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Government grants for startups

What are your government grant options and how do you get approved?


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The Australian government financially supports many small businesses and startups each year. There are hundreds of grants available at any given time, worth billions of dollars in total, each with specific eligibility requirements.

This guide will help you find the grants that are right for your business.

What you need to know about government grants for startups

  • Most grants are available from your state government but there are also grants at the federal level.
  • Government grants are generally for specific projects, not a business in general. You need a specific plan to be eligible, not just a general business idea.
  • There are a few grants specifically for starting a business, but there are grants for business activities such as:
    • expansion
    • training
    • research and development
    • importing and exporting
    • commercialising a specific product and more.
  • The government also offers various free and low-cost business advisory services, financial and tax advice, loans and other support. A lot of government assistance takes the form of cheap loans, networking, coaching and mentoring. These are considered government assistance and can be even more important to startups than winning grant money.

Access government grants through government websites and beware of imitations. Official websites will have a “” suffix. Do not trust other websites for anything more than information, and never pay a fee. Government grants are available for free. If you are paying for access then you are being scammed.

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What government startup grants are available?

Government grants can be categorised as follows; many grants fit into more than one category.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait IslanderIf you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or are hiring and training someone who is, then you may be eligible for certain additional benefits. The Business Development and Assistance Program is one widespread type of grant that provides support, funding and loans to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people looking to start and grow a business.
Art and artists, and heritage projectsThese two categories can be very similar. If your new business involves screen projects, digital media, community artistic involvement, documentary making, educational media or contributes to the arts in your state, you may be eligible for grants. Heritage locations, cultural significance and conservation projects can make you eligible for government assistance.
Commercialising a productThese type of grants are an option if you have a viable new product to bring to market but need help commercialising it or are developing new products or conducting related research.
Disaster recoveryThis group includes drought relief and income assistance schemes for farmers and disaster recovery help.
Employment and trainingAs a startup there’s a good chance you’re actively hiring. Fortunately there are plenty of grants to take advantage of. JobSearch lets you advertise and hire employees at no cost, the AAIP pays you to offer apprenticeships, JobAccess supports you when hiring someone with a disability, the Restart Program is available if you’re hiring someone over the age of 50. There are many other options available, both at the state and federal levels.
Green businessesIf your startup is in the renewable energy industry you may be eligible for multiple grants and benefits, such as the Advancing Renewables Programme. Even if it isn’t, this category still offers financial incentives to reduce emissions and run a green business. You’ll find discounts on energy-efficient products and green providers, financial incentives to reduce emissions and recycle, and assistance for improving sustainability.
Business expansionThis is government help to turn your small startup into a big startup and diversify if caught in a flagging industry. Certain industries in some states may be eligible for low interest government loans to expand, businesses in transition can get support for both employers and employees, manufacturers are encouraged to explore new business models and there are countless networking and training programs to teach you how to grow a business.
Importing and exportingThere are many grants for importers and exporters of both products and services, as well as manufacturers, educators and other businesses which promote overseas trade. This assistance comes in the form of advice, loans for you, loans for your overseas buyers, government grants, business networks and more.
Research and development (R&D)This includes both R&D of novel ideas and new products and innovations in specific areas or industries which are currently being funded, such as renewables and agriculture. If you are developing a new product that has potential or are taking a big technological step forward then you may be eligible for these grants.

The government grants that are available to startups and new small businesses at any given time will vary. Grants are constantly expiring and being phased out, while new ones are always being introduced. Some have application periods of just weeks or months, while others remain open for years.

