Small businesses account for 35% of all value generated in Australia. That’s a big chunk of the economy, which is why both state and federal governments invest heavily in grants to help this sector to grow.
Every small business owner would like a share of this pie. Unfortunately, no one is handing out grants just because you run a business and could use a leg up. Grants are almost always designed to encourage specific activity in an industry, economy or community.
Grants are never money for jam. Often grants provide expert advice or training rather than cash. Where money is on offer it is usually in the form of a tax rebate or investment matching. So don’t expect to get something for nothing.
The best way to start looking for grants is to consider how your business objectives and plans might align with government objectives. Here are some examples.
Business Objective: Starting up a new business aligns with
Government Objective: Encouraging new business initiatives
NSW-Business Connect: This program offers free advice for anyone wanting to start or grow a small business.
NSW-Minimum Viable Product: This program is designed for tech start ups and offers up to $25,000 matched investment to get new ideas off the ground.
Business Objective: Expand my business aligns with
Government Objective: Jobs growth and expansion of small business sector
Entrepreneurs Programme: This federal government program sets out to ensure that businesses get the advice and support needed to improve competitiveness, productivity and growth. The program offers free business evaluation by an experience business adviser, plus a matched grant of up to $20k to help implement the advisers recommendations.
Small Business Grant: The NSW government offers payroll tax relief in an effort to encourage smaller businesses to expand staff numbers. The grant provides $2,000 per full time equivalent position.
Business Objective: Open up new markets for my business aligns with
Government Objective: Increase Australian exports
Export Market Development Grant (EMDG): AusTrade offers a grant of up to 50% of eligible costs for marketing your business overseas (less the first $5,000 spent). A word of warning, application and compliance processes for this grant are complex and can be onerous. Make sure your record keeping is good and consider hiring a specialist consultant.
Business Objective: Cut my business energy bills aligns with
Government Objective: Improve energy efficiency
Energy Saver: The NSW government offers businesses access to expertise, support, training and funding to implement energy efficiency measures.
Environmental Upgrade Agreements NSW: If your business owns its premises, then it may be able to access loans for upgrading to maximise energy efficiency through this program from the NSW government.
Business Objective: Minimise hiring and training costs aligns with
Government Objective: Encourage employment of specific groups
Wage Subsidies: The federal government offers funding of up to $10,000 to hire, train and retain job seekers aged 15-25 or 50+. Up to $6,500 is available for new employees ages 25-29, of Indigenous Australian background or who are registered with an employment services provider for 12 months or more.
What else is out there?
The Grants & Assistance Tool is an excellent resource if you are looking for grants. It’s free and provides a comprehensive list of state and federal programs. When searching, remember to try and align yourself with objectives that will have government support, like waste management, training, export etc.