Guide to Australian Government Grants for Foreign Founders

May 31, 2024
| minute read
Guide to Australian Government Grants for Foreign Founders

Did you know that the Australian government actively supports businesses with a range of grants and tax incentives, including inbound international companies?

We spoke with Jack Qi, Director, Tax Services at William Buck, to gain insights on commonly accessed grants, eligibility criteria, and valuable tips for foreign founders.

This comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge to leverage government support and fuel your success in the Australian market.

Introducing William Buck:

  • William Buck is one of Australia's leading mid-tier Accounting firms, with accountants and advisors with offices across Australia & New Zealand.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are numerous Australian government grants at federal, state, and local levels.
  • Grants often have specific eligibility criteria and application windows.
  • Use the Australian Government GrantConnect website to search for grants relevant to your business.

Common Types of Government Grants

  1. MVP Ventures Program
    • Offered by the New South Wales government.
    • Small grant for businesses with less than $1 million revenue and less than 20 full-time staff.
    • Provides matched funding of $25,000 to $50,000 for commercialising new products or services in priority areas like digital technologies, biotech, etc.
    • Applications open annually.
  2. Export Market Development Grant (EMDG)
    • Provides grants to subsidise marketing expenses for businesses selling overseas.
    • Relevant for companies using Australia as a hub to sell to the Asia Pacific region.
    • Grant amounts vary depending on the business stage. 
    • Applications open annually.
  3. Industry Growth Program
    • Large federal grant program targeting businesses with less than $20 million revenue and less than 100 full-time employees
    • Focuses on seven priority areas including resources, renewables, and advanced manufacturing.
    • Competitive grant; requires a strong application demonstrating eligibility and project value.
  4. R&D Tax Incentive
    • One of the largest grant programs in Australia, managed jointly by Austrade and the Australian Taxation Office.
    • Provides tax benefits to companies carrying out eligible R&D activities.

Understanding R&D Tax Incentive

  • Eligibility Criteria
    • Core R&D activities must involve technical innovation, addressing unknowns/risks, and experimentation.
    • Eligibility criteria, whether the rebate is refundable or non-refundable, and tax offset rates vary depending on company size and revenue.
    • Supporting R&D activities can maximise claims.
    • Certain activities like admin, marketing, and regulatory compliance are not eligible.
  • Record Keeping
    • Extensive record-keeping is required to demonstrate eligibility
    • ATO and Austrade expect detailed records of experimentation and expenditure.
  • Common Errors and Myths
    • Careful planning and documentation is needed.
    • Claims are subject to review by ATO and Austrade.
    • Tax planning before June 30 can optimise benefits.

Tips to remember:

  • Always conduct further research to identify grants specific to your industry and location.
  • Start planning and documentation well in advance for grant applications, especially for R&D incentives.
  • Consider seeking professional advice to navigate the complexities of grant applications.

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