The Australian Government has billions of dollars of grant funding on offer across thousands of programs. 

The lure of government funds to invest in your business without diluting your equity or the requirement to repay these funds is an enticing prospect. However, in a constantly changing grants landscape, where programs expire and emerge daily, how can businesses capitalise on these opportunities?

The following considerations will help you to position yourself for success.

Plan how to use the funding

Grants must be used to fund future expenditure rather than reclaim monies already committed or spent. Grants are either made available for a defined period of the year in rounds or open throughout the year. Whatever the model adopted, grants are not a quick process as the timeframes for submitting applications, assessing them and approving funding decisions are lengthy. You should plan on at least 3 to 4 months from the point of lodging your application before receiving a decision. Your project can only start after you have been awarded funding so making sure that your project’s timeframes fit with those of the grant program is essential.government grants

Align with government objectives

Government uses grants to stimulate growth and expansion in the economy as a whole or at a sub-sector level rather than at the individual business level. Government are looking for projects with broader economic benefits, that bring new technologies or capabilities to an industry or a region or create new employment opportunities. Applicants need to demonstrate how their project meets these objectives and the need for government intervention to get the project across the line.

Do your homework

To be successful, you need to consider how well your project fits with the grant program’s objectives and assessment criteria. This first test is eligibility. These are the basic criteria that you must meet to even be considered. If you don’t meet these, then your application will not progress any further. Grant administrators often run webinars, provide frequently asked questions or provide contact details to discuss queries. These are vital resources for getting ahead.

Once you’re confident of a good fit with the eligibility criteria, your focus should turn to the merit criteria that your application will be scored against. Often, they are assigned a weighting, which tells you where the funder places the most importance and where you should be focussing your efforts the most.

Make your project stand out

Grant programs are highly competitive with many more applications than can be funded. The role of the assessment panel is, therefore, to say no more often than yes. Crafting clear and compelling responses to each of the criteria will give them fewer grounds to mark your submission down.

Any claims that you make in your submission should be backed up with evidence either in the application form or by attaching supplementary documents. The use of attachments can be a powerful tool but it is important to understand the expectations of the program as in some instances supplementary information that is not explicitly requested will not be read.

Check the finances

Most grants require some form of matched funding. Often the grant will only cover up to 50% of the project’s cost with the balance coming from your funds, although some programs are more generous. Grants also operate on a reimbursement basis meaning recipients need the funds to cover project expenditure upfront and reclaim eligible amounts against the grant funds. Some grant programs provide a portion of the funding upfront with the rest split across multiple payments based on achieving certain milestones. It important to understand your funding obligations and how the grant funds will be paid.


RSM’s Government Grants team is here to help. We have a detailed knowledge of State and Federal funding programs and work closely with you to identify opportunities that are right for your business and support you to prepare compelling submission. For more information, please contact Edward Day on 08 9261 9161.