Australia's commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive business landscape is evident in its myriad of grant programs designed to support women entrepreneurs. Whether you're a budding businesswoman in Queensland or an innovative thinker in Victoria, there's likely a grant tailored to your needs. These programs, backed by both state and national governments, aim to bridge the gender gap in the business world, offering financial aid, mentorship, and a platform for growth. Dive into this comprehensive guide to discover the plethora of opportunities awaiting women entrepreneurs across the nation.
The Boosting Female Founders Initiative - Round 2 is a dedicated program to assist female entrepreneurs in overcoming challenges related to accessing finance and support, enabling them to grow their start-ups. This initiative offers grants ranging from $25,000 to $480,000, aiming to help female-founded start-ups expand both domestically and internationally. The program is structured to provide targeted support on a co-contribution basis and offers expert mentoring and advice to deserving applicants. With a total grant funding of $52.2 million announced by the Australian Government, Round 2 has allocated an estimated $11.6 million. The initiative's primary objectives include stimulating private sector investments in start-ups led by women, addressing the challenges female entrepreneurs face in securing finance, and promoting economic growth by diversifying start-up founders.
The Alice Anderson Fund is an initiative by LaunchVic aimed at supporting underrepresented founders in the start-up ecosystem. The fund is named after Alice Anderson, a pioneering Australian woman who established the first all-female garage in 1924. The fund's primary goal is to address the gender and diversity gap in the start-up sector by providing targeted support to female founders and other underrepresented groups. The Alice Anderson Fund offers a range of programs, including grants, to assist these founders in building successful start-ups. While the fund is not exclusively for women, it emphasises supporting those who face barriers due to their gender, cultural background, or other factors.
The Victorian Women's Trust is dedicated to helping women and girls thrive. Established in 1985, the trust has been instrumental in supporting community projects that shape, grow, and positively impact the lives of women and girls. It stands out as one of Australia's few grant-makers dedicated solely to women. Every year, the trust disburses high-impact initiatives through its Community Grants Program, reaching women and girls across Victoria. Additionally, the trust honours the life and contributions of women through its Sub-Funds. The trust's grants have played a pivotal role in various community projects, ensuring that women and girls have the resources and support they need to succeed.
The Return to Work Pathways Program is an initiative by the NSW Government that provides funding to NSW organisations. The primary objective of this program is to support women from specific focus communities who face persistent barriers to employment. The program aims to reduce these barriers for women looking to enter or re-enter the workforce. It offers a range of tailored projects that provide comprehensive support, including training, mentoring, and pathways to employment. The program specifically targets women from communities such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women from culturally diverse backgrounds, women with disabilities, and more. The grant amount for this program ranges from $100,000 to $250,000.
The MVP Ventures program is managed by Investment NSW. Currently, the delivery of the MVP Ventures program is under review. However, it has been confirmed that the assessment of eligible submitted applications will continue, and those applications will move forward to the assessment phase. Further communication regarding the program will be provided in due time.
The Innovation Connect (ICON) Grants program, facilitated by the Canberra Innovation Network on behalf of the ACT Government, is designed to support early-stage innovative entrepreneurs and start-ups in Canberra. The program provides matched-funded grants ranging between $10,000 to $30,000, aiding start-ups in kick-starting their growth journey. The grant is aimed at supporting innovative ideas, prototypes, and projects, helping them reach a market-ready position. This includes funding for market testing, proving the technical or commercial feasibility of a concept, developing product prototypes or functional software, and assisting with effective marketing strategies and legal advice. To be eligible, applicants must have an annual turnover of less than $2 million, be based in Canberra, possess an active ABN, and agree to a funding agreement with the Canberra Innovation Network.
The Community Zero Emissions Grants Program, offered by the ACT government, is dedicated to supporting projects that aim to reduce emissions and bolster community resilience against climate impacts. With a total funding pool of $600,000 available from 2021 to 2025, this program encourages community-driven initiatives that not only seek to lower carbon footprints but also inspire transformative change towards a sustainable future. While the application period for 2023 has concluded, potential applicants, including not-for-profit community groups and individuals backed by an incorporated community organisation, can look forward to the next round opening in February 2024. The program has a rich history of funding diverse projects, from educational campaigns on climate resilience to initiatives promoting sustainable transport choices and community composting.
