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What is the EMDG?
The EMDG stands for the ‘Export Market Development Grant’ and reimburses up to 50% of eligible export promotion expenses.
EMDG is a key Australian Government export financial assistance program. Each year it helps some 4,000 Australian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to start or expand their export business.
The EMDG program is designed to bring benefits to Australia by encouraging the creation, development and expansion of foreign markets for Australian products. This is done by providing targeted financial assistance, for marketing and promotional activities and development of marketing skills, to SMEs and their representative organisations.
From 1 July 2021, the EMDG reimbursement scheme will become a grant program. The new EMDG grant program begins on 1 July 2021. During the 2021-22 financial year, both the EMDG reimbursement scheme and grant program will run concurrently in the transition year.
How much can you get?
The grant amounts will be allocated in line with stages of the exporting journey and the relevant tiers, to give a grant to all eligible applicants within the available funding.
The final grant amounts will be determined after all applications are assessed. Based on detailed modelling of the final number of applications, applicants should expect to receive up to these grant amounts for each year of their grant:
- Tier 1 – $15,000 per financial year
- Tier 2 – $23,000 per financial year
- Tier 3 – $35,000 per financial year.
Representative bodies could receive up to $90,000 per financial year as we received fewer applications in this tier.
These are the maximum grant amounts that the government could give you per financial year, if you match that amount with your own funds when spending on eligible expenses. For example, if you have been approved for a Tier 2 grant agreement with up to $23,000 per financial year over 3 years, you must spend up to $46,000 per financial year on eligible expenses to receive a milestone payment of up to $23,000. If you spend more, you will not receive more grant money. If you spend less, you will only receive an amount equal to the amount you contributed.
What are the caps?
- You can receive EMDG grants for 8 financial years.
- You can only receive a total of $770,000 under the EMDG program. The cap of $770,000 refers to money received, not money applied for.
If I have already received 8 EMDG grants, can I still apply for this new program?
If you have received EMDG grants for 8 financial years since 1 July 1990 you have reached your cap of 8 years and are not eligible for the 2021-22 EMDG grant round and cannot apply.
What EMDG Tier do I choose?
You can apply for any EMDG tier level that suits your organisation:
- Tier 1: you will need to be ready to start exporting.
- Tier 2: you will have already exported
- Tier 3: you will have already exported
- Representative body: you will need to be ready to start exporting.
To receive a Tier 3 grant, applicants must demonstrate their eligibility. Where Tier 3 applicants have not given sufficient information, you are likely to offer a Tier 2 grant in line with the grant rules.
You do not have to progress through each Tier.
What do I need to spend?
You must match, at a minimum, the dollar value of the EMG grant you receive, noting:
- Spend more – If you spend more, you will not receive more grant money. The amount in your grant agreement is the maximum you will receive.
- Spend less – If you spend less, you will only receive an amount equal to the amount you contributed.
What is the eligibility Criteria for EMDG?
To be eligible for the EMDG, some of the conditions are:
- Not rich – have a turnover of less than $20 million.
- Aussie – be an Australian person
- Ex-Con – not have any outstanding disqualifying convictions
- Broke – not be under insolvency administration
Please see chapter 4 of the 2021-22 Grant Guidelines for more details.
What are the conditions for each Tier?
Some of the conditions for each EMDG tier are:
- Tier 1: You must be ready to export. You have not previously exported eligible products, and have appropriate skills in marketing eligible products in a foreign country, demonstrated by either a declaration by you that you have used Austrade’s export readiness tool or you have completed export readiness training
- Tier 2 : You must be expanding your marketing activities
- Tier 3: You must be making a strategic shift in your marketing activities – a change in direction in order to access a new market or market segment driven by your business goals.
- Representative body: You must be a representative body helping members who are new to export to become export ready.
Are you export ready?
Take this short quiz to assess how export ready you are.
- Do you have a clear and compelling selling proposition?
- Is your product or service selling well in the Australian market?
- Do you have the capacity and resources to scale up operations to meet increased demand?
- Do you have resources to modify your product or service to suit overseas customers and standards?
- Do you have the cash flow to manage longer payment terms from overseas buyers?
- Do you know the laws and regulations to get your product or service into an overseas market?
- Can someone in your business take time to build the exporting side of your business?
- Is your company willing to dedicate staff, time and resources to exporting in the long term (3 to 5 years)?
- Do you have people in your network you can contact for advice and support?
- Does your business have a website or professional online presence to attract international customers?
How do I apply?
The new EMDG has been streamlined and does not require detailed expenditure schedules to be provided with your application (as was the case with the EMDG reimbursement scheme).
