Victorian micro businesses that have missed out on state government support payments during the latest COVID-19 lockdowns will soon be able to apply for $3000 grants in a program administered by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA).
The ‘Doing it Tough’ grant program aims to support businesses that have ‘fallen through the cracks’ because they were not big enough to qualify for government support.
Grants of $3000 will be available to micro businesses with up to three employees, as well as sole traders, which have annual turnover of under $75,000 and which have not received state government COVID-related support, either as a business or individual, since June 2021.
Applications for the grants will open via a Google form on the COSBOA website at 5pm on September 27 and will close at 5pm on October 11.
The program was born out of donations previously provided via GoFundMe to support an individual business. While most of the donations were returned to GoFundMe when the credentials of the small business owner were questioned and GoFundMe offered refunds to donors, the fundraising site then contacted COSBOA to help distribute the funds to other small businesses in need.
Commonwealth Bank and Transurban have also come on board to support the program.
To be eligible, businesses need to be based in Victoria and have a valid Australian Business Number.
The application process will also involve providing a 300-word statement about how their business is “doing it tough” and this statement will be used by COSBOA in the selection process.
Once a business is selected as a finalist, it will need to provide further information to show it meets the eligibility requirements, including tax returns or Business Activity Statements for the previous two financial years; payroll details to verify how many employees it has; bank details and a declaration that no other government support has been received since June 2021.
COSBOA chief executive Alexi Boyd said micro businesses in Victoria are still “doing it tough” across Victoria and these grants will help them cover basic business expenses, re-pay debt from last year’s lockdowns or help them pivot to make their businesses more viable.
Nicola Britton, regional manager at GoFundMe Australia, added that the fundraising platform has seen an increase in campaigns to support small businesses over the past 18 months.
“We’ve witnessed the life-changing impact donations can have on those trying to cover urgent overheads and critical expenses,” she said.
“The grants will bridge a growing funding gap during ongoing lockdowns.”
More information about the program and eligibility criteria is available here.