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State government funding for business

Friday, 4 October 2013 | By Gavin Lower

Recently we looked at federal government grants available for small businesses and start-ups looking for funding support.


If businesses are looking at commercialising a product, conducting research and development or keen to branch out into export, there are a number of grant opportunities.


Here we cast our net wider and look at some state government grant programs that are also available to businesses based within their borders, as well as grants offered by capital cities that businesses may also be able to tap.


New South Wales

Innovate NSW Minimum Viable Product: This scheme supports small to medium-sized technology businesses to engage with a potential customer. Successful applicants receive matched funding of 50% of project costs to a maximum of $15,000 to demonstrate an idea, prove a concept, develop a prototype or customise a solution.


Innovate NSW Collaborative Solutions: Here the government provides grants of up to 25% of project costs to a maximum of $100,000 to consortia to develop an innovative, new-to-market business-to-business solution. The program’s website says the consortia must include three entities: a technology SME with the ability to develop and commercialise the solution; a pilot business customer in a key sector that is willing to test the solution; and at least one partner that will provide additional technology, research capabilities, or assistance to scale the solution. It says the purpose of the program is to foster collaboration between industry partners toward delivering a compelling, new-to-market solution.


Innovate NSW TechVouchers: The program aims to help technology SMEs to collaborate with a NSW research organisation to overcome a technical challenge or test a new technology. It provides grants of up to $15,000 in matched funding.


For more grants, check out the state government’s trade and investment grants and funding page here.




Sydney City Council also has a range of support programs including grants of up to $30,000 in matched funding to encourage small-scale businesses to use underused city spaces, up to $20,000 for events, and up to $6000 in matched funding for improving shopfronts.




Innovation Voucher program: This program aims to support companies wanting to explore ways to improve their competitiveness and productivity. Under the Business R&D Voucher, businesses can apply for up to $25,000 while the Innovation Skills Voucher lets businesses apply for up to $10,000 to develop innovation relevant skills.


Employment Start-up For Business: The program helps businesses across Victoria hire unemployed young people and offers up to $4000 for each successful employment opportunity.


Technology Trade and International Partnering (TRIP) Program – Biotechnology and Small Technology: This program provides help for Victorian businesses to attend international conferences, trade events and regulatory authorities. It aims to support the growth and internationalisation of Victoria’s biotech and small tech companies.


More Victorian government grants can be found here.




Like its northern rival capital, Melbourne’s city council also provides a range of business support grants, but through its Enterprise Melbourne body. Some of the grants include funding of up to $30,000 to establish new and innovative businesses, up to $30,000 to expand existing businesses, and up to $10,000 to help enter and expand into overseas markets.



The Sunshine State won’t be left behind by the southern states when it comes to business grants. It offers a range of grants for businesses which can be found here.




Affectionately known as ‘Brisvegas’, Brisbane is developing a fertile start-up community. Helping with that is the Brisbane City Council’s Budding Entrepreneurs Program which offers $5000 to support digital start-ups.


South Australia

Innovation Voucher Program: Like other states, South Australia has an innovation voucher scheme that encourages collaboration between SMEs and research and development organisations. In South Australia the scheme offers grants of $10,000-$20,000 to eligible research and development projects that partner with SMEs with an annual turnover less than $20 million.


Business Development Initiative (BDI) Grant: This grant is available to help start-up and early stage South Australian bioscience companies to develop their business model. Grants of up to $250,000 can be used for business planning, marketing and proof of commercial concept experiments.


Western Australia

Designer Fashion Grants Program: Western Australia isn’t necessarily all about mining and digging holes in the ground. This program aims to help fashion designers and businesses to access commercial markets for their products. Grants can include funding of up to $20,000 to improve business viability, up to $10,000 for research and skills development, and up to $4000 to attend international fashion events.



The Perth City Council also has a business grants program and offers funding of up to $2000 to small businesses in its local government area to help with starting a business, growing, or other creative business-related projects that benefit the city.



Marketing Assistance Scheme: This scheme helps Tasmanian SMEs with turnover of $300,000-$15 million with marketing activities to develop national and international markets. The scheme provides assistance for advertising, develop promotional materials and travel.


Micro Business Loan Program: The program is aimed at helping people to start a business or grow their existing business. It’s also available to people on low incomes with Health Care Cards and provides small, interest-free loans.


Tasmanian Government Innovation and Investment Fund: Launched last year, the fund helps Tasmanian businesses to accelerate their growth. It provides one-off project grants of up to $250,000 per project to eligible applicants who have a project that, primarily, leads to improved competitiveness and efficiencies, increased exports or import replacement and demonstrated innovation in Tasmanian business practice.


Further help: Another resource for finding government business grants is the federal government’s grants and assistance finder here.