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A guide to applying for small business grants

3-minute read

While you might have always thought you'd do it alone, there are a lot of successful small businesses that have used grants to grow their operations. Grants are a useful solution if you've identified an area of your business that needs extra capital to grow but you don't have the cash to fund it.

If this sounds like something your business could benefit from, it’s worth exploring the options. Keep in mind that it takes time to pull together a proper application and there's no guarantee you'll be successful. Our checklist can help guide you through the essential information you'll need.

Finding the right grant (PDF 62KB)

Key take-outs
  • Spend time researching the grants that are most relevant to your business.
  • Ensure your grant submission fulfils all the criteria.
  • Clearly demonstrate your business plan for the future and where the grant money fits into this.

Your first step to applying for a grant is finding one that's suitable for your business and objectives.
 

The Australian government is one source of small business grants and offers a number of options for those that meet the criteria. Check the government's business website and use the search tool to find what’s available to you based on:
 

  • Location
  • Industry
  • Your objectives
  • Type of business
     

Deadlines are dependent on the grant.
 

If you're looking to rapidly grow in an overseas market, you might want to consider the federal government's Landing Pads program.
 

To successfully apply, you'll need to demonstrate:
 

  • Vision
  • Scalability
  • Traction
  • Differentiation
  • Market relevance
     

Applications run in three cohorts each year: check the key dates.
 

It might also be worth exploring private funding grant programs. These tend to be for specific sectors and often come with very specific criteria.
 

Once you find the right grant for your business, you can use the checklist below as a guide to assist you in your application.

Before you begin

Before you start applying, you should ask yourself these questions:
 

  • Do I meet the criteria for application?
  • Have I got enough time and resources to plan my application?
  • Have I got enough revenue to support my application?
  • Am I required to match the grant with my own money?
  • Can I identify any roadblocks?
  • Do I need to hire a consultant to help me draft my application?
  • Do I need to clarify anything with the awarding body?
  • Can I meet the deadline?
     

Once you've answered these questions, you should be able to make a decision whether or not to proceed with your application.

Information checklist

Every program has its own guidelines and judging criteria, but there are some general pieces of information you should have ready to go:
 

  • Company purpose: your one-sentence elevator pitch
  • A clear description of your business
  • An up-to-date business model and plan
  • An outline of your business aims and objectives
  • A detailed summary of how you will use the money
  • The skills and experience of key team members
  • Details of the market you operate in
  • Who your customer base is
  • Relevant financial information

 

You'll need to show a thorough understanding of what your business will do with the grant before you apply. Get prepared early to ensure you can put your best foot forward.


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Things you should know

This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business.