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Right now, nine million Aussies are dreaming about starting their own business, but only six percent of them will ever make those dreams come true. 

What’s stopping the rest of us? Fear of failure tops the list, with money following as a close second. We are nervous, and understandably so. Running your own business means you are responsible for paying your own salary. Not only that, but you’ll probably need to invest your savings or take out a loan to get that new business off the ground. 

But when it comes to funding your startup, did you know there’s a third option? A rarely-talked about, repayment-free secret weapon for new businesses: funding grants.

Everyone wants to see more small-businesses launch in our country. After all, small business has been called the ‘engine room’ of the Australian economy, and it’s not hard to see why. Small businesses employ 4.8 million Australians, and contribute close to $350 billion to our economy every year. 

What’s more, if only 1 percent of all Aussie small businesses could be helped to reach their revenue and growth ambitions, they could contribute another $1.7 billion to Australia’s GDP – in this year alone.

That’s why many public and private organisations now awarding business grants to people with good business ideas and the gumption to bring them to life.

But not everyone knows about these opportunities. So, if you dream of starting a business and need some financial help, and business mentorship to get it off the ground, a business grant might just be the kickstart you need. It’s absolutely worth your while applying for this support before you knock on the doors of the bank. 

Take a chance on your business

Aussie mum Thea Mendes had almost given up on her business ambitions when she gained assistance from CGU Insurance. Thea had put her ‘donuts for dogs’ business, Domuts, on hold after it grew too fast: she needed better equipment and systems to meet demand for her product but didn’t have the money to invest.

“The way we made the Domuts wasn’t cost effective,” she explains. “For example, we used ready-made icing and jars of fresh peanut butter. I made all the Domuts in my kitchen at home and could only make 30 at a time.” 

With the help of CGU, Thea now has a commercial kitchen that can turn out 1,000 Domuts at a time, the help of a food technologist to scale her product, and a business mentor to help her with administration, marketing and strategy. 

Now Thea encourages other business owners (and would-be business owners) to simply roll their sleeves up and try when it comes to applying for assistance.

“Don’t be afraid, and give it a go,” she insists. “Take a chance and see if this could be the opportunity you need to help your business grow! You don’t need to be a professional writer to succeed in a grant application. Prepare a detailed business plan, with timelines to keep you on track and accountable, and write from the heart.” 

6 tips for winning a small-business grant

“It’s important when applying for grants to write from the perspective of the grantor,” says Thea’s business mentor, David Stefanoff. “They are going to want to know the measurable impact their grant will make, and the genuine value-for-money that you will achieve. Long-term solutions to problems will be favoured over short-term fixes, and projects with a high likelihood of success will also be preferred so spell these aspects out in your application.” 

Start by visiting and search for grants available near you, then consider how you’re going to nail your grant application:

  1. Check you meet all the criteria– Only apply for grants that look like they have been written especially for you. There are plenty around so if one doesn’t suit, try for another.
  2. Put your best foot forward, and do your homework ahead of time– Every grant is different, though some common questions you’re likely to see include: 
    1. A detailed budget and your income so far (if you’ve already started operations) 
    2. Your market analysis (what’s the demand for the thing you’re doing or selling?)
  3. Do your competitor analysis– Find out who else is doing or selling that thing in your market by searching for the product or service online.
  4. Be clear about the benefits this grant will bring– Put some thought into this. It’s not enough to say “I’ll buy more chairs for my restaurant.” 
    Explain why you need the chairs: how they will help you expand your business, employ more people, create an ‘outdoor community space’ on the pavement… whatever it is you plan to do, be clear about your vision for how this will benefit not only you, but your community.
  5. Don’t skip anything!– Be sure to answer all the questions in a grant application, and make sure you submit your application within the deadline.
  6. Be warm, friendly and professional in all your dealings with the grant office– Get in touch and ask questions if you have any during the application process. After you’ve submitted your application, feel free to follow up (in a friendly and non-intrusive way) if the response time is longer than advertised, and you still haven’t heard from anyone.

Ready to give it a go? Apply for one of our $40K Ambition Grants now at