Government grants for Australian startups

Published on
January 25, 2022
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A little extra cash in the pocket never goes astray when you’re in the early stages of building your business. The process can be lengthy and tedious when it comes to Government Grants, but if your application is successful, it can give your startup a real leg up.

If you search the Government’s Grants and Programs finder, you’ll see that there are hundreds of opportunities opening and closing daily. So if you want to take advantage of these opportunities, you need to be aware of what’s on offer. 

We’ve rounded up a list of the grants most relevant to early-stage startups. 

National

Growth Grants

Growth Grants help you improve a specific business area that an experienced facilitator has recommended in a roadmap or plan as part of a Growth service from the Entrepreneurs’ Programme. 

Before you can apply for a Growth Grant, you must have received a completed plan from one of the following services:

  • Growth Roadmap: provides an analysis of your business by an independent facilitator to help you develop a roadmap to increase your availability to trade in Australia and/or other markets. 
  • High Growth Accelerator: provides access to an independent facilitator for up to 2 years to help you develop a growth plan to realise an Australian and/or overseas growth opportunity. 
  • SMART Projects and Supply Chains: provides you with access to strategic or high-value projects that increase business capability, meet the specific needs of a market opportunity, or otherwise improve business performance and leadership capacity. 
Criteria

You must apply within 1 year of receiving a completed plan from one of the above Growth services. 

The project that you apply for funding for must:

  • Have at least $5,000 in total, eligible project costs
  • Not have started
  • 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
What you can get

Funding of between $2,500 (ex GST) and $20,000 (ex GST), covering up to 50% of eligible project costs. 

Find out more about Growth Grants. 

Accelerating Commercialisation

Accelerating Commercialisation helps startups get a novel product, process or service to market. There are two parts to it:

  • Commercialisation Guidance – guidance and assistance to develop your product or service’s commercialisation potential
  • Accelerating Commercialisation Grants – financial assistance to help commercialise your product or service. 
Criteria

The two key eligibility requirements are:

  • You have a novel product or service that you wish to commercialise for trade in Australia and/or an overseas market.
  • You meet the turnover test; you have a combined annual turnover of less than $20 million for each of the previous 3 financial years.
What you can get

You can get up to 50% of eligible expenditure to support your commercialisation project. You’ll also receive ongoing support from your Facilitator throughout the life of your commercialisation project. 

Find out more about the Accelerating Commercialisation Grant.

Research & Development Tax Incentive

The R&D Tax Incentive is not a straight cash grant but helps your startup grow and innovate by providing tax assistance for eligible R&D activities. 

Criteria

Your startup is eligible if your aggregated turnover is less than $20 million.

You must be participating in genuine R&D activities. Check here to see if your core R&D activity is included.   

What you can get

The refundable tax offset is your corporate tax rate plus an 18.5% premium. If you’re running at a loss, you may be entitled to a 43.5% tax offset, paid as a cash rebate. 

Find out more about the Research & Development Tax Incentive. 

CSIRO Kick-Start

If you’re looking to access the CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities, CSIRO Kick-Start provides matched funding that will enable your business to:

  • Research a new idea with commercial potential
  • Develop a novel or improved product or process
  • Test a novel product or material
Criteria

Your startup is eligible if you:

  • Have an Australian company number and are registered for GST
  • Can demonstrate your ability to dollar-match the funding
  • Have an annual turnover of less than $1.5 million, in the current and each of the 2 previous financial years
  • Have been a registered company for less than 3 years
What you can get

You’ll receive dollar-matched funding between $10,000 and $50,000. This funding may be used to cover the costs of undertaking a project, including:

  • Salary and on-costs of researcher(s)
  • Travel and accommodation (if required)
  • Administrative/overhead costs
  • External facilities access/services/contractor costs

Find out more about CSIRO Kick-Start. 

Boosting Female Founders Initiative

This program supports a co-contribution basis to female founders of startups to scale into domestic and global markets. 

Criteria

Female founded (majority owned and led by women) startups are eligible to apply.

What you can get

You can receive between $25,000 and $400,000 (up to 50% of eligible project costs). 

The program also provides expert mentoring and advice to successful applicants. 

Find out more about the Boosting Female Founders grant.

NSW

Minimum Viable Product grants

MVP grants are designed for pre-revenue technology startups to help you engage with a potential customer or channel to market to achieve market validation and your first sale.

Criteria

MVP grants are available to startups developing scalable technology solutions. To be eligible, your startup must:

  • Be based in NSW and be able to demonstrate that 80% of development costs will occur in NSW
  • Be at pre-revenue stage
  • Have completed a proof of concept (e.g. customer interviews)
  • 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 rights to commercialise
  • Demonstrate adequate matched funding has been secured for the project
What you can get

An MVP grant is a matched funding grant up to 50% of approved project costs, up to $25,000. 

If you’re successful, you’ll receive 35% of the funding up-front and 65% after completion and validation of the MVP. 

Find out more about Minimum Viable Product grants. 

QLD

Ignite Ideas Fund

The Ignite Ideas Fund supports you to commercialise an innovative product or service that your startup has already developed. 

Criteria

You’re eligible to apply if:

  • Your startup is headquartered in Queensland
  • You have less than 50 full-time-equivalent employees

The Ignite Ideas Fund typically opens rounds in the second and third quarter of the calendar year.

What you can get

There are two tiers of funding available:

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

Find out more about the Ignite Ideas Fund. 

WA

New Industries Fund

The New Industries Fund (NIF) is a $16.7 million commitment over four years (2021-2025) that supports the acceleration of new and emerging businesses in Western Australia, through innovation, to diversify the economy and create new jobs and industries.

The program includes the Innovation Vouchers grant, which assists startups and small businesses to commercialise their ideas and innovations, and expand to create jobs. 

Criteria

Eligible startups and small businesses will need to provide a net cash co-investment at a rate of at least 20:80 applicant-to-state government funding. 

What you can get

Funding up to $20,000 vouchers for eligible expenditure categories including:

  • Research and development
  • Product development
  • Technology transfer and intellectual property
  • Commercialisation support services 

Find out more about the New Industries Fund: Innovation Vouchers Program grants.

But wait, there's more...

Check out our Open Source VC list of Australian Grants

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