Government grants for Australian startups

Published on
January 22, 2023
min read
Written by

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. 


Export Market Development Grants

Austrade’s Export Market Development Grants (EDMG) program helps Australian businesses grow their exports in international markets. Grants are categorised into 3 tiers, with each tier offering a different level of support:

  1. Ready to export
  2. Exporting and expanding
  3. Exporting, expanding and strategic shift


Your startup is eligible to apply if:

  • Your turnover for the financial year before the financial year in which the application is made is less than $20m
  • You have an ABN
  • You’re an Australian person as per the EDMG Rules 2021

What you can get

Cash reimbursements of 50%, up to $150,000 to claim on expenses related to:

  • Marketing consultants
  • Marketing visits
  • Overseas representatives
  • Samples and advertising costs
  • Trade Fairs
  • Overseas Buyers
  • Eligible IP

Find out more about Export Market Development Grants. 

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. 


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. 


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. 


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


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. 

New South Wales

MVP Ventures Program

The goal of the MVP Ventures program is to support businesses to increase the commercialisation of innovative products and services in NSW. Examples of projects include:

  • Prototyping and piloting studies
  • Development of current products through the implementation of new technology that will enhance competitive capability.


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

  • Be based in NSW and demonstrate that core activities include research and development.
  • Have an aggregated turnover of less than $1m for each of the 3 financial years prior to the lodgement of your application
  • Have less than or equal to 20 full-time employees.
  • Hold IP or rights to commercialise your product

What you can get

Grants on offer are from $25,000 to $200,000.

Find out more about Minimum Viable Product grants


Ignite Ideas Fund

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


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. 

Backing Female Founders Program

The Backing Female Founders Program assists QLD female founders at different stages of the entrepreneurial lifecycle. There are 3 initiatives you can apply for:

  • Female Founders Co-investment Fund available to female-founded businesses undertaking a new pre-seed or seed capital raise. 
  • Accelerating Female Founders Program available to eligible organisations to develop and deliver new or existing business support programs for Queensland female founders with innovative businesses. 
  • The Female Founders Advisory Board Program delivers skills and exposure to effectively engage with advisors and establish best practice governance to support business growth.


To be eligible for the Female Founders Co-investment Fund, applicants must:

  • Be a Queensland-based business
  • Have an ABN and be registered for GST
  • Be 100% female-founded business
  • Have no more than 50 full-time equivalent employees
  • Not received investment through previous capital raises, grant funding or accelerators totalling more than $500,000
  • Not be a current or past recipient of the Ignite Ideas Fund
  • Have secured pre-seed or seed eligible investment from an approved eligible investor

What you can get

The Female Founders Co-investment Fund provides grants from $50,000 to $200,000 matched at a 3:1 ratio over a period of 12 months, for either a single investment or a raise round led by an eligible investment entity. 

Find out more about the Backing Female Founders Program.

Western Australia

Innovation Booster Grant

The Innovation Booster Grant is part of the WA Government’s New Industries Fund, which assists WA-based startups and small businesses to commercialise their innovative ideas or projects and expand to create jobs.


Your startup is eligible if:

  • It is registered in Western Australia and will continue to be based there for the next 3 years
  • You’re developing an innovative project in WA
  • You’re willing to, and have the financial capacity to contribute at least 20% of the requested project funding costs 

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

➕ Add a Grant to the list.

AirTree Ventures Pty Ltd holds AFSL No. 456766 and AirTree Ventures Custody Pty Ltd holds AFSL No. 544106.