Social media giant Facebook has this week opened applications for its latest small business grants, calling on Australian small businesses in Melbourne and Sydney to apply for financial support.
On Wednesday, Facebook emailed local operators of Facebook business pages to invite them to apply for the grants, which are part of a global program worth US$100 million.
Facebook announced the grant program back in March, saying it was committed to helping small businesses that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic by offering cash grants and advertising credits.
The program will provide support to up to 30,000 businesses in more than 30 countries, with approximately 465 Australian businesses expected to benefit.
The tech company is offering approximately $3 million in grants to Australian businesses, with successful businesses to each receive $6,400. These amounts include $4,000 in cash and $2,400 in optional advertising credits.
To be eligible for one of the grants, Australian businesses must meet the following criteria:
- Have between two and 50 employees as of January 1, 2020;
- Have been in business for over one year;
- Be a for-profit business;
- Be in Sydney or Melbourne, where Facebook has offices in Australia; and
- Have experienced challenges due to COVID-19.
A spokesperson for Facebook Australia confirmed to SmartCompany that the grants will only be available to businesses that have a registered address in the local government areas for the City of Sydney and the City of Melbourne.
This means businesses in the following suburbs are eligible:
- City of Sydney: Alexandria, Annandale, Barangaroo, Beaconsfield, Camperdown, Centennial Park, Chippendale, Darlinghurst, Darlington, Dawes Point, Elizabeth Bay, Erskineville, Eveleigh, Forest Lodge, Glebe, Haymarket, Millers Point, Moore Park, Newtown, Paddington, Potts Point, Pyrmont, Redfern, Rosebery, Rushcutters Bay, St Peters, Surry Hills, Sydney, The Rocks, Ultimo, Waterloo, Woolloomooloo, and Zetland.
- City of Melbourne: Carlton, Docklands, East Melbourne, Kensington, Flemington, North Melbourne, Parkville, Port Melbourne, Southbank, South Yarra – west, West Melbourne and Melbourne.
Businesses do not need to have a Facebook presence to apply for one of the grants, and Facebook says applicants will need to provide a business registration extract from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
The opening of the grants program comes amid ongoing debate about a proposed code of conduct by the federal government, which would compel large tech companies such as Facebook and Google to pay for local news content.
Facebook has threatened to remove the ability of Australian users to post news content on its platforms if the proposed code comes into effect, while Google has also hit back at the proposal and made threats of its own that could affect Australian small businesses.
Applications for the Facebook Small Business Grants Programme in Australia opened today and will close on September 22.
More information is available here.
This article was updated on Tuesday, September 22 to include more information about which suburbs are included in the grant eligibility criteria.