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Export Market Development Grants: Does Your Business Qualify?

By Andrew Storrier

3 min read

One sure-fire way to ensure the ongoing growth of your business, and to protect from a bearish local market, is to expand into overseas markets. Japan, China, the USA, England, India – it might sound daunting to set up shop in these countries, but the federal government is actively encouraging it by offering a 50% rebate on international promotional activity. Is your business eligible?

What is EMDG?

The Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme encourages small and medium-sized Australian companies to develop local export markets. The initiative reimburses up to 50% of eligible promotion expenses above $5000, provided that total expenses are at least $15,000 (previously $20,000). Each applicant can receive a total of eight grants (previously seven).

Eligible businesses must have income of less than $50 million for the year, incurred at least $15,000 of export expenses under the scheme, with first-time applicants able to combine two years expenses, and they must not be a third party representing another business.

Businesses must have also promoted either the export of goods and services, inbound tourism, the export of intellectual property and know-how, or conferences and events held in Australia.

If you’re a small business, to qualify for a grant you’ll need to have promoted your product for export and your product must be one of the following:

  • A good made in Australia
  • An overseas manufactured good where Australia benefits from its sale
  • A legal Australian service
  • A tourism service
  • A conference or event held in Australia
  • An intellectual property that resulted from work in Australia
  • A trademark first used in Australia
  • Know-how that resulted from work in Australia

What Does It All Mean?

Basically, it means a lot of positives for your business if you try to set up shop in foreign markets. For example, if you decide to head over to Singapore to promote your business in that market, you can claim the travel expenses – so airfares (up to 65% of first-class travel), taxis and departure taxes – and you’re given an allowance of $300 per day for accommodation, entertainment and living expenses.

You could combine that travel expense with international events, such as trade fairs, seminars and forums. So the cost to get there is 50% off, and so are the entry fees to the event, stand rental charges and the cost to freight your material over there.

  • Putting together a video to show off your product to potential international clients? Claim it!
  • Want to bring a potential buyer over for a trip to Australia? Claim it! ($7500 per trip up to $45k)
  • Need to knock up some free samples to show off to some overseas businessmen? Claim it!
  • Want to hire an overseas marketing consultant to help you break into the market? Claim it!

Provided you’re not encouraging business with North Korea, Iran or New Zealand, the marketing expenses are all potentially claimable. Obviously, check out the EMDG claims site before you get started.

How Do I Get Started?

First of all, you need to be eligible. The federal government has made a rather simple two-page two-page checklist for you to peruse. You’ll also need an AUSkey for each person acting on behalf of your business, including yourself. AUSkeys are very simple to attain – you’ll just need your ABN and tax file number handy.

The EMDG offers strong incentives to take your product or service overseas – especially when you’re getting 50% of your money back. It’s definitely worth the 20 minutes to see if you’re eligible. Who knows? You might be the next big thing in Japan. Once eligible, keeping track of all expenses and receipts is very important to be able to make claims.

The Australian government does a lot to assist small business owners, and there are several handy business helpers that are easy to overlook. It’s worth investigating what the government can do for your business today.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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