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2021: a guide to small business grants in Australia

2021: a guide to small business grants in Australia
January 26, 2021 va-admin

With small businesses (those with fewer than 20 employees) making up almost 98% of all Australian businesses and accounting for 35% of our GDP, it’s clear how important they are to the economy.

Small business received significant funding boosts from the federal government during 2020, designed to assist those impacted by COVID-19 and mitigate the impact of the subsequent economic downturn.

The Australian Federal Government has supplied $74 billion as part of the JobMaker plan, whose key measures include lower taxes, including an instant asset write off threshold and full expensing of depreciable assets, an additional $14 billion in new and accelerated infrastructure projects, and the $4 billion JobMaker hiring credit to incentivise businesses to take on more 16-35-year-old employees. This is on top of the $1.2 billion in the Boosting Apprenticeships Wage Subsidy, supporting up to 100,000 new apprentices and trainees.

As we head into 2021, with (hopefully) the worst of the current crisis behind us, we have compiled this list of some of the key local support measures available, all of which are designed to help small businesses further recover, rebuild, re-energise, and re-imagine success in the new year.

Australian Government grants


Restart is a wage subsidy program to encourage businesses to help hire and retain employees over 50 years of age.

CSIRO Kick-Start is an initiative for innovative Australian start-ups and small SMEs, providing funding support and access to CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities to help grow and develop their business. The program offers eligible businesses access to dollar-matched funding of $10,000-$50,000 to undertake various research activities with CSIRO.

Research & development (R&D) tax incentive encourages companies to engage in R&D benefiting Australia, by providing a tax offset for eligible R&D activities. It has two core components: a refundable tax offset for certain eligible entities whose aggregated turnover is less than $20 million, and a non-refundable tax offset for all other eligible entities.

Australian Government Entrepreneurs’ Programme provides access to expert advice and financial support through grants.

New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) provides accredited small business training, personalised mentoring and support from a NEIS provider, an NEIS Allowance for up to 39 weeks, and NEIS Rental Assistance for up to 26 weeks (if eligible). NEIS participants can access the Coronavirus supplement while participating in the NEIS program.

Certain Inputs to Manufacture (CIM) program helps reduce importing costs for Australian manufacturers of eligible goods. If you intend to import an eligible good and can show that your imported good has a performance advantage in producing the specific end product over a local input produced in Australia, you may be eligible for an import concession.

State & Territory government grants

1. The NSW government has launched a range of industry-specific grant programs in the wake of COVID-19 and its impact on hospitality, arts and tourism businesses, as well as businesses impacted by COVID-19, bushfires or drought, businesses who want to expand or relocate their operations to regional NSW, and miscellaneous other types of assistance.

  1. Arguably the state hardest hit by the pandemic, the Victorian Government have a series of grants, vouchers and assistance programs for the state’s small businesses, which account for 47% of all Victorian private sector jobs.
  2. The Queensland government has a host of grant programs on offer, and provide a coronavirus (COVID-19) business assistance finderto inform what support businesses may be eligible for. 
  3. The South Australian Government has established a second round of the Small Business Grant program to support that state’s  small businesses that employ staff and are a participant in the Commonwealth Government’s extended JobKeeper Payment scheme from 28 September 2020 (JobKeeper extension 1) or from 4 January 2021 (JobKeeper extension 2). Eligible businesses will be provided with a once-off $10,000 grant. 
  4. Most WA Government assistance for small business takes the form of free or low-cost advisory services, information or guidance. You may, however, be eligible for a grant in certain circumstances, such as business expansion, research and development, innovation or exporting.
  5. The Tasmanian Government have a raft of small business support, grants and loans, ranging from their ‘Advice for Recovery’ program, a Business Growth Loan Scheme, Business Vehicle Registration relief, as well as advice, coaching and support.
  6. The NT Government has enabled businesses to apply for a range of improvement grants or funding, from their Business Growth Program, to their Trade Support Scheme, the Home and Business Battery Scheme, and more.
  7. The ACT government deliver a variety of programs, including business advisory, grant funding, Skilled and Business Migration, and trade and export programs

Grants of this nature are not simply reserved for times of economic hardship or crisis. Several have been made available over the years, on both a state and federal level, to better enable small businesses to navigate their way through the various economic climates.

Keep in mind that certain qualifiers will need to be met to receive funding. As the federal government’s Business website advises, “When searching for funding, keep in mind that you’ll generally need to meet certain criteria to be eligible, and that aside from funding assistance, many programs can help your business by building your skills and knowledge.”

To learn more about any of these grants in relation to your business, arrange a confidential chat with one of our advisers – call +612 8239 8200 or email today.