Federal Government Grants

Free money for growth

Government assistance is designed to help companies grow – it will not provide start-up capital, get you through a cashflow crisis or help you pay creditors. In fact in many cases grants are made in the form of a refund or credit for money already spent.

There has never been a better time to get your hands on some government assistance. For starters, the slowing economy means business owners need every bit of help they can get. Secondly, the Rudd Government’s decision to slash $1 billion worth of business programs from this year’s budget highlights how programs can be here one day and gone the next. Act now!

SmartCompany’s pick of the best grants from the Federal Government

Click on the name to link to more information.

Commercialising Emerging Technologies (COMET)

  • Who for? Early stage companies less than five years old who have innovation with commercial potential.
  • What for? Strategic planning and advice, intellectual property advice, market research, prototypes.
  • How much? Up to $120,000. COMET involves a two tier funding system, with customers able to claim $64,000 in tier one (at a rate of 80% of eligible expenditure) and $54,000 under two tier (at a rate of 50% of eligible expenditure).
  • When does it close? Ongoing.
  • We say: With the collapse of Commercial Ready, COMET is the big grant for SMEs on the cutting edge of technology. There is big dollars on offer through the program, but be aware that the application process is long and arduous.You will need to work with a COMET business adviser and will be required to pay a set success fee for any capital raising assisted by the business adviser.

Export Market Development Grants

  • Who for? Exporters that have revenue under $30 million a year and have spent $15,000 over two years on eligible export marketing expenses.
  • What for? To help with the cost of marketing expenses such as travel, marketing consultants, communications, free samples, trade fairs and overseas representatives.
  • How much? Up to $200,000. The grant reimburses up to 50% of expenses incurred on eligible export promotion activities, above a $15,000 threshold.
  • When does it close? Applications for the 2007-08 grant year opened on 1 July 2008 and close 30 June 2009.
  • We say: The most popular export grant that has been used by countless companies to start their push into overseas markets. Again, you’ll probably need to use a consultant who specialises in securing this grant, but you can wade through the paperwork yourself. The maximum amount payable under this grant dropped recently but should rise again next year thanks to a funding injection from the Rudd Government.

R&D tax concession

  • Who for? Pretty much anyone – there is something for big companies, small companies and even foreign-owned companies.
  • What for? To encourage R&D in Australia.
  • How much? Most companies can claim a deduction from assessable income of up to 125% of eligible R&D expenditure on corporate tax paid. Companies that increase their R&D spending over three years (subject to certain criteria) can claim an extra concession, called the R&D Incremental (175% premium) Tax Concession.
  • When does it close? Ongoing.
  • We say: This is the Federal Government’s big weapon in the fight to encourage R&D and it is very popular with companies big and small. The types of companies that can apply for the concession is wide and there is a range of expenses considered eligible under the program. Given this is a tax concession, you’ll have to face the extra complication of dealing with the tax office, but most good accountants will be able to give you a hand.

Other grants

Farm businesses – professional advice and planning grants

  • Who for? Farm businesses affected by the drought.
  • What for? To access professional advice to assist their drought management and recovery processes.
  • How much? $5500
  • When does it close? 12 June 2009

Farm businesses – exceptional circumstances exit package 2007

  • Who for? Farmers in drought declared areas
  • What for? To help these farmers sell their land and exit agriculture.
  • How much? Up to $150,000
  • When does it close? 30 June 2009

Australian apprenticeships

  • Who for? Employers who hire an apprentice.
  • What for? To reduce training costs.
  • How much? Up to $5000 for certain occupations identified as needing skilled workers.
  • When does it close? Ongoing.

Automotive competitiveness and investment scheme

  • Who for? Automotive companies that produce over $500,000 of automotive products annually.
  • What for? To encourage innovation and investment in the automotive sector.
  • How much? In most instances, companies will be able to claim 25% of the value of new investment in plant and equipment; and 45% of the value of investment in R&D in the form of input duty credits.
  • When does it close? Ongoing until 2015.

Enhanced Project By-law Scheme

  • Who for? Companies involved in significant projects in the mining, resource processing, agriculture, food processing, food packaging, manufacturing, gas supply, power supply and water supply industries.
  • What for? Eligible goods not made in Australia or technologically superior to those made in Australia, to be imported duty free, such as equipment or stainless steel materials.
  • How much? Uncapped, but eligible projects must have total project expenditure on capital goods of $10 million or greater.
  • When does it close? Ongoing.

Business Enterprise Centres

  • Who for? Small businesses
  • What for? Business advice, planning, benchmarking etc.
  • How much? The BECs provide low-cost planning and advisory services
  • When does it close? On going

Enterprise Connect

  • Who for? SMEs of all types can apply, although there are specific centres dedicated to manufacturing, clean energy and mining.
  • What for? Business reviews, mentoring and assistance in accessing government programs.
  • How much? The Enterprise Connect centres provide low-cost advisory services.
  • When does it close? On going.

Ethanol production grants

  • Who for? Australian ethanol producers making ethanol from biomass feedstock, which is to be used in, or as, a transport fuel in Australia.
  • What for? To encourage use of biofuels.
  • How much? 38.143 cents per litre produced.
  • When does it close? Ongoing.

New Export Development Program

  • Who for? Australian companies who have not exported more than three times in the last three years, or have not achieved exports with a cumulative value of more than $200,000 in the last three years.
  • What for? To assist SMEs to find and prepare for export opportunities.
  • How much? Twenty hours of assistance at no charge delivered through Austrade’s overseas network in a maximum of two markets, plus coaching and assistance selecting export markets.
  • When does it close? Ongoing.

Satellite Phone Subsidy Scheme

  • Who for? People who live and work in the most remote parts of Australia.
  • What for? To subsidise the cost of a satellite mobile phone.
  • How much? Up to $1000 towards the cost of a phone.
  • When does it close? Ongoing.

Textile, clothing and footwear expanded overseas assembly provisions scheme

  • Who for? Firms that assemble garments and footwear overseas from predominantly Australian fabric and/or leather and then import them back into Australia for local consumption.
  • What for? Duty concessions for the above imported goods.
  • How much? N/A
  • When does it close? 30 June 2010.

Textile, Clothing and Footwear Post-2005 Strategic Investment Program (TCF Post-2005 SIP) Scheme

  • Who for? Textile, clothing and footwear companies.
  • What for? There are grants to two types of expenditure. Tier one expenditure includes new plant and equipment/building expenditure, trade showings and in-store promotions (brand support). Tier two grants are for research and development, including innovative product development activities. Companies must spend $200,000 on eligible expenditure to qualify.
  • How much? Up to 40% of tier one expenditure and 80% of tier two expenditure.
  • When does it close? 2014-15

Textile, Clothing and Footwear Small Business Program

  • Who for? Any textile, clothing and footwear firm with 20 employees or less.
  • What for? To help these SMEs improve their “business enterprise culture” – the nature and style of the decision-making and production processes that occur within a business.
  • How much? Up to $50,000
  • When does it close? 2016-17

Tradex scheme

  • Who for? Exporters
  • What for? The scheme provides relief to business via an up-front exemption from customs duty and GST on imported goods intended for re-export or to be used as inputs to exports. The scheme removes the need to “drawback” these charges after export
  • How much? N/A
  • When does it close? Ongoing

Indigenous grants and subsidies (various)

  • Who for? Indigenous business people
  • What for? To encourage and assist indigenous people to start and grow their companies.
  • How much? N/A
  • When does it close? Ongoing.


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