Kick start your business…

Posted 2 Jan 2017

Story by CBR Canberra

Canberra’s top grants to help get your business off the ground

Home to the Australian Government, young entrepreneurs, innovation hubs and a huge collection of pioneering start-ups, Canberra is a city of innovation and possibility.

Many businesses in Canberra are working on solutions to some of Australia’s (and the world’s) biggest questions.

Whether you’re an innovative start-up or an established, successful company considering moving to the Capital, there are range of business grants to help get your business idea off the ground and into market.

Innovation Connect

If your business is in the early stages of preparing an innovative product or service for investment or commercialisation, then Innovation Connect may be able to help you get to the next step.

This ACT Government program offers matched funding incentives to help local businesses develop and commercialise innovative products and services.

The program has two categories:

  • Proof of Technology – funding rounds are held two to three times a year and offers matched funding of up to $30,000 to develop a prototype of your business idea.
  • Accelerating Innovation – applications can be made throughout the year and offers matched funding of up to $10,000 to further accelerate the commercialisation of your innovation.

Trade Connect

An initiative of the CBR Trade and Investment Development Fund, Trade Connect is a competitive grants program and helps Canberra-based businesses with a range of export market development activities.

Successful applicants can receive matched funding of up to $15,000 per financial year towards costs directly associated with international development activities, including:

  • market visits
  • developing marketing material
  • promotion and advertising
  • participation in trade shows
  • supporting incoming buyer visits
  • market research and undergoing mentoring.

CBR Innovation Development Fund – Competitive Grants

The ACT Government’s CBR Innovation Development Fund – Competitive Grants support a range of initiatives that develop capability and investment in the ACT’s innovation ecosystem as well as enhance collaboration and broaden access to services and resources in the ecosystem.

With funding of up to $1.45M available to local businesses and enterprisers, the opportunities are endless.

STEM 4 Business Internship Program

The ACT workforce needs a workforce with the right science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) skills to meet the new demands in our growing digital economy.

STEM 4 Business Internship Program provides grants to local businesses to assist in the costs associated with hiring a second year or higher undergraduate student intern studying science, technology, engineering or mathematics at one of Canberra’s universities for 12 weeks.

This program helps build job-ready skill capability in our students while also contributing to businesses longer term enabling them to take full advantage of the digital economy.

Canberra-Shenzhen Innovation Intern Exchange Program

Building on the ACT Government’s relationship with sister city Beijing, the Canberra-Shenzhen Innovation Intern Exchange Program brings together future innovation leaders from both cities and fosters long-term, collaborative relationships.

Interns will receive an all-expenses[*] paid trip for four to eight weeks to Shenzhen and develop a deep understanding of cultures and the STEM practices, skills and innovation systems of the two cities.

They will also build on their leadership skills in the hope that they become future ambassadors for the program and the importance of collaborative relationships between Canberra and Shenzhen.

ACT-based Venture Capital Programs

Canberra offers a range of venture capital programs for local businesses and individuals wanting to take up new opportunities.

ANU Connect Ventures manages two funds; Discover Translation Fund and Seed Investment Fund. Supported by the ACT Government the funds aim to invest in promising commercial opportunities coming out of Canberra’s research institutions and local research and development companies.

  • Discovery Translation Fund – assists with the commercialisation of new innovations and technologies coming out of Canberra. Successful applicants can be awarded up to $50,000 to market their innovative ideas.
  • Seed Investment Fund – assists with early-stage investment for commercial opportunities that are developed out of research from Canberra’s research institutions. Successful applicants can receive up to $500,000 in funding.

Capital Angels

Capital Angels is an investor network for high-net worth individuals to support Canberra and region entrepreneurs through investment and activities.

The Angels often invest in companies with the potential for high growth, have a strong market position and a sustainable advantage.

Screen Production Fund

Do you love film? Do you have an eye for video production?

Screen Production Fund co-funds the production of high quality feature films, television series and other screen projects from ACT or interstate practitioners undertaken in the ACT; have significant Canberra elements and benefit; and are capable of reaching local and international audiences and delivering commercial success.

A total of $XXX,XXX is available to support productions in 2016–17.