Do’s and don’ts. How to get approved for a government business grant

  • Tailor your application for a specific grant. Each has different criteria that you must meet and is designed for a specific purpose. Your application needs to be specific to all of these.
  • Address all eligibility criteria and answer every application question. Be succinct yet thorough and answer all questions. If you are unable to answer a question on the grant application then it usually means you’re not ready. Rather than guessing or leaving it blank, make sure you get informed.
  • Have a grant strategy. It helps to know which grants you are eligible for ahead of time. This means you can map out an application timeline and systematically address each grant.
  • Consider specific projects instead of the business as a whole. Most grants are awarded for specific business activities such as product development, making import/export agreements and recruiting or training staff. For example, a technology startup is most likely eligible for grants, but only because its products or services meet certain criteria, not simply because it’s a technology startup.
  • Applying for grants you're unlikely to get. A proper grant application takes time and effort, which is best not spent frivolously.
  • Assuming that a good startup with a good idea is enough. Once again, grants and government business assistance are awarded for the fulfillment of specific requirements which vary between grants. Having a good idea is typically not one of these requirements.
  • Not following up. There are many startup and small business grants available, and it's possible that grant applications will become a regular part of your operation. Think about the long-term and follow up on grants even if you're unsuccessful. Ask the grant administrator how you can improve for next time, and how you might have better addressed certain eligibilities.

You can also use a professional grant writer’s services to potentially improve your chances, to save time or help you enact a complex grant strategy with many applications. Ask about their experience, fees and success rate before hiring and don’t be afraid to shop around. It can be helpful to find a grant writer who specialises in your industry or with the type of grant you want.

Startup government grants

Finding startup assistance and creating a grant strategy

Creating a grant strategy is recommended for businesses that plan on applying for more than one grant. This involves mapping out a calendar of relevant grants, eligibility requirements and their application periods ahead of time. Follow this calendar to make the grant juggling more manageable.

Can I really get multiple government grants?

Remember that grants are more than just money infusions. Government business assistance also comes as low-interest loans, workshops, mentoring, training, subsidies, tax benefits, allowances and much more, depending on the type of help.

Taking advantage of everything on offer can give your business an edge but might take a lot of organisation and planning.

This is where a grant strategy comes in.

  • A grant strategy lets you plan ahead to make sure your startup achieves eligibility in the required time.
  • You are able to apply as soon as a grant opens. Being at the front of the queue like this improves your chances because many grants have limited funding and close when the money runs out.
  • If there is a conflict of timing or you don’t have the resources to apply for everything you want, then a grant calendar helps you prioritise, reschedule and weigh the benefits of different options.
  • A grant calendar should work alongside your business timeline. For example, you should look for employment grants to coincide with hiring new people or plan to reduce your emissions when there are grants or programs to assist.

There are a number of different websites where you can find lists of current and future Australian government business grants, but many of these sites have hidden costs or strings attached.

A more reliable and completely free way of finding startup grants is with the official government website: Use this website to find relevant offers and fill up your grant calendar, or read on for startup grants that might be of interest.

Ten startup grants to look for

Here are just 10 of the options available to give you a sense of how varied grants can be and how much assistance is available. You may even be able to successfully apply for one of these today.

