be time consuming and costly but the export market is one worth delving into. Export Market Development Grants are essential in helping the small business man to overcome some of the pressure.

How the small business is facilitated:

  1. Export promotional activities often involve the presence of the small business at international trade shows, requiring overseas travel. The business is reimbursed for the expenses incurred during the attendance at these.
  2. If the promotional expenses exceed $15,000, then the reimbursement is 50%. There is a minimum grant of $5,000 and the maximum pay-out is $15,000.

How to determine eligibility:

  • Australian citizens who own a business, or are functioning within a group dealing with exports are liable for reimbursement, as long as they have attended export promotional activities within the last year of applying for the grant.

Disaster Recovery Allowance

There is a wide range of occurrences that can be considered disasters. Various regions in Australia are more prone to some disasters than others. Nonetheless, the Australian Government does offer businesses assistance for storms, cyclones, bushfires, flooding, cyclones, etc.

How the small business is facilitated:

Small business owners, whose income has been directly disrupted by a declared disaster, receive financial assistance for up to 13 weeks thereafter.

How to determine eligibility:

  • Only Australian citizens and visa holders over the age of 16 qualify for this allowance.
  • The person applying must live or work in the area affected by the disaster.
  • Proof needs to be provided that no other income support is available at the time.
  • The person applying must be earning less than the income threshold following the incident that caused the loss of income.

Business in Transition Support (BiTS)

Business requirements and circumstances are always evolving and most businesses need some form of BiTS at some point.

How the small business is facilitated:

  1. During business restructuring support and advice is offered to employers and employees.
  2. Valuable advice and guidance is offered in the event that a business has to close down, create redundancies or to manage any changes within the business.
  3. Business owners in Victoria are assisted to organize free on-site information sessions for employees.

How to determine eligibility:

  • Every business in Australia is eligible for some form of Business Transition Support and can easily apply.

Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund

This type of funding is different for each state in Australia and the website of each state can be consulted for the types of grants available.

How the small business is facilitated:

  1. Any project aimed at improving tourist accommodation, facilities and experiences in the various regions of Australia qualify for these grants.
  2. Depending on the region and the type of upgrade the funding is between $50,000 and $250,000.

How to determine eligibility:

  • The business should currently be working or about to start working within the tourism industry or with tourism partners.
  • It should be in a regional area of Australia.
  • Preference is given to the types of projects that encourage extended interstate tourism and also attracts international tourists.
  • The applicants for the grant must be able to actively demonstrate their proposed developments, how these will improve tourism, and create growth for the region and the business.

iLab Startup Incubation

These grant are aimed at start-ups based in Queensland and are aimed at all types of businesses from robotics to social enterprises. The grants are funded both by the state and federal government.

How the small business is facilitated:

  1. Amenities and incubator space are provided.
  2. Mentors are provided by the program to help guide and support the start-ups and they attend regular seminars during the early stage.
  3. The start-ups are matched with business partners like PayPal, Microsoft, AWS, Hubspot, Google, etc. and they are offered benefits by these providers.
  4. They are brought into contact with a network of professionals and investors.

How to determine eligibility:

  • There are various programs ad each one has its own specific eligibility requirements. Some of these are hard to meet while others are easier.

The Advancing Renewables Program

The aim of the Australian Government is to accelerate the process of shifting the country’s energy requirements to affordable and reliable renewable energy resources. Even though mostly corporations are liable for these grants, there are opportunities for small businesses that are involved in the industry to qualify.

How the small business is facilitated:

  1. Projects that are liable for funding have to prove that they can contribute to cheaper energy that offers better value. It is also important that the business reduces or removes barriers to implementing renewable energy. They need to contribute to improved skills, knowledge or capacity as far as renewable energy is concerned. The business must show that it can improve the technological and commercial readiness of the renewable energy industry.
  2. Funding is not only available to the businesses that can provide the entire criteria above, but also to research and analysis that can contribute toward achieving these aims.
  3. The funding provided ranges from $100,000 to $50 million, depending on the project.

