Adam Ahmed & Co are Government Grants experts.
Government grants have a complicated set of rules and will usually need a set of accounts and other financial information to verify the claim. To maximise your grant, you need someone who:
- are always looking for ways to give you business an edge (also us)
- understands the law (that`s us)
- is are always looking for ways to give your business an edge (also us)
We’re qualified as both lawyers (through the law society of New South Wales) and Chartered Accountants (through the Institute of Chartered Accountants).
We use our legal knowledge to understand every possible method and option for claiming the absolute maximum from a grant under the law, and we use our accounting knowledge to ensure the books are properly presented and every invoice that can be claimed is claimed. It’s a perfect harmony.
Having professionally recognised skills doesn’t mean as much if there isn’t sufficient effort placed into making sure the best result is obtained. You may take it as a given that we will go the extra mile for you and do whatever we can to get you the best result possible.
Our services extend beyond just government grants – if we can support you in any other way we can, whether it is through our legal practice (contracts and general paperwork), the accounting practice (tax planning and asset protection) or connecting you to our network of clients and colleagues – we will do that if it will help your business grow and become successful.
Every year the government gives money in the form of grants and other forms of support to help Australian businesses. A bit here and a bit there, it all adds up and can give you a decisive competitive advantage. If you’re in business there’s a good chance you’re eligible, but you have to know which government grants and how to maximise them. Let us find a grant for your business.
Adam Ahmed & Co are dedicated and committed to ensure every grant claim we prepare gets the best possible result. We pride ourselves on giving our clients the competitive edge over their competitors.
We work on government grants every day and we would love to help you grow in whatever way we can.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most businesses that can claim Government grants don’t because they simply do not know!
We know this because so many people we reach are out of time or incorrectly structured to claim Government grants for earlier years and it is painful for both them and us to see all the grant money lost.
Finding and accessing funding often seems a complicated and difficult process. The reality with most businesses is they have limited time and need to focus on growing their core business and so they don’t always have time to look into all the available grants, let alone understand the eligibility requirements (wasting time on grants they can’t even apply for), let alone then maximising the grant they can receive.
Adam Ahmed & Co has developed a practical 4 step model to help you find and maximize your Government grants and grow your business:
|Understand your business||We take the time to understand your business and where you want to take it. That helps us see what you can claim now, and also put in place a structure to allow you to claim and maximize claims in the future. Most businesses are not structured optimally for grants.|
|Identify grants||We will identify any grants you can apply for and let you know what these are and how we go about applying for them.|
|Apply and manage the process||Applying for grants takes effort. We will do most of it but the more engaged you are, the better results you can get. We will apply for the grants for you and manage the process until the money hits your account.|
|Identify other opportunities||Because we understand your business, when we see other opportunities come up (the Government changes the rules all the time), we will let you know so you can take advantage. We might also see other opportunities for you, for example you may not be optimally structured for tax or asset protection, and we can let you know. This is all possible because of step 1 – we understand your business and will do whatever we can to help your business grow and become a success.|
Grants are offered by all levels of government and private groups. Government grants are funded out of tax revenues and collections.
The Government will often promote or encourage certain industries or certain types of behaviour – for example technological innovation (research and development grant, minimum viable product grant and tax rebates for investing in ESICs), development of new products (accelerated commercialization grant) international competitiveness (export market grant), job creation (payroll tax grant or small business grant) and development in regional areas (through interest free loans).
Most businesses will be doing something or other that would allow them to qualify for a grant. As the Government grants are usually based on encouraging certain behaviour or industries, if you happen to be running a business in an area the Government wishes to encourage you will have access to a broader range of Government grants.
What is it?
A tax offset equal to 43.5% of the amount you spend on research and development (for spending after 1 July 2016 – before this date its 45%). This means if you are not yet paying tax (because the product is still in development) or your tax bill is less than the amount of the offset, you will get a refund.
What is research and development?