The Accelerating Female Founders Program is an initiative by Advance Queensland that focuses on funding business support initiatives tailored for innovative Queensland female founders. The program's objective is to support these female founders at every stage of their business and innovation journey, promoting participation in key industries and technologies. The AFF program offers grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 for activities to be delivered within a 12-month period. The initiatives funded by this program can include accelerators, pre-accelerators, mentoring, business acumen activities, and other tailored initiatives that align with the program's intent. The program is open to organisations that deliver programs to support female-founded businesses in their growth journey.
The Female Founders Co-Investment Fund is a pilot fund introduced by Advance Queensland. This fund is designed to support innovative female-founded businesses in Queensland that are undertaking a new pre-seed or seed capital raise. The program's objectives include helping female founders access government funding, supporting the growth of innovative businesses across various industries, increasing the participation of female founders in the Queensland innovation ecosystem, and fostering an investment pipeline for female-founded businesses. The fund offers grants ranging from $50,000 to $200,000, matched at a 3:1 ratio over a 12-month period. To be eligible, businesses must be Queensland-based, 100% female-founded, have more than 50% female ownership, and meet other specific criteria.
The Research and Innovation Fund is an initiative by the South Australian Government designed to support researchers, entrepreneurs, and businesses in accelerating their progress. The fund aims to strengthen the state's research and development capacity, encourage greater business investment in research, development, and innovation, and support the commercialisation of products and services that can benefit the state. The RIF focuses on creating high-value jobs, revenue, and exports. It also contributes to the growth and development of the state's entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem, enabling organisations to grow and scale into global markets. The fund has specific investment principles, ensuring that the financial support provided aligns with the state government's strategic plans and priorities.
The Seed-Start Program, spearheaded by the South Australian Government, is designed to bolster early-stage South Australian start-ups by providing grant funding for the commercialisation of innovative products or services. With an emphasis on fostering a sustainable competitive presence in both local and global markets, the program delineates two funding tiers: Seed Grants (ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 with a 2:1 matched funding) and Start Grants (ranging from $100,001 to $500,000 with a 1:1 matched funding). Eligibility criteria includes being South Australian-based, having an active ABN, non-tax-exempt status, GST registration, and a turnover of less than $1 million for the preceding three financial years.
The Business Innovation Program, offered by the Northern Territory government, is tailored for startups and entrepreneurs in the region with groundbreaking ideas. This program is geared towards aiding businesses in the development and commercialisation of their innovative concepts. Participants can avail themselves of up to $30,000 in funding, coupled with guidance from an advisor, to further their concept's progress and commercialisation. The BIP is structured in three distinct stages: planning, development, and commercialisation. Eligible applicants include businesses based in the Northern Territory with a valid Australian business number. In addition to the financial support, participants can also benefit from advisory services from pre-approved advisors and gain access to services that foster connections with other businesses and experts.
The Global Trade Scheme is an initiative by the Northern Territory government designed to bolster eligible businesses in setting up or expanding their export capabilities. The grant program is structured into three distinct streams to cater to businesses at various stages of their export journey. The first stream offers grants of up to $3,000 to help businesses become export-ready. The second stream provides grants of up to $10,000 to assist export-ready businesses in growing existing markets and venturing into new ones, including allowances for overseas accommodation and other related expenses. The third stream, designed for cluster or industry association projects, offers grants of up to $50,000. Eligibility criteria include having an annual turnover between $75,000 and $10 million, being an NT enterprise, and holding a valid Australian business number (ABN). Applications are open year-round or until the grant funding is fully allocated.
The Small Business Growth Strategy Grant Program is a recent initiative announced by the Tasmanian government, specifically designed to bolster the state's flourishing small business sector. Minister for Small Business, Madeleine Ogilvie, emphasised the government's dedication to fortifying the small business realm and fostering a robust economy. This commitment is evident in the collaboration with the Tasmanian Small Business Council and the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to craft the Tasmanian Small Business Growth Strategy 2026. The grant program is set to offer financial support ranging from $10,000 to $50,000, directly funding projects that aim to help small businesses scale, enhance workplace capabilities, or undertake research projects. Both Tasmanian businesses and organisations, including chambers of commerce and peak industry bodies, are eligible to apply.