ProgramWhat it doesEligibilityFind out more
The Entrepreneurs’ Programme
  • Gives you access to a network of over 100 experienced private sector advisers and facilitators around Australia, and collaboration opportunities
  • Lets you get co-funded grants for commercialising products and services
  • Offers funding for growth, business evaluation services, supply chain facilitation, growth and opportunity consulting and ongoing business guidance and review
  • Your business must currently be operating in the food and agriculture, mining, energy, advanced manufacturing or medical technology and pharmaceutical sectors
  • OR you must be a tourism business operating in Northern Australia
  • OR you must be committed to and capable of operating in one of those areas in the future
Export Market Development Grants
  • Reimburses businesses for expenses incurred during export promotional activities such as attending overseas trade shows
  • Pays for 50% of promotional expenses over $15,000, with a minimum grant of $5,000 and a maximum of $15,000
  • Australian individuals, businesses or groups who have carried out export promotional activities in the last year are able to apply for reimbursement.
Disaster Recovery Allowance
  • Gives regular financial assistance, for up to 13 weeks, to business owners whose income has been directly affected by a declared disaster
  • Be an Australian citizen, resident or visa-holder over the age of 16
  • Live or work in a disaster-affected area
  • Not be receiving any other form of income support at the time
  • Earning less than the income threshold following loss of income
Business in Transition Support (BiTS)
  • Supports and advises employers and employees during business restructuring
  • Offers guidance on creating redundancies, managing changes and closing down a business
  • Lets business owners organise free on-site information session for employees, if in Victoria
  • All Australian businesses are eligible for some form of BiTS support
Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund
  • Matches funding for projects aimed at improving tourist accommodation, facilities and experiences in regional areas of Australia
  • Offers funding of between $50,000 and $250,000
  • Be currently or soon-to-be working with tourism partners
  • Be in a regional area
  • Preference is given to projects encouraging extended stays for interstate and international travellers
  • Proposed developments must actively demonstrate their ability to improve tourism and create growth
Visit your state tourism website
iLab Startup Incubation
  • Offers both federal and state government grants to Queensland-based startups
  • Provides mentoring services
  • Matches startups with partners like PayPal and Google to get free or cheap services from these providers
  • Offers business training in essential legal, financial, tax and investment areas
  • Makes sizeable financial investments in promising startups with very business-friendly terms
  • Has numerous programs with their own eligibility requirements, some practically non-existent and some very steep.
The Advancing Renewables Program
  • Funds projects that contribute to cheaper or better value energy, reduce or remove barriers to renewable energy uptake, improve skills, knowledge or capacity relevant to renewable energy and improve the technological and commercial readiness of renewable energy.
  • Funding is awarded for projects that achieve these outcomes directly, or for research and analysis that can help these get achieved.
  • Is expected to provide funding of between $100,000 and $50 million per project
  • Projects must involve either a renewable energy technology or a method that has the potential to contribute to the stated outcomes above
  • Applicants must be a registered corporation unless applying for desktop studies or non-research analysis
No Interest Microcredit Loans
  • Provides interest-free and low-interest loans to eligible low-income individuals in Tasmania or the ACT who want to start or grow a small business
  • Includes mentoring advice on basic business requirements
  • Provides no-interest loans of up to $3,000, or low-interest loans of higher values
  • Applicants must hold a healthcare or pension card equivalent, have below threshold family income
  • Applicants must live in and run their business in the relevant state
  • Applicants should complete a business plan



Unlocking Capital for Jobs
  • Helps small- and medium-sized businesses secure commercially viable loans
  • Lets businesses access loans with more preferable terms
  • Available in South Australia
  • The lender, the business applicant and the terms of the loan itself must fulfill prescribed criteria
  • When business applicants meet lending criteria but are unable to provide security for a commercial loan, the government steps in and provides a guarantee. The state government must believe that the guarantee of the loan will facilitate job creation and business growth
Environmental Upgrade Agreements
  • Helps businesses secure finance in order to upgrade commercial buildings and maximise the structure’s energy efficiency
  • Lets businesses upgrade buildings for improved energy efficiency while the local council collects repayments through the rates system. This makes it less risky for lenders who are then able to offer better rates and longer terms
  • These environmental upgrade agreements let loans be taken out for longer periods, which means the cost-savings that come from upgrading your building can more effectively pay off the loan
Eligible upgrades are those to buildings in NSW which:
  • Improve energy and water efficiency
  • Use greater proportions of renewable energy
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduce the use of materials
  • Recover or recycle previously used materials
  • Monitor the building’s environmental performance
  • Encourage alternatives to car travel, like cycling and walking

