Top government grants: A breakdown

A breakdown of the top government grants that typically suit startups and fast-growing businesses

Here are the details of the main government grants that typically suit our clients. You'll find info about eligibility and the application process for each grant below. You'll also find a list of all the government grant websites (scroll right down to the more info section) in case that's helpful.

Don't forget, we provide a grant discovery service to find the best grant/s for your business and help make sure you're not leaving money on the table.

If you want to find out about our grant application or discovery service, book a time to speak to John. Otherwise, here's that info we promised. 

NATIONAL GOVERNMENT GRANTS

Boosting Female Founders Initiative

Agency: Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
Closing date: 22 April 2021 (Round 2)
Grant value: $25,000 to $400,000 ($480,000)
Grant percentage: 50% (70%)
Expression of Interest: Required


Contact details

Phone: 13 28 46
Email: enquiries@industry.gov.au
More info here


Description
The program will provide targeted support on a co-contribution basis to female founders of startup businesses (startups) to scale into domestic and global markets. The program will also provide expert mentoring and advice to meritorious applicants. The Australian Government has announced a total of $52.2 million in grant funding for this program. For Round 2, an estimated $11.6 million in grant funding is available.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • Stimulate private sector investments into innovative startups led by women
  • Help women entrepreneurs overcome the disadvantages faced in getting access to finance and support to grow their startups
  • Enable female founders to scale-up, expand into domestic and global markets, and become self-sufficient
  • Boost the economy through increasing the diversity of startup founders

The grant amount will be up to 50% of eligible project costs - unless you can meet additional requirements (see the grant opportunity guidelines for further information).

You are responsible for the remaining eligible project expenditure plus any ineligible expenditure. Contributions to your project must be cash. You are encouraged to seek contributions from private investors and industry partners.

The grant opportunity will be delivered through a two-stage competitive selection process due to the expected high demand for this program. You will first apply via an Expression of Interest (EoI). If successful, you will be invited to submit a Stage Two grant application.


Eligibility

To be eligible you must be a female founded (majority owned and led by women) startup as defined in the grant opportunity guidelines.

You must also have an Australian Business Number (ABN) and be one of the following entities:

  • an entity incorporated in Australia
  • a partnership
  • a sole trader

The program can only accept applications where you:

  • Provide a signed declaration, on the template provided, that your startup is female founded (majority owned and led by women)
  • Certify that your startup will remain majority owned and led by women for the duration of the grant (this will be a requirement of the grant agreement)
  • Include all mandatory attachments

Where you are applying for greater than 50% grant percentage (up to 70%), you must provide evidence to support that one or more of the following applies:

  • Your head office is located in a regional area
  • Your business is an Indigenous business or at least one of your founding team members is an Indigenous Australian
  • At least one of your founding team members (owners and leaders) is a person with a disability
  • At least one of your founding team members (owners and leaders) has migrated to Australia as a refugee or humanitarian entrant

If you are successful in the EOI stage and are invited to apply for Stage Two, you must also provide:

  • Evidence to support your source of funding (e.g., letter from contributor/s confirming funding amount)
  • A pitch deck (PDF or PowerPoint presentation max 10 slides) and/or link to a video pitch from your CEO (no longer than 5 mins) supporting your response to the assessment criteria
  • Business financial documents including your most current profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow statements
  • A business plan, including revenue model, customer acquisition and company/management structure, scope, implementation methodology, timeframes, budget, risks and how you will measure the success of the project
  • A trust deed (where applicable)

Eligible activities can include, but are not limited to:

  • Developing software and apps
  • Launching and scaling products
  • Product development and marketing
  • Purchase of equipment to enable growth
  • Expansion to other markets
  • Access to independent management (for example C-suite, advisory board)
  • Access to relevant professional development

Accelerating Commercialisation (Entrepreneurs' Programme)

Agency: Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
Close date: Ongoing
Grant value: $50,000 to $1,000,000
Grant percentage: 50%
Expression of Interest: Required


Contact details

Phone: 13 28 46
Email: enquiries@industry.gov.au
More info here 


Description
Accelerating Commercialisation provides expert guidance and support to help you commercialise novel products, processes and services and find a commercialisation solution that is right for you.

Accelerating Commercialisation includes:

  • Commercialisation Guidance: guidance and assistance to develop the commercialisation potential of your novel product, process or service
  • Accelerating Commercialisation Grants: financial assistance to help commercialise your novel product, process and service

Commercialisation Guidance
When you apply for Commercialisation Guidance, you connect to an AusIndustry Customer Service Manager or an Accelerating Commercialisation Facilitator. Advice and support provided is tailored to your business situation and the commercialisation potential of your novel product, process or service, and may include:

  • Initial guidance on commercialisation
  • Referral to other government assistance to support your business needs
  • Feedback if you want to apply for an Accelerating Commercialisation Grant
  • More intensive support and guidance to develop your commercialisation strategy

Accelerating Commercialisation Grant
Accelerating Commercialisation Grants provide up to 50% of eligible expenditure to support your commercialisation project. If successful you will receive on-going support from your Facilitator throughout the life of your commercialisation project.

