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Grants and Incentives for Small Business

Starting and running a business can be much more costly than you initially think. Insurances, registration fees, software costs, product costs and other capital expenditure can quickly add up. Thankfully in today’s world there are more options than a traditional financial institution or the bank of mum and dad.

Entrepreneurs should be aware of the various grants, incentives, concessions and other assistance that may be available, particularly where traditional sources of start-up funding such as business loan or venture capital may not be available or desirable to your business

Government Grants

Government grants may provide a start-up with a boost as it looks to grow and develop its business. Generally grants are given with no expectation as to repayment, so they can be an excellent cash injection to your business.

Applying for grants can be a time-consuming and complex process. Entrepreneurs will need to consider the amount of time and effort it will take to apply for the grant, recognising that there is no guarantee that the grant will be approved. Also bear in mind that grants are typically capped, so they may not provide a better alternative than accessing capital by other means such as investor pitching.

Both the Federal Government and state governments offer various business development grants along with other assistance programs and incentives for Australian start-up businesses.

For example:

The Australian Federal Government provides:

• matched funding for start-ups and small business to access Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) support (for further i information, see website: Matched funding for start-ups and small business to access CSIRO support);

• an Entrepreneurs’ Programme to foster innovation and encourage commercialisation of novel products, processes or services. This program includes access to expert advice, funding and incentives (for further information, see website: Entrepreneurs’ Programme); and

• new business assistance as part of its New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) (for further information, see Department of Education, Skills and Employment website: Self-employment – New Business Assistance with NEIS).

• The New South Wales Government provides Minimum Viable Product grants designed to support start-ups that are not yet generating revenue. For further information, see NSW Government website: Minimum Viable Product grants.

For a helpful tool that provides an extensive list of federal and state-based grant or support programs, see website: Grants & programs.


The ATO provides a start-up concession that may allow an employee to reduce the taxable income discount relating to their employee share scheme (ESS) interests to nil. The concession is only available for ESS interests acquired after 30 June 2015. For further information, see ATO website: Start-up concession (interests acquired after 30 June 2015).

Through its Innovation Hub, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) provides concessions to fintech start-ups including:

• Twelve months of informal guidance on licensing and regulation.

• Use of the enhanced regulatory sandbox which includes a 24-month licensing exemption.

For further information, see ASIC website: ASIC and fintech.

ASIC is also assisting eligible Australian regulatory technology (regtech) start-ups by providing networking opportunities and sample training datasets. For further information, see ASIC website: ASIC and regtech.

Start-up incubators, hubs and accelerators

Various start-up incubators, hubs and accelerators provide services to help start-ups develop their businesses. For example:

• NSW Government-funded Sydney Startup Hub (SSH) is the largest innovation centre of its kind in the southern hemisphere and brings together Australia’s leading start-ups, incubators, accelerators and innovation programs under one roof. The SSH offers programs to help start-ups to develop skills and source talent, customers and funding. For further information, see NSW Government website: Sydney Startup Hub.

• The Precinct, funded by the Queensland Government, is an innovation hub that connects Queensland start-ups, scaleups, incubators, investors and mentors in one location in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. For further information, see Queensland Government website: Advance Queensland, The Precinct.

• Stone & Chalk is Australasia’s leading independent, not-for-profit innovation hub. Stone & Chalk fosters and accelerates the development of world-leading technology start-ups, with a particular focus on those in the fintech sector. For further information, see Stone & Chalk website: We’re shaping the future together.

Start-ups may also find it beneficial to join these types of organisations to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs. Keep an eye out for the membership costs and fees for associated services (and any other contractual risks) and weigh them up against the potential benefit for the start-up.

As you can see there are a lot more options available to you that a traditional business loan or venture capital. It is worth looking through all of your options before running to the bank. You will need to consider which financing option is best for your business and how to manage the risks associated with that option.

If you need any help, LxD is here to answer any of your questions. Feel free to reach out to or check out our website at

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