If you’re a small business owner looking to get support for your business, there are a number of free government grants for small business start ups. Whether you’re in NSW, Victoria, or anywhere else in Australia, the Australian government has a range of grants to suit your needs. A grant is an amount of money given to a business from the government in order to assist them in furthering their business. Starting or running a business requires a lot of funding, and the main benefit of grants is that you’ll have access to a sum of money to benefit your business without having to pay it back. The different states have different grants so it’s important to know which ones you may be eligible for. 

Small business grants in Australia

Throughout the different states of Australia, the government provides specialised grants to support small businesses. During the coronavirus pandemic, many small businesses were negatively impacted by restrictions and lockdowns which led to fewer customers, with some businesses being forced to temporarily shut down. In light of this, the Australian government has implemented a range of specialised grants to assist businesses negatively effected by COVID-19. If you’re a small business, this blog will help you figure out what grants you might be eligible for and how they can benefit your business.

What are grants?

A small business grant is an amount of money from the government which is given to a business to help them further their business. There are a number of different types of grants which aim to assist small businesses in different ways, such as providing them with resources, advice, and funding.

Benefits of grants 

Starting or running a business requires a lot of funding. The main benefit of a government grant is that it provides your small business with a sum of money which can be used to help you grow and develop. Grants don’t have to be paid back, so you don’t have to worry about how you’ll return the money. Additionally, once you’ve received your first grant, you’re more likely to receive others due to what is known as the “waterfall effect”. You’ll be seen as a reliable candidate which increases your chances of receiving more grants. Receiving a grant also helps to increase your visibility. Grants help to promote your business and show that you have an idea worth paying attention to. 

Disadvantages of grants 

Although there are plenty of advantages of government grants, there are also some possible disadvantages. Grants can be time consuming to apply for and difficult to receive. Overall, the advantages of grants outweigh the disadvantages.


SMART project 

The SMART Projects and Supply Chains service provides businesses with access to strategic or high-value projects that increase business capability, meet the specific needs of a market opportunity, or otherwise improve business performance and leadership capacity.

SMART Projects and Supply Chains is an Entrepreneurs’ Programme service which helps small businesses to grow. The program provides access to a network of skilled growth facilitators who work with small business owners to improve their business practices, become more competitive and grow.


Growth facilitators 

You’ll get access to skilled growth facilitators who will:

  • help you better understand market opportunities and requirements
  • identify any capability and skills gaps in your business that may impact your ability to meet requirements or realise opportunities
  • help you address those gaps to improve performance and better meet the needs of your customers
  • prepare a tailored roadmap with strategies to address gaps
  • help you implement your roadmap.



COVID has had devastating impacts on many businesses across Australia, and the Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate NSW aims to help small businesses recover from the impacts of COVID. This rebate encourages growth by reducing the cost of running a business. Small business can receive rebates of up to $1500. These funds can be used to offset the costs of eligible NSW government fees such as council rates, event  fees, and liquor and food authority licenses. 

Rebates for small business safety equipment in NSW 

The small business rebate provides small business owners with a rebate when they buy and install safety items to address safety risks in their business. As part of the program, small businesses in NSW can receive rebates of up to $500 when they purchase safety items and apply for the rebate within six months of attending the advisory visit, safety workshop, program or event.

Loan guarantees

The SME Recovery Loan Scheme is designed to support the economic recovery and provide continued assistance to firms that received Jobkeeper and flood-affected businesses. The scheme supports lenders’ ability to provide cheaper credit, allowing businesses to access vital funding in order to recover from the impacts of coronavirus. A range of lenders are participating in this scheme, including ANZ, Bank of Queensland, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac, and many more. 

Free financial counselling

Besides loans, the Australian government is also committed to providing free financial counselling for small regional businesses affected by COVID-19. They have committed $4.7 million in order to provide this service to businesses that need it. The funding would assist small businesses in accessing the necessary funding in order to keep afloat and begin to recover. 

