Top 10 Government Grants for Startups & Small Businesses in Australia

Top 10 Government Grants for Startups & Small Businesses in Australia
Kick start your new ideas or grow your existing business by applying for Australian government business grants, provide support for startups & small businesses.
by Square Jul 29, 2021 — 4 min read
Top 10 Government Grants for Startups & Small Businesses in Australia

Have you ever wondered how to get a small business grant? There are several government business grants on both a state and federal level, and they’re a great way to kick-start your new ideas or grow your existing business.

What is a business grant?

Government business grants are available to eligible entrepreneurs, start-ups, home businesses and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to help with growth. Most grants are usually for specific business projects rather than just funding for general business operations. Some grants involve financial assistance, but many offer help with training, expert advice, employment, expansion, research and development, and products commercialisation.

There are several State-based business incentives, however, for this article, we’re looking at government grants that are available Australia-wide.

CSIRO Kick-Start 

One of the best grants on offer is CSIRO Kick-Start. It is for start-ups and SME’s and you can apply for matched funding between $10,000 – $50,000 to utilise CSIRO expertise to conduct research activities that will enable your business to:

 Funding may be used to cover the costs of undertaking the project, and may include:

Funding may not be used for capital works and expenditure or infrastructure costs.

Eligibility: Your business must have an ACN, be registered for GST, have your primary place of business within Australia, demonstrate the ability to dollar-match the funding, have an annual turn over of less than $10 million in the current and each of the 2 previous financial years, or have been a registered company for less than 3 years. Learn more here.

Research & Development Tax Incentive

Rather than being a straight cash grant, the Research & Development (R&D) Tax Incentive provides tax assistance for eligible research and development activities. So, if you’re running at a loss due to your R&D activities, you may be entitled to a 43.5% tax offset, which is paid as a cash rebate. The scheme is designed to encourage smaller entities to conduct valuable R&D that benefits Australia.

Eligibility: You’ll need to have an aggregated turnover of less than $20 million, and be participating in genuine R&D activities. Learn more about eligibility on the Business government website.

Export Market Development Grant

The Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) is designed for Australian SMEs who have already tested products or services in Australia and want to explore overseas markets. This is a terrific grant for businesses looking to expand their operations, as it offers a 50% reimbursement for activities promoting their goods and services to international markets. The grants start at $5,000 and are capped at $150,000.

Eligibility: Must have a total income less than $50 million, and you must be the principal in the export of goods, not an agent. That means the goods and services you’re selling must be yours, rather than on-selling someone else’s products. Learn more about eligibility on the Business government website.

Australian Apprentice Incentives Program

Under the Australian Apprenticeship Incentives Program (AAIP), businesses are encouraged to hire apprentices and provide quality training. Many SMEs benefit from having apprentices on hand to help with the workload. For businesses, it’s a lot cheaper than hiring a regular employee, plus you get the added benefit of training people in your business. The AAIP provides incentives ranging from $750 to $4000 annually, depending on the level of training provided.

Eligibility: You must have a training contract with your apprentice, and offer the training at Certificate II, III, IV, Diploma or Advanced Diploma level. Learn more about eligibility on the Business government website

Landing Pads

Landing Pads is a little different from other small business grants, in that it doesn’t come with a direct cash incentive. However, it does offer a real benefit to start-ups and entrepreneurs who are ready to go to market. Through the Landing Pads scheme, start-ups are provided with a workspace for 90 days in a global innovation hub. This includes access to coaching, investors, training and networking opportunities. These hubs are based in Singapore, Tel Aviv, San Francisco, Berlin and Shanghai.

Eligibility: Start-ups applying or Landing Pads must be market-ready with an established product. You’ll also need to have a customer acquisition strategy and some genuine market leads. Learn more about eligibility on the Business government website.

Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund

The Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund is managed by states, so you’ll need to check eligibility requirements and opportunities with your state. However, overall, the scheme matches funding for eligible projects that improve tourism and accommodation facilities in regional Australia. Grants can range from $50,000 to $250,000.

Something extra – Square Loans

Once you’ve explored all your options for government grants, there is another way to inject some much-needed cash into your business. Square Loans offers small business loans from $300 – $100,000. Square Loans are tailored to your business, and designed to help you grow. Best of all, you can use it for anything within your business.*


Square Loans also don’t have ongoing interest charges – just a simple flat fee. You can even make payments directly using a percentage of your daily card sales through Square, so you’ll hardly even notice you’re paying it back. If you think your business can benefit from a Square small business loan, contact our friendly team today and we’d be happy to help.

*All loans are issued by Square AU Pty Ltd. (ABN 38 167 106 176). Valid Australian bank account is required. Actual fee depends upon payment card processing history, loan amount and other eligibility factors. A minimum payment of 1/18th of the initial loan balance is required every 60 days and full loan repayment is required within 18 months. Loan eligibility is not guaranteed. Eligibility criteria include consistent and continuous payment card processing through Square. All loans are subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

The Bottom Line is brought to you by a global team of collaborators who believe that anyone should be able to participate and thrive in the economy.


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