How to determine eligibility:

  • Projects that involve renewable energy technology and all of the other technologies that can offer cheaper and better value energy are considered for this type of funding.
  • Besides registered corporations that can apply for funding, there are also grant opportunities for those that can offer research, desk top studies, analyses etc.

No Interest Microcredit Loans for Tasmania and ACT

There are two programs for small interest- free or low-interest loans in Australia, the one is run for Tasmania and the other for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). These are aimed at low income individuals who want to start or grow a small business.

How the small business is facilitated:

  1. Existing businesses or new ones are offered mentoring advice on the requirements of running a small business that assists with its growth.
  2. No-interest loans are provided for up to $3,000, while for higher amounts the interest rates are low.

How to determine eligibility:

  • The applicants must have a below threshold family income.
  • They must be holders of a healthcare or pension card.
  • Applicants need to reside and run the business in the state for which they are seeking the loan.
  • A business plan has to be submitted with the application.

Unlocking Capital for Jobs in South Australia

This program is available in South Australia and helps small and medium sized businesses access loans.

How the small business is facilitated:

  1. With this program businesses in South Australia can secure commercially viable loans with more preferable terms.

How to determine eligibility:

  • There are some criteria that both the lender, business applicant and the terms of the loan need to meet before a South Australian can qualify for this assistance.
  • The government does assist by providing security for the loan if the business applicant meets the lending criteria, but is unable to provide security. The state government requires that the loan will create jobs and business growth before it guarantees the loan.

Environmental Upgrade Agreements

This facility is aimed at environmental upgrades for commercial building owners or business that can secure the owner’s permission in NSW. The owner will also have to sign the loan agreement. The building to be upgraded must be a non-strata development. The owners have access to secure loans at competitive rates and longer repayment terms.

How the small business is facilitated:

  1. Commercial buildings are upgraded so that they can be more energy efficient.
  2. The upgrades are repaid through the local council rate system, making this a less risky investment for lenders who offer better repayment rates and terms.
  3. The long term repayment allows for the cost-savings from the upgrade to pay off the loan more effectively.

How to determine eligibility:

The upgrades must conform to the following in order for the loan to be granted:

  • Energy and water efficiency must be improved.
  • The building must use more renewable energy than before the upgrade and its greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced.
  • The use of materials must be reduced and the previous building materials must be recovered or recycled.
  • The environmental performance of the building will have to be monitored.
  • The proposals for the upgrade must indicate that alternatives to car travel are provided; these can include walking, cycling or even public transport.

Centrelink and NEIS

Aimed at people on Centrelink who want to start their own business, the NEIA program can provide support for up to 13 weeks of the business commencement. The business must not be operational when the grant is sought and it must be legal and upstanding. It cannot be the takeover or purchase of an existing business.

How the small business is facilitated:

  1. The requirements are that the business is lawful and the scheme offers applicants business support, mentoring services and an allowance to assist with its establishments.
  2. The places are limited to 6300 per year so that makes the competition stiff, requiring an excellent business idea that is commercially viable, experience and a drive to achieve. The business must be located in Australia.
  3. Loans are not easy to come by unless the business has been running for a while and can demonstrate earnings. The lending rates can be a bit on the steep side.

How to determine eligibility:

  • The applicant must be 18 plus and on an eligible Centrelink scheme.
  • Eligibility for jobactive and disability employment services is essential.
  • Should not qualify for an age pension before or during NEIS.
  • Not be currently bankrupt.
  • Must be available to participate in training and work full time in the NEIS business.
  • Must not have received NEIS assistance in the last 3 years or for a similar business previously.

Final word

All grants and loans should be sought through Federal and State Government websites and other websites should not be trusted. All government grants are for free and a fee is never requested. All official sites have the “” suffix and Australian citizens need to be wary of scams.



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