Start-ups – Increased Incentives to Assist Entrepreneurs in Starting a Business

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In the wake of the Intergenerational Report, focus at both State and Federal levels on innovation and enterprise has increased. Support for small to medium enterprises/businesses and start-ups has been bolstered in the form of additional incentives and grants.

Some grants available to new and expanding businesses include the grants below (without limitation):

  1. Entrepreneurs’ Programme – Business Growth Grants (Commonwealth)

The Commonwealth are providing business growth grants to medium-sized businesses with an eye to expansion. To qualify, the business needs to apply for a grant within:

  • Six months of receipt of a Business Evaluation Report, Business Evaluation Action Plan or Supplier Improvement Plan;
  • 24 months of receipt of a Growth Plan; or
  • Six months from receipt of a Business Review Report, Continuous Improvement Report or Continuous Sustainable Improvement Plan under the Enterprise Connect programme.

These programs, plans and reports are conducted through the programme, and must be undertaken by an eligible professional.

To be eligible for the Business Growth Grants, the Business must have an annual turnover of $750,000 if located in North Queensland, or $1,500,000 elsewhere.

  1. Entrepreneurs’ Programme – Accelerating Commercialisation (Commonwealth)

The previous parts of the programme are targeted towards businesses with annual turnover of $750,000.00 and above.

However, the Commonwealth are providing grants to eligible small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs for “Accelerating Commercialisation”. Applicants are judged on the following ‘merit’ criteria:

  • Need for funding;
  • Market opportunity;
  • Value position;
  • Execution plan;
  • Management capability; and
  • National benefits.

In short, if the business is innovative and could be of significant value to the Australian economy, it is likely that some form of “Accelerating Commercialisation” grant will be applicable. The maximum grant amount awarded may be up to $250,000 for Commercialisation Offices and Eligible Partner Entities, and $1 million for all other applicants.

  1. Home-Based Business Grants Program (QLD)

With a strong demand, the Queensland Government are in the process of reviewing application for grants of up to $5,000 for stay-at-home parents to establish or grow a business.

These grants will be provided in two stages:

  • $2,500 to engage a consultant for professional advice and assist with developing a business plan; and
  • a further $2500 to implement the plan and get the business ‘off the ground’.

The first round of grants has currently finished, and the Queensland Government will be reviewing this Grants Program at its conclusion. It is possible that a new round of grants will be applicable in the future.

Our Concluding Comments Regarding Business Start-ups

Many grants are not only targeted towards start up capital, but at using that capital to get the right structure and advice in place to set your business up for success. In our experience, many start ups experience difficulties due to bad planning, insufficient advice or a general misunderstanding of Company Law at its commencement.

Not only this, but many grants list ‘Management Capability’ or similar criteria as a factor in judging the viability of the company. Some initial time invested in ensuring appropriate structure, liability control and Intellectual Property protection can go a long way to proving to a Grants Officer that they should invest in the business. Grants Officers are usually ‘risk averse’; meaning they are after businesses that are structured correctly and legally sound.

Regardless of whether you are applying for any of the above grants, it would be worthwhile to consider your structuring, legal and intellectual property needs. Our resource centre provides additional information on structuring can be found here.

If you are a small-business, or an entrepreneur looking to get started, getting the right advice is crucial to ensure your long-term success. Our lawyers have extensive experience within both the small-business and start-up space, and can offer strategic and measured advice. To book a consultation, contact our Client Engagement Team on (07) 3252 0011.