The Victorian Government continues to roll more support for Victorian businesses in recovery from the unpredictable impacts of the global pandemic and bushfire seasons.
For businesses looking for grants and support, it can be tiring trawling the many government sites and understanding what you’re eligible for.
To help make your task a little easier, check out our February 2022 guide to small business grants and support in Victoria. You’ll find the basic eligibility criteria, links to apply and more.
Current support available includes:
- Victorian Government Support for Small Businesses
- Jobs Victoria Fund
- Small Business Energy Saver Program
- SME Recovery Loan Scheme (2022 Scheme expansion)
- JobMaker Hiring Credit
- Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements
- Victorian Government Support Specifically for Regional Small Businesses
- 2020 Bushfire Emergency Response Grant to Assist Indigenous corporations
- Enabling Tourism Fund
- Investment Fast-Track Fund
- Regional Jobs Fund
Current Small Business Grants & Support in Victoria
The Victorian Government has put forward the Jobs Victoria Fund to enable small businesses to hire staff or increase hours for existing employees to tackle the pandemic’s economic impacts.
Eligible businesses will receive Jobs Victoria 12-month wage subsidies of up to $20,000 to ease costs of hiring eligible jobseekers.
Visit the Jobs Victoria website to get your application started.
To be eligible, you must:
Prepare the following evidence requirements as guided by the Jobs Victoria Fund eligibility checklist:
- WorkCover Employer Number
- WorkCover insurance Certificate of Currency
- Australian Business Number (ABN) and Australian Company Number (ACN) (if applicable)
- Organisation’s address in Victoria for incorporated associations only: registration number with Registrar of Incorporated Associations, Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV).
- Victorian Labour Hire Authority licence registration number (labour hire providers only).
- Confirmation your organisation is registered with the ACNC (charitable and not-for-profit organisations only).
- A completed DJPR trustee declaration form (trusts only).
- A signed letter authorising you to submit the application to the Jobs Victoria Fund on behalf of the Applicant organisation (authorised external representatives of the Applicant organisation only).
The Authorised Representative completing the application must provide a copy of one of the following approved identification documents:
- Australian or international passport
- Australian visa
- Australian driver licence
- Medicare card
- Pensioner concession card
To be eligible for a wage subsidy, the jobs in enquiry must be for at least 19 hours per week (or eight hours if an exemption applies).
Note: Due to the pandemic’s impact on female employment opportunities, Jobs Victoria Fund will prioritise at least 60% to women who are eligible jobseekers.
Make sure to read the Jobs Victoria Fund Guidelines to find out information on the number of wage subsidies your business can apply for, priority groups of people businesses can employ and other employment conditions.
$5 million has been allocated to the Small Business Energy Saver Program for energy-efficient equipment upgrades towards eligible small businesses across Victoria.
Eligible businesses could receive a discount of up to $2,000 from the Small Business Energy Saver Program. The exact costs for an approved energy efficiency improvement will depend on the specifics of your energy upgrades.
In addition, potential financial support from the program could cover between 85% to 100% of the installation and total equipment costs.
Registered Accredited Providers will be required to check your business’s equipment that could be eligible for an upgrade.
Applications close on 31 May 2022. Find out how to apply for the Small Business Energy Saver Program via the Sustainability Victoria website.
To be eligible for the program, small businesses must have 1 to 19 employees and operate on a commercial (non-residential) premise.
“This program is not available for primary producers in agriculture.”
Introduced on 1 April 2021, the government’s SME Recovery Loan Scheme had been put in place to help promote economic recovery for small to medium businesses due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
With the rollercoaster that has been the pandemic, a few changes have been made to the loan scheme to ensure continued assistance for Victorian businesses with the 2022 Scheme expansion. Changes to the scheme have been implemented to ensure businesses get the adequate help they need.
2022 Scheme Expansion loans updates have commenced 1 January 2022 and will close 30 June 2022.
The following key features of the scheme include:
- The Government guarantee will be 50% of the loan amount.
- Lenders will be allowed to offer borrowers a repayment holiday of up to 24 months. Loans are for terms of up to 10 years, with an optional repayment holiday period.
Activities the loans can be used for include business purposes, investment support and refinancing any pre‑existing debt.
- Purchase residential property
- Purchase financial products
- Lend to an associated entity, or
- Lease, rent, hire or hire purchase existing assets
Under the existing SME Recovery Loan Scheme, your business must be a small-to-medium business with less than a $250 million annual turnover.
Loans are available from 1 April 2021 until 31 December 2021 with a government guarantee of 80 per cent.
However, with the updated 2022 Scheme expansion, loans are available from 1 January 2022 until 30 June 2022, with a government guarantee of 50 per cent. Visit the Treasury website for more information on how to apply.
To be eligible:
- You must own small and medium-sized businesses with up to $250 million turnovers.
- You can also be self‑employed and non-profit.
- You must have received a JobKeeper payment between 4 January 2021 and 28 March 2021.
- You must have been affected by the floods in eligible Local Government Areas in March 2021 or adversely economically affected by COVID‑19.
Find further details on eligibility via the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Recovery Loan Scheme Fact Sheet.
