Free money is good money. One of the most critical parts of running a business is not only good cashflow, but making sure you’re able to maximise the amount of working capital you have to invest.
And too often, businesses overlook one of the most fundamental capital sources – government grants.
There is a treasure trove of investment just waiting to be poured out for eligible businesses. And for whatever reason – whether they just simply don’t know about it, or are perhaps discouraged by the paperwork – many let grants slip by the wayside.
That’s a big mistake.
No matter what industry you’re in, there’s no doubt you’ll find a grant you can access, whether it’s through Commercialisation Australia or one of the federal or state energy efficiency agencies.
One of the positives of the carbon tax is that it has brought with it a whole slew of free money for small businesses.
So we’ve done the hard yards and compiled a list of the best federal grants.
Let’s be clear – these aren’t the only grants available. But they represent some of the broadest offers on the table and should provide a well-needed boost.
Accelerated Australian Apprenticeships Initiative
Who for? Any business employing an apprentice of any kind. Funding is given to Skills Councils and other industry bodies to lead projects in partnership with different employers. Partners will need to co-invest in the program.
What for? The funding is discretionary and given out to projects that provide more attractive pathways for apprenticeships, support transferability of skills and enable career mobility, as well as anything that provides more effective career pathways.
How much? The funding is discretionary, although employers need to put up between 33-66%, depending on the size of the company. And as of this year, apprenticeship completion payments have been increased from $2,500 to $3,000.
When does it close? The program is four years long and started in 2011, so applications are open at any time. More information is available here.
Automotive Transformation Scheme
Who for? Any business connected to automotive manufacturing, which includes motor vehicle producers, but also automotive component producers, machine tool and tooling producers, and service providers.
What for? There is no specific plan for what the funds must be used for.
How much? Grants are discretionary, based on the applicant.
When does it close? The current scheme is set to run until December 2020, but assistance is capped at $1.5 billion until 2015, along with $847 million of uncapped assistance. More information is available here.
Who for? Any business – there are no restrictions on size, especially with a few different components to the grants themselves.
What for? There are four different aspects of the Commercialisation Australia process:
- Skills and Knowledge, to help businesses access specialised advice.
- Experienced Executives, allowing businesses to access a CEO or other types of senior executives for advice.
- Proof of concept, which provides grants to show the commercial viability of new products
- Early Stage Commercialisation, which provides grants to bring a new product or service to market.
How much? The amount provided under each grant changes based on the category:
- Skills and Knowledge – Grants of up to $50,000
- Experienced Executives – Up to $350,000
- Proof of Concept – Between $50,000 and $250,000
- Early Stage Commercialisation – Between $50,000 and $2 million
When does it close? The Commercialisation Australia program is currently open and information about applications can be found here.