A diverse group of business people watch a female colleague draw business growth projections on a clear window.

This new initiative will launch in late 2023. It will provide advice and matched grant funding for SMEs and startups to commercialise their ideas and grow their businesses.

Innovative SMEs and startups play a crucial role in the economy, but many have difficulty bringing their ideas to market. The Industry Growth Program will support early-stage businesses in their most challenging development phase.

Projects in the priority areas of the National Reconstruction Fund will be eligible for the Industry Growth Program:

  • renewables and low emissions technologies
  • medical science
  • transport
  • value-add in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors
  • value-add in resources
  • defence capability
  • enabling capabilities.

We anticipate the program will have these key design features:

  • directly contracted experienced advisers to guide SMEs and startups on commercialisation and early-stage business growth
  • an additional source of industry advice, leveraging sector expertise from not-for-profit industry bodies
  • a new independent committee to give recommendations on projects to receive grant funding
  • an Executive Director to manage and oversee program advisers, and share expertise
  • a Centre of Expertise to build real-world commercialisation capability within our department and broader Australian Public Service.

Closing the Entrepreneurs’ Programme

As part of this announcement, the Entrepreneurs’ Programme has now closed. All applications submitted to the Entrepreneurs’ Programme prior to the closure will be assessed and honoured if eligible. All existing grant agreements will be honoured, and recipients may finish their projects as agreed.

Closing the Entrepreneurs’ Programme enables funding to be better targeted to support SMEs through the new Industry Growth Program.

The needs of SMEs have continued to evolve since the Entrepreneurs’ Programme started in 2014. The new program builds on the successful elements of the Accelerating Commercialisation component of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme.

A range of support for businesses remains available at business.gov.au.

A further $39.6 million is allocated in the 2023-24 Budget to maintain the Single Business Service, which operates the business.gov.au website and Contact Centre (13 28 46).