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The Australian government provides numerous funding opportunities to individuals looking to start or expand their small business. Navigating the large number of grants can be difficult and time consuming but the rewards are well worth the time consumed.

What Are Government Grants?
Many government grant programs will provide funding, with few strings attached, to start or expand a business. Other government programs will offer loans with lower interest rates and easier qualification requirements than your local bank.

Most grants are either trying to encourage the start of new businesses or to expand preexisting businesses and industries. These grants generally aim to increase either Australia’s international competitiveness by promoting key industries or promoting disadvantaged groups of people.

Grants for Disadvantaged Groups
Many grant programs are targeted at disadvantaged groups, such as aboriginals, and require that at least 50 percent or more of the company be owned by someone from said group. For example, general business finance loans are available across Australia for aboriginals who are seeking to establish their own business. These grants tend to focus more on the disadvantaged group in question, than any particular industry. This gives you more flexibility in turns of thinking of successful business ideas.

Grants for Targeted Industries
Other grants focus on promoting particular industries. The state government of South Australia, for example, has established the Business Development Initiative through the Bio Innovation S.A. program that specifically promotes and supports biotech companies. The government of South Australia has identified biotech as an industry with strong potential and is now offering to support start-ups in the sector. Generally speaking, finding a program that specifically targets your business and its industry offers the highest chance of securing funding.

Grants for Specific Areas of Research
Some grants will focus on promoting a specific area of research and will provide funding to pre-established companies and researchers. For example, the Australian government is sponsoring a “chicken meat” grant that focuses specifically on increasing sustainability and profitability through the chicken meat industry. In order to be eligible your business must be a preexisting business operating in the chicken meat industry.

Where Do I Find Government Grants?
The Australian government does offer a search engine to help you sort through the many available grants and select the one that is right for you.  You can find this search engine by going to the Australian government’s website. You can also Google Australian government and business.

Further, you can consult with grant experts who already know the field and who constantly follow the grants available. These experts may also be able to offer you insight into how to obtain a government grant and assist you with the application. They will generally charge a fee.

And of course, with the Internet you can do your own research. You should set aside an afternoon to search through the web and see if there are any grants or programs that are applicable to you and your business.

Who Should Apply for Government Grants?
Before you start the grant search, however, you should stop and ask yourself a few basic questions. First, do you need the money? Why do you need it? What skills or resources are you lacking? Second, is your idea feasible? And third, why will your product succeed in the marketplace?

If after a close analysis you find that your business has the potential to be successful and you believe that government funding will help propel your business forward, you should search to see if there is a grant program applicable to you. Also, besides government grants, you can also consider getting short term finance from private lenders. They provide short term business loans which are available just in a few days.

John Smith has written numerous articles on the subject of personal finance and small business. Apart from finance, he is also interested in internet marketing.