The small business owner’s guide to grants

Small businesses are a significant part of the Australian economy. Whether you work for yourself running a freelancing business, or you own a small grocery store employing ten people, small businesses drive innovation, help fund research and development and help provide jobs to people in all industries. They’re vital for the success of the Australian business market.

But before you get started, you might require a financial investment to get your business up and running. Here’s a list of what you need to know about business grants. 

How do small business grants work?

A grant is a financial investment offered to help cover the costs of a project. Grants are often awarded to people who hope to achieve a certain goal, such as drive growth in a specific industry. For example, the government might award $30,000 to agricultural businesses implementing a government approved growth strategy.   

You apply for a grant by demonstrating what you intend to do with the grant money and how your own goals align with those of the body offering the grant, usually a government or corporate entity. Using the previous example, you would need to demonstrate how you plan to implement the government approved growth strategy and, in turn, how this will drive growth in your agricultural business.

How to apply for the grant

1. Do your research: Government grants aren’t something you apply for on a whim. Take the time and do your research on the body offering the grant, on the industry and about how you can best achieve the goal.
2. Make a strategy: Put together a strategy to demonstrate what your business will do with the money and how you plan to achieve success.
3. Fill in the paperwork: Take your time to fill in the application correctly.

Then, give it to someone to read over to ensure you haven’t made any mistakes. Your application will usually need to include:

a. An overview of your business.
b. Your business trading history.
c. A business or marketing plan.
d. A plan or strategy for how you plan to use the grant money.
e. Required application.

Finding the right grant

In order to identify which grant might be right for you there are a few things to consider.

• Project requirements: Because grants are awarded for specific projects, not businesses or people, you need to make sure you have the resources to complete what’s required of you once you’ve won the grant.
• Grant application/eligibility: You’ll need to go through an application process for any grant, so get yourself acquainted with the eligibility before you start your application. This should be included during your research phase.
• Available funding: One of the biggest factors to consider is the financial amount you’ll be awarded if your grant application is successful. Consider the amount and what the project requirements dictate you do with the funds. Then, ask yourself if you can achieve what you need to with this amount.
• Reporting processes: The work doesn’t stop after you’ve been awarded the grant. You’ll likely be required to report on the progress of your project. Before you apply, read up on the required reporting process.

To help you get started, you can find the available grants offered by your State Government below:

Western Australia
South Australia
Northern Territory
Queensland
NSW
ACT
Victoria
Tasmania

What happens next?

Once submitted, your application will be reviewed by a panel. Applications will usually be assessed on merit and successful applicants will be contacted by the panel. 

For other funding options, consider taking out a small business loan to start your own business.

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