Tourism support package

This NSW scheme has been implemented in order to re-ignite and support the accommodation, live music, and entertainment industries. As part of the program, 200,000 vouchers worth $100 each will be available to NSW residents. The aim of this scheme is to encourage people back into Sydney CBD and support local businesses. To be eligible, accommodation providers must register for the program and be operating within the Sydney CBD. 

Dine and Discover 

All NSW residents aged 18 and over can apply for 4 x $25 vouchers with a total worth of $100. Their is a wide range of participating businesses where the vouchers are accepted, such as cafes, restaurants, amusement parks, cinemas, live music venues, and more. As well as encouraging residents to get out and about, the Dine and Discover scheme also helps businesses to receive more customers and recove from the impacts of COVID-19.


Funding for existing ACT startups and innovative businesses 

The Boosting Innovation Grants provide existing ACT businesses with funding to assist them in becoming more competitive and sustainable in the face of challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.  Businesses can recieve funding of between $10, 000 and $30, 000. The grant money can be used towards a number of facets of your business. This may include market testing a product, business development, digital transformations, and product development. 

Microcredit Loan Program

The Microcredit Loan Program aims to provide accessible loans to people who would otherwise be unable to access mainstream financial services due to their circumstances. As part of this program, eligible low income earners can receive low interest and fee-free loans from Westpac in order to start or expand an existing business. The program also provides business skills development, individual mentoring, peer support, and access to networking events.

Northern Territory

Funding for Northern Territory businesses to make improvements to their premises 

The Business Improvement Grant provides businesses with funding to allow them to purchase goods and services to make improvements to their premises. Northern Territory businesses can receive funding of up to $20,000 which can be used towards improving business operations and customer experience. 

Funding for Northern Territory small businesses to help them adapt to COVID 19

The Business Rebound and Adaption grant provides funding to small businesses to assist them in carrying out works that enhance customer experience and improve business performance. This grant offers matched funding of up to $10,000 and can be used to carry out renovations, improvements, repairs, and maintenance.

Biz Secure 

Biz Secure is a program which aims to help businesses improve their security and reduce the risk of break-ins. The program allows businesses to protect themselves against break-ins using Territory enterprises. Individual businesses may be eligible for up to $20,000 on a co-contribution basis and towards a mandatory, independent security audit and to complete one or more eligible security improvement jobs. Clusters of businesses such as small shopping centres can apply for up to $50,000 on a co-contribution basis. 


Funding for regional QLD tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19

This program provides funding to regional Queensland tourism businesses that have suffered loss of income due to COVID-19 imposed travel restrictions. Regional Queensland tourism businesses can apply to receive funding between $2,000 and $10,000.

Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant Program 

The aim of this program is to provide support for small businesses who were subject to closure or highly impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions. This program helps businesses to adapt and sustain their operations and build resilience. 

It aims to support small businesses by supporting them to:

  • prepare for the safe resumption of trading in the post COVID-19 recovery
  • continue to meet operating costs
  • access digital technologies to rebuild business operations and transition to a new way of doing business
  • upskill and reskill business owners and staff to benefit from new technologies or business models
  • embrace business diversification to adapt and sustain operations
  • create or retain employment

Western Australia 

Most government assistance for Western Australian businesses comes in the form of free or low cost advisory services and information or guidance. However, certain circumstances such as business expansion, research and development, and innovation or exporting, can make a business eligible for a grant.

Export Market Development Grant 

The Export Mark Development Grant is designed to help Australian small and medium businesses start or expand their export business. Business must meet specific eligibility criteria and have promoted one of the following;

  • the export of goods or most services
  • inbound tourism
  • the export of intellectual property and know-how
  • conferences and events held in Australia

Business Development and Assistance Program 

This program provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with access to finance products, advice, training and workshops in order to start or grow a small to medium business.

Services offered as part of this program include:

  • Capacity and skills assessment 
  • Access to business resources
  • Business and industry insights/market intelligence 
  • Commercial finance options including competitive business loans and operating leases 
  • Business skills workshops 

DISCLAIMER: All information was taken from available government and grant-related websites. For specific advice, please contact a professional.