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guide to Small Business Grants

A Guide to Small Business Grants in Australia

If you are facing challenges due to lack of funding, there are grants available to support you. This guide will offer helpful links to grants that you can apply for, what you need to know before you do, and how you can write a successful grant proposal.

Defining a Small Business Grant

Starting a small business or staying on top of your competitors is never easy. Luckily, there are financing options available to you, and these can help with operational costs, equipment, research and development, and other objectives you may have. A small business grant helps business owners with a cash injection to run their business smoothly and keep it growing, and you don’t need to pay it back.

Is There a Difference Between a Grant and a Loan?

Yes. While grants and loans both need specific conditions to be fulfilled, they do have considerable differences.

The main difference between a grant and a loan is how you pay it back. A loan is generally a sum of money borrowed from a financial institution or bank. It requires the borrower to repay the amount, along with interest within a specified period.

A grant is a limited amount provided by the government, corporations or trusts to individuals or entities for a specific purpose to support the business’s development. It does not require any repayment unless that amount is not used properly to meet necessary conditions.

Difference Between a Grant and a Loan

Find out more: Thinking of buying a business? Read our guide on how to buy a business for helpful tips.

Advantages and Disadvantages to Consider

The advantages of a loan

  • Loans are easier to process. It can be given by banks, private lenders, or individuals in cash for any personal or commercial purpose.
  • An individual can obtain as much financing as the strength of their credit, which includes the calculation of their ability to fulfill obligations and repay debts.

The disadvantages of a loan

  • Some lenders may require the borrower to hold their assets as security against the loan. If the borrower is unable to repay the loan, the lender has the right to foreclose the mortgage and take the borrower’s assets.

The advantages of a grant

  • Grants are free money for successful applicants. They do not have to bear any interest and repay the grant money.
  • Applicants do not have to take any risk in repayment that may potentially jeopardize their credit rating and assets ownership.

The disadvantages of a grant

  • Almost all grants are for business purposes only (although some may be given for special occasions, like COVID-19 support). They have a higher application requirement, and applicants may have to comply with certain conditions.
  • Since they are generally awarded by the government, the grantees may take longer to review the application. It is not an ideal financing option if the business is seeking immediate funding solutions.

Main Portal Links for Grants in Top States

Different grants are available to provide financial support for small businesses in different states. You can use the grants and programs finder to search grants that you may be eligible for across regions.

You can also refer to the following state-by-state official grants and programs websites:

Small Business Grants to Explore

Grants for small businesses

Apprentice and Trainee Grant for Small Business

This grant aims at increasing the number of apprentices and trainees employed in small businesses in Tasmania by providing them with a subsidy.

It supports employers who are not entitled to claim the Payroll Tax Rebate Scheme. The employer must be registered on the Australian business register (ABR) and employ the apprentice or trainee in a workplace physically located in Tasmania. Successful applicants will receive up to $5,000 for each apprentice or trainee employed on a full-time basis, and $2,500 for each apprentice or trainee employed on a part-time basis.

Small Business Assistance Grant

This grant aims to provide financial assistance to small businesses located within the Perth, Rottnest or Peel regions that were directly financially impacted by COVID-19 restrictions between 23 December 2021 and 4 January 2022.

Businesses in hospitality, music events, and the creative and performing industries can apply for the grant before March 31, 2022, through the SmartyGrants online grants portal. You can receive funding of up to $12,500 if it is an employing small business and up to $4,400 if it is a non-employing small business.

Other grants you can consider:

Small Business Grants to Explore

Community grants

Community and Small Business Fund for CCTV

This funding aims to encourage small businesses in Western and South-Western Sydney to install a CCTV system that protects the business from crime and keeps the community safer.

Small businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million or less than 20 employees can apply for this CCTV fund before June 30, 2023, via the SmartyGrants application portal. This fund will provide free CCTV packages arranged by pre-qualified CCTV suppliers with up to $5,000 allowance for eligible small businesses.

Small Business Energy Saver Program

This program supports small Victorian businesses to save on energy efficient equipment. Applications close on 31 May 2022. On average, each business could receive a $2,000 discount for eligible equipment upgrades. To get an upgrade, you can contact program experts . You can also use this tool to find out how much you would save by upgrading your equipment.

Other grants you can consider:

Start-up business grants

Innovation Connect Grants

If you need support to kickstart your journey into business ownership, this grant program provides matched funding between $10,000 and $30,000 to start a business and fund innovative ideas. You can book a meeting to discuss how you can apply for the grant. Applications close on 8 April 2022.

Minimum Viable Product grants

The MVP grants are for pre-revenue technology startups in New South Wales. It assists startups to communicate with potential business customers, achieve market validation and initial sales.

It is a matched funding grant, covering up to 50% of approved project costs with a maximum sum of $25,000. If you are successful, 35% of the grant will be funded in advance, and 65% will be funded once completed and the MVP is validated. You can apply here.

Other funding options you can consider:

Small business hardship grant

Business Hardship Grant

This grant aims to aid those businesses (who are not eligible for tourism, hospitality, or gym grants) in South Australia impacted by health restrictions from 27 December 2021. Applicants need to apply via the Application Portal . $6,000 per eligible business will be granted for successful applicants and a further grant of $2,000 will be available for businesses that operate in the Adelaide CBD.

