Business Growth Fund Program

The Business Growth Fund (BGF) targets high-growth businesses who can accelerate growth, drive Queensland's economy and employ more Queenslanders.

Program key details – Round 6
Eligible business size Small to medium-sized businesses with 5–49 employees (headcount)
StatusStage 2: Full Application opens 9am, Monday 1 July 2024 (selected EOI applicants only)
Opening date

Stage 1: Expression of interest (EOI) for round 6 is now closed

Stage 2: Full application opens 9am, Monday 1 July 2024 (selected EOI applicants only)

Stage 3: Pitch (selected Stage 2 applicants only) is expected to open 9am, Monday 2 September 2024

Closing date

Stage 1: Expression of interest (EOI) closed 11.59pm, Tuesday 14 May 2024

Stage 2: Full application closes 5pm, Friday 12 July 2024 (selected EOI applicants only)

Stage 3: Pitch (selected Stage 2 applicants only) is expected to close 5pm, Wednesday 18 September 2024

Application process
  • Stage 1: Expression of interest (EOI)
  • Stage 2: Full application (selected EOI applicants only)
  • Stage 3: Pitch (selected Stage 2 applicants only)
Grant type Competitive – not all applications will be funded
Available funding $50,000 – $75,000 (excluding GST) per project
Co-contribution At least 40% of total project cost
Project length Maximum 12 months
Payment milestones
  • Milestone 1: 20% on approval and acceptance of funding agreement
  • Milestone 2: 40% on completion of a compliant 3-month report
  • Milestone 3: 40% on acquittal and completion at 12 months
Key documents Round 6 documents:

Grant rounds

Each round of the Business Growth Fund grants program has specific information to help you prepare and apply for the grant, and if successful, manage your grant.

The Business Growth Fund (BGF) targets high-growth businesses who can accelerate growth, drive Queensland's economy and employ more Queenslanders. It provides funding for small and medium-sized high-growth businesses to buy highly specialised equipment, enabling them to unlock growth potential, increase production, expand their workforce, and maximise economic returns to move them into the next stage of growth.

Funded businesses are expected to:

  • increase confidence for growth, transitioning from small to medium-sized
  • increase productivity, turnover, profit and/or employment by 20%
  • improve confidence to automate, scale up, increase market share, diversify and/or exploit exporting opportunities.

The program is administered by the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT).

Available funding

You may be eligible for funding ranging from $50,000 to $75,000 (excluding GST). If successful, funding is paid in 3 milestone payments:

  • Milestone 1: 20% on approval of your application and acceptance of funding agreement
  • Milestone 2: 40% on completion and assessment of your compliant 3-month report
  • Milestone 3: 40% on acquittal and assessment at project completion.

Successful applicants must co-contribute at least 40% of the total project costs.

We will not fund projects with:

  • a total cost of less than $83,333 (excluding GST)
  • or
  • payments made before submitting the Stage 2: Full application (project must not have commenced substantially).

The table below shows the breakdown of total project costs and the co-contribution amounts.

Minimum

Maximum

Total project costs (excluding GST)

$83,333

$125,000*

Your contribution (at least 40% of total project costs)

$33,333

$50,000*

Grant funding

$50,000

$75,000

*The total project cost can be more than $125,000 but the maximum amount DESBT will contribute is $75,000.

Eligibility criteria

Your business must be an established, financially sound, small to medium-sized Queensland business with the potential for high-growth within the next 2 years.

High-growth is defined as an average annualised 20% increase in turnover, and/or employment in the last 2 years.

To be eligible for this grant, your business must have:

  • a minimum of 5 and maximum of 49 employees (by headcount) at the time of applying for the grant
  • an active Australian Business Number (ABN) and be registered for GST
  • a registered location of Queensland headquarters (as per your Australian Business Register (ABR) record)
  • a minimum trading history of 5 years at the time of applying for the grant
  • a minimum turnover of $500,000 for the last financial year (2022/23)
  • competitive opportunities in domestic or international markets
  • experienced 2 years of high-growth and have clearly defined high-growth and employment opportunities in Queensland
  • not been approved for funding under an earlier round of the Business Growth Fund
  • not be insolvent or have owners/directors that are an undischarged bankrupt.

Your business must also maintain this eligibility for the duration of the grant funded activity.

Eligible and ineligible activities

The grant funding must be used to purchase highly specialised equipment to facilitate business growth. The equipment should directly contribute to increasing employment opportunities and maximising economic returns.

