Federal government grants to help your small business: 2020

family business

Federal government grants can give a small business a much-needed helping hand overcoming one of its biggest challenges: cashflow.

But finding out which grants are available to your business, and navigating the application process, can be a minefield.

Here’s SmartCompany’s list of the some of the best federal government grants to help you on your way:

  1. Export Market Development Grant
  2. Entrepreneurs’ Programme
  3. Research and Development Tax Incentive
  4. Certain Inputs to Manufacture
  5. Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program (AAIP)
  6. Business Development and Assistance Program
  7. Venture Capital Limited Partnerships


Export Market Development Grant

An oldie but a goodie, the Export Market Development Grant scheme is available to small businesses that export their goods and services.

The scheme, which is administered by Austrade, operates more like an incentive for exporters, as opposed to a straight-up cash payment. Recipients are required to spend their own funds first before applying for reimbursement from the government.

SMEs can be reimbursed up to 50% of eligible promotion expenses above a threshold of $5,000, provided that their total expenses amount to more than $15,000.

Eligible applicants can receive up to eight grants, although the maximum amount a business can receive in its initial payment is $60,000.

You must complete and submit your online application, including all required documents, between July 1 and midnight (AEDT) November 30, 2020, or use an approved EMDG Quality Incentive Program (QIP) Consultant who can lodge a claim on your behalf until midnight (AEDT) March 2, 2021.

Find out more about the Export Market Development Grant available here.

Entrepreneurs’ Programme

Now part of the Federal Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, the Entrepreneur’s Programme replaced Commercialisation Australia and the Innovation and Investment Fund in 2014.

The program is available all year. Pitched as a way to help SMEs, entrepreneurs and researchers commercialise their business ideas, this federal government grant offers both cash grants and guidance from experts.

Accelerating Commercialisation Grants offer businesses payments worth up to 50% of their expenditure on a given project, which is capped at $250,000 for commercialisation offices and eligible partner entities, and $1 million for other applicants.

Businesses can also apply for Commercialisation Guidance from an expert adviser, who can offer strategic advice, feedback on applying for an Accelerating Commercialisation Grant, and help to access a range of portfolio services.

Find out more about the Entrepreneurs’ Programme here.

Research and Development Tax Incentive

Businesses of all sizes can access the Commonwealth’s Research and Development Tax Incentive, although the offsets available differ depending on the business’s revenue.

Businesses with annual turnover under $20 million can claim a 43.5% refundable tax offset against R&D expenditure.

All other eligible companies can claim a 38.5% non-refundable tax offset against R&D expenditure. Non-refundable amounts that are not used in a given income year can be carried forward into future income years.

To claim the R&D Tax Incentive, businesses must first complete the application form to register for R&D activities.

Businesses have until 10 months after the end of the income year in which the R&D activities occurred to apply for the tax break, and they must register for every income year in which they plan to claim the offset.

Find out more about the Research and Development Tax Incentive here.

Certain Inputs to Manufacture

While not strictly a grants scheme, the government’s Certain Inputs to Manufacture program can provide savings to businesses that import raw materials or intermediate goods.

For eligible businesses, the scheme essentially eliminates import duties for materials and goods needed by Australian companies.

To qualify, the goods must be of superior quality to goods already available in Australia and shown to benefit Australian competitiveness. Examples of eligible goods include chemicals, plastics, paper goods, metal materials and goods used in food packaging.

Find out more about the Certain Inputs to Manufacture program here.

Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program (AAIP)

The AAIP provides a wage subsidy to small businesses (including those using a Group Training Organisation) to support the retention of their existing apprentices and trainees. This program was scheduled to be replaced with a new “simplified and streamlined program”, the Incentives for Australian Apprenticeships (IAA), on July 1, but this has been pushed to January 1, 2021, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of an apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for nine months from January 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020. The apprentice or trainee must have been in-training with a small business as at March 1, 2020.

Find out more about the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program here.

Business Development and Assistance Program

This federal government program provides support, including concessional loans and asset leasing, to Indigenous people who are looking to start or grow a small or medium business.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 18 and over can apply for assistance under the program, which is designed to help prospective and existing business owners access appropriate training and government services to help them either start a business or grow their existing business.

Find out more about the Business Development and Assistance Program here.

Venture Capital Limited Partnerships 

The Venture Capital Limited Partnerships (VCLP) scheme is for fund managers who are investing in Australian companies, particularly high-risk startups.

Funds must register as a VCLP in order to access the benefit, which is the form of flow-through taxation treatment.

The partnerships also provide investors with exemptions from capital gains tax on their share of profits made by the partnership.

There are several conditions attached to the program, including requirements that the investments are “high risk” and held for a minimum of 12 months. The project cannot have more than $250 million in assets and at least half of the project and employees must be based in Australia.

Find out more about Venture Capital Limited Partnerships here.

We haven’t covered all the grants available to Australian businesses, but this list should set you on the right path. More information about all federal government grants and financial assistance can be found here.

This post was originally published on August 8, 2016, and has been updated to list the federal government grants that are currently available.

NOW READ: Seven tips to make e-commerce work for your small business

NOW READ: Top five government grants for start ups


Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

Thanks for this useful post,please keep updating.