Government Grants and Incentives: Which one is right for my Business?


Getting a Government Grant and Incentive can be a great booster to elevate your business to the next level. There are lots of Grants and Incentives out there to consider and they can make a big difference to your business. For example, Research and Development (R&D Tax Incentives) and the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) which don’t focus on whether you’re generating a big revenue as eligibility criteria but rather focusing on your expenses so these can be a good opportunities for startup and small businesses.

However, before you start filling out the paperwork you need to know that the money does come with some strings. You do need to provide reporting to the Government on how the Grant funding has been used and the outcome.

What is a grant?

It is a Government funding to help organisations get a foot up to grow and expand. If your business is thriving, it will add jobs and contribute to the economic growth. Grants are usually targeted at a specific area such as assisting with the addition/adoption of certain technology to your business, increasing marketing activity, exporting your products or buying equipment. The Government reviews its grants spending annually and decides which grants can continue to be offered. In order to keep the grants available, the Government must be able to justify how the funding would benefit more than just for your business. For example, if the Grant money is used by your businesses to buy equipment, not only you are adding value to your business but you are also stimulating economic growth because of the equipment that you are purchasing.

In order to get a Grant, you must meet certain eligibility criteria set in place by the Government and the process is generally competitive. Some criteria include the requirement to fund your share of the project costs (for example, you need to pay for 50% of the project cost), the requirement to meet the turnover test, the need for you to work in a specific industry area, or the need for your businesses to conduct certain activities. Grant applications are usually assessed by Government case officers to make sure you meet the eligibility criteria and in the end of the review process you will receive a letter confirming how much Grant money you are entitled to.

Grant applications can be tedious and time consuming to complete

Grant writing varies widely across disciplines. Writing successful grant applications is quite a long process that requires a lot of time, diligence and patience. You need to allow more than 40 hours to complete a grant application (with the assumption that you know what you are doing and you know what the Government wants). The majority time is consumed in understanding eligibility criteria, applying the eligibility criteria into your specific case, ensuring that you write your argument succinctly and persuasively, understanding your numbers, and reviewing how your records can substantiate your claim.

If you don’t have internal resources to complete the application, you can hire a Grant specialist who has the required expertise and experience in claiming Government grant and is skilled at writing Grant applications. It may be worth the investment if it means getting the Grant or not.

So, what Government Grants and Incentives can Azure Group help you with?

R&D Tax Incentive

What is R&D Tax Incentive?
R&D Tax Incentive encourages companies to engage in R&D benefiting Australia, by providing a tax offset for eligible R&D activities. This incentive is available to any companies that conduct research and development activities, in startup and scaleup phase. Azure Group can help by writing your project plan and submitting your application.

Azure Group has published whole series of blogs about R&D Tax Incentive where we explored 5 misconceptions of R&D, leaving you with a downloadable booklet  to keep on hand when you are exploring R&D. We have dived deeper into satisfying the different eligibility tests of the R&D Tax Incentive legislation using real-world examples to cut through the fog of confusion the market is having on eligible businesses.

Related: Startups and Scaleups: R&D Tax Incentive FY2019 DEADLINE EXTENDED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS


Export Market Development Grant (EMDG)

What is EMDG?
The EMDG scheme encourages Australian businesses to develop export markets. It reimburses up to 50% of eligible export promotion expenses above $5,000. The minimum total expenses that can be claimed is $15,000.

So for example the EMDG, the Government will reimburse you for up to 50% of the cost of promoting your products or services, meaning that you have to pay all the cost before applying and getting the reimbursement from the grant.

For first-time EMDG applicants: You can combine two-years’ worth of expenses to maximise your claim.

Related: COVID-19: EMDG extra funding of $49.8 million to help Exporters

Accelerating Commercialisation (AC)

What is AC?
AC provides support in expert advice and matched project funding for Australian entrepreneurs, inventors and small to medium businesses to help them get their novel product, process or service out to market. Azure Group can help by conducting cashflow projection and budget calculation for the application as well as assisting with the audit process. Check out more information here >

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

What is MVP?
This is a grant for up to $25,000 to cover up to 50% of approved project costs. This grant is targeted for pre-revenue NSW technology startups to progress from proof of concept to a minimum viable product stage and help them conduct market research and test business models with customers. The idea is to help generate jobs for NSW so you do need to demonstrate that 80% of development costs will occur in NSW. You can find more information here >

Building Partnerships Grants

What is Building Partnerships Grants?
If you are a revenue generating startup or small business that has an innovative idea which addresses a market gap or opportunity, you can receive up to 35% of the approved project costs up to a maximum grant of $100,000 to help scale up your business. The goal is to help you expand and acquire a major customer and deliver at scale. This grant is open to NSW based businesses. You can find more info here >

is another NSW initiative which provides small to medium businesses with up to $15,000 matched funds when they collaborate with a university research partner. You can find more information here >

CSIRO Kick Start
is a dollar matching initiative of between $10,000 and $50,000 for small businesses and startups to undertake research with CSIRO to develop a novel product or processes. Not only they provide funding but also access to CSIRO's research expertise.
 More information is available here >

Here are a few tips for your Grant Application:

  1. Firstly, make sure you are actually eligible. Grant eligibility criteria may appear to be black and white, you are either eligible or you aren’t. However, this may not be the case. Some criteria are not that straightforward to be applied to your specific circumstances.
  2. We recommend speaking to experts. Often they are experienced in applying eligibility criteria to your specific case, reviewing paperwork, writing plans and ensuring up front that you would be eligible for the grant you are wanting to apply for, saving hours and money.
  3. You have to make sure you keep records. Record activities and expenditure in the real time.
  4. Make sure you answer all the questions that they request as part of the Grant application succinctly and to the point. You need to get to the point in as few as words as possible. A good tip is to use lots of headings and dot points to make it as easy as possible for the reader.
  5. Make sure that you can substantiate your claim. Once your Grant application is submitted, it will be reviewed/audited by a government case officer who will request for additional information and records, so it is important to keep and show your records to substantiate your claim.

How Azure Group can assist with these Grants?

Azure Group's grants experts will be happy to meet with you to discuss which Grants and Incentives are appropriate for your businesses by understanding the stage of your business development and product and service offering. We write and review your application, connect you with relevant Government advisors and provide advice on how to maximise the claim and help with the reporting and auditing process.

Why Azure Group?

At Azure Group, our personal touch is the key to unlocking exceptional outcomes for our clients. To assist you in accessing the maximum possible refund under the Government Grant scheme, Azure Group has a team of experienced Grant specialists who meet with you to understand your product and services in more detail to unlock the true value of your activities.

Azure Group team has assisted many startups and SMEs in claiming Government Grant. We are proud of our success rate. Our Grant specialists take the time to review and assess each of your expenses to maximise your claim and guide you through the strenuous Austrade audit process.

Feel free to contact Azure Group to check your eligibility.

Have you noticed our #FridayExpertTips... here's one that relates to #EMDGgrant

“Many Australian business owners STRUGGLE WITH EXPORTING A PRODUCT because of the complexities and expense. However, the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) can help fund your expansion.”


Startups and Scaleups: R&D Tax Incentive Deadline of 30 April 2020 is fast approaching
ATO Business Portal Changes: Follow this simple guide to AUSkey replacement prior to 31 March 2020

About Author

Michael Derin
Michael Derin

Michael Derin, Azure Group's Founding Partner and Chairman has over 28 years’ experience as a qualified Chartered Accountant within the business and commercial sectors. Michael works across our Technology, Corporate Advisory and CFO operations, managing highly complex projects to success.

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