Specialised equipment is considered an independent or additional piece of complex machinery that will have a direct impact on the operations of the business to increase, automate or enhance productivity. It presents a significant investment to the business. We will take into consideration the type of equipment in relation to your business type and local economy when assessing its degree of specialisation.

Examples of eligible highly specialised equipment include (but are not limited to):

  • production equipment to meet otherwise unachievable growth demand
  • advanced manufacturing or digital equipment and systems
  • advanced logistics systems and equipment.

We will not fund:

  • activities or items paid for using crypto-currencies, cash, barter, or service in-kind
  • bain maries, dishwashers, fridges, ovens or stainless steel tables
  • dental chairs
  • fleet vehicles, other motor vehicles, trailers, or forklifts
  • franchise fees
  • general business operating costs (e.g. bookkeeping/accounting, tax returns, marketing/advertising activities)
  • GST registration and fees
  • goods, services, or fees from related parties (includes companies with common shareholdings or directors, employees or immediate family)
  • memberships and joining fees
  • non-specialised office equipment (e.g. desks, chairs, personal computers (PCs), laptops, monitors)
  • purchase of stock
  • real estate/property, hire, lease, or rental fees
  • salaries
  • services or standard digital technology not considered specialist to the extent required (as determined by assessment panel)
  • travel.

Application process

It is free to apply through the DESBT SmartyGrants portal when the grant round opens.

Applicants will be notified at the end of each stage (EOI shortlisting, full application shortlisting and post pitch) of their outcome.

This grant program is competitively assessed in 3 stages, meaning not all applications will be funded:

  1. Stage 1: Expression of interest (EOI)
  2. Stage 2: Full application
  3. Stage 3: Pitch.

Stage 2:

  • opens for full applications at 9am, Monday 1 July 2024
  • closes for full applications at 5pm, Friday 12 July 2024.

DESBT provided pre-launch notification of the grant and access to supporting documents on 18 April 2024.

Detailed application process

In your EOI application, you were asked to:

  • confirm the business meets the eligibility criteria of the grant program
  • provide core business and contact information
  • provide details of your growth over the last 2 years
  • provide a summary of your project, how it is innovative and how the equipment is highly specialised
  • provide a description of the high-growth opportunity through implementing your project
  • confirm your business's financial contribution
  • verify the main business location (if applicable) – if your Australian Business Register profile shows that your main business location is not in Queensland you will need to provide evidence of Queensland headquarters. Acceptable evidence includes:
    • a copy of your Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) company statement listing a Queensland address in the 'principal place of business'
    • or
    • an accountant's letter confirming the business has changed to a Queensland main business location
  • verify the link between the trust and the business conducting the business activity (if applicable) – if you nominate an ABN of a trust in your application, you will need to provide evidence of the link between the trust entity and the business conducting the business activity entity. Acceptable evidence includes:
    • a copy of the applicant's ASIC company statement listing both entities
    • or
    • an accountant's letter confirming the 2 entities are operated by the same parties outlining the business relationship
  • provide a copy of the related business plan, which should include:
    • Executive summary – an overview of the business plan, highlighting key points such as business concept, target market, selling proposition and financial projections
    • Business description – detailed information about the business including its mission, vision, values, legal structure, location and history
    • Market analysis – research and analysis of the industry, target market, competitors, and market trends
    • Projects or services – description of the products or services offered by the business
    • Marketing and sales strategy – plan for reach and acquiring growth, including market channels, promotional strategies, sales tactics and customer acquisition costs
    • Operations and management – overview of the business operations, organisation structure, management team, advisory boards, and key personnel
    • Financial projections – forecasted financial statements for the next 3 to 5 years, including income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement
    • Funding request – clear explanation of the funding request, including the amount requested, how the funds will be used, and the expected return on investment
    • Appendix – additional supporting documents, such as market research reports, legal documents, and other relevant information.

If your Stage 1 EOI application is shortlisted, you will be invited to submit a full application.

