Australian Government Grants for Small Businesses in 2024

April 5, 2024
Eric Dickler

Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of Australia's economy, making up 99.8% of all businesses. Hence, the government recognises their significance and offers over 600 grants to support them.

Discover the top grants and resources offered by the Australian government for your business and how you can make the most of them.

The Research and Development Tax Incentive (R&DTI) grants a tax offset to small businesses involved in research and development or R&D activities. Its purpose is to help companies amplify their innovation efforts and achieve considerable growth.

Here are the three guidelines to determine the eligibility of an R&D project:

  1. Core R&D Activities: Eligible R&D activities typically involve systematic, investigative, and experimental activities. These activities should aim at generating new knowledge or creating new or improved products, processes, services, or software. Moreover, these activities should be conducted to resolve technical uncertainties.
  2. Technical Uncertainty: Your R&D activities should overcome challenges beyond the scope of a competent professional in the field.
  3. Experimentation and Innovation: R&D requires experimentation, innovation, and creativity. Merely performing routine or incremental work is insufficient; there must be a pursuit of new solutions or breakthroughs.

What's more, you can use this free R&D eligibility test to self-assess your R&D activities and qualify for a tax offset.

Austrade’s Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) program assists Australian businesses expand their international exports. Grants like these motivate small to medium businesses to sell and promote their products and services globally. 

It offers 50% reimbursement for current and new exporters. Financial support for marketing activities is capped at $150,000 per application for small businesses.

The grant offers three different tiers of support depending on the size of a business's exporting activity.

The tiers are:

  1. Ready to export
  2. Exporting and expanding
  3. Exporting, expanding, and strategic shift

It's important to note that it's not required for businesses to start at Tier 1 and progress to the next tiers. Depending on the business need, you can apply for any grant tier at any time.

Each state provides funding opportunities for small businesses in addition to national grants.

Here are some of the state-based grants:

  1. New South Wales (NSW) Government Grants: The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Grant offers up to $25,000 for startups, while the Local Innovation Network (LIN) receives $2.1 million from the NSW Government to foster regional entrepreneurship among small businesses.
  1. Victorian Government Grants: The City of Melbourne Small Business Grants offer support for small businesses in Melbourne's CBD, providing up to $30,000 for launching, exporting, or expanding market-ready products and services.
  1. Queensland Government Grants: The Ignite Ideas Fund supports SMEs in Queensland to commercialize innovative processes, products, and services for long-term operation.

For more state-based grant inquiries personalised to your business type, you can always contact your local government. 

The Australian government also offers targeted grants and aid to small enterprises within specific industries. Whether in agriculture, manufacturing, technology, tourism, or other sectors, small businesses may be eligible for these industry-specific grants to enhance competitiveness, sustainability, and productivity within the Australian business landscape.

Examples of such grants include the Digital Partnership Program (DPP) for businesses in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, aimed at fostering the development of innovative digital solutions.

Additional grants, funding opportunities, and support programs for various industries can be accessed through the official Australian Government Grants and Programs finder.

The Australian government acknowledges that startup businesses can help our economy grow by making money and providing more jobs locally.

If you're a startup looking for help to find the right grants for your business,

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