Compare other business loan options

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Min. Loan Amount Max. Loan Amount Loan Term Upfront Fee Filter Values
Valiant Finance Business Loan Broker
3 months to 5 years
$0 application fee
A Business Lending Specialist from Valiant Finance can give you access to competitive business loans from over 70 lenders. Loans between $5,000 and $1 million are available. Request a call – your loan can be funded in 1 business day.
Prospa Business Loan
3 months to 3 years
3% origination fee
Small business loans are available from $5,000 - $300,000 on terms of up to 3 years. At least twelve months trading history and a monthly turnover from $6,000 is necessary.
Max Funding Unsecured Business Loan
1 month to 1 year
$0 application fee
An unsecured business loan from $2,000 that offers convenient pre-approval and no early repayment fees.
OnDeck Business Loans
6 months to 2 years
3% of loan amount
Apply for up to $250,000 and receive your approved funds in one business day. Minimum annual turnover of $100,000 and 1 year of trading history required.
ANZ Secured Business Loan
Up to 15 years
Benefit from a low rate when you secure this loan with property and/or business assets. Loans from $10,000 available.
Westpac Business Loan
1 to 30 years
$0 application fee
Purchase a new vehicle, equipment or support your cash flow with a business finance solution from Westpac.
ANZ Unsecured Business Loan
Up to 15 years
Apply for a loan from $10,000 with no security required and benefit from flexible repayment terms.

Compare up to 4 providers

Invoice financing is a type of business loan that is secured by outstanding invoices. If your business is struggling to manage its cash flow due to unpaid invoices, this loan could be an option to consider.

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Min. Loan Amount Max. Loan Amount Loan Term Upfront Fee Filter Values
Timelio Invoice Finance
Up to 4 months
Get up to 100% of the value of your invoices without having to wait for customer payments, and with no minimum turnover or operating history required.
ScotPac Invoice Finance
From 1 year
No set amount
Improve your business cash flow by financing your outstanding invoices. No minimum trading history required, but minimum 12 - month term and $10,000 in invoices.
ScotPac Selective Invoice Finance
1 to 3 months
Finance your unpaid invoices on demand with terms of 1 - 3 months. 95% of invoice is paid upfront, with no minimum trading history required.

Compare up to 4 providers

Images: Shutterstock

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24 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    RokneyApril 23, 2019

    Hi there! I just want to know if grant finding and application services are provided on this site. I would just rather pay someone to do the research for me.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MaiApril 24, 2019Staff

      Hi Rockney,

      Thank you for reaching out.

      We are a financial comparison website and can provide general information. We do not represent the agencies, government, institution, groups and the likes that we feature on our website but our page can help you check and give you an idea on who you can go with based on your circumstance.

      I suggest to contact your local government to determine if they have recommendation for you as you provide the details of your business needs.

      Hope this helps! 😊

      Kind Regards,

  2. Default Gravatar
    RobbieApril 23, 2019

    I would like to know if there is a service that helps with finding the appropriate grants and helping with the application process to give us the best chance?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MaiApril 24, 2019Staff

      Hi Robbie,

      Thank you your contacting Finder.

      You can reach out to your local government to seek advise and assistance what grants is applicable to you based on your situation. They may also be able to refer you to someone who can help you along the application process.

      But this page above can give you an idea on what are the grants and assistance are available and you can determine based on the description on what may suit you best.

      Hope this helps! 😊

      Kind Regards,

  3. Default Gravatar
    ChauntelleMarch 19, 2019

    I would like to know if I’m eligible for a government grant to start me and help me with making my photography business.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaMarch 19, 2019Staff

      Hi Chauntelle,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. It’s nice to hear about your plan to start a business.

      Regarding your question, it would depend on whether you meet the eligibility requirements of a specific government grant or not. Since there are different types of government grants, you need to check each one of them and see which of these grants best fit your situation and needs.

      What I can suggest is for you to read the different grants listed above. From there, you should get an idea which grant would be the right one for you.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


  4. Default Gravatar
    SoniaFebruary 6, 2019

    We have been approved by our local council to open a motocross facility.
    And we have been asked to hold a national event in June .
    Seeking a grant to help us kick start this venture

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniFebruary 11, 2019Staff

      Hi Sonia,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Congratulations on your new venture!

