A small business grant is a form of financial aid provided by the government to small businesses to help them grow, innovate, or recover from economic hardship. This type of assistance is intended to support the local economy via job creation and provide small business owners and small businesses with a financial boost to increase the chances of success in their ventures.
The grants available for small businesses to apply for vary depending on factors such as industry, number of employees, and location.
The NSW Government offers a range of general grants that are eligible for small businesses, such as the Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate, SafeWork Small Business Rebate, and Building Partnerships Grant. Depending on the specific industry of your business, there may be additional grants that you can apply for.
For example, there are industry-specific grants available in early 2023 for technology startups, before and after school care providers, and commercial fishers and aqua farmers.
However, it's important to note that grants can be created, modified, or closed, so it's a good idea to stay informed about the grants currently available for your business.
What kinds of things can a grant help me with?
Grants are a form of funding that can assist with a variety of needs such as operational costs, equipment, and research and development. Small business grants provide businesses with financial support to help them operate and expand, and unlike loans, they do not need to be repaid, making a business grant a very appealing form of financing.
Is there a difference between a grant and a loan?
Grants and loans have distinct differences, despite both having specific requirements. The key difference is that a loan must be repaid with interest, while a grant does not have to be repaid as long as it is used for its intended purpose. A loan is typically borrowed from a bank or financial institution, while a grant is provided by the government, corporations, or trusts for a specific purpose such as supporting business development.
Advantages and disadvantages to consider
Advantages of a loan
Obtaining a loan is generally a simpler process than obtaining a grant. Loans can be obtained from various sources such as banks, private lenders, or individuals, and can be used for both personal and commercial purposes.
The amount of financing that can be obtained through a loan is based on an individual's creditworthiness, which takes into account their ability to repay debts and fulfil obligations.
Disadvantages of a loan
In some cases, lenders may require borrowers to provide collateral, such as assets, as security for the loan. If the borrower is unable to repay the loan, the lender has the right to seize the collateral through a process known as foreclosure.
Advantages of a grant
Grants are a form of financial aid that do not have to be repaid by the successful applicants. They are essentially free money and do not come with any interest charges.
When applying for grants, applicants do not have to worry about the risk of repayment, which can potentially damage their credit rating or lead to the loss of assets.
Disadvantages of a grant
The majority of grants are intended for business-related purposes, although some may be provided for special circumstances such as COVID-19 support. The application process for grants typically has more stringent requirements and recipients may be required to meet certain conditions.
As grants are often provided by government organisations, the review process for grant applications may take longer. This makes grants less suitable as a financing option for businesses that require immediate funding.
Where to find small business grants online
Grants are typically available for a limited period of time. To find out which government grants are currently available or will be available soon in New South Wales, you can check the following government websites:
It is important to keep an eye on the closing dates for applications, as they are subject to change. There are a range of funding options to explore for small businesses at all stages, from start ups or a sole trader to more established small businesses that are looking for business growth or have suffered hardship or are suffering from an unexpected event.
There's a wide range of government grants at both the state and federal level as well as support programs available to small businesses who are in the start up or expansion phase of their life cycle.
How to apply for NSW small business grants
The application process for small business grants can vary depending on the specific grant you are applying for. However, in general, the process includes the following steps:
Locate the grant you wish to apply for on the Services NSW or NSW Government website.
Review the eligibility requirements to ensure that you qualify.
Gather all required documents.
Complete the application online using forms provided on the grant’s webpage on the Services NSW or NSW Government website. Typically, you will find a button that says "Apply online" or "Start online application" and you will be prompted to follow the steps.
What grant eligibility requirements and documents are needed?
The eligibility requirements and necessary documents for each grant can vary, so it is essential to thoroughly review the details for the grant you are considering applying for.
Here are some of the potential eligibility criteria for grants in New South Wales:
Have a valid Australian Business Number (ABN) based in NSW
Operate in the industry that the grant is targeted towards
Have completed or initiated projects or activities that align with the grant's rebate
Be actively engaged in commercial activities that the grant supports
Have experienced hardship as a result of unforeseen events such as a pandemic or bushfire - for recovery-focused grants.
These are just some examples, and the specific criteria for each grant may vary.
If you determine that you are eligible for a grant, you will likely be required to provide certain documentation. This can include:
Evidence that you meet the grant's eligibility criteria
Business details and related documentation
Supporting documents for any expenses you are claiming a rebate for
These are just a few examples and the specific documents required may vary depending on the grant you are applying for.
Are NSW small business grants taxable?
Some small business grants offered by the New South Wales government are considered non-assessable, non-exempt (NANE) income by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), which means they do not need to be reported on your tax return and will not be subject to taxes.
