The best government grants of 2012: Free money for your business from state and territory governments

feature-premiers-200Everyone’s heard the saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”. That may be true, but we’ve been busy researching something even better than a free lunch – free money.

Yesterday we brought you the best Federal Government grants and today we’re all about state and territory government grants.

Each state and territory has a plethora of government programs aimed at giving businesses money. Sure, you have to fill out application forms, but find the right program for your business and the money is essentially free.

You’d be crazy not to investigate whether any of the extensive government assistance programs out there are right for your business. Here’s SmartCompany’s pick of the best state and territory government grants.


Investing in Manufacturing Technology

Who for? Manufacturing businesses.

What for? Help manufacturers purchase and integrate new technologies to improve productivity and competitiveness, strengthen capability and encourage innovation. All grants require a minimum co-contribution from the business of 75% of total eligible project expenditure ($3 for every $1 granted). Purchasing technology that is embedded in equipment and machinery should be central to proposed projects. The project should also involve integrating the technology into the business, which may also include some facility redesign and training.

How much? Up to $250,000.

When does it close? There are three funding rounds per year. The first round closed on July 20, 2012. Second round applications will open in the fourth quarter of 2012.  Details will be available on the Business Vic website soon.

Grow Your Business – Group Programs

Who for? Groups with a minimum of five to a maximum of 15 business participants. Businesses must be financially viable or be a tradeable service. This includes manufacturers and service firms showing they face import competition; are exporting or have the potential to export; are based in Victoria; have a commitment to export or import replacement; show management strengths and at least 12 months’ trading history.

What for? The Group Program consists of a subsidised workshop for groups of 5-15 participating firms, organised on a sectoral or regional basis, with a particular business development focus. For example, diagnostic, business plan, finance, environment or marketing export. There are no mandated group courses or licensed deliverers.

How much? A grant of 75% of costs for the total group project up to a maximum of $15,000.

When does it close? No closing date. Apply via business development managers at local Victorian Government Business Offices.

First Step Exporter

Who for? Victorian companies seeking to research and explore opportunities in their first export markets. Companies should have export turnover of less than 10% of total annual dollar turnover, have a demonstrated export capability, and be in operation for a minimum of two years.

What for? Up to 50% of eligible expenses. Expenses must occur in a 12 month period and may include up to two trips offshore, which may be to different markets. The grants are limited to commissioned market research, economy class airfares, train and bus fares to and within the overseas market/s (does not include accommodation), promotional material, trade fair participation, freight of samples.

How much? Up to $10,000.

When does it close? Ongoing. Available through the Victorian Business Line, phone 13 22 15.


Tech Vouchers

Who for? In order to be eligible, companies must be incorporated in NSW; have fewer than 200 employees; have turnover less than $30 million a year; have been in operation for at least one year;   be able to demonstrate the ability to match the applicable voucher amount in cash and or in kind; and conduct the majority of the proposed activities in NSW, in partnership with a NSW-based public sector research organisation (PSRO), including universities or other public sector facilities.

Priority is given to companies which have not engaged with universities and public sector research organisations in the past; companies which have not engaged with research organisations for more than two years; and companies with existing relationships with research organisation that can demonstrate that a Tech Voucher will improve the collaboration.

What for? For SMEs to collaborate with PSROs to help their business become more innovative and competitive. Businesses need to propose a project which will significantly benefit from a partnership with a research organisation – whether it is for further research, clinical trials or access to scientific equipment to support product development.

How much? Seed funding of up to $15,000.

When does it close? Round two is now open and will close when funding runs out. For more information go to the Tech Vouchers website.

Energy Efficiency for Small Business

Who for? Available to businesses that use up to approximately $20,000 in electricity a year or have up to 10 full-time employees.

What for? 50% off costs of energy efficient improvements. Includes a subsidised energy assessment and tailored energy action plan. The subsidy is for implementing energy efficiency improvements as outlined in the energy action plan, including lighting and skylights, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and insulation, electric motors, air compressors, commercial refrigeration, boilers, insulation and hot water systems.

The subsidy is only available for items with a payback period of greater than two years.

How much? 50% off installation costs up to $5,000 (for businesses using $5,000-$20,000 a year in electricity) and up to $2,000 (for businesses using less than $5,000 a year in electricity) along with coordination assistance by an assessor to install energy saving improvements, at no cost to the business for up to four hours.

When does it close? Not stated. More information available here.

NSW Payroll Tax Rebate

Who for? For businesses that maintain an increased number of full-time equivalent employees for at least two years, payroll tax rebates can be accessed for employees in positions that are new jobs.

What for? The new jobs must result in a sustained increase in full-time equivalent employees for a period of at least two years, the employment services of eligible employees must be performed wholly or mainly in NSW, the scheme can be accessed for new positions that commenced after July 1, 2011. People not eligible are those who were employed by the employer or a group member in the previous 12 months if employment is a continuation of employment with another employer, such as from a business acquisition, if the employer already receives a rebate in respect of the employees’ wages, such as an apprentice or trainee rebate or if the person is a contractor.

When does it close? The scheme is available for the first 100,000 registered new jobs created across all of NSW up to June 30, 2013. More information available here.


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