In addition to the information provided in your EOI, you will also be asked in the full application to:

  • update your core business and contact information (if required)
  • provide detail on whether you will need to secure other financial support to fund your co-contribution
  • provide details of your growth over the last 2 years
  • provide a letter from a registered accountant declaring 2021/22 and 2022/23 turnover and employee headcount, 2023/24 actual plus projected (April and June) turnover and employee headcount. Your accountant must be registered with 1 of the following:
  • if the accountant does not appear in the public search, they will also need to provide a certificate or registration including:
    • accountant's full name
    • registration number, expiry, and type held
  • provide a simple balance sheet for the 2021/22 and 2022/23 financial years, including:
    • asset breakdown – current assets (i.e. cash, accounts receivable) and non-current assets (i.e. property, equipment)
    • liability breakdown – current liabilities (i.e. accounts payable, short-term loans) and non-current liabilities (i.e. long-term loans, deferred tax liabilities)
    • equity detail – including retained earnings, share capital, and any other equity components.
    • intellectual property (IP) – indicate the value of the IP, debt holders, and terms.
  • provide a simple profit and loss statement for the 2021/22 and 2022/23 financial years, including:
    • a breakdown of all your business expenses, including operating expenses (e.g. wages/salary/payroll, rent, utilities), cost of goods sold (if applicable), and any other relevant expenses
    • all sources of income generated by the business during the reporting period, including sales revenue, service fees, interest income, etc.
    • net profit (turnover) calculation (i.e. total income minus total expenses) providing a clear indication of your business's profitability during the reporting period.
  • provide independent supplier quote(s) (no more than 3) or proposals that provide comprehensive details of the specialised equipment that you will be purchasing as part of the project. These must be a formal quote or proposal on the supplier's letterhead. For online purchases, a screenshot or printout of the shopping cart is acceptable. Quotes or proposals must include:
    • supplier details – supplier name, ABN (if Australian), contact details and website URL
    • details of the project, description of services and outline of key activities or items.

If your full application is shortlisted, you will be invited to pitch to business experts and DESBT executives.

The pitch panel is a critical stage in the application process, providing an opportunity to draw out the merits of the project proposed to be part funded by the grant.

To help you prepare for this stage, we provide an optional practice pitch session with feedback on the delivery, content and style of your pitch.

Pitch process

  1. Invitation to pitch: We will email your pitch session details and pre-session requirements.
  2. Practice pitch session: You can have an optional 5-minute practice pitch session where you can receive feedback from mentors.
  3. Pitch session: You will be given 5 minutes to present a concise and compelling pitch, followed by 10 minutes of panel questions.

A competitive assessment process is conducted at each stage of the grant's application process.

Applications will be assessed for compliance against the eligibility criteria and their competitiveness against the program guidelines and assessment criteria.

You must demonstrate the extent to which the grant funded activity will:

  1. support the business to reach its high-growth goals
  2. be likely to create jobs growth within your business
  3. demonstrate value for money.

We may also distribute successful applications equitably across the state and various industry sectors (including priority sectors), and ensure a representation of Queensland's diverse business population

We will advise all applicants of the outcome of their application following each stage of the application process. We will endeavour to do this as promptly as possible, considering the volume of applications received.

Due to the grant program's comprehensive assessment, due diligence, and government approval process, applicants can typically expect to receive notification of their submission's outcome within a reasonable timeframe following the key application dates outlined on page 4 of the guidelines.

We will communicate all outcomes via email. Successful Stage 3 applicants will receive a Funding Agreement Letter detailing the proposed funding agreement and inviting you to accept the funding terms.

If you accept the funding terms and enter into a funding agreement with DESBT, you will receive funding of up to $75,000 (excluding GST). Funding is paid in 3 instalments:

  • Milestone 1: 20% on approval of your application
  • Milestone 2: 40% on completion and assessment of your 3-month report
  • Milestone 3: 40% on acquittal and assessment at project completion at 12 months.

Recipients must complete their grant-funded activity within 12 months of receiving their Funding Agreement Letter.

You must keep all application evidence, supplier quotes, corresponding invoices and bank transactions for audit purposes.

Note: If you vary your approved project in any way, you must inform DESBT immediately. Read more about making changes to your approved grant.

Grant recipients must complete a:

  1. 3-month progress report – the report must include details of the progress you have made with your project, any issues you've experienced and answer some questions about the process so far. This report is mandatory to receive the Milestone 2 payment.
  2. final acquittal report on completion of the project – the report must include details of the assets/services received, project implementation, and the impact on the business including the results and outcomes received. This report is mandatory to receive the Milestone 3 payment. An acquittal can be completed at a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 12 months.

Refer to the application guidelines for a comprehensive overview of each stage of the application process.

Previous rounds – key documents

More information

View the small business grants schedule to watch for other grant opportunities.

You can access interpreter and translator services if required.

You can also subscribe to the Business Queensland Connect newsletter to keep up to date with the latest information for Queensland small businesses.

Contact us

For more information about the program, email grants@desbt.qld.gov.au or contact the Small Business Hotline on 1300 654 687.