If you run a small or medium sized enterprise (SME) and you never have enough cash for your ambitious expansion plans, we’re pleased to share that there are now a growing number of non-government funding options that might help your business.
In our previous post, 7 Government Grants Your SME Can Tap Into, we talked about the: Accelerating Commercialisation Grant; Business Development Fund; Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Program; Digital Grants Program; Export Market Development Grant (EMDG); Ignite Ideas Fund; and the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive.
For those of you hungry for more ideas, here are seven more funding options that your SME might want to look into:
If you like the idea of standing on a stage in front of Shark Tank’s Steve Baxter and one hundred other vetted investors in the audience, then this semi-annual Brisbane pitch event might be for you. If your business is up and running with some runs on the board, or you’re very good at ‘selling the dream’, then you may want to consider putting together a knockout, five-minute pitch and braving the shark-infested waters in the hope of a business angel of venture capital fund writing your business a five or six zero cheque.
Industry Skills Fund
Want to develop your staff but find it hard to justify the training costs? Run by the Department of Education and Training, the government’s Industry Skills Fund encourages businesses to invest in their staff by reimbursing you 25-50 percent of your training costs if you can demonstrate that the training can help your business achieve a growth opportunity. It’s a brilliant incentive which our business, Social Care Foundation Australia (an online meeting place and training provider for the community services sector) encourages all Australian SMEs to take advantage of.
Business Growth Grant
The Business Growth Grant is administered by AusIndustry and is tied to the government’s Entrepreneur’s Programme. The funding is targeted at strategies that improve the abilities and skills of your business, rather than fixing the problems that are part of your ordinary, everyday operations. Recipients of the Business Growth Grant can be reimbursed for up to $20,000 (for up to half of their costs) to engage a service provider to help with: business evaluation; supply chain facilitation; a growth service; or a tourism partnership service.
If your business is fairly early stage and could benefit from cash, intensive mentoring and introductions to key investor networks, then an accelerator program might just be for you. Typically offering $10,000 – $60,000 in exchange for 3-10 percent equity, the upfront cash hooks people in, but it’s actually the mentoring and investor introductions that prove the most valuable asset in the equation. Some business owners have been turned off by the notion of giving up equity, but having been through an accelerator myself, I know of early stage companies with revenue of $800,000 who have agreed to give up equity and have been all the better for it.
Mentoring 4 Growth
This is an in-kind grant that could save you thousands and if you’ve ever paid for external consultancy services, you’ll understand why. This Queensland Government program offers to gather six to eight industry experts in a room for one and a half hours per session, to provide one-on-one help for a business challenge you might be facing. For example, let’s say you need to put together a comprehensive marketing strategy. Rather than just guessing what will work (and maybe throwing money in the wrong things), or paying a team of marketing experts yourself, the government is sourcing those experts for you and providing it to you for free. You’re allowed multiple sessions, solving one business challenge per session.
Innovation Connections Facilitation and Grant
Another AusIndustry initiative, the Innovation Connections Facilitation and Grant offers the services of Innovation Facilitators, plus up to $50,000 towards a business research project (maximum reimbursement of 50 percent of the total project costs). You can only claim the grant once you complete the project and pay all of the project costs, but if it’s to the tune of $50,000, it’s well worth the wait.
The Grants Hub
This funding avenue is more than just one grant or program, it’s a whole directory of more than one thousand grant options. It includes grants for both for-profit and not-for-profit companies and we’d like to hope that there is at least one grant option on this site that your business could potentially benefit from.
So, if your SME needs some cash to expand, you no longer need to bear the burden all on your own shoulders. Check out the grant and funding options available in our two blog posts and good luck!
This was a guest post written by Andrea Martins, the Chief Operating Officer of Social Care Foundation Australia, based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. All information is for inspiration only and potential grant applicants should consult the appropriate government departments for full details.