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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

Applications are open in March and August each year.

2015 dates

Round 1 is closed. Applicants will be notified of the outcome in late June 2015.

Round 2 opens Monday 13 July and closes Monday 10 August.

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?

  • Read the small business grants guidelines (PDF, 2.5MB) and decide which grant category is right for you.
  • Links to the online application forms will be live during each funding round.
  • Please note you may only apply for one grant per funding round.

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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




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





Makeshift Studio 


That Food Site


The School of Life Australia


Wander MMO


Vetco Australia 


Alternative Walking Tours

Micro-business start-up 


Business support services


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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.