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How the Australian Entrepreneurs’ Programme Can Help Your Small Business

by Belinda Gadd

2 min read

The Entrepreneurs’ Programme forms part of the Australian government’s new industry policy outlined in the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda. Your business could benefit from the Programme.

What Is the Entrepreneurs’ Programme?

Competition is essential to business, and so the Australian government has introduced an initiative to support industry competition and productivity. It replaces previous mini-grants and instead is a multiplatform network of advice and support, as well as funding for growth opportunities.

As part of the government’s policy outlined in the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda, the Programme aims to provide “practical support for businesses, researchers and entrepreneurs”. According to the website, this includes:

  • Advice from people with relevant private-sector experience
  • Co-funded grants to commercialise new products
  • Processes and services
  • Funding to take advantage of growth opportunities
  • Connection and collaboration opportunities

How Does the Programme Support Small Business?

Small businesses are integral to Australia’s economy and maintaining adequate industry competition, so it makes sense that the Programme provides support for certain small businesses.

The Programme supports business across three specifically-identified areas. These are:

  • Accelerating commercialisation: In other words, providing expert guidance, connections and financial support to assist SMEs, entrepreneurs and researchers to find the right commercial solutions for their product, process or service. In addition, there are co-funded grants available to support commercialisation activities
  • Business management: Providing support for business improvement and growth. There are also co-funded Business Growth Grants for up to $20,000, designed to help you get external expertise to implement the improvements recommended in your Business Evaluation, Supply Chain Facilitation or Business Growth Service report
  • Research connections: That is, helping small and medium businesses collaborate with the research sector to develop new ideas with commercial potential. There are also matched funding grants for up to $50,000 for research

Am I Eligible?

While eligibility requirements differ depending on which of the three key areas you wish to apply for, here is a rough guide.

You’ll need to:

  • Have an ABN and ACN
  • Be registered for GST
  • Have operated for at least three consecutive years
  • Be operating in, or be interested in business in any of the following areas: advanced manufacturing; food and agribusiness; medical technologies and pharmaceuticals; mining equipment, technology and services; oil, gas and energy resources; or enabling technologies and services of those previously mentioned. These areas have been identified as ‘growth sectors’ within Australian industry
  • Have an annual turnover of between $1.5 million and $100 million (or from $750,000 for applicants in remote or Northern Australia)
  • Be solvent
  • Comply with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Cth)

In other words, individuals are not eligible to apply, nor incorporated bodies under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). There are also restrictions around the types of trusts eligible to apply. Government agencies and authorities are not eligible either.

To apply for an Accelerating Commercialisation Grant, you’ll need to have an incorporated company or agree to incorporate a company.

There are many elements to the eligibility criteria for each area of the Programme, as well as even further requirements depending on the grant you wish to apply for.

How Can I Find out More?

For more information about the Programme and how it might assist you, visit business.gov.au or call 13 28 46.

The government also hosts information sessions from time to time to explain the features, benefits and eligibility criteria of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme.

If you are looking for support and advice to help your business innovate and grow – and have an established, profitable business – then the Entrepreneurs’ Programme might be the right support for you.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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