You must receive Commercialisation Guidance before you apply for an Accelerating Commercialisation Grant.

Eligibility
Commercialisation Guidance
To be eligible to receive Commercialisation Guidance you must have a novel product, process or service that you wish to commercialise for trade in Australian and/or overseas markets.

You must also meet the turnover test, which helps target advice and support to the businesses that need it most.

Accelerating Commercialisation Grants
Before you can apply for an Accelerating Commercialisation Grant you must have received Commercialisation Guidance. You must:

  • Be non-tax exempt
  • Be registered for GST
  • Be one of the following entities:
    • a company incorporated in Australia and a trading corporation, where your trading activities:
      • form a sufficiently significant proportion of the corporation’s overall activities as to merit it being described as a trading corporation
      • are a substantial and not merely peripheral activity of the corporation
    • a Research Commercialisation Entity or Eligible Partner Entity as defined in the grant opportunity guidelines

and also:

  • Be undertaking an eligible project
  • Have the ownership, access or beneficial use of any intellectual property you need to undertake the commercialisation project
  • Provide evidence of your ability to fund at least 50% of eligible project expenditure, such as funding strategy and a bank statement or loan agreement; you must also provide an Accountant Declaration that confirms your ability to fund the project
  • Meet the turnover test

Growth Grants (Entrepreneurs' Programme)

Agency: Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
Closing date: Ongoing
Grant value: $2,500 to $20,000
Grant percentage: 50%
Expression of Interest: Required


Contact details
Phone: 13 28 46
Email: enquiries@industry.gov.au
More info here


Description
Growth Grants are an Entrepreneurs’ Programme grant to help your business grow. The Entrepreneurs’ Programme provides access to a national network of experienced facilitators. They’ll work with you to improve your business practices, become more competitive, and take advantage of growth opportunities.

The Growth Grant will help you improve specific business areas that your facilitator recommended in your roadmap or plan. You must have received a roadmap or plan before you can apply for a Growth Grant.

You must use the grant to improve the ability and skills of your business to trade. For instance, you can engage external experts to help implement recommendations from the roadmap or plan. You can’t use it to fix problems that are part of the normal running of your business.

The grant is for one year. For each growth service you receive, you can only apply once for this grant. You can use the grant to implement some or all of the recommendations in your roadmap or plan.


Eligibility
You must have received a completed plan from one of the following services:

You must apply within  one year of receiving the completed plan (unless otherwise agreed by the program delegate).

Your project must:

  • Only include eligible activities
  • Have at least $5,000 in total, eligible project costs
  • Not have started

Eligible activities must:

  • Link to an area of the business as specified in your plan
  • Give you new abilities to trade in Australia and other countries
  • Engage services outside of your business

You can’t apply again if you’ve already got funding for recommendations in the roadmap or plan you’re applying under.

You can’t apply for projects with activities including:

  • Business as usual activities
  • Sales activity
  • Capital expenditure
  • Cost of maintaining existing software
  • Cost of maintaining existing industry certifications
  • Cost of registering patents and intellectual property

Capability Improvement Grants (Centre for Defence Industry Capability)

Agency: Department of Defence
Closing date: Ongoing
Grant value: From $4,000 to $240,000
Grant percentage: 50% to 80%
Expression of Interest: Not required


Contact details
Phone: 13 28 46
Email: enquiries@industry.gov.au
More info here


Description
Following recent changes to federal government policy there are two particularly attractive grant opportunities available for Australian SMEs, that offer a massive government subsidy to participants:

  • Expert Advisory:
    • Assistance on marketing plans, sales plans, accessing new clients, improving operational efficiency and delivery performance, Agile, sales training, engaging with primes, AS9100, Cyber Security, Project Management, Digital Manufacturing, Industry 4.0
    • Grant will provide 80% of Advisory Costs
  • Capital Equipment:
    • Purchasing new equipment to service the defence market
    • Grant can provide 50% of costs associated

A CDIC Capability Improvement Grant reimburses you for up to 80% of the cost of engaging a consultant or expert to implement the recommendations provided in your CDIC advisory or facilitation services report.


