Specialist finance

What are business grants?

Whether you're starting up or have been operating your business for some time — most business owners can agree that additional funds to put towards their business goals never go astray.

We discuss how you can make the most of business grants to help boost your business.

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What are business grants?

A business grant is money given freely to help businesses, without needing to be paid back. The Australian government offers business grants to help fund your projects and ideas and give you a helping hand if your business has been impacted by events such as natural disasters. By helping provide your business with extra capital, government grants also help stimulate the economy.

Types of grants

There are many various types of grants for businesses available. The range of support areas include:

  • Advice and mentoring
  • Loans
  • Funding
  • Sponsorship
  • Tax benefits
  • Subsidies and rebates

How do I find out what small business grants are available to me?

Remaining on the front foot instead of waiting for news of small business grants to arrive on your doorstep is the best course of action. The government makes it easy to find grants using the Grants and Programs Finder.

By doing your research, you might find that your business is eligible for financial assistance in trying times, such as via emergency support grants for businesses directly affected by flooding or other natural disasters or to help boost small businesses of a particular type or in a particular area of Australia.

Of course, with so many small businesses looking for financial assistance, it's a good idea to ensure you get your application in quickly. Some government grants are competitively assessed, and most have time restrictions on how long the application window stays open.

What do I need to do to apply?

Once you've found a grant you wish to apply for and have confirmed that your business is eligible, follow the instructions on the relevant site. You'll often need to write an application submission stating why you're applying for the grant and why your business should be considered. You may need to compete with other businesses (unless the grant is for emergency assistance). Placing time into your application could pay off in the long run.

Sometimes, you'll be required to provide documentation, depending on the support type and your business age, category and industry.

Are government grants available for not-for-profit organisations?

Grants aren't solely available to small businesses and large corporations — there are several programs and funding assistance initiatives available to not-for-profit organisations, too. For example, COVID had a devastating impact on the ability of not-for-profit organisations to fundraise and continue operating as they usually would. Programs and support by way of a grant helped many NFPs to stay afloat during the height of the pandemic.

Grants are available to almost every business structure, including:

  • Companies
  • NFPs
  • Partnerships
  • Sole traders
  • Trusts

Do I need to repay a business grant?

Businesses provided with grant money don't need to repay it — that's the beauty of a grant! The government offers grants to help businesses launch, recover or continue operating, with no requirement to repay the money. 

Small businesses are crucial to the Australian economy, so the government has a vested interest in supporting them through small business grants. Many businesses use grant money to access business services and other resources, which often helps create employment opportunities within the community.

How much money do business grants provide?

For the most part, business grants that aren't for the purpose of recovering from natural disasters are typically less than $10,000. For this reason, if you're eligible for grants or another government funding initiative, it's best to utilise the funds where they're needed most while dovetailing them with other business funding options.

Disclaimer: always refer to professional advice. The information presented here is purely indicative and not intended as advice. Always consult a legal or finance professional.

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