ESS Biz Tools

Survival Hints for Small Business Blog

Issue 0060 Government Grants for SMEs

In this edition, we’re going to review some of the common government grants that are available for small/medium enterprise operators.

Industry Skills Fund

The Industry Skills Fund is available for any type of business and will offer a grant towards an improvement in the skills of the owner and the staff of a business, as long as there’s a direct nexus to what the business is going to do to improve its overall business operations.

The government has some “priority industries” which are targeted at support under this particular grant; however it can also apply to any other type of industry.  The priority industries are:

  • Food and Agribusiness
  • Mining Equipment and Technology
  • Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals
  • Oil, Gas and Energy
  • Advanced Manufacturing

The government also has a category called “enabling technologies”.  This means that, if any of these industries had a direct relationship with one of the priority industries, then those businesses are also eligible for support.  Those industries are:

  • Freight and Logistics
  • Infrastructure Related Construction
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
  • Digital Technology
  • Professional Services – mainly scientific areas

 The funding that’s available is quite generous, ranging from:

  • Micro Business (0-4 FTE employees) – 75%
  • Small Businesses (5-19 FTE employees) – 66% (75% in Northern Australia)
  • Medium Businesses (20-199 FTE employees) – 50% (75% in Northern Australia)
  • Large Businesses (200+ FTE employees) – 25% (50% in Northern Australia)

Northern Australia is defined as the areas in Queensland and Western Australia North of the Tropic of Capricorn and the whole of the Northern Territory.

It’s well worth your while having a good look at this fund.  There are training officers available all around Australia in the capital cities and major provincial areas, to assist you in submitting an application.

Business Improvement Grant

Business Improvement Grant is available for companies that are operating in the priority industries mentioned earlier.

When you analyse those 9 industries, there are over 650 different types of businesses that comprise those 9 industry groups.  In fact, virtually every trade can be included under those 9 industries somewhere.  There are a lot of opportunities for a wide range of businesses to access both the Industry Skills Fund and the Business Improvement Grant.

The minimum turnover is $1.5M and the maximum turnover is $100M.  If the business is located in Northern Australia, the minimum turnover is $750,000.  The grant of up to $20,000 is available on a 50% subsidy basis.  That money can be utilised literally to do anything which is likely to improve the business’ performance.

Accelerating Commercialisation Grant

Accelerating Commercialisation is the big grant in the Australian government's offerings to small/medium enterprises.  The grant can be as high as $1M.

Last month, 20 businesses were granted funds of $11.4M of which some did receive the full funding of $1M.

Any type of business can apply.  You can be a start-up to apply for this grant, as long as you can provide an argument that you need support to go through the commercialisation process.  You would normally need to have concluded your Research and Development activities.  The turnover can be from $0 to $20M.

Early Stage Innovation Company

If you have developed a new product, process or service and you need financial assistance to commercialise it, you could be looking at the Early Stage Innovation Company (ESIC) funding that commenced on 1st July 2016.  If you want to narrow down the amount of your company that you’re going to have to allocate to external investors, why not look into an Accelerating Commercialisation grant application as part of the overall process?  If you could secure up to $1M in grant funding, then it’s probably going to reduce the amount of the company that you would have to allocate to external investors.

Export Market Development Grant

Are you an exporter?  Are you planning to be an exporter?  If so, you should be seriously looking at the Export Market Development Grant.

Companies with turnovers of up to $50M can apply for this grant funding, which is a maximum of $150,000.  It’s based on a range of expenses, including:

  • payments to overseas representatives
  • marketing consultants overseas
  • overseas visits that you need to make to promote your business
  • communication costs
  • product samples that you sent to potential buyers of your products and services overseas
  • participating in trade fairs in overseas countries
  • promotional material you sent
  • expenses of bringing overseas buyers to Australia

This grant applies for export sales or potential export sales so, if you’re planning to export, you can avail yourself of this grant.  This grant covers every country with the exception of New Zealand, North Korea and Iran.

Northern Australia Tourism Initiative

This grant is available for companies that have been in business for three years and the business is located in Northern Australia.  As mentioned earlier, Northern Australia covers the areas in Queensland and Western Australia North of the Tropic of Capricorn and the whole of the Northern Territory.  It doesn’t matter where the owners live.  For example, if you’re in Hobart or Perth or Melbourne and you own a business in Northern Australia, you’re potentially eligible for this grant.

This grant covers a wide range of businesses, including:

  • accommodation
  • cafes
  • 'restaurants
  • clubs
  • pubs
  • taverns
  • bars
  • passenger transport
  • tour operators
  • cultural services
  • sport and recreational services
  • retail trade (45% of the customer of the business are tourists)

The minimum turnover is $750,000 and the maximum turnover is $100M.  You can obtain a grant of up to $20,000 on a 50% basis.  This means that if you received $20,000, you have $40,000 to undertake the tasks, get professional assistance and other assistance which are likely to contribute to an improvement in your business operations.

These are some of the grants that are available for small/medium enterprises.

Accountants/Advisors can Assist

Accountants who have subscribed to our products will be able to assist you in achieving this.

If you'd like to make contact with an accountant who is committed to assisting small/medium enterprises, whilst you're on the ESS Small Business website, click on "Find an Accountant/Advisor". All you have to do is insert your postcode and the system will identify accountants/advisors in, or near, your postcode who are prepared to assist you on business development journey.

A complimentary copy of an article "Northern Australia Tourism Initiative" is available and can be downloaded below.

We are presenting a special webinar on Northern Australia Tourism Initiative, with Graham Bell of Deloitte as the guest presenter.  This webinar will be held on Wednesday 28th September 2016 at 12pm AEST.  Accountants, small/medium enterprises and advisors all around Australia are invited to attend this webinar, free of charge, which will provide a presentation on how to apply for this grant.  Please click here to register to attend the webinar.


Download Free Content

If you wish to receive future editions in the Survival Hints for Small Business series, you can visit our iTunes – Podcasts - Survival Hints for Small Business page and subscribe to our podcasts. If you have any questions or suggestions on future items to be covered in Survival Hints for Small Business, please don’t hesitate to contact us.    

News, ideas and tips helping small business with strategies to survive and thrive in today's economy.

Episode 0060 Government Grants for SMEs

 Podcast Link:  

COMPLIMENTARY MATERIAL Click on the button below to access the following FREE material:

      • Copy of this transcript
      • Complimentary material

To download the free material click the link below:-    


Download Free Content


Watch out for the next episode of "Survival Hints for Small Business" or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes for more news, ideas and tips helping small business survive in today's economy.