When most businesses think of government grants, they tend to opt for the big end of town – but that’s a mistake.
State governments are an untouched treasure trove of free money for small business. With grants providing money for innovation and commercialisation in industries from manufacturing to biotechnology, there is plenty of money to go around.
Adrian Spencer, the head of grant consultancy firm GrantReady, says companies can tend to overlook the states, “which have some interesting things going on all the time”.
SmartCompany has compiled a current snapshot of some of the better state-based grants:
New South Wales
This particular grant works a little differently than most others. The program works by hooking up small businesses with public sector research organisations, including universities, and providing them with a research agreement.
Essentially, it eliminates risk. Instead of giving grants to a company for research and development (R &D), the vouchers are used to buy the results of R&D.
There are conditions, including that businesses need to have been incorporated in New South Wales, with turnover less than $30 million and have been operating for at least a year.
Companies also need to demonstrate the ability to match the applicable voucher in cash. But the benefits of these vouchers can provide excellent guidance for SMEs – and they’re well worth checking out.
This program, which was announced earlier this year, provides a total funding pool of $6.7 million over four years to businesses in tech-based areas including services, education, manufacturing, transport and logistics.
The money is specifically designed for SMEs with a “high growth potential to collaborate with industry and research partners”.
“The initiative focuses particularly on supporting innovative solutions which use enabling technologies – including mobile, cloud, analytics, sensors, advanced materials and biosciences,” the government said in a statement earlier this year.
Geelong Advancement Fund
Given the downfall of the automotive sector, the Geelong economy is in for a rough few years. The Geelong Advancement Fund is designed to soften some of that pain.
The $11 million program is designed to help projects and initiatives that will “contribute to the advancement of Geelong”. Projects will be supported which generate jobs, provide new facilities or revitalise the Geelong district.
As for funding, applicants are required to make a financial contribution, or source third-party funding.
City of Melbourne Small Business Grants
The City of Melbourne grants are designed for small businesses located in, or intending to move to the City of Melbourne.
There are four separate categories of grants, including start-up, business expansion, export entry and business support services.
Technology Trade and Partnering Program
These grants actually provide money for businesses to attend trade shows in other countries, where businesses can show off their products and gain new contacts.
The grants are provided in tiers, anywhere from $2500 to $10,000. Businesses can even access the program up to three separate times in a financial year.
Some of the requirements are more stringent than usual – businesses need to already be in a commercial state with fewer than 200 employees, and they can’t be a subsidiary of a foreign company.
Applications need to be submitted at least 14 days prior to the start of the event, but apart from that, they can be accepted at any time.
In the next article, we’ll visit some of the other states to see what’s being offered.
(Information courtesy of Patrick Stafford, deputy editor of SmartCompany)