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7 Government Grants to Boost your Startup in 2017

With two weeks left of 2016, you might have some new year resolutions for your startup. One of your list priorities most likely would be to enhance your operations. Whether it’s finding investors or creating a mobile app, receiving government grants might be a high priority.

With the various grants offered by the Australian Government and the latest Innovation Agenda launching, 2017 will be a great opportunity for you to apply for some grants. In this post, we’ll be identifying grants that will help kick start your startup in the new year.

 

1. Entrepreneur’s Programme

 

The Entrepreneur’s Programme is an initiative that helps entrepreneurs and startups support and develop their innovative ideas or concepts. Through this initiative, entrepreneurs get access to networks and support from advisors and facilitators in the relevant industries.
Applications for this grant have no due date are on-going. You’ll need to apply for the elements separately on the official government program website.

The Benefits:

This program helps your startup achieve business grow through assistance with the following aspects:

  • Product/Service commercialisation (Accelerating Commercialisation):  This element of the program will give your startup the boost to launch your idea into the market. You’ll get a strategy of commercialising your products with an experienced adviser. The element will also help you offer partnering opportunities and access to a network of experts. If you go ahead and undertake a commercialisation project you can gain a grant of 50 percent expenditure of up to $1 million.
  • Business Analysis (Business Management): An experienced advisor analyst will go through business strategies, direction and provide recommendations to improve your startup’s abilities. You’ll receive a tailored plan which will help your startup increase competitiveness and growth. With this element you can also apply for a Business Growth grant of up to $20,000 after meeting with a service provider to fund your improvement projects.
  • Business gap analysis (Innovation Connections): You’ll be able to identify knowledge gaps that are restricting your startup from achieving growth from expert innovation facilitators. These facilitators will also help you identify opportunities to get your ideas research new ideas and provide other business service packages. There’s also an innovation grant available if you decide to undertake a product research project of up to $50,000.

 

2. Crowd-sourced Equity Funding (CSEF)

 

Launching sometime in 2017, the Crowd-sourced Equity Funding (CSEF) is a new initiative by the Australian Government that allows startups and  entrepreneurs crowd from the public of up to $5 million each year. To get your funding you’ll need to submit a CSEF document that contains information about your business and purpose, through an intermediary with a Financial Services License.

The Benefits

This is great for startups who have a ground breaking idea or product but need lots of funding to get it implemented.

The CSEF is still in development but if you want to keep up to date with the latest news you can subscribe for updates on the Australian Government site.

 

3. Small Business Grants Program – City of Melbourne

 

To support creativity and innovation, the City of Melbourne offers grants to startups that have a market ready product or service.

There are four grant categories: Startup, Business Expansion, Export and Business Support, however you can only apply for one category per round.

Your application will be assessed on Innovation and Creativity (23%), Business readiness (25%), Financial viability (20%), How it benefits the City of Melbourne (20%), Ethical and other considerations (5%).

The Benefits:

You can receive up to $30,000 to boost your startup and help you with business expansion. In addition there are also $10,000 grants to help export your products overseas and expand in new markets.

To be eligible, your startup needs to be located in the Melbourne CBD area or planning to move there in the future. Your team can only have up to 20 staff members, have an ABN, proposals and other documents.

Applications will open in June 2017, so now will be a good time to plan your application early.

 

4. Landing Pads

 

Landing Pads gives you the opportunity to travel and work in coworking spaces for 90 days overseas in areas known for innovation. Currently there two areas in operation; San Francisco and Tel Aviv, with plans of Landing Pads in Shanghai, Berlin and Singapore.

To apply you’ll need to fill in the application form online, which asks for personal details and answer pre-requisite questions about your startup, e.g. your key objectives, how you differentiate from others.

The Benefits:

Applying for Landing Pads gives you the opportunity to gain market knowledge, improve your  products designs and network with other startups overseas. Additionally, you get access to training, coaching and investor networking opportunities.

You’ll be fully supported from Austrade when overseas and after returning home. Here, Austrade will further provide assistance by introducing you to other service providers, corporate and government agencies.

