Grants, Startup Advice

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

Dominic Powell /

It’s the first week of July, the start of a new financial year, and businesses are refreshed, cashed-up, and raring to grow.

And there’s nothing better to help stimulate growth than a bit of money straight from the government.

While there a numerous programs and grants for all of Australia’s small and medium-sized businesses, each state and territory has its own selection of government grants especially for businesses within their borders. Previously, SmartCompany has compiled a few lists of the best overall government grants for businesses (and a few of the less-well-known ones), but this is a comprehensive list of all the best government grants available in each state and territory respectively.

Though businesses in Victoria and New South Wales are definitely the overall winners, there’s something for everyone.

New South Wales

Bin Trim Rebates Program

How much? Up to $50,000

How does it work?

If you’re a small to medium-sized business in NSW (with up to 399 employees), you could be eligible for a rebate of anywhere between $1000 and $50,000 by implementing on-site recycling equipment.

The Bin Trims program is run by the Environmental Protection Agency in NSW and aims to increase workplace recycling by offering rebates to SMEs who install recycling equipment. It’s also available to small-scale recyclers managing SME waste in NSW.

Get your Bim Trim assessment and apply for the rebate here.

TechVouchers NSW

How much? Matched vouchers with values of up to $15,000

How does it work?

The NSW TechVouchers program aims to increase inter-business collaboration between the state’s SMEs and the participants of the Boosting Business Innovation Program, namely research organisations and universities.

Businesses with fewer than 200 employees, under $30 million in turnover, and running for more than a year can apply for the voucher system, which could give you a voucher worth up to $15,000 to be used at any eligible partner. Businesses are able to match the applicable voucher amount in cash and in kind.

Get more info and apply here.

Minimum Viable Product NSW

How much? Up to $25,000

How does it work?

As the name suggests, this grant is available to NSW startups and SMEs to allow them to test their product with consumers to help get a proof-of-concept product or service off the ground.

To be eligible, your company has to be pre-revenue with a proof-of-concept ready to test, and be able to demonstrate that at least 80% of the development costs will occur in NSW.

If you fit the bill, grants of up to $25,000 are available to cover up to 50% of approved project costs. Find out more and apply here.

Building Partnerships NSW

How much? Up to $100,000

How does it work?

Primarily tech-focused businesses in NSW could find themselves eligible for this grant program, which offers to cover up to 35% of new pilot projects and new marketing partnerships.

Along with being tech-focused, the company has to be located in NSW and own the rights to commercialise their technology. If eligible, a business can receive grants of up to $100,000 to help cover the project’s costs.

Applications are open and startups can check if they’re eligible for the grants here.

Accelerating Growth Loans NSW

How much? $200,000 to $500,000

How does it work?

A loan rather than a grant, this program provides SMEs and startups in NSW that are facing barriers to accessing finance from typical sources with loans at a fixed interest rate of 9.2%. The loans do not need to be secured against personal assets or property.

To discover if you’re eligible for a loan, check here.

Victoria

Regional Jobs Fund + Stronger Regional Communities Plan

How much? It varies/$50,000

How does it work?

At its core, the Victorian Regional Jobs Fund acts as a way to support businesses to create more jobs in regional and rural parts of the state across the streams of investment attraction, innovation and productivity, employment, market access, and skills development.

The total value of the fund is around $500 million, but there is no set amount of funding companies can receive. Instead, applications are judged on a case-by-case basis and companies can request certain amounts. The funding does not need to be matched.

To be eligible, businesses must be undertaking activities to make or keep rural and regional jobs in Victoria. More information can be found here.

Complementing this is the Stronger Regional Communities Plan, which provides up to $50,000 to private sector businesses to help retain jobs in regional Victoria.

Future Industries Manufacturing Program

How much? Up to $500,000

How does it work?

If you’re an innovative manufacturing company in Victoria, the Future Industries Manufacturing Program could be for you — providing you have the funds to back it up.

This grant program encourages manufacturers in Victoria to invest in new manufacturing technologies and processes as a way to increase growth, hire more people, and improve productivity.

However, if companies want to be eligible, they’ll need the capital to complement the grant, as companies are expected to match $3 for every $1 granted through the program.

More information about the program can be found here.

LaunchVic

How much? Unspecified.

How does it work?

LaunchVic is the Victorian government’s agency for supporting startups and innovative SMEs in the state. In the 2015 state budget, it was given $60 million to help fund local startups and it recently closed round eight of its funding.

The fund’s overall goal is to foster the Victorian startup ecosystem into one that is internationally recognised, by bolstering the skills of its startup founders and promoting inclusion and diversity across the board.

One of its most recent round, now closed, focused on Victoria’s health sector. Keep an eye on the agency’s website and apply here to be kept in the loop for further rounds.

Boost Your Business

How much? Up to $50,000.

How does it work?

An array of businesses are potentially eligible for this line of funding from the Victorian government, which operates under a number of different streams, each with up to $50,000 worth of vouchers available that can be exchanged for goods and services at eligible Victorian businesses.

The streams include defence, aerospace and security, food innovation, social enterprise, and advanced manufacturing.

To be eligible for the grants, businesses must employ between 20-200 staff or have an annual turnover of greater than $1.5 million, and meet a number of other standard eligibility requirements.

Queensland

Business Development Fund QLD

How much? Between $125,000 and $2.5 million

How does it work?

