Australia offers a number of grants specifically aimed at small businesses, whether purely for financial assistance or to help with hiring new employees and business expansion. These grants tend to be state or city-based, so be sure to check with the state your business is located in to make sure you understand all the grants available to you.

Below we set out some of the most common small business grants available

Small Business Grant NSW

The NSW Government has implemented a small business grant specifically designed to encourage small businesses to hire new employees. This is a one-off grant that is paid after a brand-new position has been created for over a year. The grant amount is $2,000 for full-time employees and varies for part-time or casual employees.

Who’s eligible?

To be eligible as a small business, you must:

  • Have an active ABN
  • Not be liable to pay payroll tax for the financial year of the 12 month employment period of a new employee
  • Have a new employee that is:
    • Employed in a new position;
    • The employment started after 1 July 2015 and before 1 July 2019;
    • The employment is for at least 12 months;
    • The number of full-time employees must increase and be maintained over a 12 month period;
    • The employee is working wholly or mainly in NSW;
    • The employee has not worked for another employer who has also claimed this grant in the last 12 months;
  • Not be receiving another grant, subsidy or assistance for the employee position;
  • Not be a public, local or municipal body;

Small Business Grants Melbourne

Starting from 4 July 2016, this grant will be available to provide financial assistance and other support to small businesses located in the City of Melbourne’s municipal boundary. The funds provided will vary depending on the type of business and the type of support needed:

  • Establishing a new startup: grants of up to $30,000;
  • Business support services, including providing new initiatives and tangible benefits: grants of up to $10,000;
  • Assisting with expansion for innovative businesses: grants of up to $30,000;
  • Supporting businesses who are looking to start exporting: grants of up to $10,000;
  • Assisting small businesses from marginalised target groups to begin or expand: grants of up to $25,000.

Who’s eligible?

To be eligible for this grant, you must:

  • Have an active ABN;
  • Located within the City of Melbourne, or plan to be relocated there within three months;
  • Have fewer than 20 full-time equivalent employees;
  • Have an appropriate business structure;
  • Have a market-ready proposed product/service;
  • Be able to proceed without grant funding;
  • Meet the assessment criteria:
    • Innovation and creativity – 30%
    • Business readiness – 25%
    • Financial viability – 20%
    • Benefits the City – 20%
    • Ethical and other considerations – 5%

Cyber Security Small Business Programme

This programme is a federal grant provided by AusIndustry that aims to provide small businesses with a one-off grant of up to $2,100 to access cyber security testing by accredited providers. It is part of the Government’s wider Cyber Security Strategy to improve cyber security for small businesses. The Government is planning for applications to open in 2017.

Who’s eligible?

As the programme has yet to open applications, the eligibility criteria are still unclear. At the moment, the only criteria known is that your business must have less than 20 employees.

Other Grants

Other grants that you should be aware of include:

  • Small Business Innovation Research Pilot Program SA
  • Business Improvement Grant (as part of the Pilot SME Growth Program)

Key Takeaways

There are various small business grants for different purposes in Australia. It is recommended that you check with your local municipality and state government for details concerning the specific small business grants in your locality. Contact a business lawyer if you have questions about submitting a grant.

Anthony Lieu
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