ACT Microcredit Loan Program

Brought to you by the ACT Government, Westpac Institutional Bank and the Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre, the Microcredit Loan Program provides low interest and fee-free loans from Westpac for eligible low-income earners who wish to start or expand an existing business.

The program provides loan recipients with business skills development, individual mentoring, peer support and access to networking events.

Successful applicants can receive interest free loans up to the value of $3,000. Low-interest loans valued between $3,001 and $10,000 are also available to eligible individuals.

Actsmart Business Programs

Are you environmentally conscious?

The Actsmart Business programs provide local businesses with a range of support services to save water and energy.

Under the program, small businesses can take advantage of a rebate to upgrade to more efficient and effective fittings and fixtures to save water and energy.

ACT Building and Construction Industry Training Fund

The ACT Building and Construction Industry Training Fund helps industry address priority training and skills shortages by supporting the costs of training eligible workers.

GRIFFIN Accelerator

The GRIFFIN Accelerator is a start-up accelerator in Canberra. Once a year GRIFFIN invites entrepreneurs to apply for a place in the 3+3 program for the opportunity to validate their idea, develop networks and fine-tune their business model.

Special Event Fund

The ACT Government through VisitCanberra supports major one-off events that create positive economic outcomes and enhance the brand of the Nation’s Capital.

Special Event Funding is available on a minimum dollar for dollar basis for funding of interstate and/or international marketing activities for event and exhibitions staged within ACT.

Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme

The Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme provides a number of incentives to assist employers who take on an Australian Apprentice, particularly where the Australian Apprenticeship is in a trade experiencing a skills shortage.

Successful applicants can receive up to $5,000 of funding.

Cooperative Research Centres Program

Under the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, the Cooperative Research Centres Programme supports industry-led collaborations between industry, researchers and the community through two elements:

  • Cooperative Research Centres grants – successful applicants will receive access to grant funds for up to 10 years for collaborations from industry, research and community sectors to develop important new technologies, products and services.
  • Cooperative Research Centre Projects grants – successful applicants will receive access to grant funds for up to three years for collaborations through industry, research and community sectors to solve industry problems and improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of the Australian industries.

Employment Assistance Fund

The Australian Government’s Employment Assistance Fund gives financial help to eligible people with disability and mental health condition and employers to buy work related modifications and services.

Assistance is available for people who are about to start a job or who are currently working, as well as those who require assistance to find and prepare for work.

Export Market Development Grants

The Export Market Development Grants scheme is a key Australian Government financial assistance program for aspiring and current exporters.

Run by Austrade, the scheme supports a wide range of industry sectors and products, including inbound tourism and the export of intellectual property outside Australia.

The scheme reimburses up to 50% of eligible export promotion expenses above $5,000 (provided the total expenses are at least $15,000) and provides up to eight grants to each application.

Export Finance and Insurance Corporation

The Export Finance and Insurance Corporation understand the financing challenges faced by small business exporters.

They provide a range of financial solutions for small business exporters to help them win more business, grow internationally and achieve export success.

Indigenous Business Australia Business Development and Assistance Program

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) runs a range of programs to remove some of the obstacles that may prevent customers? from creating wealth, accumulating assets and fulfilling their aspirations.

IBA’s Business Development and Assistance Program assists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to access the skills, knowledge and resources to start and grow a sustainable business.

Indigenous Cadetship Support

The Indigenous Cadetship Support program is an Australian Government initiative that improves the professional employment prospects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It links Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tertiary students with employers in an arrangement involving full-time study and work placements.

The support program provides up to $7,050 per semester to employers to support cadets with a living allowance and study-related costs and employer administration costs.

Restart Program

The Restart Program is an Australian Government wage subsidy that encourages businesses to employ mature workers.

Canberra businesses that sign up to this initiative can access up to $10,000 if they hire and retain a full-time job seeker aged 50 years or older, who has been unemployed and on income support for six months or more.

To view find more grants and funding opportunities visit Innovate Canberra or

[*] The ACT Government funding is designed to cover your time in Shenzhen, China for 4-8 weeks, including airfares (economy), airport transfers, accommodation, internship placement fees and a monthly stipend to cover living expenses. Please note medical insurance is not covered and you will be required to pay for this and any other expenses related to your travel.

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