The Business Development Fund is a fairly stock-standard grant for businesses in Queensland, providing up to $2.5 million in funding to businesses that are developing or commercialising an innovative product or service.

However, to be eligible, businesses need to find a co-investor to match the funding provided by the government and be prepared for both the co-investor and the Fund to become shareholders in the business.

For Queensland-based companies looking to find out more, head here.

Back to Work South East Queensland

How much? Up to $20,000

How does it work?

The lack of employment opportunities for elderly and long-term unemployed and underemployed people has long been an issue for the Australian economy, and the Back to Work program ran by the Queensland government is attempting to ameliorate this.

Businesses in certain regional areas of Queensland that employ elderly, young, or long-term unemployed people can claim payments of up to $20,000 for doing so.

Businesses have to have a proven and reputable track record in employing people, and demonstrate a “genuine commitment to ongoing employment of the employee”.

Find out more about the funding here.

Business Growth Fund Program QLD

How much? Up to $50,000

How does it work?

Well-established Queensland businesses with a turnover of at least $500,000 could find themselves eligible for this funding program, which backs businesses that are looking to grow and implement “highly specialised equipment or services”.

The funding, of which there is up to $50,000 available, is given to businesses keen to transition from small to medium-sized enterprises, increase employment, and improve processes.

Funding may be used to upgrade or purchase new equipment, or invest in services such as feasibility studies, or business coaches and mentors.

Australian Capital Territory

Trade Connect ACT

How much? Up to $45,000

How does it work?

Canberra businesses with sights set beyond the tiny borders of the ACT could be in luck thanks to the territory’s Trade Connect program. Businesses keen to develop their export opportunities further could be eligible for up to $45,000 in matched funding.

Activities relating to developing export potential can be broad and include further marketing programs, mentoring, trade shows, and advertising. The funding is limited to just $15,000 per business, per financial year, but businesses can receive additional funding up to $45,000 in consecutive financial years.

Find out more here.

ACT Microcredit Loan Program

How much? Up to $10,000, depending on loan type.

How does it work?

Businesses or aspiring business owners in the AC can take advantage of a range of microcredit loans.

Low-income earners looking to start a business can receive interest-free loans of up to $3000 or low-interest loans up to $10,000 to help grow their business through new equipment purchases.

To be eligible, your combined family income has to be under $75,000 and you must have an established or semi-established business in the ACT.

South Australia

Unfortunately, South Australian businesses do not currently have access to any state government grants. Due to the recent change in government, the grants are being reviewed.

“The government of South Australia is committed to reducing the costs of doing business so that South Australian businesses are nationally and internationally competitive.  It is currently reviewing all industry assistance programs, including grants,” the government website states.

Tasmania

Advanced Manufacturing Market Expansion Program + Advanced Manufacturing Innovation and Growth Voucher System

How much? Up to $10,000/Up to $15,000

How does it work?

These two grants are available to businesses in Tasmania that have a focus on manufacturing, innovation, and market expansion. For both grants, businesses have to have annual turnover between $300,000 and $20 million, and be able to fund half of their intended project.

For the first grant, advanced manufacturing businesses looking for new opportunities interstate and abroad can receive up to $10,000 in funding for things such as market research and promotional activities.

The second grant only operates as a voucher grant and is similarly only available to advanced manufacturing businesses in industries such as quality assurance, design, and “disruptive technologies”.

Details on both the grants are available here and here.

Northern Territory

Regional Economic Development Fund + Trade Support Scheme

How much? Up to 50% of a project

How does it work?

Rather than specifying a grant amount, the Regional Economic Development Fund and the Trade Support Scheme offer to cover up to 50% of businesses’ costs for both local economic development and international marketing activities.

NT businesses looking locally can potentially receive 50% of their costs funded by the territory government for practical projects with tangible outcomes, designed to benefit the state and its people, and that provide local employment.

For NT businesses looking abroad, the government will also fund up to 50% of your international marketing projects, given you can demonstrate that the project will bring trade and economic benefits to the NT.

Indigenous Business Development Program NT

How much? Up to $30,000

How does it work?

If you’re an indigenous business owner in the NT, you can receive up to $30,000 in funding to help start or continue growing your business.

Applications must show commitments where appropriate from indigenous land councils. Find out more here.

Western Australia

Commercial Development Grants Program WA

How much? Up to $40,000

How does it work?

Businesses in Western Australia operating in the culture and arts sector could be eligible for funding of up to $40,000 from the state government to help fund various projects and activities.

The program funds businesses to help them find new business opportunities, strengthen their brands, and develop commercial significance. The funding will only cover up to 80% of the costs for a program, with the remaining 20% needing to be sourced from elsewhere.

Find out if your business is eligible here.

Local Capability Fund – Western Australian Industry Participation Strategy (WAIPS Round)

How much? Up to $20,000

How does it work?

Finally, the Local Capability Fund looks to up the capability of WA businesses by giving them funding to prepare them to win state and federal government contracts. This includes getting consulting, new equipment, training, and better business infrastructure.

Businesses need to be WA-based, and have a turnover between $250,000 and $100 million, and employ up to 200 people. More details are available here.

NOW READ: How to secure a government grant for your small business or startup

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Dominic Powell

Dominic Powell is the lead reporter at StartupSmart.

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