Applications are ongoing and offered each time Landing Pads are available. You can reapply if you are not successful the first time around.

 

5. Grow your business – Victoria

 

Grow Your Business is similar to the Entrepreneur’s Programme but only available to startups in Victoria. The program gives your startup funding for attending planning and management services on offer. There are different program categories, consisting of development plans, strategic review, mentoring, group and network programs.

Each category has different criteria, which you can find here.

Applications are ongoing and are done online.

The Benefits:

These grants will help you cover costs for a certain amount of the project, which varies depending on category.

The Business Development Plan and Mentoring covers up to 50% of total projects of up to $7,500. The Business Strategic Review covers up to 75%, up to $4,000 and Group and Network projects covering up to 75% of a cost up to $15,000.

Your operations and strategies will be analysed and reviewed. You’ll get reports on your business and areas of improvements so that you can maintain long-term growth. Finally, this program helps you enhance your management and business skills maximise your competitiveness overseas.

 

6. Research & Development Tax Incentive

 

The Research & Development Tax Incentive will help your startup relieve costs with the help of a tax offset. The grant provides startups 45 cents back from every dollar spent on R&D but only if they earn under $20 million in a year. The minimum spending of R&D is $20,000 and you’ll need to provide supporting documents. As long as you’re actively trying to find solutions to problems  with products, you can apply even if you’re not in the tech industry.

Applications are done online and the deadline is 10 months after the end of a company’s year.

The Benefits:

This will most benefit new startups or those without sales as you’ll receive 45% back from Research & Development expenditure, such as wages for personnel working on projects. Additionally, R&D will enable you to enhance your products and achieve solutions. This grant will be a big help in the idea validation and product research stage of your startup.

7. Export Market Development Grant

 

This Grant gives reimbursements for exporting marketing activities and creating new markets. There are a whole range of categories you can claim, from marketing consultants, overseas trade shows  and free samples. This grant is mainly for startups who actively promote their products or services overseas.

Applications are done online but currently closed and expected to reopen sometime next year.

The Benefits:

You can get back up to 50 percent of expenses as long as they are at least $15,000. As a result, the Export Market Development Grant enables you to spend more money on promotional activities. Your startup will be able to explore more markets overseas and also reduce the financial risk of international business activity.

 

emmas-journeyAn example of how grants can help boost your startup

Takeaways

With these 7 government grants, you can be well on your way towards reaching your goal of boosting your startup in the new year. A final word of advice, as you start preparing your applications for each grant remember to incorporate what the Government is looking for in startups. For instance, in the Landing Pads program, the Government is looking for startups that have vision, market relevance, scalability, differentiation and traction.

 

Have you applied for any government grants in 2016? Which grants will you apply for in 2017? Let us know on our Facebook page.

 

Key Lessons from Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak

Last weekend, Margaret Court Arena was filled with the atmosphere of excitement and anticipation. The event wasn’t Nick Kyrgios’ latest dummy spit on the tennis court, but a ‘must-see’ event of a different kind. “An Evening with Woz” was an informal, insightful and inspiring presentation from Steve “Woz” Wozniak – the co-founder of Apple and the inventor of the personal computer.

Along with other technology entrepreneurs, myself and our Product Director Marc sat at the edge of our seats in awe as Woz shared his stories and experiences of founding Apple. Overall, we learnt a lot at the event and in this post we’ll be sharing some key takeaways from the night.

 

Who is Woz?

Born in August 11, 1950, Woz is an electronics engineer and programmer who dropped out of college and co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs in 1976. Before Apple he worked at Hewlett-Packard (HP) as a calculator designer in 1971. During that period he developed his first computer, the Apple 1 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now with an estimated net worth of $100 million, Woz continues to be an influencer and hero in the world of computers and technology. Starting out with humble beginnings,  Apple now has an estimated net worth of $586 billion.

