How To Get Small Business Digital Grants – A Step By Step Guide

The Small Business Digital Grants Program can enable small businesses to access technologies and services to encourage them to work smarter, engage with the global economy, and bring about online business opportunities from digital disruption.
small business digital grants

If you’ve got a great idea for building your business or being just interested in gaining extra funding, small business digital grants could be just the ticket. Here’s a quick overview of the different types of business grants available and how to access them to help you get your head wrapped around your options.

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There are various assistance policies offered by the Federal and State government to strengthen small business owners. These assistance programs can be available in government grants, subsidies, rebates, incentives, restructure rollover and financial aid. One of the programs that help businesses upgrade or improve their digital infrastructure is the Digital Initiative program.

What are Small Business Digital Grants?

The Small Business Digital Grants Program can enable small businesses to access technologies and services to encourage them to work smarter, engage with the global economy, and bring about online business opportunities from digital disruption.

This policy contributes to financial aid for small businesses to boost digital abilities, work smarter, and benefit from online business opportunities.

The program aims to see small business be able to do the following –

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  • Access the new digital tech to expand their enthusiasm, productivity, and competitiveness.
  • Grow to medium-size companies, expand market reach, and employ more Australians.
  • Upskill and teach small business owners and staff to take advantage of the latest technologies.
  • Work smarter, be more innovative and use fewer hours.
  • Create an environment that makes it easier to do business. 

What kind of grants can I get to start a business?

If successful, a 50% funding contribution of up to $10 000 (excluding GST) following completion of your project’s proposal/implementation. The applicant needs to fulfill the eligibility and inspection requirements. The applicant must provide a favorable indication of the project’s completion to receive funding. The minimum grant funding amount is $1000 (i.e., the project’s value is at least $2000).

Projects proposed in your application must demonstrate how the product or service will significantly enhance its digital capabilities and impact the business (be more competitive and employ more staff). Your expected growth must be realistic and probable. You need to provide evidence in this regard.

The digital tech or service must fall under the following identified preference areas for a technology grant:

  • Obtaining payments or selling online
  • Digital planning, marketing strategy, and training
  • Custom digital technology or business-specific software
  • Content advancement, including web pages, apps, visual and audio media, etc.

Who Can Apply for A Grant?

All small businesses with an Australia based headquarters can apply. The business must show how the proposal will enhance the digital capabilities of the company and help them to be more competitive.

Your small business must also have –

  • Less than 20 employees at the moment of applying for the small business digital grant
  • Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Registration for GST
  • Australian headquarters
  • Turnover of $2 million or less in the last financial year
  • No insolvent or have owners/directors that are undischarged bankrupt.

Only one application from an individual ABN or a financial beneficiary of business is allowed.

Successful applicants cannot reapply for funding under this grant program in future rounds.

Your business must also be in a financial position to pay upfront for the approved product(s) and or service(s) in full. They will reimburse successfully after submitting supplier invoices and proof of purchase.

How To Apply For A Grant?

Round 7 has now closed, and they are not accepting applications. But Applications usually open between November. You can apply online at www.business.qld.gov.au/digital.

If you plan to apply for the small business digital grant program, you must subscribe to the Small Business Connect newsletter to receive updates about all their grants.

An applicant must only submit the applicant’s own original answers. Applications derived from a third party will be considered invalid. An Applicant who does not properly comply with the application process will be ineligible to receive the grant or enter other Programs run by DESBT.

Upon completing the project, successful applicants will be reimbursed 50% of the total project cost, up to the approved grant funding amount.

To receive reimbursement, applicants must –

  • complete and submit an acquittal report through Smarty Grants
  • grant a valid tax statement to the Department of Employment, Small Business, and Training
  • submit copies of supplier invoices and proof of purchase for the total project cost.

Process of applying for Small Business Digital Grants in 2020

A. Online application

Applicants must complete an application form online via the SmartyGrants platform and attach the necessary documentation (quote/proposal from the supplier or service provider).

B. Eligibility check

The Department of Employment, Small Business, and Training surveys all applications against the fundamental eligibility norms and furnishes the assessment panel with the applications that fulfill the critical eligibility criteria.

