Finding ways to increase cash flow can be one of the most difficult things for small businesses.
Fortunately, there are a number of federal grants around designed to give you a bit of a helping hand.
Here’s SmartCompany’s round-up of the best federal grants available to small businesses.
Export Market Development Grants
Current and aspiring exporters can be assisted by this key federal government financial assistance program, which is administered by Austrade.
Known for assisting inbound tourism and the export of intellectual property and expertise outside Australia, these grants can develop and assist SMEs to develop export markets.
Businesses can be reimbursed for up to half of their eligible promotion expenses above $5000 if their total expenses exceed $15,000, and can apply up to eight times.
Applications close in December – more details are available here.
Research and Development Tax Incentive
This broad-based entitlement program, open to businesses of all sizes and in sectors doing R&D, aims to help more businesses innovate by offsetting some of the costs involved.
Some of the benefits for small to medium size businesses conducting eligible R&D activities include refundable tax offsets of 45% where aggregated turnover is less than $20 million.
For businesses with aggregated turnover of more than $20 million, a 40% non-refundable offset can be claimed for notional deductions on R&D expenditure.
The R&D Tax Incentive Snapshot is a handy step-by-step guide designed to give small to medium sized businesses an overview of the program and help determine eligibility across sectors including agrifood, biotech, energy, information and communication technology and manufacturing.
Companies must register R&D activities with AusIndustry before they can claim for benefits through this program.
Applications for registration are due 10 months after the end of a company’s income year – more details are available here.
Automotive Transformation Scheme
From January 1, 2011, the Automotive Transformation Scheme (ATS) has been supporting innovation in the struggling car industry by allowing select automotive businesses to access cash payments towards investment and production.
Each year the ATS provides eligible businesses such as car producers, car component producers, vehicle machine tool producers and service providers up to $2.5 billion in capped assistance and about $348 million in uncapped assistance.
The scheme runs until December 31, 2020.
Applications close at the end of December for year ahead – more details are available here.
Automotive Diversification Programme
Businesses which are part of the automotive supply chain are eligible to apply for these grants, which are aimed at helping those affected by the closure of the car manufacturing industry in 2017 diversify their business.
Grants of between $50,000 and up $1 million are available, while guidelines have recently been expanded to include support for businesses which invest in state-of-the-art or second-hand capital equipment and reconfiguration.
Venture Capital Limited Partnerships
Designed to give incentives to fund managers for investing in Australian businesses, in particular at-risk startups, the VCLP allows eligible funds to gain access to flow-through tax treatment.
Funds with assets of up to $250 million are eligible to register as a VCLP, but at least half the project and its employees must be in Australia.
Investments must have been held for a one-year minimum and be considered “high risk”.
Applications are to Innovation Australia – more information is available here.
Certain Inputs to Manufacture
While not a grant strictly speaking, this program can help SMEs which are importing by way of duty concessions.
This program aims to increase competitiveness for those importing goods into Australia by providing import duty concessions on certain raw materials and intermediate goods such as chemical, plastics or paper goods, metal materials and goods used for the packaging of food.
An independent technical assessment, which ensures the imported goods are of a superior quality compared to comparable products in Australia, is used to assess applications for these concessions.
For this reason, applications need to provide advice from the Industry Capability Network which identifies at least one Australian manufacturer of comparable goods.
Information on the concessions is available here.
The Entrepreneurs’ Programme replaced the former Commercialisation Australia and the Innovation and Investment Fund last year. It recently changed name from the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme.
The program is pitched as the government’s flagship initiative for business competitiveness and productivity at the firm level and will disperse $484.2 million over a five-year period and offers support to businesses in three streams: business management, research connections and accelerating commercialisation.
Businesses which have been through the business management stream become eligible to apply for Business Growth Grants, which can be used to reimburse a business for up to half the cost of engaging external consultants to make improvements to your business. The grants are capped at $20,000.
Applications must be made within six months of undertaking a business evaluation – more details available here.
Businesses which go through the research connections stream, which uses a ‘facilitation first’ approach, can become eligible for a matched funding Research Connections Grant of up to $50,000 for engaging in research activities.
Applications for the Research Connections Grant are to be submitted within 12 months of the business completing the compulsory Research Connections Service – more details are available here.
Businesses which go through the accelerating commercialisation stream are eligible for Accelerating Commercialisation Grants, which can take the form of matched funding to support a business’s commercialisation activities.
Applications to the stream are by way of registration for program updates – more details available here.
A list of grant federal government programs no longer open to new applications is available here.
Tomorrow, SmartCompany will bring you the best state grants for your business.