However, if a grant is not considered NANE income, you may be liable for taxes on the value of the grant. To determine your tax liability, it is advisable to contact the ATO directly or consult with a qualified business taxation expert.
The Accelerated Commercialisation program is designed to help small to medium businesses, startups, researchers, inventors, and Research Commercialisation Entities commercialise a new product, service, or process. The program is split into two parts: commercialisation guidance and grants. To be considered for financial assistance, applicants must first apply for commercialisation guidance.
Eligible applicants for commercialisation guidance will be assigned an AusIndustry Customer Service Manager or an Accelerating Commercialisation Facilitator to provide personalised advice on their business and commercialising their intellectual property.
Successful grant applicants will receive matched project funding of up to $1 million. Research Commercialisation Entities and Eligible Partner Entities can receive matched funding up to $500,000.
To be eligible for the program, the applicant must have a new product and meet the turnover test, which requires that their combined annual turnover must be less than $20 million for the previous three financial years.
For pre-revenue technology startups, the Minimum Viable Product Grants (MVP) may be an option to consider. These grants are intended for startups that are preparing to enter the market but are not yet generating revenue.
The MVP grants are designed to help startups engage with potential customers, bring their product to market, and validate and achieve their first sales.
Successful grant applicants will receive matched funding of up to 50% on approved project costs, with a maximum of $25,000. 30% of the funding will be provided upfront and 65% will be provided upon the completion and validation of the MVP.
For incorporated companies, the SMART Projects and Supply Chains initiative, which forms part of the Entrepreneurs program, may be an option to consider. This initiative helps businesses improve their performance by providing access to strategic or high-value projects.
Businesses that participate in this initiative will be connected with a facilitator who will provide support, guide them on market opportunities and requirements, identify skill gaps and challenges, and assist with implementing a roadmap for success.
The second part of the SMART Projects and Supply Chains is the provision of Growth Grants, which offers financial assistance of up to $20,000 to implement the roadmap.
The High Growth Accelerator is a program under Entrepreneurship access that offers personalised support for businesses operating in a specific growth sector. An independent facilitator will work with you for a period of over two years, providing expertise, resources, mentorship, and other assistance to help your business grow and become more competitive.
The CSIRO Kick-Start program offers financial support in the form of dollar-matched funding, ranging from $10,000 to $50,000, for research projects to startups and small to medium businesses. The funds can be used for expenses such as salaries, accommodation, travel, administrative costs, and other related fees.
In addition to funding, businesses also have access to CSIRO's expertise to help research product or service ideas, develop new products, processes or services, and test them. Eligible businesses that have completed their first project can apply for a second round of funding, provided the total cost of the project does not exceed $50,000.
For organisations that conduct research that benefits new and established rural sectors, Agrifutures Australia RD&E Investment may be an option to consider. This investment targets research that contributes to the sustainability and profitability of rural industries that do not have their own Research and Development Corporation (RDC).
The funding amount varies based on the priority level of the research, as Agrifutures Australia identifies the research priorities for different industries on an annual basis.
Grants for aboriginal or torres strait islander peoples
Indigenous business owners have the option to register their company as an Indigenous corporation, which makes them eligible for special business grants and incentives. Eligibility for registration can be checked on the government website.
Additionally, the Indigenous My Business (IBA) program provides guidance, training, and financial assistance to entrepreneurs and business owners with Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander heritage to grow their businesses.
The NSW Government provides grants for businesses operating in the sustainability sector to develop renewable energy projects through the Advancing Renewables program. This program aims to support innovation in the renewable energy industry and make it a financially viable option for all.
NSW storm and flood disaster recovery
Small businesses and not-for-profit organisations that have been directly affected by recent storms and floods may be eligible for a flood disaster recovery grant of up to $50,000. This grant is intended to help cover the costs of cleaning up and restoring operations. To find out more and determine if you qualify, visit the Service NSW website.
COVID-19 NSW business grants
If your small business has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for a grant as part of the recovery plan in New South Wales (NSW). Due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic, various grants have been established, altered, and discontinued over time, so it is essential to keep an eye on the application deadlines.
Contact details for grant information in NSW
For more information or some support in applying for a grant, you can contact the offices of Service NSW.
Write to them at Service NSW, GPO Box 7057, Sydney NSW 2001
We have much experience helping small businesses attain NSW business grants. Applying for a small business grant can be a daunting experience. Let us help you navigate the process.
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If you are thinking about applying for a small business grant or need help interacting with the Australian government, get in touch with us to set up a consultation or use the contact form on this page.
Any advice contained in this document is general advice only and does not take into consideration the reader’s personal circumstances. Any reference to the reader’s actual circumstances is coincidental. To avoid making a decision not appropriate to you, the content should not be relied upon or act as a substitute for receiving financial advice suitable to your circumstances.