Research and development is basically work done on something that is new (no competitors) and involves some degree of experimentation (it hasn’t been done before) which means the outcome is uncertain (i.e. you have the idea and you are trying to implement it but you don’t know if you will be able to pull it off for technological reasons). All associated costs can be claimed, including paying staff (who are working on R&D) and a proportion of overheads (e.g. rent, electricity). There are some types of spending that are not claimable (e.g. interest).
How much can I get?
You will receive 43.5% of your spend back. So let’s say you spend $100,000 on R&D and have no income, you will receive a refund of $43,500.
Do I qualify?
To qualify for the refundable tax offset you need to:
- Have an aggregated turnover of less than $20m
- Spend at least $20,000 on research and development in the financial year
- Be a company
- Be carrying out the research and development activities in Australia
- Apply within 10 months of the end of the financial year
What is it?
Reimburses you (up to 50%) for amounts you spend on promoting your products and services for export (except to New Zealand and North Korea)
Most products and services where the intended buyer is a foreigner will qualify, so it can extend to inbound tourism, the export of intellectual property and know-how (e.g. software), and holding conferences and events in Australia.
Promoting products and services produced and sold outside Australia can also qualify if there is a significant net benefit to Australia.
How much can I get?
You can get up to 50% of the amount you spend on the items listed in the categories below:
- Overseas representatives who market/promote your product (maximum claim $200,000)
- Marketing consultants who conduct export market research or marketing activities
- (maximum claim $50,000)
- Marketing visits overseas (travel, accommodation etc)
- Cost of providing free samples
- Cost of participating in trade fairs
- Cost of promotional literature and advertising (e.g. website, flyers, brochures, videos, etc)
- Cost of bringing overseas buyers to Australia (maximum of $7,500 per buyer per visit
- capped to $45,000)
- Registration and/or insurance of eligible intellectual property for the grant, registration or
- extension of the period of registration of intellectual property for countries other than
- Australia or New Zealand and the cost of insurance premiums paid for protection against
- possible infringement, in countries outside Australia, of eligible intellectual property.
Do I qualify?
To qualify, you need to:
- Earn less than $50m in income
- Spend at least $15,000 on promoting your products and services for export
- Apply within 4 months of the end of the financial year
The Accelerating Commercialisation Grant (ACG) encourages and assists small and medium businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers to commercialise novel products, processes and services. The grant support eligible commercialisation projects for up to 50% of the eligible expenditure, up to a maximum of:
- $250,000 for Commercialisation Offices and Eligible Partner Entities;
- $1 million for all other applicants
To be eligible for the grant, the applicant must meet on the following three criteria:
- be a corporation incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), that:
- is non tax-exempt and is registered for GST11 (This includes an incorporated trustee acting for a trust); and
- has a combined annual turnover of less than $20 million for each of the three financial years prior to the lodgement of the application; and
- its trading activities:
- form a sufficiently significant proportion of its overall activities as to merit it being described as a trading corporation; or
- are a substantial and not merely peripheral activity of the corporation; or
- be a Commercialisation Office or Eligible Partner Entity; or
- be an individual, partnership or trustee who agrees to form an Eligible Corporation that is non tax-exempt and is registered for GST before signing a Funding Agreement.
In addition to meeting the above eligibility criteria, the applicant must also satisfy ALL of the following requirements:
- have received Commercialisation Guidance;
- have a novel product, process or service they wish to commercialise and trade to customers external to the state or territory of the applicant’s place of business;
- be undertaking an eligible commercialisation project;
- have ownership, access to, or the beneficial use of, any intellectual property that is the subject of, or is necessary to carry out the commercialisation project;
- demonstrate the ability to fund at least 50% of eligible project expenditure, other than from government grant sources;
- submit an application that contains sufficient information to undertake a merit assessment; and
- not be named by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency as an organisation that has not complied with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Cth)
The first step of obtaining the grant is to have received Commercialisation Guidance. To apply for guidance you need to complete an Expression of Interest (EOI) Form online at business.gov.au. A Customer Service Manager will assess your application and provide you with feedback of your application. If your application is successful you will be assigned with a Commercialisation Adviser. The adviser will provide the applicant with the following:
- feedback on your eligibility for other activities under Accelerating Commercialisation, including grants;
- referral to other Federal, State and Territory Government programmes;
- referral to services provided under Business Management or Innovation Connections (other elements of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme);
- guidance and feedback on your commercialisation activities;
- guidance on the application process for other activities under Accelerating Commercialisation.
