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Top Grants for Startups & Small Businesses in Australia

Securing enough funding to turn your business idea into reality or expand your new company can be a tall order—but it is possible, thanks to government grants available for startups and small businesses in Australia. These grants cater to various industries and business types, each with its set of eligibility criteria and competitive application processes. 

Key Takeaways of Top Grants for Startups & Small Businesses in Australia

Key Point Description
CSIRO Kick-Start Program
This program offers dollar-matched funding between $10,000 and $50,000 for startups and small businesses focusing on research and innovation. Eligibility requires Australian registration for less than three years or an annual turnover under $10 million.
Export Market Development Grant
Ideal for SMEs aiming to expand into international markets, this grant supports promotional activities for exporters. It’s an eligibility-based program with no maximum grant tier caps, open to businesses with less than $20 million turnover.
Landing Pads
Unique in its offering, this program provides market-ready startups with a 90-day workspace in global innovation hubs, along with coaching and networking opportunities. Applicants must have a viable product and a solid market entry strategy.
Research and Development Tax Incentive
This is a tax incentive program that offers up to 43.5% cash refunds on R&D expenses for innovative startups. Businesses must register and prove their R&D activities are eligible, with detailed documentation and adherence to specific criteria.
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CSIRO Kick-Start Program

Since 2017, the CSIRO Kick-Start Program has been providing startups and small businesses with dollar-matched funding to promote research and innovation. Unlike other government grants designed for projects needing commercialisation, CSIRO focuses more on research. Eligible companies can receive between $10,000 and $50,000 matched funding to finance various activities, such as researching a new idea with commercial potential, developing a novel or improved product or process, or testing a novel product or material. The funding can be used for salaries, contractor costs & overhead expenses incurred to undertake the research project.

Business partners
How to apply for this grant: To qualify for the CSIRO Kick-Start Program, your Australian business must be registered for less than three years or have an annual turnover of less than $10 million in the current and each of the two previous financial years. You must also demonstrate your firm’s ability to dollar-match the funding.

Export Market Development Grant

If your small business has already tested products or services in Australia and wants to explore overseas markets, the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) program is suitable for you. Started in 1974, this grant is designed to assist Australian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in expanding their exports to international markets. Over the years, EMDG has aided more than 51,000 unique Australian SMEs in reaching over 180 countries.

Grants are available for eligible promotional activities by SME exporters and representative bodies. They are divided into three tiers, each providing different levels of support as businesses grow their export markets:

How to apply for this grant: The application process for EMDG is based on eligibility rather than competition. To qualify, your business’s turnover in the financial year preceding the application year must be less than $20 million. Additionally, applicants must be recognised as an Australian according to the EMDG Rules 2021 and possess a valid Australian Business Number (ABN). Round 3 applications are already closed, but Round 4 of this government grant is expected to open for applications in late 2024. 

Landing Pads

A little different from other grants for startup companies, the Landing Pads program offers market-ready startups access to a workspace for 90 days in a global innovation hub. These hubs are located in Bengaluru, London, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai and Singapore. The program includes coaching, specialised training and opportunities to connect with potential investors & Austrade partners. It is designed to assist startups in establishing a foothold in international markets, offering the tools and connections necessary for successful global expansion.

How to apply for this grant: The program is geared towards startups that have already developed a viable product and are prepared to enter the market. Apart from having an established product or service, applicants must have a solid customer acquisition strategy and some credible market leads.

Research and Development Tax Incentive

Unlike other government grants for a startup or small business in Australia, the Research and Development Tax Incentive (RDTI) is a government tax incentive designed to promote innovation. It offers tax relief to businesses engaged in qualifying R&D projects in Australia, making it beneficial for innovative companies.

Startups can receive cash refunds of up to 43.5% of their total R&D expenses. This tax relief works as a tax offset based on a premium on top of a company’s corporate tax rate. Moreover, the RDTI offers wide eligibility as it is a self-assessment program.

How to apply for this grant: Businesses need to register and demonstrate that their R&D activities are eligible for the incentive. You can use this Guide to Interpretation to self-assess whether your SME’s R&D activities qualify. The program also requires detailed documentation and adherence to specific criteria to qualify for tax relief.

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If you’re exploring more options other than grants for starting a new business or growing your business can assist with business loans in Australia. Our lenders that can provide equipment financing for businesses seeking funds to acquire machinery or cash flow lending solutions to keep your SME operating smoothly.  

Explore more funding options with us. Give us a call today to get started. 

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