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Small business grants

What are small business grants?

The program provides financial assistance to small businesses currently located or intending to locate within the City of Melbourne municipal boundary.

With an annual budget of $306,000, the small business grants program has funded over 320 businesses with over $7 million worth of grants since 1996.

Important dates

From July 2015 there will be one round of applications per year.

2015 dates

The next round opens Monday 6 July and closes Monday 10 August.

Register to attend the general information session or a lunchtime workshop session.

Am I eligible?

  • You must be currently located within the City of Melbourne municipality.
  • If you are not located within the municipality, you must be planning to re-locate within the next three months.
  • You must have 20 or fewer full-time equivalent employees.
  • You must have a registered Australian Business Number.
  • You must have an appropriate legal business structure.
  • Your proposal is innovative, creative and has a strong point of difference.
  • Your proposed product/service is market-ready.
  • Your proposal delivers benefits to the City of Melbourne.
  • Your proposal is financially-viable.
  • You must be able to proceed without grant funding.

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How do I apply?

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Grant categories

  • Start-up – Increase diversity by supporting the establishment of new and creative small businesses. Grants up to $30,000 are available.
  • Business expansion – Assist existing businesses that are introducing innovative services or products as part of their expansion phase. Grants up to $30,000 are available.
  • Export entry – Encourage and support businesses to enter and expand into new overseas markets (exporting). Grants up to $10,000 are available.
  • Business support services – Support member-based organisations to deliver new initiatives and provide significant tangible benefits to their members. Grants up to $10,000 are available.
  • Micro business – Assist business owners from marginalised target groups to establish a new business or expand their existing business. Grants up to $25,000 are available.

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Assessment criteria and process

Each application received is assessed internally and by an external assessment panel. Each application is assessed against these criteria:

  • Innovation and creativity (30%)
  • Business readiness (25%)
  • Financial viability (20%)
  • Benefits to the City of Melbourne (20%)
  • Ethical and other considerations (5%)

A shortlist of applicants recommended for funding are then presented to Council for formal approval. Once approved, each applicant is informed of the outcome and the grant recipients are publicly announced.

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More information and help

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Small business grant recipients

Successful applicants August 2014 round



What the grant supports

Kisa Pty Ltd


To launch an accessible phone, designed without a screen or keypad, for the elderly and people with disabilities. 

Michael O’Connell

Business expansion

To establish a professional music recording and production studio in West Melbourne.

Sawdust Bureau


To support the collaboration of an architect and engineer in launching their bespoke furniture business in Kensington.

The Cat Motel

Business expansion

To establish a new cattery in the City of Melbourne.



To establish a new bar and escape room venue in City of Melbourne where teams solve a series of challenging puzzles in order to escape from their chosen themed room.

Zoyu Digital Pty Ltd

Business expansion 

To introduce a new range of services to assist Australian companies with their export activities to China.

Read the media release from Friday 28 November announcing the small business grant recipients for the August 2014 round. 

Successful applicants March 2014 round



What the grant supports



To support the development of a patented diagnostic test for early stage detection of cancer.

Makeshift Studio 


To support the development of a collaborative co-working space for social innovators to work, connect and create.

That Food Site


To support the development of an online food marketplace.

The School of Life Australia


To establish an education / training facility for life philosophy, café and retail bookshop.

Wander MMO


To support the development of a collaborative, non-combat and online game Wander.

Vetco Australia 


To support the development of an all-natural hypoallergenic grain-free dog food product, to complement the current pet grooming range.

Alternative Walking Tours

Micro-business start-up 

To establish a city tour business specialising in vintage stores and alternative sites in and around Melbourne and the CBD.


Business support services

To introduce and deliver a new mobile-ready program of pop-up stalls at four sites around the municipality.


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Don’t pay for free grants information

Message from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

If you are considering applying for a grant, please be careful of cold-callers or websites that charge for grant-related services when such assistance is already available for free.

Visit the ACCC for information and tips on how to protect your business or project.

If you have queries about the City of Melbourne’s grant application processes, please contact us.