The application process is simple with 3 key steps:
- Ensure you meet the eligibility requirements, see sections 4, 5 and 6 of the 2021-22 EMDG Guidelines.
- Prepare the necessary documentation to attach to your application, see section 7.2 of the EMDG Guidelines and How to apply page on the website. Note: A plan to market can be a 1–2-page document outlining a strategic roadmap for marketing your eligible products. You can use this template or provide your own internal planning document.
- Log onto the EMDG portal using your MyGovID to complete the online application form, upload the relevant attachments when prompted by the form and submit your application by 5pm, 30 November 2021.
Will I get the full amount?
Your EMDG grant agreement may be for less than the amount you applied for.
- Limited Pool – Each year the Government allocates a set amount of money for EMDG (the appropriation).
- Not Competitive – EMDG is an eligibility-based program, which means that all applicants who apply and are eligible will receive funding.
- Too many applications – Where applications total more than the amount provided in the appropriation. Once all applications have been received, Austrade will calculate the distribution of available funds for all eligible applications.
Why were applicants able to apply for such high amounts if you were not going to provide those amounts?
The new program has 3 tiers which:
- enable different grant amounts for different stages of an exporter’s journey
- are based on maximum amounts. These amounts reflected the previous maximum spent by exporters on eligible expenses over time, noting that the amounts ranged over different years
- were set much higher-than-average spending.
However, it is not possible to predict the number of applications, business conditions and funding caps set by government over time.
The guidelines clearly advised grant amounts would be set and allocated based on demand. We allocate grant amounts in line with the number of applications and in relation to the tier. This ensures the capped scheme is effectively managed.
We advised applicants to be realistic in their grant requests. This is because applicants must match grant amounts with their own funds. However, some past EMDG grantees have applied for amounts that far exceed their previous spending on eligible expenses.
When can I expect to receive a payment for the new grant program?
From March 2022, we expect to make the first payments for Tier 1 and for Representative Body grantees.
We will make Tier 2 and Tier 3 grant payments from 1 July 2022 after milestone reports have been received and accepted. Your milestone report must show spending on eligible expenses for double the grant amount – that is, the grant amount and your matched funding. Your grant agreement will outline a reporting and payment schedule.
How should I do a 2–3-year plan with the world changing so much?
We acknowledge businesses may have found it challenging to plan their international promotional activities during border closures. With borders reopening, it should be easier to plan in future.
While having a ‘plan to market’ is mandatory under the new EMDG grant, there is flexibility of what can be provided in your application.
- As outlined in section 4.4 of the EMDG Guidelines, a plan to market can be a high-level document which shows how businesses intend to market their product overseas in the next 2 or 3 years and why.
- Representative body applicants should show how they plan to market their members’ products.
A plan to market could be a one-page statement, a copy of your strategic planning roadmap for marketing, or any other internal planning document that answers the following:
- Why are you undertaking the proposed marketing? Or, what business goals are you seeking to address through your promotional activity?
- How will you measure success for your promotional activities?
- What is your overall budget for each financial year (2 financial years for Tier 1; 3 financial years for Tier 2, Tier 3, and representative bodies)? An overall budget does not need details of individual expenses.
- Where and what customers or demographic will your promotional activities be targeted towards?
- What promotional activities will you undertake? This can be as detailed, or as strategic ‘big picture’.
- You may choose to use the Plan to market template but this is not mandatory.
We understand some small and-medium enterprises (SME) exporters have complex business models and have had to adapt to the changing trading environment. When preparing your applications, refer to these examples:
What if I need to change my plans?
A plan to market should be a living business management document, like a business plan, which can be modified and adapted through the life of an exporting business.
Where changes are needed, businesses would include the updated plan to market with their scheduled milestone reporting, as outlined in the grant agreement.
If grantees demonstrate they still have an eligible product and have incurred eligible expenses, they would be eligible for a payment under the grant agreement, even where plans may have changed.
What is an EMDG Plan to Market?
An EMDG Plan to Market will demonstrate how you intend to do to market your product overseas in the next 2 or 3 years and why. All EMDG applications from will require a plan to market.
Your EMDG Plan to Market could be a:
- one-page statement
- copy of your strategic planning roadmap for marketing
- internal planning document
Your EMDG Plan to Market should include:
- Strategy – Why are you undertaking the proposed marketing? In other words, what business goals are you seeking to address through your marketing?
- Measurement – How will you measure success?
- Budget – What is your overall budget for each financial year (2 financial years for Tier 1; 3 financial years for Tier 2 & Tier 3)
- Customer Analysis – Where and what customers or demographic will your marketing be targeted towards?
