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Which government grants could your business be eligible for?

3-minute read

COVID-19 has caused a lot of financial disruption for Australian businesses. Here are the government grants that may help, whether you’re an employer or a sole trader.

Key take-outs
  • There is funding relief available for businesses of all sizes – including sole traders and non-employing businesses
  • The NSW Government is offering eligible business owners up to $3,000 in grants to help you get back on your feet
  • The national SME Guarantee Scheme will help business owners get unsecured loans with a six-month repayment-free period
  • Our state-by-state guide to government cash grants will help you explore your options and stay afloat

The regular challenges of being a business owner in Australia have only been compounded by coronavirus. While previous government support has favoured businesses with employees, we’ve compiled a list of government cash grants even sole traders and non-employing businesses could be eligible for.

Government cash grants for sole traders and non-employing businesses

There are a number of grant and support systems in place to help businesses that haven’t previously benefited from the government’s $10,000 cash grant – namely, sole traders and businesses with no employees.


Owners in NSW can apply for up to $3,000 in government grants to help them get back on their feet, cover costs for safely reopening their shopfront, or scale up their operations. If you employ nil to 20 people in your business, this grant might be for you. According to the NSW Government, it can be used for:


  • Making fit-out changes.
  • Providing staff training and counselling.
  • Covering advertising and communications expenses.
  • Purchasing cleaning products or services.


The deadline to apply is 16 August and you can check your eligibility here.

Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme

If you’re a small-to-medium enterprise (SME) with a turnover of $50 million or less the SME Guarantee Scheme could provide a part-guarantee on new unsecured loans. Until 30 September 2020, loans are capped at $250,000 per borrower and can last up to three years. However, the government recently announced an extension to the scheme that will allow businesses to apply for up to $1 million from 1 October 2020 with an extended run-time of five years.

State-specific government grants

The end of the financial year was a cut-off point for a number of initial government grants. While JobKeeper and JobSeeker were recently extended, we will have to wait to see if any new federal government grants will be created to help business owners recover from the ongoing impact of the pandemic. 


However, there are still a number of state-specific government grants that you could be eligible for, depending on where you’re based:


  • NSW: For startups and young SMEs that need funds to get their product or service off the ground, the NSW Minimum Viable Product grant is worth up to $25,000. 
  • VIC: With the greater Melbourne area and beyond in a second period of lockdown, the Business Support Fund (Expansion) provides eligible business owners with a one-off $5,000 grant. Owners must be directly affected by the renewed stay-at-home order to be eligible. Applications close 19 August 2020.
  • QLD: Even before coronavirus put many people out of work, there were few opportunities for the elderly, long-term unemployed and underemployed. The Back to Work South East Queensland grant allows eligible businesses to claim up to $20,000 for hiring those who need help finding a job. 
  • WA: Around 7,400 SMEs in Western Australia can receive a one-off grant of $17,500 (starting 20 July) to help them recover from the impact of coronavirus. Eligible businesses must have a payroll between $1 million and $4 million.  
  • SA: Quite apart from the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses in South Australia are still feeling the effects of the devastating summer bushfire season. Impacted business owners receive up to $50,000 in financial assistance, thanks to the Small Business Bushfire Recovery Grant
  • TAS: In addition to free business advice and a PPE temporary supply register, the state government is spending $9.75 million to help affected owners via the Business Vehicle Registration Relief Package.  
  • NT: To help steady the economy and keep businesses afloat, the Regional Economic Development Fund covers up to 50% of costs for eligible business projects.  
  • ACT: Low-income earners with plans to expand their business – or start a new one – can receive interest-free loans up to $3,000 or low-interest loans up to $10,000 through the Microcredit Loan Program


The challenging times are not yet over for Australian businesses but you don’t have to go it alone. These government cash grants may provide a helpful injection of funds when you need it most – and help you come out the other side with your business intact.

Read more

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Things you should know

This article is a general overview and should be used as a guide only. We recommend that you seek independent professional advice about your specific circumstances before acting.