Government grants & where to get them

It may be possible to access funding, tax concessions or grants from Government to support your growth but you shouldn’t regard grants as “free money”. Governments provide grants because they want to achieve a particular outcome. The process of  applying for a grant can be very onerous. If you do receive a grant, you will then need to meet government reporting requirements which can also be quite onerous.

The main types of grants available to businesses which meet strict government criteria are:

R&D Tax Incentive Program. This incentive offers a tax rebate for R&D activities. To be eligible you need to be an incorporated entity engaging in eligible R&D undertaken for the purpose of generating new knowledge. Accounting firm PwC has conducted research which shows only a fraction of businesses eligible for R&D tax rebates actually claimed them because the process was too complex and time consuming. Only 7500 companies claimed out of 20,000 that were eligible for rebates. The application process isn’t easy and applications must be made through a registered tax agent. PwC has developed an online application process called Nifty which charges a fee of 14% of the value of the claim it processes.

Accelerating Commercialisation. This program encourages and assists small and medium businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers to commercialise novel products, processes and services. It works by providing expert guidance and connections through Commercialisation Advisers to help you to find the right commercialisation solutions for your novel product, process or service. This may include matched funding to support your commercialisation activities. Eligible projects could receive up to 50% of eligible costs up to a maximum of $1m.

Export Market Development Grant. This is the most popular grant although its future is uncertain. It reimburses up to 50% of expenses incurred to promote export activities as long as the expenses exceed$15,000. Businesses can receive up to eight of these grants. Small businesses which are already exporting, have export potential or are part of an export supply chain may be able to get assistance with loans, guarantees and bonds through Austrade and EFIC .

Industry Skills Fund. This encourages small businesses to invest in training. Businesses can apply for funds to identify skills opportunities as well as grants but businesses also have to be prepared to commit funds alongside any grant.

National Stronger Regions Fund. This program provides grants between $20k and $10m to fund infrastructure in regional communities.

Entrepreneurs Infrastructure Program.  This program provides a business adviser to conduct a comprehensive business evaluation of an eligible firm that identifies its strengths and weaknesses, strategic business issues, potential areas for business improvement and potential areas for growth.  This review is conducted without charge. For business improvement or change recommendations from the business review which require the assistance of an external service provider, the program will reimburse a firm for 50% of the costs of engaging the service provider to a maximum reimbursement of $20,000. 


If you don’t have the time or inclination to follow up on these possibilities, you may want to consider engaging a privately owned business such as TCF Services or Business Grants Australia which specialise in helping businesses identify and access government support.