November 3, 2016

Taking advantage of government support, subsidies and grants

Whether you’re currently exporting to Asia or merely thinking about it, a wealth of Australian Government and state support, subsidies, and grants are up for grabs. Taking advantage of any grants, subsidies, support or assistance on offer can help your business expand into overseas markets.

Some risks associated with assistance include potential conflicts of interest and accountability, but government and state assistance can be beneficial should you decide to export.

Export grants and subsidies

While knowledge is powerful, actual money in your pocket is empowering. The Government encourages Australian exporters in several ways. The following grants and schemes are designed to encourage exporting to Asia via financial incentives.

Export Market Development Grants (EMDG)

Provided by the Government, the Export Market Development Grants offer financial assistance to small and mid-size businesses looking to export their goods and services.

In order to qualify for a refund of up to 50% of your export expenses over $5,000, you must have:

  • Principal status for the export business.
  • At least $15,000 in eligible export expenses.
  • Meet other income, business, and product requirements.

Learn more about EMDG entry requirements on Austrade’s site.

Business Growth Grants

Administered by AusIndustry, Business Growth Grants can be used to engage a consultant to improve your business. In order to qualify for these grants, you have to go through a ‘business evaluation’ as part of the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme.

Access Program

Offered to Victorian businesses planning to establish new export markets in Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, India and Southeast Asia, is the Access Program.

It offers facilities, market intelligence, export-related help, cultural training, introductions and networking, product and service evaluations, and in-country expertise.

If you have a business outside Victoria, contact your state government support to find out what they provide for exporters targeting Asia.

Trade Mission Program

If you run an export-ready Victorian business, the Trade Mission Program provides up to $10,000 in financial assistance per year for travel to key international markets through its organised trade mission trips.

Use’s grants and assistance finder to search for grants in your state.

Free business advice for exporters

Below are various resources where you can learn about exporting and get advice to help take your business overseas to the Asian continent.

Programs offered by Austrade

Austrade offers several programs for exporters to Asia including:

  • Services designed specifically for women in global businesses – WIGB is an Australia-wide program that can provide support to businesses led by women who plan on exporting to Asia.
  • Support for online exporting – this section of Austrade is broken up into subject areas like ‘Making your website relevant.’ The information available can help Australian exporters utilise the Internet better to support and develop their Asian exporting efforts.

Austrade also has an Australian suppliers directory, which promotes Australian businesses, products, and services to overseas buyers. This service is completely free, making it smart to list your business on Austrade’s Australian Suppliers Directory.

Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC)

One of the first stops on your export journey should be a visit to see the tools and education on the EFIC website. Here you’ll find resources and financial solutions for SME exporters to Asia, like world risk developments and an interactive map to find facts about your target export country.

EFIC serves as Australia’s export credit agency, partnering with banks to offer loans, guarantees, bonds, and insurance products to small, medium, and large Australian exporters. EFIC’s country profiles might be a logical place to start if you’re only considering exporting at this stage.

You’ll also want to take a look at the interactive Exporter Journey, which can help you gain a deeper understanding on how to prepare your business for exporting to Asia.

Networking and support

Your export journey will be a lot easier with the right support and networks in place.

Supply Chain Facilitation

The Supply Chain Facilitation services offers practical advice from skilled advisers with an emphasis on helping you improve how you supply new and existing export markets.

Its supplier improvement plan is a customised scheme covering strategy, relationships, systems, processes, structures, people, strengths, bottlenecks, and other factors that might impact performance in your export supply chain.

Export Skills Development

Available for Queensland-based businesses, the Export Skills Development program includes mentoring, networking and skills development assistance to small businesses ready to export to Asia.

Participate in networking events, workshops, or one-on-one consultations. This program also offers inbound, outbound, and virtual trade missions.

With sources of support available from the Australian Government as well as from your state, resources are readily available to help prepare you for your export journey – and potentially help you with funding. It’s well worth looking into both of these sources.


Some schemes your export business might be able to take advantage of to gain rebates include the following.

The Duty Drawback Scheme

The Duty Drawback Scheme is a customs procedure that allows exporters to receive a total or partial rebate on imported goods that will be incorporated into other goods for export.

For example, if you manufacture telecommunications equipment and export it to Hong Kong, you could be entitled to a refund on the duties your business pays on the parts that you import to build your equipment.

The Tradex Scheme

Similar to the Duty Drawback Scheme, the Tradex Scheme covers goods that are imported and then intended for export within a year – though they need to be in the same condition as when they were originally imported.

You’ll be exempt from GST and customs duty on these goods. So if your business imported scarves from Nepal and on sold them to Papua New Guinea in the same condition, you may be eligible for the exemption.

Next steps

Important information

Any advice contained above has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any advice, NAB recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances and that you review the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, Terms and Conditions or Financial Services Guide.

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