This guidance can be provided face-to-face, over the phone, or by email – whichever is most appropriate under the circumstances.
Eligible commercialisation project
Eligible projects aim to achieve at least one of the following:
- Engage external professionals, for example to confirm the market opportunity, develop the business model, identify potential partners, develop an IP strategy, raise capital or prepare an Information Memorandum; or
- Complete development of a novel product, process or service; or
- Prove commercial viability of a novel product, process or service to a customer, investor or strategic partner; or
- Make the first sales of the novel product, process or service in Australia or overseas, or
- Engage a senior experienced executive to fill a key gap in the management team, which is essential to achievement of your commercialisation outcomes.
Ineligible projects are those that:
- Have a focus on basic research or technical experiments (R&D projects). However, if your project has been assessed (merit criteria) as having a HIGH likelihood of a commercial transaction when it is completed, then your project may include R&D activities and still be eligible, if these R&D activities are essential to undertake in order to achieve that commercial transaction.
- Scale production and/or marketing activities in markets where you have already made your first sales of the novel product, process or service.
- Develop a novel product, process or service for internal use only (i.e. not for multiple sales). An example would be the development of an enhancement to a manufacturing process that the applicant will only use in its own manufacturing plants to produce an existing product more efficiently, or to increase the profitability of an existing service.
- Commercialise the next version of an existing product, process or service where updates and changes are minor and therefore the overall proposition does not qualify as a novel product, process or service.
First sales means that a company is able to demonstrate market acceptance of its novel product, process or service in its key target market(s). ACG cannot be used to support projects beyond the point of first sale. This is because the government assumes that if your novel product, process or services can be sold commercially, then financing is more readily available. This test is only applied at the time of application assessment. Therefore it is important that you apply for ACG early in your project life cycle before you test commercial market.
Ability to fund your share of project costs
The applicant is required to match Accelerating Commercialisation Grant funding for your project on at least a 50:50 basis.
Your share of project costs is 50% of eligible expenditure up to the maximum grant limit and all remaining costs not met by the grant.
Applicants do not need to have their share of funding at the time of application. You need to show that you can fund your share of the project costs when the time comes as per the project schedule. You cannot use non-financial contributions or other government grants to fund your share of the project costs.
You will need to provide an Accountant’s Declaration, and must be submitted on the accountant’s letterhead and be in the prescribed format.
Evidence you can provide the following evidence to prove you can fund 50% of the project:
- Retained earnings e.g. recent bank statements
- Cash Flow e.g. sales projections and/or evidence of forward orders of existing products/services
- Director Loans e.g. letter of intent and evidence of ability to lend (Directors’ bank statements)
- External Loans e.g. loan offer documents
- Equity e.g. signed shareholder agreements/term sheets
- Project Partner Contributions e.g. partner agreements, MOU
ACG will only be provided to fund eligible expenditures. Eligible expenditure is restricted to expenditure incurred directly on the agreed project or on agreed activities as detailed in the funding agreement. The eligible expenditure guidelines is as follows:
- Eligible expenditure is any expense (inclusive of Goods and Services Tax (GST) but less related input tax credits), that qualifies as eligible expenditure under these guidelines.
- Only expenditure incurred in relation to agreed milestones within the agreed project duration (as highlighted in the funding agreement) is eligible expenditure, unless otherwise noted in the eligible expenditure guidelines.
- To be eligible, the Participant must incur expenditure on or after the project commencement date, and on or before the project completion date, with the exception of final audit costs which can be incurred within three months of the project completion date.
- The Participant must pay expenditure in the period between the project commencement date and three months after the project completion date (including final audit costs).
- Eligible expenditure can include depreciation of assets due to performing project activities but excludes any costs, direct or otherwise, of obtaining such assets for their use on project activities and also excludes any opportunity costs from using assets on the agreed project rather than other uses.