      Please note that grants vary in every state. Since your local council has approved your motocross facility, kindly ask them assistance or info on how you may apply for government grants or visit the official government grants website for more info on this matter and proceed with your online application.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


  5. Default Gravatar
    SuzanneSeptember 25, 2018

    Are there any business grants / no interest loans available in western Australia for small businesses

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnSeptember 27, 2018Staff

      Hi Suzanne,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      You have reached finder which is the comparison website you are currently on. If you wish to check on grants available for your area, you may scroll up the page to “What government startup grants are available?” and check with the individual institutions on the availability of grants. Hope this helps!


  6. Default Gravatar
    LouiseAugust 31, 2018

    I’m wanting to start a small bond loan cleaning business and want to know more about the grant.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniSeptember 2, 2018Staff

      Hi Louise,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Grants vary in every state. I’ve tried searching for grants that may suit your small cleaning business on this government page. Please check the results to go through the most suitable page for your small business.

      You may use this page as your guide in searching the appropriate business grant from the government for you.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


  7. Default Gravatar
    ShaneAugust 8, 2018

    I am thinking about starting a small business and just wondering what grants or loans are there to assist me?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezAugust 10, 2018Staff

      Hello Shane,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Please note that there could be grants available to assist you in starting your business, however, these grants may vary per state. You may refer to the tips we have laid out above and see if grants are suitable for you. In addition, you may also consider reading our guide for business loans for startups. Be guided on how to compare startup loans and what regulations you have to be aware of. It has a list of lenders that offer business loans. Before submitting an application, ensure your eligibility and see if the product suits your needs.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.


  8. Default Gravatar
    SteveJuly 2, 2018

    I am signing a contract with an overseas company to import a cleaner electricity filters and meters. Are there any government grants available for this type of product?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniJuly 7, 2018Staff

      Hi Steve,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      The Department of the Environment and Energy offers a range of funding and investment programs aimed at protecting the environment and heritage, promoting climate action, and providing adequate, reliable and affordable energy. They have created Online Services to make it easy for their customers to interact with the Department of Environment and Energy by providing simple and easy to use digital services.

      Please register online and communicate with them directly on how you can apply for this government grant.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


  9. Default Gravatar
    JamieMay 27, 2018

    I am looking for goverment funding to start up a buissness in the tourism hispitality industry
    I have a great idea and could easily produce jobs

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMay 28, 2018Staff

      Hi Jamie,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      As per this government page, “in general, our departments rarely provide financial assistance or grants for the sole purpose of starting, buying or covering financial shortfall of a business. However, assistance is available through advice and mentoring services. But you could try to contact your local council or state government to see if they might be able to assist you.”

      The Tourism Partnerships programme provides groups of tourism businesses in northern Australia with access to an experienced Business Facilitator for over 12 months. The group will create a Tourism Partnerships Action Plan so they can identify opportunities and strategies for common business interests. Please see this link for your reference.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!


  10. Default Gravatar
    KellyOctober 1, 2017

    I want to purchase an established cafe, I’ve managed it for 3 months and the owner is looking to sell, I have savings but it’s not enough, I’m also a single mum I have no depts but don’t want to go through the banks, I’d like to get a government loan, just wondering where to start and if I have a chance being that I’m a single mum. Thankyou

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RenchOctober 1, 2017Staff

      Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for reaching out to us. Please note that we are not affiliated with any company we feature on our site and so we can only offer you general advice.

      You’re actually already on the correct page. The Australian government financially supports many small businesses and startups each year.

      You can also have a look on this page to compare business loans and some are with government-backed loan. Some lenders — typically banks — offer loans backed by the US Small Business Administration, known as SBA loans. This means that the government takes the loss if you aren’t able to pay it off. SBA loans are designed opens lenders up to riskier borrowers and could be a great opportunity for businesses that don’t qualify for ordinary bank loans.

      While on this page are personal loans for single parents.

      Hope this helps.


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