Business Grants and Funding: Skilling Territorians and Supporting our Economic Recovery

The economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic has been severe and persistent.

Worldwide, government responses have been varied and unpredictable. High-income countries have shown a preference for providing economic stimulus of 10% of GDP or more, allocating around 40% for assisting business.

A targeted response considering the World Bank reports sales were down by 70% during the peak of the crisis, with two-thirds of firms having to let go of employees, reduce hours or wages, or asking workers to take leave.

For businesses, grants and bursaries are a means of achieving business goals otherwise unattainable due to capital restraints.

Especially helpful during the economic turndown, grants are essentially free money. In the short term, grants immediately allow businesses to purchase equipment, employ new staff, or fund new ideas.

In the long-term, grants can reskill or upskill staff, increase business visibility, and increase the likelihood of receiving further funds.  

As a policy instrument, business grants are a means in achieving various economic and strategic ends.

Some, like the Visitation Reliant Small Business Support Program, are aimed to help businesses endure the low foot traffic period and ensure their continuity until domestic and international tourists can travel freely again. Highly targeted grants, such as the Tourism Survival Fund, ensure industry-specific funding is guaranteed.

Others, while also a response to COVID-19, are aimed at supporting employers for future workforce needs. The Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements Program subsidises 50% of wages for 12 months for each apprentice a business takes on.

Ongoing grants, such as the Skilling Australia's Defence Industry Grants Program, are part of a national strategy to develop a robust and internationally competitive defence industry while reducing economic uncertainty for small and medium enterprises.

Finally, the availability of grants can highlight the skills and workforce needs of rural communities. The Health Workforce Scholarship Program provides scholarships and bursaries to rural and remote Australian health professionals to enhance and retain their skills and practice.

For a list of more funding and skilling opportunities available for Territorians and businesses, click here.