What is the Business Support Fund and who can access it?

The Business Support Fund has been established to provide grants to small businesses in Victoria that have been impacted by the restrictions imposed by the Victorian Government as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

How much is the grant?

On 3 August 2020, with the implementation of Stage 4 restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and the reinstatement of Stage 3 restrictions in regional Victoria, the initial Business Support Fund program was expanded to include eligible business in regional Victoria and to provide an additional payment to eligible business in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire areas.

The Business Support Fund – Expansion program now provides for:

  • a $10,000 grant for eligible businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire areas. Eligible businesses that have already applied for or received the initial $5,000 grant will be eligible for the additional $5,000 payment and are not required to make a new application.
  • a $5,000 grant for eligible businesses in regional Victoria.

Which businesses are eligible for the grant?

To be eligible for the relevant grant under the Business Support Fund – Expansion program, a business must:

  • operate in Victoria;
  • be a participant in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper Payment scheme;
  • have employees (for a sole trader or a partnership to be eligible for the grant, they must employ people other than just themselves);
  • as of 30 June 2020, be registered:
  • with WorkSafe;
  • for Goods and Services Tax (GST);
  • with Australian Business Number (ABN) and have an ABN number;
  • with the Federal or State regulator, as the case may be; and
  • have an annual payroll of less than $3,000,000.00 in 2019-2020 on an ungrouped basis.

It should be noted that a business must fulfil all the above the criteria and attach the requisite supporting documentation to its application to be eligible for a grant.

A non-profit organisation with an annual revenue of between $75,000.00 and $150,000.00 without GST registration can also apply for the grants provided it satisfies the other eligibility criteria and is registered with Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC).

Businesses that have received funding from other programs under the Victorian Government’s Economic Survival Package may also apply under this program.

What can a business spend the grant funds on?

The Business Support Fund - Expansion program states that businesses can only spend the grant funds on business activities and costs, such as payment of:

  • salaries to the employees working in the business;
  • rent and other utilities like gas, electricity, telephone, water and sewerage services to ensure smooth functioning of the business;
  • costs for any legal or other professional advice sought for supporting business continuity planning;
  • expenses incurred for expanding the business via marketing the business on digital or print media and other communication activities;
  • costs for any other supporting activities required for the operation of the business.

The Victorian Government may audit grant recipients up to four years after the grant’s approval and require businesses produce documentation such as payroll reports.

When can businesses apply for a grant?

Applications for grants are currently open to businesses and will close on 11.59 pm on Monday 14 September 2020.

Further questions

If you would like to speak to one of our solicitors in relation to the Business Support Fund – Expansion program or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact our office on (03) 9822 8588.

For further information, please refer to the following:

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