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.
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.
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%).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.