A massive 97% of all businesses in Australia have less than 20 employees. In 2015 there were nearly 2 million small businesses in Australia These small businesses account for 93% of Australian business turnover. Sadly. more than 60% of small business will fail in the first 3 years. The main reason small businesses fail is lack of capital or funding.
Fortunately there many grants and assistance programs available for start-ups. In this article Bruce Patten from Pattens Group, a company that specialises in applying for and navigating the grants process details the various grants available to startups in Australia.
But firstly where else can you turn for startup advice…
Government Advisory Programs
Mentor Program – NSW
Access to expert advice and assistance on workplace health and safety matched with a $500 rebate. www.business.gov.au/assistance/mentor-program-nsw
CSIRO On Accelerate Program
Participation in the On Accelerate involves 3 months coaching and workshops with grants of up to $15,000 available. Application is available online at
This is not a grant but a partner support program (fee for service) to access experienced advisors to locate distributors or customers overseas, develop market entry strategy or work with an export advisor.
ANZ Business Growth Program
Their online course and one-day seminars is open to all Australian businesses.
Business Connect – NSW
This scheme provides 4 hours of independent professional quality, personalised advice, skills training, digital readiness, business modelling and business events to enable start-ups and SME’s to grow to success.
Small Business Mentoring Program – VIC
Helping small businesses plan the direction that their business should be taking and assist in setting goals for the business to succeed.
Small Business Program – Qld
Provides Queensland small businesses with free work health and safety advisory services.
There are similar mentoring programs available in each state and the territory.
Grant Programs Available For Startups & Small Business
R&D Tax Incentive
The R&D Tax Incentive Scheme provides a 43.5% refundable tax credit to companies with an aggregated turnover of less than $20 million and a 38.5% non-refundable offset to all others.
Accelerating Commercialisation offers grants of up to 50 per cent of eligible project expenditure to assist in the commercialisation of novel products, processes and services for a maximum project period of two years. The maximum grant amount is $1 million.
Matched funding of $10k – $50k is available for start-ups and SMEs to work collaboratively with the CSIRO on projects up to 1 year.
Export Development Grant
Reimbursement of up to $150k based on 50% of your export marketing costs, provided you are the principle in the transaction and promoting Australian products or services. If this is your first claim you can include eligible expenses for the last 2 financial years
Provides short term (90 day) access to some of the world’s most renown innovation and start-up ecosystems including Berlin, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore and Tel Aviv
Small Business Grant – NSW
The Small Business Grant is designed for small businesses that do not pay payroll tax to encourage business growth and genuine new employment creation in NSW.
Minimum Viable Product – NSW
provides up to 50% of approved project costs to a maximum of $25,000 to assist technology SMEs to engage with a potential business customer to demonstrate an idea, prove a concept, develop a prototype or customise a B2B solution that addresses a high growth opportunity or challenge for a key sector.
Building Partnership Grants – NSW
Grants of 35% of project costs up to $100,000 to complete technology focused pilot project with key customers to accelerate market adoption.
TechVouchers – NSW
Grants of up to $15,000 are awarded on a competitive basis to NSW companies to further their R&D projects in conjunction with tertiary institutions or research agencies.
NSW Trade Missions and Exhibitions
Assistance to SME export ready companies based in NSW to identify new business opportunities, knowledge and connections
Business Growth Fund Program – Qld
Grants of up to $50,000 are available to provide targeted assistance for small and medium businesses that demonstrate high-growth and employment aspirations.
Advancing Small Business Queensland
This program provides up to $10,000 to small businesses that demonstrate high-growth and employment aspirations to enable them to engage high-level experts and strategic advisors to work closely with them in their business.
Accelerate Small Business Grants Program – Qld
SME can claim matched funding of up to $10,000 to engage business mentor, coaches, specialist consultants and advisory board for 6 – 12 month period.
Advancing Small Business – Qld
A range of assistance is available to start-ups to advocate, enable and empower.
Ignite Ideas Fund – Queensland
Funding of up to $250k per project is available to help Queensland businesses by supporting activities that prove your idea will work or to assist with identifying a market or investor for your product, process or service.
Access Program – Vic
This program aims to offer facilities, export-related assistance and in-country expertise to Victorian company representatives visiting overseas markets.
Trade Mission Program – Vic
The Victorian Government, through its Trade Mission Program, takes Victorian organisations to key overseas markets to showcase Victoria’s capabilities in key industries, and to introduce the participants to potential buyers, investors and trading partners.
City of Melbourne – Small Business Grants
1. Business Support Services
Provides matching grants of up to $10,000 to Victorian CBD businesses in key target industry sectors to deliver new initiatives to provide significant tangible benefits to their members.
2. Export Entry
Provides matching grants of up to $10,000 to Victorian CBD businesses in key target industry sectors to expand into new overseas markets
Provides matching grants of up to $30,000 to Victorian CBD businesses in key target industry sectors to assist with the establishment of new, novel, creative and innovative businesses that will increase the diversity of the city’s business community and boost Melbourne’s capability.
Waterman Small Business Grants – Vic
Grants of up to $20,000 are available to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and start-ups to get the space and resources they need to succeed in the Chadstone, Narre Warren and Caribbean Park areas.
Provided by Monash University and the British Consulate General Melbourne, to empower women in STEM industries.
Women in Business
A range of resources to assist and support women in business through the Women Entrepreneurs Online Network.
ACT – UC Innovation Voucher Program
Vouchers of up to $35,000 are available to SMEs to develop opportunities for collaboration between UC and business.
SME Growth Program – ACT
This program provides a business review at no charge to assist SMEs growth and competitiveness. Turnover must be between $500,000 and $1.5m
Small Business Development Fund – SA
Provides established small businesses in northern Adelaide with matched funding of between $10,000 to $100,000 to grow and create new jobs. https://business.sa.gov.au/Grants-and-support-services/Grants/Small-Business-Development-Fund
Innovation Voucher Program – SA
Provides SA manufacturing enterprises with vouchers of up to $50,000 to develop a partnership with a research service provider to develop a new manufacturing product or process.
New Industries Fund – WA
Matched Innovation Vouchers of $20,000 are available for R&D and commercialisation activities in rounds throughout the year. Waiting on the next round.
SPUR on WA
Matched rants of up to $25,000 are available to support WA businesses develop innovative products and services. Waiting on the next round.
Innovative start-ups should be aware of the Early Stage Innovation Incentive which enables Innovation Companies to provide a 20% tax offset and modified CGT treatment of shares issued to eligible investors.
For more information contact Bruce Patten from Pattens Group at email@example.com or on 1800 PATTENS
Written by Bruce Patten: With more than 30 years’ experience claiming government grants, Bruce is regarded as the grants expert. He has a passion for helping new business get off the ground and has a long list of successful clients who have received the government funding they needed for research, development, management, commercialisation, exportation, small business support… and the list goes on.