Small businesses may be surprised by export grant eligibility

The application window for the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) is open in 2019. You have been able to apply since July 1, and businesses who apply on their own have until December 2 to collect their documentation and submit their application. If you are using an approved EMDG consultant, you have until March 3.

Why apply? The unique value of this grant equips small businesses with the very real opportunity of establishing a presence in overseas markets. What is also integral to the value of this grant, and that which is also often missed by many small businesses, is that it is open to those who do not engage in the traditional model of exporting goods to foreign shores.

Do you run a business primarily through website? Do you sell items online? Do you run a café, flower shop, or another kind of retail outlet? Do you design, create, or develop brand material, ideas, or products for your clients? Then there may be promotional, marketing, intellectual property, or overseas buyer costs that the EMDG can compensate you for, of up to 50% of your expenditure, should you consider going beyond your local resources or market.

There is a wide scope here, and many businesses in the past have used the EMDG to tap into global resources and markets that are now more accessible than ever given the domination of online communication technology, remote workplaces, and software automation. You do not need to undergo the burden of setting up an office overseas to establish a presence overseas. These days, occupying server space, an online portal, or outsourcing to a remote workforce overseas is often enough. And this can be enough of an overseas investment for your Australian small businesses to tap into the generous EMDG.

Here are some key features of the grant:

  • You are recompensed for up to 50% of promotional expenses above $5,000, up to a maximum of $150,000, provided total eligible expenses incurred amount to at least $15,000
  • You can apply for the grant 8 times over 8 consecutive years
  • You must promote to a foreign market, be the principal (rather than an agent), and have a total income of less than $50 million.
  • You are compensated, if eligible, for expenses covering overseas representation marketing, consulting, free samples, trade fairs, seminars, in-store promotions, promotional literature and advertising expenses, overseas buyers, and registration and/or insurance of eligible intellectual property.
  • Split-payment system operates (with 2 instalments) for grants over a certain amount. An initial payment is given on assessment while a ‘second tranche’ payment is paid at the end of June.

This level of benefit means it is worth exploring whether or not your business can engage in relevant activity overseas, but you should do so now while you still have time to prepare your EMDG claim. Documentation of your intention to engage in export activity is important. You need to show that you sufficient financial resources to carry out intended activities and have taken reasonable steps to prepare for export (e.g. export market research, export market planning and/or export product development).

Such preparation is essential. First time claimants need to have the right documentation to set forward their case for eligibility. If you are keen to claim again, then you will need to demonstrate a return on your previous export activity. You get paid the lower amount of your grant based on expenditure or a percentage of these previous export earnings which decreases the longer you access the scheme. In either case, speaking to an EMDG expert and giving yourself plenty of time to explore your opportunities can make all the difference.

Calibre Business Advisory has a history of helping a variety of businesses access the EMDG.  Contact our business advisors and tax accountants to discover new options for your business in Australia and beyond.

Important Disclaimer: Readers should not act solely on the basis of the material on this page. Items herein are general comments only and do not constitute or convey advice. Legislation and proposals of legislation are also subject to constant change. We therefore recommend that formal advice be sought before acting in any of the areas. This news article is issued as a guide to the readers. Calibre Business Advisory Pty Ltd and its associated entities disclaims any losses that may be incurred as a result of the reader undertaking any action based on this article.