You are currently viewing Government Incentives for Startups in Australia

In the dynamic business landscape of Australia, startups and emerging businesses are the backbone of innovation and economic growth. At Company Set Up Australia, we understand the challenges and opportunities faced by these ventures. This article delves into the various government incentives available to Australian startups, including grants and tax breaks, and how you can leverage these opportunities for your business growth.


Australia’s government offers a plethora of incentives designed to bolster startups and small businesses. These incentives range from financial grants to tax reliefs, each tailored to ease the financial burdens and foster innovation and expansion. Understanding and utilising these incentives can be a game-changer for your business. For more detailed insights and guidance on navigating these opportunities, be sure to follow our blog, where we regularly update and discuss various aspects of government incentives and how they can benefit your startup or small business.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways:

  • Diverse Grant Programs: The Australian government offers a variety of grants tailored to different stages of a startup’s growth, from initial research and development to market expansion. It’s crucial for startups to identify the most relevant grants for their specific needs.
  • R&D Tax Incentive: A significant tax break for startups in Australia is the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive. This program provides tax offsets for companies engaged in eligible R&D activities, encouraging innovation and technological advancement.
  • Early Stage Innovation Company (ESIC) Benefits: Startups that qualify as ESICs can attract investors with tax incentives, including a 20% non-refundable tax offset on investments and a capital gains tax exemption for investors.
  • State-Specific Support: In addition to federal programs, various Australian states offer their own incentives, such as grants, low-interest loans, and support services. Startups should explore opportunities at both state and federal levels.
  • Compliance and Eligibility: It’s essential for startups to understand the compliance requirements and eligibility criteria for each incentive. Proper documentation and adherence to guidelines are key to successfully leveraging these government supports.

Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive

The R&D Tax Incentive is a cornerstone of Australia’s innovation support, offering significant tax offsets for eligible R&D activities. This incentive is crucial for startups engaged in developing new products or services.

Export Market Development Grants (EMDG)

For startups looking to expand their horizons, the EMDG scheme provides financial assistance for international marketing and export activities. This grant is a stepping stone for startups aiming to reach global markets.

State-Specific Grants

Various Australian states offer their own range of incentives. For instance, the Victorian Government provides grants for technology-based startups, while the New South Wales Government supports businesses in regional areas.

Tax Breaks for Investors

Startups can attract investors through tax incentives like the Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnerships (ESVCLP) and the Venture Capital Limited Partnerships (VCLP) programs. These programs offer tax benefits to investors, making your startup a more attractive investment option.

Innovation Hub Support

Organisations like CSIRO and AusIndustry offer support programs and resources for innovative startups, providing a nurturing environment for growth and development.

The Incubator Support Initiative

This initiative provides new and existing incubators with funding to assist startups in developing the capabilities required to succeed in international markets. It’s a boon for startups looking to scale up and expand their reach globally. The support from these incubators often includes mentoring, workspace, and access to investor networks, which are invaluable for early-stage startups.

The Australian Government’s Business Growth Grants

Business Growth Grants are part of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme and are aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. They offer up to $20,000 in funding to improve specific business areas such as supply chain management, business operations, or export opportunities. This grant is particularly beneficial for startups looking to refine their business model or operational efficiency.

Clean Technology Programs

For startups in the clean technology space, the Australian government offers various programs to support sustainable development. These include grants and funding opportunities for projects that focus on renewable energy, waste management, and environmental sustainability. Such programs not only provide financial support but also align your startup with the growing global trend towards sustainability.

Digital Solutions – Australian Small Business Advisory Services

This program aims to support small businesses and startups to maximise their digital potential. It offers advice and assistance in areas like online marketing, digital tools, website creation, and cybersecurity. In today’s digital age, such a program is crucial for startups to establish a strong online presence and leverage digital technologies for business growth.

The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS)

NEIS provides individuals with accredited small business training, business advice, and mentoring for up to 12 months. Additionally, it offers income support for up to 39 weeks, helping new entrepreneurs to stay financially afloat in the early stages of their business journey.

Industry Skills Fund

This fund assists businesses, including startups, to invest in training and support professional services, and to develop innovative training solutions. The focus is on upskilling employees to ensure that the workforce is equipped with the necessary skills to adapt to new business growth opportunities.

Commercialisation Australia

This is a key program for startups and entrepreneurs with innovative products, processes, or services. It offers funding and resources to help bring new ideas to market. The program supports the business through stages of product development, market testing, and connecting with customers and investors.

Australian Government Grants & Assistance Programs

Apart from the specific programs mentioned, the Australian government offers a range of other grants and assistance programs tailored to various industries and stages of business growth. These can be accessed through the Australian Government’s Grant Finder.

State-Based Support and Incentives

Each state in Australia offers its unique set of incentives and support programs for startups. For example, Queensland offers the Ignite Ideas Fund, while Western Australia has the New Industries Fund. These state-based programs often focus on regional development and are tailored to the specific economic strengths of the region.

Angel Investors and Venture Capital

While not direct government incentives, it’s important to note the role of angel investors and venture capital in the startup ecosystem. The Australian government often facilitates connections between startups and these investors through various programs and events. These investors not only provide capital but also mentorship and access to a broader network.

Strategic Use of Government Incentives

To effectively leverage these incentives, startups need to:

  • Identify the most relevant programs based on their industry, stage of development, and specific needs.
  • Understand the application process and requirements for each incentive program.
  • Plan strategically for how the incentive will be used to achieve business growth.
  • Seek professional advice from experts like Company Set Up Australia to navigate the complex landscape of government incentives.

The Impact of Government Incentives on the Australian Startup Ecosystem

The array of government incentives available in Australia plays a significant role in nurturing the startup ecosystem. These incentives not only provide financial support but also encourage innovation, research, and development. They help in creating a conducive environment for startups to thrive, innovate, and contribute significantly to the Australian economy.

Preparing for the Future

As the business landscape evolves, so do the types of government incentives. Staying informed and adaptable is key. Startups should keep an eye on emerging trends and changes in government policies to make the most of these opportunities. Utilising available resources, such as government websites and business advisory services, can provide valuable insights and updates on these incentives, ensuring that businesses are well-positioned to capitalise on them.


Leveraging government incentives is a smart strategy for any startup in Australia. At Company Set Up Australia, we’re committed to helping you navigate these opportunities. Contact us today to explore how these incentives can fuel your startup’s growth and success.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The R&D Tax Incentive is available for businesses undertaking eligible R&D activities, focusing on innovation and development.

Startups can apply for the EMDG scheme through the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, demonstrating their export marketing activities.

Yes, various state governments in Australia offer specific grants for tech startups, focusing on technology and innovation.

Investors in startups can benefit from tax incentives like the ESVCLP and VCLP programs, offering significant tax breaks.

Startups can benefit from Innovation Hubs through support programs, resources, and networking opportunities to foster growth and innovation.