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The Team at NOW bring you topics of interest to owners of small businesses. Please feel free to leave a comment or let us know if there are particular topics you'd like us to cover.

Government Grants and Help for Business

The Team - Monday, April 18, 2011

We often get asked whether there are any government grants available to businesses and how you go about claiming them.

There are a number of programs which offer tax concessions or cash subsidies, and here is a brief introduction to some that might offer assistance to your business. 

These programs are subject to change and some are competitive but it makes sense to check whether you might be eligible. With most of them there is substantial small print and an involved application process. We'd be happy to help you assess your eligibility and finalise your application.

Research and Development Tax Credit

The old R&D Tax Concession will be replaced in the 2010/11 year with a new R&D Tax Credit scheme which offers a refundable 45% tax credit for R&D expenditure for eligible businesses turning over less than $20 million per annum, and a non-refundable 40 per cent R&D tax credit for all other eligible businesses. 

"Refundable" means that if the credit exceeds your tax payable you can receive a cash refund. "Non-refundable" means that you cannot get cash back for any excess credit but you can carry the credit forward.

Commercialisation Australia

Commercialisation Australia is a competitive federal program offering four components of funding, these are:

Skills and Knowledge - up to $50,000 to purchase specialist advice and services. This component is aimed at assisting people new to commercialisation - researchers, individuals and small companies - who know their idea has commercial potential, but who don’t know what to do next. Applicants need to match the grant funding on an 80:20 basis, where the applicant contributes 20%.

Experienced Executives provides funding of up to $200,000 over two years (up to $100,000 per year) to engage an experienced Chief Executive Officer or other executives. Applicants need to match the grant funding on a 50:50 basis. 

Proof of Concept grants of between $50,000 and $250,000 are available to assist with testing the commercial viability of your business model or idea. Applicants need to match the grant funding on a 50:50 basis and complete this component within 12 months. 

Early Stage Commercialisation provides repayable grants from $250,000 to $2 million to undertake activities focusing on enabling a new product, process or service to be developed to the stage where it can be taken to market. Participants need to match the grant funding on a 50:50 basis and are required to repay grant monies on success of their commercialisation project. Applicants are expected to complete this component within two years. 

Export Market Development Grants (EMDG)

The EMDG scheme is administered by Austrade and provides assistance to small and medium Australian exporters seeking to develop export markets. The grant repays part of your eligible promotional expenses incurred in establishing your overseas’ markets. Applicants may qualify for up to 50 per cent reimbursement of eligible export marketing expenses above $20,000 pa to a maximum of eight grants. Up to $150,000 pa may be reimbursed.

Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program

There are commonwealth cash incentives for the employment of apprentices:

$1,250 incentive for an employer who commences an Australian Apprentice in Certificate II training; 

or $1,500 incentive for an employer who commences an Australian Apprentice in Certificate III, IV or Diploma or Advanced Diploma qualifications.

In addition there are special commencement incentives for eligible Rural and Regional Australian Apprenticeships in Certificate III or IV level qualifications in selected non-metropolitan areas and for mature-aged workers.

Duty Clawback on Certain Imported Items 

The Certain Inputs to Manufacture (CIM) Program aims to improve the competitiveness of Australian industry by providing import duty concessions on certain imported raw materials and intermediate goods such as chemical, plastics or paper goods. Applications for the concession are primarily assessed on the basis of an independent technical assessment which demonstrates that the imported goods are substantially and demonstrably superior to comparable goods produced in Australia. 

Enterprise Connect

Enterprise Connect offers advice and support to eligible Australian small and medium sized businesses to help them reach their full potential by connecting them to independent business advisory services, business support, and a network of resources that draws together available knowledge, technology and business practices. 

Eligible small and medium businesses can request a comprehensive, confidential and independent Business Review at no cost. This is usually a 4 to 5 day review which delivers a report containing recommendations  for the development of the business. You are also usually encouraged to apply for financial assistance to help you implement the findings of the Business Review.

Enterprise Connect contributes half the cost of approved projects, up to a maximum of $20 000. 

To be eligible for Enterprise Connect your annual turnover must exceed $2m if you are based in the metropolitan area and $1.5m in regional areas, and you should not have received help from other government schemes in the past 3 years.

In addition, Enterprise Connect assistance is only available for the following industries:

Manufacturing, Creative Industries, Clean Technology, Innovative Regions, Resource Technology, Remote Enterprise, Defence Industry.

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