Australia is known for making capital available to entrepreneurs whether they are just starting their business or more established in their entrepreneurial journey. The Australian government and non-government organisations do this by providing micro-business grants and schemes to entrepreneurs which are coursed through the local states or regions within Australia. Small business owners select the grant program among the grants available that best fits their needs and qualifications and apply to their local states or regions’ authorised agencies.
Micro Business Grant
Small businesses in Australia are basically defined in two ways: by the number of employees and by annual aggregated turnover. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines small businesses as businesses employing less than 20 people. This includes non-employing businesses (sole proprietorships and non-employing partnerships), micro-businesses (businesses employing 1 to 4 people including non-employing businesses), and other businesses (businesses employing 5 to 19 people). On the other hand, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) defines small businesses in terms of their annual aggregated turnover. This can be any entity as an individual, partnership, company, or trust carrying on a business with $2 million to $10 million in annual aggregated turnover or gross income. A business with less than $2 million in annual gross revenue is classified as a micro business.
So, according to ATO guidelines, a business with 20 or more employees but with less than $2 million aggregated turnover can qualify as a micro-business while a business with less than 20 employees but has more than $2 million in annual gross revenue can qualify as a small business. Check the grant guidelines you are interested in and how it specifies “micro” or “small” businesses to see whether your business qualifies.
Micro Business Support Grant
Types of micro business grants
There are essentially three (3) types of micro-business grants available in Australia. They are government programs, bank grants or loan schemes, and other grants.
(1) Government grants are varied, depending on the type of venture you are funding. They range from Federal government programs to State government programs. The industry sector’s support can vary from insurance support for local film and television producers, to support for NSW organisations commercialising clean technology innovations, to funding for Victorian start-ups for developing solutions to government challenges, to funding for agribusinesses to expand or diversify their value-adding operations in Western Australia, and to many more specific-niche grants.
Currently, there are over 737 grants and programs available in our portal to applicants seeking assistance. You can specify your research by location, industry subcategories and using additional filters or keyword searches.
This is a brief sample of the support available in form of micro-business grants available in WA.
In Western Australia alone, the government provides the following grant programs:
- Covid-19 business grants (Small Business Hardship Grants, Payroll Tax Waiver, Tenant Rent Relief Scheme, Landlord Rent Relief Incentive, State Government Tenant Rental Credit Scheme);
- Hospitality and event grants (Alfresco Support Package, Waiver of Liquor Licensing Fees, Nightclub Assistance Program, Independent Performing Arts, Theatres, and Cinemas Assistance Program, Event Suppliers Support Program and City Events Grants Program);
- Safe Transition Industry Support Package for small and medium-sized businesses in the aviation, event supplying, international education, and tourism industries);
- School Camp Providers Program; and the
- Regional Small Business Support Program with free financial counselling.
Find out more about which government grant is applicable to your business and how to utilise them by speaking to one of our advisors today.
(2) Bank grants or loan schemes are grants or loans offered by several banks to help micro and small businesses get off their feet, especially during these pandemic times. When these businesses are able to survive and thrive, they pay their communities back in terms of more employment opportunities and economic development, and banks recognise this vital role they play.
Loan schemes can be from $5,000 to $1 million, unsecured or secured, offering finance opportunities from sole traders to multinational companies. Unsecured loans have the following key characteristics:
- Requires no assets to put up as surety since loan approvals are based on business credit score and cash flow;
- Usually for a small loan amount with a short loan term;
- With quick application and loan processing times;
- May require a personal guarantee from a bank director; and
- Usually more expensive with less preferential rates than a secured business loan.
Meanwhile, secured loans have the following key characteristics:
- Requires personal or business assets as surety against the loan;
- Loan amount generally depends on the business’ asset value;
- Businesses can borrow a bigger amount than in an unsecured loan;
- Longer application and loan processing times;
- Can involve additional professional valuation costs, and lenders usually value the asset at less than the assessed market value;
- Less expensive, with possible preferential rates, compared to an unsecured business loan; and
- If the borrower defaults, you lose the assets you put up as collateral for the loan.
(3) Other grants: Other organisations, like the Business Enterprise Centres Australia (BEC), can help you with mentoring programs suited to effectively running your business. BEC also offers mentoring, business information, business analysis, business referrals, training, and business networking services.
Boosting your eligibility for a Micro Business Grant
To increase your chances of success in securing any of these grants, it is recommended that you must be thoroughly prepared to clearly present the following in the course of the grant application process:
- Information about your business and its competitive edge;
- Your detailed business plan;
- Clear objectives for the business; and
- How the funding will specifically be used.
More specifically, we recommend the following steps:
- Customise your grant application to answer each individual criteria set by the grant.
- Give yourself plenty of time to carefully and thoughtfully prepare your grant application.
- Double-check the requirements before you submit your application.
- Consider hiring a professional grant writer who specialises in grants and understands the process, and how to craft a persuasive and effective submission.
- Whether your application is successful or not, follow up with the organisation managing the grant and ask for feedback, as well as any information on future grant opportunities, so you can learn from this experience and do better next time.
- Speak to other businesses, accountants or small businesses who may have had previous successful experiences with grant applications and find out their best practices for your own learning and improvement.
To learn more about the assistance opportunities available to you, you may speak to one of our representatives now.