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C. Assessment panel

An assessment panel considers all eligible applications and provides recommendations to the delegate for approval. The representative then considers the applications and proposals, as well as the available funding.

The Department of Employment, Small Business, and Training may consider ensuring successful applications equitably distributed across the state, priority areas, and industry sectors and recognize Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.

D. Applicants notified of the outcome.

All applicants will receive formal notification of the application’s outcome as soon as possible following appropriate assessments. Successful applicants will receive an approval letter advising the delegate has approved the application. The message will also reiterate the terms and conditions of funding.

Successful applicants will then have three months from the date of the approval letter to complete the project. The Department of Employment, Small Business, and Training can revoke the request if the program does not finalize within this timeframe.

Applicants must not begin the project or pay for the service/s, in part or full, without confirmation that the project is approved.

After approval, successful applicants must pay for the approved service/s in full.

E. Acquittal

Successful applicants will only get reimbursed for 50 percent of the total project cost, up to the approved grant funding amount on completion of the project. To do this, the applicant must finalize and ratify an acquittal report, issue a valid tax statement to the Department of Employment, Small Business, and Training and submit documents of supplier records and evidence of purchase cumulative project cost.

The acquittal report is a straightforward document providing data on the project’s accomplishment and outcomes to date, the actions undertaken, and the understandings. They will study Business six months after the completion of the project.

The Department of Employment, Small Business, and Training will conduct audits on various applications to ensure correct information. If there is false or misleading information, penalties may apply, including refunding some or all grant funding.

FAQ 

1. Do small business grants have to be paid back?

A small business grant is any amount of seed money that is used to support a small business. Unlike small business loans, you don’t have to pay back a grant, but you have to substantiate that you can accomplish a specific goal before being given a grant. The Australian government financially subsidizes small businesses and startups through many grants, each with distinct eligibility norms.

2. Do I need to be registered for GST?

Yes. The business must be enrolled for GST at the time of application to be competent for funding.

If your business registered for GST, click here to find out more at the ATO

Grants are not subject to GST. Accordingly, GST is not owed, and grant funding will not reimburse for any GST expended by the business. The grant amount is GST exclusive. The Department of Employment, Small Business, and Training suggests you experienced independent guidance before enrolling for GST.

3. How do I write a business grant?

Your business grant application must include – 

  • a comprehensive quote for the digital technology or service for which you are striving Funding
  • a clear outline of how digital technology or service will uniquely enhance the digital capabilities of the business and make the company more competitive
  • details of the impact the digital technology or service will have on the company, for example, revenue growth, cost savings, time savings, employment outcomes
  • a declaration of employee headcount
  • confirmation and breakdown of your matched financial contribution.
  • If you will be using a consultant to deliver a service, a project proposal, and a quote from them

4. What other kinds of grants can I get to start a business in Australia?

If a business grant isn’t a feasible option, you can explore several other avenues to secure funding, such as Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. P2P lending is a technique of financing where you amass money from an investor through a lending outlet. You don’t wish to go through an authorized financial establishment like a bank, which means you aren’t accountable to standard market interest rates.

Another option is Personal loans. While getting a business loan from a bank is common practice, P2P lending proposes a different avenue. Private business loans are loans given by investors, also known as angel investors, rather than banks. Personal loans can be useful for getting access to capital quickly but typically come with higher interest rates than conventional financing, or you may need to exchange funding for equity in your business.

Conclusion 

Small Business Digital Grant programs are run by state governments as well as the federal government of Australia. Grants like QLD government small business grants and business grants Melbourne are the most effective grants in Australia. Several banks and community organizations also offer business grant schemes, although these are less common than government grants. 

These digital grant programs focus on the expansion of already established small businesses. They are less involved in starting a business at the initial stage. These digital grant programs support business activities such as expansion, training, research, development, importing, and exporting. This means you’re likely to receive a government grant if you have an existing business with plans for expansion or a particular project. Finally if you have a small business coach it would be very wise to get your input into the process as well.

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