Government Grants and Incentives For Innovative Startups

Nifty Grants hosted one of our Lunch and Learn sessions focussing on how government grants and incentives can help new startup businesses succeed.


In the early years, founder capital is generally the main source of funding used to bring a new business venture to life. Eventually, when these funds have been utilised, a founder can seek support from government grants and incentives to inject cash (and life) back into their venture.

For startups and early-stage companies, government grants or tax offsets can sometimes be the lifeline needed to continue operations. It’s therefore important to stay informed and not miss out on funding you’re entitled to. Below we cover two options for innovative and growing companies.

R&D Tax Incentive

If your startup concept is centred around innovation – whether this is creating a product, process, algorithm, or testing hypotheses for an unknown outcome, there’s a chance you could be entitled to have over 40% of your development expenses refunded.

The R&D Tax Incentive is the Federal Government program which allows businesses to annually claim back prior year’s R&D related expenses.

Criteria and deadline to claim the R&D Tax Incentive

The criteria to meet before you begin your claim is:

  • Have spent $20,000 or more in the financial year on eligible R&D activities that have an unknown outcome
  • Be structured as a company, not a trust or sole trader
  • Be creating new knowledge through your R&D activities and be conducting tests where the outcome is unknown

There are a few more eligibility points you’ll need to tick off. You can confirm these online with Nifty Grants.

It’s important to note that there’s only a single 10-month window to claim prior year’s R&D expenses. For R&D conducted in the financial year ending 30 June 2017, you have until 30 April 2018 to claim associated costs. 

Export Market Development Grant

The Australian Government also encourages local businesses to export into new overseas markets. The Export Market Development Grant supports businesses who have spent a minimum of $15,000 on marketing their business overseas. Eligible businesses can claim up to 50% of these costs back.

Criteria and deadline to claim the Export Market Development Grant

The criteria to meet before you begin your claim is:

  • Have spent $15,000 on marketing your business, product or service overseas
  • Any product or service should be made in Australia or at least generate value for Australia

You can claim expenditure incurred this financial year (FY17) between 1 July 2018 to 30 November 2018.
You can learn more about Nifty Grants’ site here.

How to submit your claim and obtain your benefit

One option is to use an online platform such as Nifty Grants, to claim the R&D Tax Incentive and Export Market Development Grant.

You can complete your claim to obtain the benefit you’re entitled to by providing all of your activity and expenditure information online to be reviewed and processed.

If you’re a member of Hub and located in Sydney or Melbourne, you can get in touch with Nifty Grants Affiliate Accountant, Remco, from Standard Ledger.  Remco is also a Hub member and may be able to assist you in person with your grant or incentive application using Nifty Grants. You can contact Remco by email.

If you would like to come along to a Lunch & Learn or have a tour of your closest Hub Australia location, visit our website or email hello@hubaustralia.com

About the author - Brendan White

Brendan has a software development/engineering background and joined PwC six years ago to work in the incentives and innovation team. Over this time he has worked with businesses of all sizes access the R&D Tax Incentive and Export Market Development Grants, and more recently has had a focus on early stage technology businesses and has taken the role as Operations Manager for Nifty Grants, PwC’s online offering for early stage and high growth companies.