How to apply for grants to keep your small business afloat during COVID-19

Businesses of all kinds are grappling with the hardships brought on by the coronavirus global health crisis. Small businesses have been hit twice as hard as their larger counterparts by the pandemic, and many are severely lacking in the funding needed to stay afloat.

Following the new COVID-19 laws and regulations can make businesses a lot more difficult. However, taking into account the severity of COVID-19, they could, in some instances, justify restrictions on specific human rights.

The good news is that there are many new grants being offered by the Australian government in recognition of the tough economic climate. Here I will provide you with a list of business grants currently being offered, grouped in order of the territories they apply to. 

National grants

Export Market Development Grant

This grant is designed to encourage Australian businesses to increase exports. Businesses will receive a cash refund for up to 50 per cent of their overseas marketing expenses up to $150,000 and can claim expenses as far back as July 2018.

Marketing expenses include any overseas travel, trademark legal expenses, free samples, attendance to trade fairs, and payments made to social media influencers for advertising purposes. 

Matched funding for startups/small businesses to access CSIRO support

Australian companies younger than three years or having an annual turnover of less than $1.5 million are eligible for matched funding for research activities. SMEs paying for CSIRO expertise to investigate new commercial ideas or novel products will be given funding equivalent to the dollar amount spent up to $50,000. 

If your small business isn’t planning any CSIRO-related research activity in the future, there are several unique small business lending platforms that you can access.

New South Wales

Government Export Assistance Grant

Another grant focused on export marketing, this could be perfect if your business is looking to increase eCommerce website traffic from international visitors. NSW businesses that were exported prior to the impacts of COVID-19 who produce and own the goods they export can receive reimbursement for up to 50 per cent of eligible export marketing expenses up to $10,000.

Companies must also prove that they have at least 3 employees, emphasizing a common point with many of these grants – employment. Australian government officials are eager to see that their grant funds help to increase employment, especially with young jobseekers hardest hit by the pandemic. 

Northern Territory

Indigenous Business Development Program

If you are an indigenous business owner from NT, you can receive funds of up to $30,00 to start or boost your business. Whether you are looking to improve your business website or hire a new employee, these funds can be used to help increase your sales. 


Back To Work South East Queensland

Many companies are currently looking for ways to incentivise staff without spending, but with this Queensland grant, you may be eligible to receive funding to hire a new employee for all those additional tasks. Companies that hire elderly and long-term unemployed or underemployed people are eligible to claim payments of up to $20,000 for doing so. 


The Regional Jobs Fund and the Stronger Regional Communities Fund

Is your company working to create or keep jobs in regional or rural Victoria? This can be done easily now due to the power of remote work! Qualifying companies in either area can receive up to $50,000 through either of these grants. Although COVID-19 has impacted consumer lending, the Victorian government is happy to give no-strings-attached funding to businesses that can help create jobs.

Nahla Davies, software engineer and technical copywriter