Small business hardship grants to help your business go forward

7 min read
Emma Wardill

Growing a business when times are tough isn’t easy. With the cost of doing business rising across Australia, many small businesses are having to raise costs to keep up with interest rates, power and petrol bills. The good news? The federal government and many states and territories have small business hardship grants available to help your business recover, grow or diversify.

Here’s a look at some of the new business grants available.

Federal business grants

The Australian Government offers a number of small business hardship grants and support programs for entrepreneurs through the Entrepreneurs' Programme. To be eligible, your business must operate in or support one of these growth sectors:

  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Food and agribusiness
  • Medical technologies and pharmaceuticals
  • Mining equipment, technology and service
  • Oil, gas and energy

Your business may also qualify for these grants if you work in supporting fields such as freight and logistics, infrastructure-related construction, IT, digital tech and professional services.

Step 1

This program pairs you with an independent facilitator to work through recommendations for your business operations and growth potential.

Two people working together at a table

Step 2

Your facilitator will help you to apply for a Growth Grant. Growth Grants provide between $2500 and $20,000 of matched funding for up to 50% of the cost of implementing your agreed recommendations.

You can use your grant to review your digital strategy, obtain new industry certifications or improve your marketing and communications. For more information on the grants program see here.

Other federal grants and support available to entrepreneurs include:

  • Innovation connections to obtain help with research to take your idea forward. More details are available here.
  • Accelerating commercialisation to bring your idea to market. See here for more details.
  • Strengthening business grants to help businesses affected by recent bushfires and floods. See here to register.

Related: How to get startup business loans and where to look

Other types of federal government help

The federal government also offers other kinds of small business support including:

  • Restart Program – offers up to $10,000 for businesses to hire and retain employees aged over 50.
  • Business can write off assets up to $150,000 as part of the Instant Asset Write-Off scheme. Your purchase must cost less than the asset write-off threshold.
  • The JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme offers eligible employers up to $200 a week for employing a young person aged 16 to 29 years old. Up to $100 a week is available for hiring eligible employees aged 30-35.

Related: What are the tax differences between a sole trader and a company?

New business grants available in states/territories

Your small business hardship grant options don’t end with the federal government. States and territories offer still more grants for businesses that qualify. 

Victoria grants

There are a number of specialised grants available for Victorian small businesses including:

  • Small Business Ventilation Program – offers rebates of $500 to undertake immediate action to improve ventilation and help reduce the spread of COVID-19. This could include purchasing an air purifier or hiring a tradesperson to make improvements to airflow. See more here.
  • Small Business Ventilation Grant – offers matched grants of between $1000 and $5000 for public facing businesses to kickstart large projects to improve ventilation. Find out more here.
  • Solar for Business Program – eligible businesses can apply for a rebate of up to $3500 to install a solar panel system to help reduce energy costs. Read more about the program here.

See all of the grants and programs here.

New South Wales grants

The NSW Government has continued its support for accommodation providers after the pandemic lockdowns, with $50 vouchers available for NSW residents. Eligible businesses in NSW can register to become an accommodation provider here.

Closeup of a hotel reception desk

Small businesses can also apply to be part of the Parents NSW voucher scheme, which rewards NSW families who supported their kids to learn from home during lockdowns.

Eligible businesses are those who offer arts, tourism or recreational facilities and Stay NSW accommodation businesses. For more information, see here.

Other grants on offer include:

  • Alfresco Restart rebate – offers a rebate up to $5000 for small and medium food and beverage businesses who have created or expanded their outdoor dining areas or want to do so. Register here.
  • SafeWork small business rebate – small businesses or sole traders can be eligible for a rebate of up to $1000 on the cost of equipment that’s made your workplace safer. More information is available here.

See all the NSW Government grants available on the grants and funding finder.

Queensland grants

A core focus for Queensland Government small business support is to develop business resilience after the recent floods and COVID-19 pandemic.

The State Government’s Mentoring For Growth program connects mentors with impacted small businesses to provide one-on-one support. See here to register.

The Government also has an upcoming Small Business Wellness and Support package to engage six Small Business Wellness Coaches to assist those businesses hardest hit by the pandemic and floods. Find out more here.

You’ll also want to keep an eye on this website for upcoming Queensland small business grants.

Disaster assistance

Disaster assistance grants are also open to flood-affected small businesses from the May flood in southern Queensland.

New business grants of up to $50,000 are available to those in eligible local government areas to help with clean up and repairs. More information is available here.

In NSW, Flood Disaster Recovery Small Business Grants for those affected in the June and July storms are worth up to $50,000.

Eligible businesses can put the payments towards the cost of:

  • Building repairs
  • Cleaning equipment
  • Temporary leases
  • Safety inspection

Applications can be made through Service NSW here.

South Australia grants

South Australia supports start-ups with high growth potential with Seed Start funding of between $50,000 and $100,000.

The aim of the program is to help meet the costs of commercialising a unique product or service that has a “sustainable competitive advantage.”

More details are available here.

Closeup of a person using a drum set

The SA Government also has grants to support the reinvigoration of the live music industry after the pandemic.

See It Live Venue Improvement Grants of $5000 are available to eligible venues to make upgrades so they can cater for live music performances. To apply see here. 

Tasmania grants

Small businesses in Tasmania can apply for assistance in the latest round of the Small Business Advice and Financial Guidance program.

Grants of between $750 and $1500 are available to eligible small businesses to procure financial or business guidance from a specialist in areas like:

Applications are open until 30 May 2023 or until the funding is exhausted. See here for more details.

Western Australia grants

The new $4 million City Events Grants program will offer up to $100,000 for eligible businesses to host events in Perth city and apply to the State Government to use public locations.

The grants will be available from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023 with more information available here.


Micro-producers can receive a 90% reduction on their application fee in the first year of their off licence in the ACT.

To be eligible for this small business hardship grant, they must produce and sell no more than $100,000 of liquor on their licenced premises and not have previously held an off licence.

To apply, visit the Access Canberra website.

Northern Territory grants

Small businesses in the NT can apply for a Federal Government Business Pivot Grant to help build digital capabilities, including e-commerce solutions.

Businesses can receive matched funding of up to $10,000. To apply see here.

The Territory Government also provides access to a number of other business grants through approved third-party suppliers. The grants portal can be accessed here.

Get in on these small business hardship grants while you can

Once you start looking, you might be surprised at the amount of help available to you. Apply for every new business grant you qualify for — because a little here, a little there can make all the difference. Then read this article to learn four commonsense things you can do right now to help your small business through the current downturn.

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