There are roughly 700 business grants offered by the three tiers of government in Australia. Do you know which ones apply to you?
Approaching this smorgasbord is a real problem for smaller companies that are owner-operated, as the return is rarely in proportion to the time spent applying.
In my area of practice where we focus on business innovation, there are a number of different grants, each with their own culture and process – most of them too small to justify our involvement.
There is however one particular program offered by the Department of Industry and Science called the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program that is of direct relevance to many Australian companies, in particular, the Accelerating Commercialisation (AC) grants option.
AC grants aim is to assist entrepreneurs in their commercialisation of their technology-based products.
The program provides between $50,000 and $1 million on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis.
So applicants need to demonstrate a capacity to invest in themselves.
The Federal government awards dozens of these grants per annum with an average value of $500,000.
We have worked with clients to get them started on this process at no cost and, if their application is rated positively, we become involved on the basis of a Success Fee.
Are you surprised? If you know my views about the misuse of Success Fees in accounting, you will call me a hypocrite.
But this is a case where the grant is highly competitive and is awarded on a discretionary basis by a committee appointed by the Innovation Australia board.
Without the guarantee of success, it is a genuine risk-sharing venture.
The R&D Tax Incentive works differently. This is a scheme overseen by AusIndustry in conjunction with the ATO and, for every dollar spent on eligible research and development activities, companies receive a 40c or 45c tax offset.
If you record a loss and your turnover is less than $20 million, that offset is available in cash.
Once you register and complete the self-assessment process, the entitlement is yours – although the ATO and AusIndustry do reserve the right to review your claim for up to four years.
Our involvement with AC grants is extremely interesting work and we have seen some fascinating emerging technologies that have global market potential.
So whether you are developing existing product and service lines or working on new and disruptive technologies – keep two things in mind.
First, for ongoing research and development, use the R&D Tax Incentive. Don’t throw away your own money by failing to register and claim.
Second, be open to grant opportunities, particularly the AC grants. We point clients to the Grant Finder website where you can search a range of categories. Part of the skill is getting quickly to a point where you know that it’s not for you.
Finally, if you do embark on the exciting process of applying for a grant and fail to win, don’t despair.
You end up with a very useful document – useful to you and potential private investors.
For more information on the R&D Tax Incentive or the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program, subscribe to this blog, download this ebook, join the conversation.