A character assessment of the Australian spirit reveals a strong entrepreneurial streak, grounded by a familiar Aussie humility. In quantitative terms, this is expressed in the nation’s high start-up rate of 5.8%, a figure that places it impressively in the top six globally, and ahead of India and the United Kingdom. Start-up hubs have emerged in all major metropolitan cities, with especially fertile business landscapes growing in Sydney and Melbourne. New national business entries in the past year number a staggering 365,500. Of course adjacent to opportunity and success, comes overestimation and defeat. Of the roughly 60% of startups that don’t survive their first few years, almost a third will meet their demise due to cash flow problems. Thus, no matter how optimistic your approach, how innovative your ideas, capital remains king in the ongoing success of emerging businesses. With this in mind, let’s examine what assistance is available to new and growing ventures. In particular, there are many start up business grants provided to Australians who quite literally build their businesses from the bottom up.
Small Business Startup Grants
A grant, as opposed to a loan or other type of funding opportunity, is akin to free money, with no investors looking to recoup their contribution. Grants are provided by government-backed institutions and relieve you of the pressure of proving your lending worth to large financial institutions or other independent backers. They typically include money, as well as mentorship, advice, and hands-on support. There is always an application process that needs to be submitted for a grant, and generally only a small percentage of applicants will be successful.
Grants are also usually accompanied by strict lending conditions when it comes to the use of funds, For example, it may be specified that monies must be directed towards certain activities such as product development, market research, or prototyping.
Grants and loans for small business startups
One of Australia’s most commonly accessed government start-up grants is the widely popular AusIndustry Entrepreneurs’ Programme. Since its 2014 inception, the program has issued more than 256 million dollars and 543 grants via its Accelerating Commercialisation fund. The program can be applied for at any time, and is intended for start-ups and small businesses that have a novel product, process, or service, that they are ready to scale up and commercialise for a global audience. It consists of both a guidance and a funding stage. The inclusion of mentorship for business success within a grant’s infrastructure is highly valuable, with an examination into start-up failures by Harvard Business School professor, Tom Eisenmann, emphasizing skills such as customer discovery and competitive analysis with rival products or services as key markers of start-up success. To this end, the government’s Landing Pads Program provides start-ups with a workspace for up to 90 days in a global innovation hub entitling them access to coaching, investors, customers, training, and networking opportunities.
The CSIRO Kick-Start Program is another investment opportunity offering finance to Australian companies and targets businesses involved in research and innovation. Successful applicants can receive payments of between $10,000 and $50,000, with the funds intended for the salaries, contractor costs, and overheads involved in undertaking a research project.
Business Startup Grants
Many grant opportunities and other financial assistance programs for businesses are offered at a state level. Make use of our grant finder for a quick preview of potential grants available to you. Grants can also be state/ territory specific so it is important to check the location criteria prior to submitting applicaitons. Each State/ Territory will have its own initiatives that aim at improving their local economy. As grants applications are open for a set period, funding is always limited, and there is generally only a small chance of being a successful applicant, it’s advisable for start-ups to invest time and attention into applying for grants. You may also need to research and study the specific objectives of the grant program so as to prepare your applications bearing the program objectives in mind. It is also advisable to review the program guidelines as it often provides valuable tips on preparing and submitting the grant proposal. Certain areas in the country focus on the production of particular products or the delivery of specific services. By concentrating your grant search to a defined local area, you may increase the likelihood that the funding opportunities on offer will be relevant to your company, and in turn that your business will contribute in a positive way to the local economy.
Researching Startup Business Grants
A funding opportunity may not always be in the form of a grant. In fact, many start-ups and small businesses miss out on opportunities for economic backing through a lack of knowledge. An example of this is the under-utilised Research and Development Tax Incentive. The Australian R&D Tax Incentive Scheme can provide eligible businesses with significant cash refunds of up to 43.5% of their total R&D expense. It doesn’t only apply to profitable businesses, as even loss-making ventures can benefit from it.
Experience and advice are other avenues that can drastically improve your chances of start-up success, as well as boosting the value of any grant proposals you submit. Gather as much information about pricing and costs within your particular industry, as well as educate yourself on the successful marketing of your intended products or services.
If you find that government sanctioned funding opportunities are limited, you can also consider other potential sources for financial stimulus from the private sector, this could include alternatives such as crowdfunding and crowd investing.
Deciding to go it alone and embark on a start-up or small business venture, doesn’t mean forsaking the wealth of advice, leadership, and economic stimulus that is available through government grants, financial assistance, and other wage subsidy programs. The first step is researching available funding opportunities, applying for appropriate possibilities, and remaining open to engaging with all forms of learning and tools acquisition along the journey.
To learn more about the assistance opportunities available to you, call us now and speak to one of our representatives on the number provided below.