Other grants you can consider:

Disability grants

Disability grants

Employment Assistance Fund

Entrepreneurs and business owners with a disability and/or with mental health conditions can apply for this fund. The Employment Assistance Fund or EAF can allow the following upgrades to be made for the business:

  • Changes to the workspace to accommodate any disability requirements
  • Car changes to assist with transportation
  • Tools required at the workplace
  • Interpreting services
  • Additional training relating to disability and mental health at the workplace

This grant provides business owners and entrepreneurs with the opportunity to build up their disability infrastructure with the expenses covered.

Recovery grants

Tropical Cyclone Seroja Small Business Recovery Grants

This is a reimbursement grant that aims to help small businesses in West Australia to clean-up and reinstate the impact of Tropical Cyclone Seroja. The application will be closing on 30 June 2022. Businesses can fill in the application form on SmartyGrants . The reimbursement grant will provide up to $25,000 to aid in helping small businesses recover from the cyclone.

Extraordinary Disaster Assistance Recovery - Tropical Cyclone Niran

This grant program allows Queensland produces to gain funding if their production was impacted by the cyclone. The total grant amount of $75,000 can be obtained through a two-part application process.

For both parts, applicants are required to submit evidence of damage done by Cyclone Niran and original invoices of the cost of items required for the recovery initiatives.

Other grants to consider:

Sole trader grants

Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate

The rebate offers small businesses and sole traders to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and reduce the cost of running their business. Applications are open online, and you can apply on the website. They will close on 30 June 2022.

Eligible applicants only need to apply for the rebate once. They can submit multiple claims until the reach the $2,000 limit.

One Business QLD

The One Business grant allows successful applicants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background in Queensland to have access to coaching materials, training, and counselling on how they can be part of Queensland’s economy. Applicants must have their own businesses or start-ups or aspire to run a business or start-up in the future. You can visit One Business to find out more about the program.

Other grants you can consider:

Renovation grants

Growth grant

Growth Grants are great for entrepreneurs and business owners looking to renovate their businesses and gain a competitive edge in markets. To be awarded for this grant, you would need a roadmap or plan about the renovation and how it can help improve the ability of your business. This grant lasts for a year and you can get up to 50% of project expenses covered, ranging between $2,500 to $20,000.

Other grants you can consider:

Research grants

Defence Cooperative Research Centres Program

Through this research grant, incorporated companies or research organizations can acquire funding to research and develop technologies that are aimed at strengthening Australia’s defense force and national security capacity and capabilities. There are key documents at the bottom of the website that you can read to find out more details.

Other grants you can consider:

Commonwealth grants

Advanced Manufacturing Commercialisation Fund

This grant is eligible for small to medium businesses with less than 200 employees, and the funding will be granted based on proposals aligned to the 6 Priorities of National Manufacturing, including food and beverage, medical items, mining technology, defense, clean and sustainable energy, and space. The funding can cover up to 50% of eligible project expenses and costs.

Other grants you can consider:

Grants for businesswomen

Grants for businesswomen

Women in Business NSW

This grant is for women living or working in New South Wales looking for training/advice on starting or improving their small business.

This grant provides successful applicants with a fully paid online program which assists women in NSW to establish a successful, scalable, and sustainable small enterprise. Applicants need to be setting-up or own a business with less than 200 employees, amongst other criteria. You can find out more about the application process here.

Other grants you can consider:

Considerations When Writing Your Proposal

Grant funding is very competitive, so your proposal must be convincing to win the assessor’s heart. You must fully understand the grant funding guidelines before you get started.

Make sure that you have allocated enough time to gather all the information needed in the application process so that you won’t miss the application deadline.

Preparing for your grant application

Always check the eligibility criteria first before preparing for the application. Then, you can start gathering your business details. In most cases, you will need to include descriptions of your business and a business plan, including objectives, execution plan, and proposed budget. Don't forget to prepare supporting documents such as the financial statement and quotes from relevant parties to explain how you will use the grant money.

Writing your grant application

When you have finished your preparation, you can start writing your grant application. One of the main purposes of the proposal is to let the accessor easily understand your thoughts through reading your proposal. Therefore, you have to pay attention to the following:

  • Write clear headings and subheadings to help the assessor quickly locate and review the key points.
  • Avoid using jargon that may lower the readability of the proposal. You don’t want to confuse the assessor.
  • Include details of your business activities. It is crucial to show how they aligns with the objectives of the grant.

Important reminders

  • Check your budget to see if it adds up to your business capacity and provide evidence to support it.
  • You can use this checklist to double-check you have completed all the steps before applying.
Considerations When Writing Your Proposal

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How Can Help You

Applying for grants can help your business cope with operation cost and enhance your business’s sustainability. But you will need to go through a series of processes by filling out various forms and preparing relevant documents.

You’ll need to include some financial details of your business in the proposal, including a valuation of your business. You can use ValueRight to do this. It is free, and it will provide a pragmatic valuation of your company that you can use as supporting documentation in your application.

Although you may not be thinking about the selling or buying process, it may be useful to refresh your memory on selling your business or buying a business . If the time does come, you’ll have a foundational understanding of the processes.

If you’d like more guidance or have any questions, feel free to contact us . We wish you all the best in your applications!

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