Eligibility
To apply you must meet the following conditions:

  • You apply within 12 months of receiving a CDIC advisory or facilitation service recommendation
  • You are implementing recommendations identified in a report provided by a business adviser or facilitator
  • You are able to fund your share of the cost of engaging a consultant or expert not met by the grant

Other
There are also other CDIC facilitation:

There are also other CDIC grants:


Export Market Development Grant (EMDG)

Agency: Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade)
Closing date: 30 November (or 28 February possibly)
Grant value: $5,000 to $150,000
Grant percentage: 50%
Expression of Interest: Not required


Contact details
Phone: 13 28 78
Email: emdg.help@austrade.gov.au
More info here


Description

The EMDG scheme:

  • Encourages small- and medium-sized Australian businesses to develop export markets
  • Reimburses up to 50 per cent of eligible export promotion expenses above $5,000 provided that the total expenses are at least $15,000
  • Provides up to eight grants to each eligible applicant

Who can apply?

An Australian individual, partnership, company, association, cooperative or statutory corporation that has:

  • Carried on business in Australia
  • Promoted the export of goods
  • Promoted the delivery of services outside Australia
  • Promoted certain services in Australia to non-residents
  • Promoted inbound tourism
  • Promoted the export of intellectual property and know-how outside Australia
  • An income of less than $50 million for the year
  • Spent at least $15,000 on eligible export promotional activities

A trustee may also apply on behalf of a trust.

What can be claimed?

  • Overseas representation expenses
  • Marketing consultant expenses
  • Marketing visits expenses
  • Free samples expenses
  • Trade fairs, seminars, in-store promotions expenses
  • Promotional literature and advertising expenses
  • Overseas buyer’s expenses
  • Registration and/or insurance of eligible intellectual property expenses.

What do you get?

  • Up to 50 per cent reimbursement of eligible expenses, less the first $5,000
  • Each applicant may receive a grant of up to $150,000 per application (subject to available funds), to a maximum of eight annual grants
  • Grants are regarded as assessable for income tax purposes
  • The Australian Taxation Office has confirmed that GST will not apply to EMDG grants

What cannot be claimed?
Expenses that:

  • Relate to trade with New Zealand and North Korea
  • Are of a capital nature
  • Relate to sales or product development
  • Are fraudulent, unsubstantiated or related to an illegal activity
  • The GST component of incurred expenses cannot be claimed under EMDG

STATES

ACT

Innovation Connect Grants

Agency: Canberra Innovation Network (CBRIN)
Closing date: 3 August 2021
Grant value: $10,000 to $30,000
Grant percentage: 50%
Expression of Interest: Required


Contact details
Phone: 02 6162 1149
Email: enquiries@cbrin.com.au
More info here


Description

The Canberra Innovation Network in partnership with the ACT Government deliver the Innovation Connect (ICON) Grant program. The program supports the thriving startup culture in Canberra and empowers entrepreneurs to develop and grow their innovative ideas.

This grant:

  • Supports innovative, entrepreneurial ideas to a market ready position including market testing
  • Funds projects that prove the technical or commercial feasibility of a concept
  • Supports the development of product prototype or functional software
  • Assists with development and testing of effective marketing approaches, and with legal, IP and patenting advice

In order to be eligible to apply for funding you must meet all of the below requirements:

  • Have an annual turnover of less than $2 million
  • Be Canberra based
  • Have an ABN (you will need this to enter a funding agreement)
  • Agree to enter into a Funding Agreement with the Canberra Innovation Network

NSW

Minimum Viable Product grants

Agency: NSW Treasury
Closing date: Ongoing
Grant value: up to $25,000
Grant percentage: 50%
Expression of Interest: Not required


Contact details
Phone: 1300 562 679
Email: general.enquiries@treasury.nsw.gov
More info here


Description
Minimum Viable Product (MVP) grants are designed for pre-revenue technology startups to help them engage with a potential business customer, or channel to market, to achieve market validation and first sale.

Successful grant applicants will receive 35% of the funding up-front and 65% after completion and validation of the MVP.

Who is eligible?
MVP grants are available to pre-revenue technology startups for the development of scalable technology solutions. To be eligible for an MVP grant, a startup must:

  • Have an ABN registered in NSW and be based in NSW
  • The business entity must be at pre-revenue stage
  • Have a completed proof of concept (e.g., customer interviews, surveys, or focus groups)
  • Have a potential business customer (B2B) or business channel to market (B2C)
  • Have a scalable solution that can be deployed to multiple customers
  • Hold IP or the rights to commercialise
  • Demonstrate that 80% of development costs will occur in NSW
  • Demonstrate adequate matched funding has been secured for the project

What is ineligible?

The following will not be considered eligible for funding:

  • Solutions designed to improve internal business processes
  • General business costs including sales, marketing, rent, travel, research, IP and
    legal costs
  • Project costs that are already the subject of another government grant, subsidy or financial assistance
  • Project costs incurred prior to an application being submitted (no retrospective funding will be awarded)

Only activities directly associated with development of the MVP will be supported.

