Innovation grants in Australia for small business

Do you know that the Australian government allocates millions of dollars to fund start-ups, finance researchers and universities to conduct collaborative studies with companies, and give tax incentives to those who are willing to undertake research tasks for the sake of innovation? In fact, the government has formed several grant programs to encourage business owners from various sectors to invest their time in completing R&D tasks that will advance the industry’s standards.

As a small business owner, you can take advantage of these grants to catapult your company to success. Aside from that, you’ll earn credibility and other benefits from partaking in government projects aiming to develop innovative solutions for the benefit of the whole country.

National Innovation and Science Agenda

The National Innovation and Science Agenda (also called “The Agenda”) is the Australian government’s answer to the opportunities and challenges the ever-evolving technology presents. It was launched in 2015 and has been helping businesses, universities, researchers, start-ups, investors, and entrepreneurs harness the advantages that technological and scientific innovations bring to the economy.

The Agenda is focused on delivering innovation through its four key pillars:

1)      Culture and capital

This grants tax incentives to businesses who undertake risks for the sake of research and innovation.

2)      Collaboration

Government allocates more funding to universities who conduct research in collaboration with businesses.

3)      Talent and skills

Revise the process of granting visas to encourage world-class talents to come and work in Australia.

4)      Government as the model

The government takes the initiative to lead by example by sharing information that can help businesses grow.

Under The Agenda, several programs have been launched to tackle the needs of different industries for innovative approaches. Below are some of the programs that are in effect:

Entrepreneurs’ Programme

This is the flagship project of the government in helping SMEs improve their capability and competitiveness in the industry. This program is made possible with the help of industry experts who are encouraged to give SMEs the proper guidance and support needed to improve business performance.

The Programme highlights 4 key elements it provides to small business owners:

  • Accelerating Commercialization

This aims to attract investors to help small businesses commercialize their products, ideas, and services faster.

  • Business Management

Having a mentor who can guide you through your journey can hasten your improvement to the next levels. With the help of field experts, you can get advice on growth opportunities, strategies, operations, and supply chain processes.

  • Incubator Support

Provide a hotspot where start-ups can readily access resources they would otherwise not have in a normal incubator setup.

  • Innovation Connections

Expand your network and collaborate with field experts who you may meet again in future transactions.

The Programme also offers monetary support but it focuses more on solving business bottlenecks.

Incubator Support Initiative

This aims to catapult start-ups into globally competitive companies by providing them funding, resources, mentorship, knowledge, and business networks. Through this initiative, start-ups can realize their potential to expand into international markets quicker than they can imagine.

Grants range from AU$ 26,000 to 500,000 and are given per project within a maximum timeframe of 2 years. The program gives greater grant percentages to incubators located in regional areas while those situated in major cities can get up to 50% of the project value only.

Business Research and Innovation Initiative

Instead of buying products and outsourcing services from international sources, the government entices local businesses to develop innovative products and solutions to answer the government’s needs. In addition to that, eligible companies will be able to retain their IP and rights to commercialize their finished product here and abroad.

Interested businesses are required to submit proposals on how they’ll resolve the challenges the government is facing. Selected companies will be given an initial funding of AU$ 100,000 to actually develop their proposal within a 3-month timeframe. Successful candidates may be given a further AU$ 1 million in funding to build their proof of concept for the next 18 months.

Global Innovation Strategy

The following outline details the goal of the Global Innovation Strategy within the next 4 years:

  • Complete the development of 5 “Landing Pads” which are small operational bases where start-ups can go through a boot camp for 90 days. Inside this hotspot, they’ll have access to business networks, mentors, and even investors.
  • Support SMEs in their collaboration with researchers to conduct test commercialization of their products.
  • Help build and improve relationships with global partners, with the ultimate goal of having a joint R&D with them through the Global Innovation Linkages program.
  • Link with potential partners in the Asia-Pacific region and have them participate in the country’s research-related studies.

Other Grant Programs

There are more grants and tax incentives that that government offers to business owners and individuals alike. Just visit the ‘Grants, assistance & other support’ tab on the website and search for the grant best suited to your business.


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