Six government grants for businesses that you might not know about

government grants

What grants for businesses are currently accepting applications?

For business owners and entrepreneurs, grants and investment from the Australian government can be a godsend, and popular local grants such as the Entrepreneurs’ Programme are likely already familiar to company founders.

But beyond the five most common startup grants exists a world of grants for businesses of all sizes, with millions on offer for the companies working in narrow fields or those working on building a better future for all Australians.

While not every SME and startup founder can apply for these grants, the federal government has a significant amount of capital ready to provide to those who fit the bill, with some grants even reaching into the multiple millions. If you’re looking to start a company, knowing these grants are potentially available to you could influence how you set yourself up.

Here are six grants for businesses you might not have heard of…

  1. The Advancing Renewables Program
  2. Business Development and Assistance Program
  3. Space Concession
  4. CSIRO KickStart
  5. Industry Capability Network
  6. Indigenous Advancement Strategy


1. The Advancing Renewables Program

As the name suggests, this grant is open to any business or startup looking to help develop renewable energy technologies, be that reducing the cost of renewables, improving the commercial viability of renewables, or increasing skills and knowledge in relation to renewables.

Australian incorporated companies can receive matched funding of between $100,000 and $50 million per project through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Companies can apply for the grant here.

2. Business Development and Assistance Program

The Business Development and Assistance Program is run by the government’s Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) program and is targeted at Australian SMEs or startups owned or operated by Australians of indigenous descent.

If you are over 18 and of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent and you own at least 50% of a solvent business, or you are not of indigenous descent but at least 50% of your business is owned by people of indigenous descent, you are eligible for the program.

Through the program, the IBA provides indigenous business owners with training, advice, workshops, and finance to help them grow their businesses.

Loans from $10,000 are available to eligible businesses, and the IBA also offers a specialised Start-Up Finance Package where 30% of the loan is awarded as a grant. To be eligible for that package, your business has to have been trading for less than one year and have less than $400,000 in annual revenue.

Apply for this program here.

3. Space Concession

While not strictly a grant, the Space Concession is a moderately new program for startups and small businesses focused on bolstering the competitiveness of Australia’s space industry.

Businesses with an authorised space project that have activities with international parties, and which also complete an Australian Industry Participation Plan, can be rewarded with a duty-free tariff concession to import eligible goods.

This means businesses operating in areas such as space exploration, remote sensing, satellite navigation systems, or space medicine and biology can access a significant tax write-off for importing eligible space-related goods.

Find more information about the concession here.

4. CSIRO KickStart

CSIRO Kick-Start is an initiative for innovative Australian start-ups and small SMEs, providing funding support and access to CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities to help grow and develop their business.

To be eligible for the CSIRO KickStart program, startups and small SMEs need to:

  • Have an annual turnover and operating expenditure <$1.5million, in the current and each of the two previous financial years OR have been a registered company for less than three years
  • Have an ACN and be registered for GST and;
  • Be able to demonstrate they can fully support their proportion of the project funding.

Find out more about the CSIRO KickStart program here.

5. Industry Capability Network

The Industry Capability Network runs across all Australian states and territories and in New Zealand, acting as a way for businesses to connect with other suppliers, project managers and business opportunities across the two countries.

While the network doesn’t provide businesses with a direct line to funding, the eligibility requirements are simple: you just need to be a business in either Australia or New Zealand.

The ICN Gateway on the organisation’s website connects businesses to projects and says it has billions of dollars in projects listed. Over $30 billion worth of contracts have been completed since the program started 30 years ago.

6. Indigenous Advancement Strategy

Finally, registered Australian businesses with a capacity to enter a project agreement with the Commonwealth can find themselves eligible for the government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS).

The funding, which was implemented in the 2015-16 budget and runs until next year, aims to encourage Australian businesses to commence projects that promote equal opportunities for indigenous Australians.

This revolves around improving the opportunities for indigenous Australians in the areas of jobs, schooling, safety, and culture.

The government has committed $4.8 billion to the IAS for the four years of its operation, which is being dished out in the form of grants to eligible businesses.

For more information, and to submit a proposal, go here.

This article was originally published on July 4, 2018. It has been updated to showcase the current grants that are available for small businesses.

NOW READ: A state-by-state guide to all the government grants available for your small business

NOW READ: Top five government grants for startups 


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