JobMaker Hiring Credit
Businesses planning to hire new employees may be eligible to receive payments under the JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme.
Eligible businesses can register and then claim JobMaker Hiring Credit payments for 12 months for each new job filled.
If your business is eligible, you could receive:
- Up to $200 a week for each eligible employee aged 16 to 29 years old.
- Up to $100 a week for each eligible employee aged 30 to 35 years old.
Applications close 6 October 2022. You can register via the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Online services for business website, or through your registered tax or BAS agent.
Find out more about eligibility and how to apply at JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme website.
Eligible business employers must:
- Register for the JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme.
- Operate a business in Australia and hold an Australian business number (ABN).
- Be registered for pay as you go (PAYG) withholding.
- Have not claimed JobKeeper payments for a fortnight that started during the JobMaker period.
- Be up to date with income tax and GST returns for the two years up to the end of the JobMaker period you’re claiming for.
- Satisfy payroll increase and the headcount increase conditions.
- Satisfy reporting requirements.
- Not belong to an ineligible employer category.
If you are a business who takes on an Australian Apprentice between 5 October 2020 and 31 March 2022, you might be able to receive a subsidy of 50% of an apprentice’s gross wages paid.
Eligible businesses could receive a maximum of $7,000 per quarter per eligible apprentice for wages paid 12 months from their start date.
The subsidy is available to eligible businesses of any size, industry or geographic location. Applications close 21 Dec 2022. Learn more about the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements website.
Your business may be eligible if:
- You take on an Australian apprentice between 5 October 2020 and 31 March 2022.
- Your Australian apprentice or trainee is undertaking a Certificate II or higher qualification and has a training contract that is formally approved by the state training authority.”
Note: The subsidy is not available for an apprentice receiving any other form of Australian Government wage subsidy, such as, Supporting Apprentices and Trainees or JobKeeper.
Current Victorian Government Support for Regional Small Businesses
The Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) has an ongoing grant for any Indigenous corporation properties directly affected by bushfires in the East Gippsland and Wellington Shires.
Grant of up to $20,000 will be provided to assist eligible businesses in securing and cleaning up property damages.
To be eligible, you must be own an Indigenous corporation affected by the bushfires in East Gippsland and Wellington Shires.
Contact the ILSC on 1800 818 490 or email EDOAdmin@ilcorp.gov.au to apply for the 2020 Bushfire Emergency Response grant.
The Victorian Government has opened the Enabling Tourism Fund to boost regional and rural tourism projects to accelerate tourism investment and recovery.
Funds between $20,000 to $500,000 are required to go towards feasibility studies, master planning, and business case development.
Applications for the Enabling Tourism Fund will be accepted until 11:59pm, Friday 4 March 2022 via the Business Victoria website.
To be eligible, your business must be one of the following:
- A private sector proponent.
- A local and State Government entity.
- An incorporated association.
- A not-for-profit organisation, Traditional Owner Corporations or Aboriginal-owned businesses.
If you live in regional Victoria, you may be eligible for the Investment Fast-Track Fund. Businesses can receive up to $500,000 per activity to attract new investment, including creating and retaining jobs.
Activities will be considered eligible for funding if the project proves it’s of “strategic importance for rural and regional communities, including driving economic growth and prosperity for Victoria.”
Note: A request for funding exceeding the $500,000 limits could still be accepted, but the request will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Applications for the Investment Fast-Track Fund closes on 30 June 2022.
If you wish to apply, contact your local Regional Development Victoria office to discuss eligibility and to receive a copy of the Program Guidelines.
Eligible business categories include:
- Local Government Authorities.
- Alpine Resorts Management Boards.
- Private sector businesses, including Aboriginal organisations and small businesses.
Regional Victorian businesses may be eligible to apply for the Regional Jobs Fund, providing more employment opportunities and development in the area.
The Regional Jobs Fund is available to help initiate employment opportunity projects within numerous regional businesses industries including, but are not limited to:
- Food and fibre.
- Advanced manufacturing.
- Professional services.
- New energy technology.
- Medical technology, life sciences and healthcare.
- Transport, defence and construction technology.
Check out the Regional Jobs Fund Application Guidelines 2021 to learn more. Application close on 30 June 2022. Contact your local Regional Development Victoria office to further discuss funding.
The Regional Jobs Fund is for the development of regional businesses. Individuals are ineligible to apply under this program.
Where to find current and future new small business grants VIC?
It is always good practice to keep an eye on the current grants and support currently available.
The following websites can be great resources for finding support for your business:
Grant programs typically arise unexpectedly, causing an urgency to be grant ready and better your chances to receive funding.
Business.gov have put together the following steps to check if you are grant ready:
- Read up on the grant application process from start to finish.
- Learn the grant guidelines.
- Make sure your objective aligns with the grant.
- Ensure you have enough time to commit to filling out your application.
- Have enough evidence to show you are eligible.
- Make sure your application is clear, concise and compelling.
- If you have previously had an unsuccessful grant application, use it as a learning opportunity.
Disclaimer: The information on this page is for informational purposes only and does not replace professional legal or financial advice. While the information outlined is presumed correct at the time of publication, please consult the corresponding government websites to ensure accuracy and current status.