 

Key Takeaways

 

1. Love what you do

Quote 1

 

Throughout the event Woz spoke about how he loved what he did and was passionate about technology and computers. He discovered his passion at age 12 when his parents gave him a transistor radio kit. He was able to assemble it without a book or manual. His love for electronics enabled him to create technology like a tic tac toe game and a device for phones that let you call worldwide for free. This was one of the main reasons why Apple and Woz became successful when starting out.

There are lots of benefits when you love what you do:

 

  • Boosts your mood

As the philosopher Confucius once said: if you do what you love, you won’t work a day in your life. There are many advantages when you’re happier at work. For instance, it will boost your creativity, productivity and motivation. This is also beneficial if you’re in a higher organisational position, such as a manager, supervisor or CEO. Your positive mood will influence your employees and result in a positive workplace.

 

  • You’ll work harder

Loving what you do will increase your overall work ethic. You’ll work harder, even putting in more time and effort. Woz pulled all-nighters to create the floppy disk to further sell the Apple II, Apple’s second computer, at an electronics show in Las Vegas. He was able to finish a few hours before the event. Another benefit is that you’ll also go beyond what is expected, taking initiative and doing other tasks in your extra time. In his college years, Woz would pull all-nighters helping other students with their coding projects for other students for 5 cents, after a day’s work at HP.

 

  • Increases perseverance

There will be times in life where you’ll experience setbacks and barriers that prevent you from reaching your goals. Having persistence is one of the traits that will help you push through those times. When you love what you do, hurdles and problems turn into opportunities, such as continuous improvement. For example, Woz continually persevered through problems with his inventions by taking apart his creations to identify why functions didn’t work and made improvements.

 

2. Marketing and branding is vital

 

560-apple-ipod-people.0

Apple’s iconic silhouette ad

Apple are well known for their captivating storytelling marketing and innovative advertising. Examples of their notable work include the infamous Super Bowl ad for the first Macintosh in 1984 and their Silhouette iPod television ad. In fact, their marketing and branding strategies were one of the main contributors towards the success of Apple.

This was also discussed at the event, where Woz emphasised the importance of marketing and how it is one of the main ways you can differentiate yourself from competitors.

One of the methods that Apple has used is through a positioning strategy, which focuses on you standing out from your competitors. You can differentiate yourself through a product or service offering, quality, innovation, price or brand. This strategy is based on building a reputation and creating an imprint of your company at the back of the mind of consumers. For example, you might associate a low cost airlines with Jetstar or Airasia.

In the case of Apple, they primarily focused on their brand, which became their biggest asset. Apple’s brand mainly focused on the customer’s needs, simplicity and breaking the status quo, which was a philosophy instilled by Apple’s first investor and mentor, Mike Markkula. This is also influenced by the origins of the company brand name, where it was created due to positive associations, which Woz touched on at the event.

 

3.  Dream big and follow it

Quote 2

 

Back in the 90s, computers were gigantic, expensive and only used by the government. No one envisioned that computers could be used for personal use in homes. However, Woz thought differently and it sparked a vision of personal computers being used in homes.

His vision boosted his persistence and he was able to successfully pitch his idea to Hewlett Packard after multiple attempts. Coupled with passion, having a vision made him stand strong and helped Apple become a success. Through Woz’s experience, we can learn that when you have a dream or a vision, follow it no matter what anyone else says or thinks.

 

BONUS: Don’t forget to have fun!

Steve Wozniak loved to having fun at college and while working on his inventions. That was part of his view on life and work. He created a formula on being happy, where “happiness equals smiles minus frowns”. Woz regularly pranked his friends, colleagues and school teachers. It’s important take time off work and do things you enjoy.

There are many benefits when balancing work and fun. For instance, it can help increase your productivity, prevents you from burning out, improves your mood and also makes you healthier. Woz’s pranking years not only entertained but also reminded us that to have fun outside of work.

 

So there you have it, the key lessons we learnt from one of Apple’s founders. Were you at the event as well? Let us know in the comments section or through our Facebook and Twitter page.

Keen to learn more? Check out our latest blogs for more insightful knowledge.