General Government Grants:
Grantslink is a government grant database for federal, state and local grants.
Federal Grants for Software Companies & Startups:
There are three major grant programs that every software company or startup should keep on their radar:
Research & Development (R&D) Tax Incentive:
The R&D Tax Incentive is an industry assistance program that rewards innovative and experimental development. It works through Ausindustry and the ATO to provide a refundable tax credit for companies engaging in R&D. For companies under $20million in turnover it provides a 45% refundable tax credit for eligible R&D expenses. Eligible expenses for a software company typically include wages, contracting expenses, overheads etc. that are directly related to the R&D activities. You receive either a tax refund or a tax saving depending upon the tax position of your company. The R&D Tax Incentive is an entitlement, which means that if you fulfill the criteria, you will get the benefit.
This scheme is especially helpful for startups with no sales who would be in a total tax loss position. They would receive the full 45% refunded to them, ie spend $100,000 on R&D and receive a $45,000 tax refund. This is a self-assessment scheme that is governed by tax legislation as well the R&D Tax Incentive legislation. There are many rules and regulations that usually require expert consultation to navigate through.
Recommended R&D Tax Consultants (Please contribute to this list if you’ve had good experiences):
Export Market Development Grant
The Export Market Development Grant is an industry assistance program to encourage exporting through a grant for the marketing of export goods and services. It provides a grant that reimburses up to 50% of export marketing expenses above $10,000 provided there are expenses of at least $20,000.
The expenses that can be claimed are in nine different categories:
- Overseas Representatives
- Market consultants (arms length consultants)
- Marketing Visits (travel for marketing purposes)
- Communications (phone, fax etc)
- Free Samples
- Trade fairs, seminars, in-store promotions (cost of participation)
- Promotional literature and advertising (including google ads and marketing web development)
- Overseas Buyers (cost of bringing in buyers from overseas)
- Registration and/or insurance of eligible intellectual property (outside of Australia & New Zealand)
Commercialisation Australia Grants
Commercialisation Australia Grants provide a bucket of cash to assist companies to Commercialise innovative intellectual property. It has four categories of assistance:
• Skills and Knowledge:
provides up to $50,000 for the purpose of business planning and assisting capital raising
• Experienced Executives: provides up to $350,000 for the purpose of engaging a senior executive such as a CEO, sales director or another executive key to achieving success
• Proof of Concept: provides up to $250,000 for the purpose of proving the commercial viability of new Intellectual Property.
• Early Stage Commercialisation: provides up to $2 million to develop a new product, service or process through to market.
There are a few key differences between Commercialisation Australia and the other two federal assistance programs:
• Its competitive, this means that you will be competing for funding which means that you can invest it obtaining the grant but ultimately be unsuccessful. It is very important that a quality submission is made that fulfills the criteria that they are looking for, in order to have a chance of success.
• It is upfront money, the other grants are based on the amount of expenditure from the previous financial year
• For the larger grants, it is a much more involved and lengthy process