When recording your expenditures you must record them under the following heads of Expenditure:
- Labour expenditure (plus on-costs)
- Contract expenditure
- Plant expenditure
- State-of-the-art manufacturing plant or pilot manufacturing plant
- Prototype expenditure
- Other expenditures
If your application is successful, you will be asked to verify the project budget that you provided in your application when negotiating your funding agreement. You may need to provide evidence for major cost items such as labour, plant and equipment. Evidence can include:
- purchase orders
- supply agreements
- sales catalogues
- details of all employees working on the project, including name, title, function, time spent on the project and salary.
The funding agreement may also include details of the evidence you will need to provide with each project progress report. This may include evidence related to eligible expenditure, including:
- supply agreements
- leasing or purchasing arrangements
- associated payments
It is important to note that the government will not be responsible for any expenditure by applicants until a funding agreement is in place. If you choose to start your project before a funding agreement is signed, you do so at your own risk.
Ownership or beneficial use of intellectual property
You must be able to demonstrate that you own, or have access to or beneficial use of, any existing IP needed to carry out the project. You are not eligible for an Accelerating Commercialisation Grant if the intellectual property required is in dispute or there is unsatisfactory evidence of ownership, access to, or the beneficial use of the subject intellectual property (‘Subject IP’).
The funding agreement requires you to seek prior approval from the Department for dealings with the Project IP in certain circumstances. This includes:
- the licensing or sale of IP;
- the transfer of ownership of the Project IP;
- when company control changes, including through changes in the majority shareholding of a company.
This requirement applies for a period of two years from the project commencement date, regardless of the size of the grant.
Once your application is deemed to be eligible as per the above requirements you will move to the merit assessment phase.
The following list all the merit criteria. All of the merit criteria, except for “Need for Funding” (Criterion 1), are equally weighted.
- Merit Criterion 1 – Need for Funding
- Merit Criterion 2 – Market Opportunity
- Merit Criterion 3 – Value Proposition
- Merit Criterion 4 – Execution Plan
- Merit Criterion 5 – Management Capability
- Merit Criterion 6 – National Benefits
Eligible applications for ACG will be assessed first against the ‘need for funding’ merit criterion. Only applications that demonstrate a ‘need for funding’ may receive a merit ranking. Applications are then assessed against five equally weighted merit.
Additional credit is provided under the ‘national benefits’ criterion to applicants that have eligible commercialisation projects within the Growth Sectors.
Merit Criterion 1 – Need for Funding
You will need to explain:
- Why you do not have sufficient financing to fund the entire project.
- Explain why it would be unreasonable to expect that you should obtain financing from alternative sources.
- What efforts have you made to obtain financing from alternative sources, including loans and equity investment?
- Explain why shareholders and directors do not have sufficient resources to provide the necessary funding for the project
Eligible Partner Entity do not need satisfy this criteria. The following entities are registered as Eligible Partner Entities:
- The Australian Wine Research Institute Ltd.
- The George Institute for Global Health
- The Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
- The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.
Merit Criterion 2 – Market Opportunity
You will need to explain:
- The customer problem you have solved and/or what market demand your product, process or service satisfies.
- Define your target market. Who are the intended customers, for example:
- consumers (e.g. what is your demographic target?)
- businesses (e.g. sector; buyers; business size?)
- government (e.g. public sector function; buyers; jurisdiction).
- Estimate the size of the target market:
- average $ revenue per customer
- number of customers in priority geography(ies)
- total achievable $ revenue of target geography(ies).
- Explain the structure of the market (in particular the value/supply chain and relationships between suppliers, distributors, influencers and end customers) and your intended place in it.
- Define your intellectual property (including its novelty), any protection mechanisms employed (e.g. patent, trademark, etc.), and how it aligns with the market opportunity.
Merit Criterion 3 – Value Proposition
You will need to explain the value proposition for your intended customers or customer segments, for example:
- The value of the new product, process or service from the customer’s perspective, including the customer needs, desires and drivers (what motivates them to buy?)
