Funding programs and grants are available from the federal, state and territory governments and, in some cases, from local councils.
While there are generally no government grants available for starting a business, there is assistance available for things like expanding your business, and research and development.
New Enterprise Incentive Scheme
The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations runs the very successful New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS). Although this scheme does not provide start-up funds, like loans or grants, it does help eligible unemployed people start and run their own new viable business.
Participants are selected to take part in the programme and are given training in small business management and business skills. Business plan development is a feature of the programme, the object being that you can use your business plan to help you secure finance through a bank or other lender.
Under the programme, you have the opportunity of receiving business advice and mentoring support during the first year your business is in operation. If you are already receiving income support allowance, you may also be eligible to receive NEIS income allowances. If you are eligible, the amount you receive will not be affected by any income you earn from your NEIS business.
Small Business Advisory Service
Low cost advisory services can be obtained through the Small Business Advisory Service (SBAS) which is run by AusIndustry, an Australian government initiative.
The SBAS programme is designed to maximise the growth potential, prosperity and sustainability of small businesses. It provides access to information and assistance with issues relevant to growing small businesses, especially in the current economic climate.
Assistance in the following areas is available:
Business planning advice
Advice on loans and banking products
Simple marketing plans
Legal and accounting services