Entrepreneurs’ often stress over cashflow and finances. But they often overlook a ready source of funds – Governments grants.
Grants should form part of every Small and Medium Entity’s (SME’s) funding strategy. The grants available are typically designed to top up funding requirements for SME’s. Grants are available to SMEs across all industries from establishment to development, going to market and exporting. Apart from providing cash for funding growth, consideration of grants is increasingly viewed as important to good corporate governance (how your business is run and controlled). Part of the problem however is that many businesses don’t know these grants exist; let alone how to apply for them.
There is no shortage of government money available for start-ups. Around $50billion in government grants are available to Australian SMEs annually. The challenge is find out which grants are most appropriate and likely to yield results for your business.
Given the value of grant money available, it begs the questions: “Why aren’t more SMEs tapping into government grants?” Unfortunately many small businesses are often not aware of the grants available or they think they may be too hard to apply for.
There are many grants available for various uses and the conditions associated with using the funds can be more palatable to SME owners than standard investment. You don’t have to relinquish any control, ownership or equity when receiving a grant, and you don’t typically have to guarantee specific financial returns on investment. And typically, you don’t have to repay the grant or pay interest on it. However, most grants have formal reporting requirements and some are subject to audits.
In summary, some of the grants available include:
a. support starting a business,
b. development or commercialisation
c. improved productivity and competiveness
e. pursuing export markets
f. introducing new products and services
g. grants based on industry or geographic location
a. up to $50,000 for specialist advice to build the skills & knowledge to commercialise IP
b. between $50,000 – $250,000 to test the commercial viability of a new product, process or service
There are also retrospective grants available to recoup expenses already incurred; such as:
a. Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) – where you can claim up to 50% of export promotional activity expenditure
These grants administered by AusTrade, are available to businesses with annual income between $5,000 – $200,000 as well as some with less than $50m turnover.
To tap into and successfully obtain your share of these grants, see the following tips:
1. Proactively learn about the grants available and find those that will support your business best.
2. Contact the funding organisation and have an initial discussion with them. You may start to build a positive relationship with those who will be assessing your application.
3. Follow the guidelines and address the criteria. Don’t skip or miss any out!
4. Develop your written and verbal communication skills. Grant applications require clear concise written word that addresses the criteria in a compelling manner.
5. Demonstrate how your business is perfect for the grant program, matches it objectives and how the funding will support your business.
Internet sites to access to guide you through the process:
AusIndustry – Grants, assistance and referrals for business at every stage of the business life-cycle. http://www.ausindustry.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx
Buiness.gov.au – Grants and Assistance Finder to locate the grants most relevant to your business www.business.gov.au/BusinessTopics/Grantsandassistance/Pages/default.aspx#contenttop
Australian Business – Another ‘Grant Finder’ engine to discover funding programs for your Australian small business. www.australiangovernmentgrants.org
DISCLAIMER: All information provided in this article is of a general nature only and is not personal financial, taxation or investment advice. It does not take into account your particular objectives and circumstances. No person should act on the basis of this information without first obtaining and following the advice of a suitably qualified professional advisor. To the fullest extent permitted by law, no person involved in producing, distributing or providing the information in this article (including Award Accounting for Business Success Pty Ltd, each of its directors and employees) will be liable in any way for any loss or damage suffered by any person through the use of or access to this information.
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