- The competitive advantage (how your product, process or service is superior to currently available offerings, and why it is preferable to the status quo?) and who are the most likely competitors for your new offering?
- What alternatives or substitutes do your intended customers currently have?
- Provide independently verifiable evidence of why customers want your product, process or service, and why they would be prepared to pay for your product, process or service at your proposed price
- What evidence do you have to confirm the functionality and/or technical viability of your product, process or service?
Merit Criterion 4 – Value Proposition
You will need to explain explain the execution plan for the project and your business overall, for example:
- Overall objectives and tactics to achieve these objectives
- The path to market (e.g. direct sales, distribution channels, franchising, etc.)
- The key structural or market challenges to be addressed (e.g. government regulation, market inertia, timing imperatives, manufacturing capability/capacity, etc.)
- The core elements of the operational plan, which could include but is not limited to:
- The business model (how do you plan to derive your revenue lines?)
- The delivery model (that is, the supply chain and delivery chain, or how you will acquire and service the customer for example: order placement and reception, logistics of delivery, customer service infrastructure etc.)
- Human resources (and key performance indicators for an Experienced Executive if relevant)
- Infrastructure establishment
- Marketing and communications
- Sound financial plan including cash flow over the project period taking into account the grant funds
- Customer/channel support arrangements
- What will be done internally, what is outsourced, will partners be used?
- Project plan to the extent relevant
- How any intellectual property necessary for successful commercialisation will be managed (e.g. future protection strategies, freedom to operate, patent insurance, etc.)
- Identify anticipated future capital requirements to ultimately exploit the market opportunity
- Where applicable, explain the manufacturing strategy
- Provide a risk analysis including description of the risk, likelihood, possible impact and mitigation strategies.
Merit Criterion 5 – Management Capability
In addressing this criterion, applicants should address the following.
- Provide a short summary of the skills and expertise of your key personnel including, in relation to the particular stage of the project, what level of expertise the applicant has in:
- commercialisation management
- project management
- business management; and
- the relevant sector/technology domain.
- Discuss the membership of your board and/or any advisory committee or group that may have been established to help guide senior management.
- Explain any gaps or deficiencies in management expertise and/or resources, and how you intend to address these during and beyond the project, including any recruitment plans.
Merit Criterion 6 – National Benefit
In addressing this criterion, applicants should address the following:
- Explain how the project will benefit Australia (for example, new direct or indirect jobs, reduction in healthcare costs, environmental benefits) and/or promote economic growth and competitiveness.
- Explain what significant spill-over benefits will accrue to Australia through conduct of the project and/or successful commercialisation including: diffusion of knowledge and skills, diffusion of new products, processes or services and/or increased collaboration between businesses and/or businesses and research institutions.
If applicable, summarise the extent to which the project targets and/or participates in any of the Growth Sectors:
- advanced manufacturing
- food and agribusiness
- medical technologies and pharmaceuticals
- mining equipment, technology and services
- oil, gas and energy resources.
If your application for an ACG is successful you must enter into a funding agreement with the Government. Applicants will have 30 days from the date of offer to execute a funding agreement with the Government (‘execute’ means both the applicant and the relevant government department have signed the agreement). The offer may be withdrawn if the funding agreement is not executed within this time.
Grants are subject to the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Grant payments are increased to compensate for the amount of this tax. Grants are treated as assessable income for taxation purposes, unless exempted by a taxation law. We can provide independent professional advice on your taxation obligations. R&D Tax Incentive clawback provisions apply to all Accelerating Commercialisation Grants.
There are a lot of other grants – some of which we have mentioned above. If you could give us a call and tell us about your business or idea, we will then let you know of any grants that we think you could qualify for.
It depends on the grant. We do apply for many Government grants on a 100% success basis (i.e. you don’t pay us anything if we don’t get you the grant). Please contact us for details.
If you have any other questions, please contact us
Do you know if you’re eligible for Government funding?
It can be tough out there, and the Government knows this, so it has all sorts of Government grants which you might be eligible for.