QLD

Ignite Ideas Fund

Agency: Advance Queensland
Closing date: Rounds-based
Grant value: $100,000 ($200,000)
Grant percentage: 80% (50%)
Expression of Interest: Not required


Contact details
Phone: 13 74 68
Email: advancequeensland@qld.gov.au
More info here


Description
Supports Queensland-based small to medium businesses that have high-growth potential to undertake commercialisation projects that will:

  • Strengthen key industries in Queensland
  • Diversify the Queensland economy
  • Compete in domestic and global markets
  • Engage and/or benefit regional Queensland
  • Create new jobs, now and into the future

Two tiers of funding are available:

  1. Tier 1: Up to $100,000 (excluding GST) for projects of up to 12 months duration
  2. Tier 2: Greater than $100,000 and up to $200,000 (excl. GST) for projects of up to 24 months

To be eligible for funding, applicant organisations must:

  • Be a business or start-up organisation headquartered in Queensland as at the application closing date
  • Be registered for GST as at the application closing date
  • Have no more than 50 full-time-equivalent employees
  • Not be a subsidiary of a group of companies that has more than 50 full-time-equivalent employees in total
  • Not have received funding for the proposed project activity from either the State, Federal or Local Government

If applying for Tier 1, the applicant organisation and/or related parties must:

  • Not have received an Ignite Ideas Fund grant previously
  • Make a cash contribution to the project that is at least equal to 20% of the value of funding sought

If applying for Tier 2, the applicant organisation and/or related parties must:

  • Not have received an Ignite Ideas Fund Tier 2 grant previously
  • Have successfully completed any project funded under Tier 1 of the Ignite Ideas Fund (if relevant)
  • Make a cash contribution to the project that is at least equal to the amount of funding sought
  • Have been registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) prior to 1 July 2018

Organisations and their related parties are limited to one application per funding round.

SA

South Australian Commercialisation, Research and Startup Fund

Agency: Department for Industry and Skills
Closing date: Ongoing
Grant value: various
Grant percentage: various
Expression of Interest: Required


Contact details
Phone: 08 8226 3821
Email: RCSFContact@sa.gov.au
More info here


Description
Of most relevance to startups and is Stream 2: Startup and Early Stage Business Incentives. This stream provides participants with access to funding to grow their innovative early-stage business and has three entry pathways.

Eligible applicants must be a South Australian-based legal entity that is one of the following:

  • Business (including not-for-profits)
  • Business / industry association
  • University
  • Independent research institute
  • South Australian Government research institute

Applicants must be financially viable, registered for GST and have an Australian Business Number. If located outside South Australia, there may be special circumstances which merit consideration of the applicant and there is a commitment to relocate and maintain the relevant enterprise (in whole or part) in South Australia.

In addition to the eligibility criteria for the Research, Commercialisation and Startup Fund, applicants for this stream must meet all the following criteria:

  1. The applicant’s organisation should not have turnover exceeding $1,000,000 per annum and must demonstrate that it is not able to fully fund the project
  2. The applicant’s project must involve the development of a novel product, process or service that has potential markets beyond South Australia
  3. The applicant’s proposal must demonstrate sustainable competitive advantage through high barriers to entry and uniqueness that cannot be easily replicated
  4. The applicant must provide evidence of technical and/or commercial feasibility of their project
  5. The applicant must demonstrate access to the relevant knowhow and/or existing and potential intellectual property (IP) that will be necessary for their proposal

There are three pathways, with details as follows.

Bootstrap pathway
Founders can apply through this entry pathway for financial support to fund the early stages of their startup.
Grant value: $20,000 to $100,000
Grant percentage: 50%
Applicant: Founder/CEO

Incubator pathway
Founders can partner with incubators, accelerators or a value-add investor for financial support to fund the early stages of their startup.
Grant value: $20,000 to $100,000
Grant percentage: 33%
Applicant: Founder and partner (incubator, accelerator or value-add investor)
Specific criteria: Minimum partner investment of 50 per cent cash towards the matched funding

Scale-up pathway
This pathway provides co-investment alongside private funding and is designed for companies that are addressing a known gap in the market with significant private investment. It is also open to applicants that have received previous funding through either the bootstrap or incubator pathway.
Grant value: $100,001 to $1,000,000
Grant percentage: 50% (with at least 50% provided by investor/s)
Applicant: Founder and Investor/s
Specific criteria: Signed investor agreement

MORE INFO

National

  • GrantConnect provides centralised publication of forecast and current Australian Government grant opportunities (and grants awarded)
  • Grants and Program Finder - find grants, funding and support programs from across government 

State

You can also talk to our R&D and Grants Specialist, John Nixon, for more info about grants or to use our grant application or discovery service.