- Activities – What marketing activities will you undertake? This can be as detailed or as strategic as you like.
Your EMDG Plan to Market should emphasize:
- Tier 1: Describe the next 2 years of marketing activities.
- Tier 2: Describe how you are expanding your marketing activities over the next 3 years.
- Tier 3: Describe how you are expanding your marketing activities and making a strategic shift over the next 3 years.
- Representative body: Describe your promotional activities on behalf of your members.
What is a strategic shift?
A strategic shift could cover a number of different changes to your marketing activities driven by longer-term business goals such as:
- New market – targeting a new market for your existing products or services (a new market could be a new country but could also include a different market in a large country, such as in the United States, starting to market in the East Coast versus West Coast)
- New customer – targeting a different type of customer or demographic for your product or service
- New product – launching a new product or service
- New channel – using a new way to target your market, such as starting to engage with your market through e-commerce.
Your plan to market should provide an explanation that outlines how you will support your new strategy.
Is your product eligible?
To be an EMDG eligible product or service, your product must be of substantially Australian origin.
To be of substantially of Australian origin, goods must be:
- Primary Produce – or mainly made from primary produce (that is mined, harvested, raised or fished) within Australia
- Made in Australia – manufactured or assembled in Australia partly or wholly from imported materials or components that, in Australia, undergo or are part of a process or operation that does one of:
- New – results in the manufacture of a new product
- Transforms – substantially transforms the nature of the materials or components
- Significant – is an important stage in the manufacture of a product to be produced outside Australia using those goods
- Made Outside Australia – and at least 3 of:
- Assets – the assets used to make the goods ready for sale are mainly or substantially based in Australia
- Activities – the activities resulting in the goods being made ready for sale are mainly or substantially carried on in Australia
- Value Add – a significant proportion of the value of the goods is added in Australia
- Employment – the making of the goods directly generates significant employment in Australia.
Is software eligible?
To be an eligible product, software must be a work in which copyright subsists, and the work is the result, wholly or substantially, of research or work done in Australia.
Eligible EMDG Expenditure
You may claim for EMDG expenditure on specific export promotional activities undertaken during the financial year before the application period.
Nine categories of activities can be claimed in the EMDG Application.
- Overseas representatives – all costs to have an overseas representative act on your behalf
- Marketing consultants – the cost of engaging a consultant to undertake export market research
- Marketing visits – the cost of travel such as airfares plus a daily rate for accommodation.
- Free samples – the cost of providing free samples of the product you are promoting for export
- Trade fairs, seminars, in-store promotions – the cost of participating in an international trade fair
- Promotional literature & advertising – the costs of promotional material, such as brochures and websites
- Overseas buyers – the cost of bringing potential buyers who are non-residents to Australia
- Registration and/or insurance of eligible intellectual property – payments made to patent and trademark attorneys
Want to know my EMDG tips?
Find out the tricks to maximise the EMDG
The EMDG Applications for activities undertaken in the 2022-23 financial year open 16 August 2022 and close 30 November 2022.
If you want professional assistance to submit your application, you may consider engaging an EMDG consultant.
Consultants play an important role in supporting Australia’s current and future exporters by promoting awareness of the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme, lodging applications on behalf of businesses and supporting the assessment process.
Do you need an EMDG consultant.
Contact us for assistance.
The average claim value of an EMDG consultant prepared claims has been significantly higher than that of self-prepared claims over the past 3 years, with consultant-prepared claims averaging $51,587 and self-prepared claims $47,229 this year.
How popular is the EMDG?
The number of EMDG claims received in the 2017 year increased 6.6 per cent above the previous year. Of the 3,771 applications, 1,444 were submitted by first-year applicants, an increase of 13.6 per cent from the number of first-year applicants last year, and approaching double the number recorded in 2013.
This popularity of the scheme among new applicants shows healthy levels of export activity among new exporters.
|Grant year||Years in scheme = 1||Years in scheme = 2+||Total claims||Change from previous year|
Of the total value of EMDG claimants’ markets this year:
- 41% – Asia
- 37% – North America.
- 6% – Oceania, Africa and South America
There were 1452 EMDG claimants active in the US market this year, with a total of $780,218,933 claimed (35 per cent of total claims). China was the next largest market in dollar terms, with 514 businesses claiming $310,568,349 (14 per cent of total claims).
The proportion of claims from the services industries increased from 66.5 per cent last year to 67.5 per cent this year.
Manufacturing and primary industries both decreased slightly as a proportion of the claim population. Manufacturing now accounts for 28.2 per cent of claimants and primary industries account for 4.3 per cent.
Tourism accounted for 12.2 per cent of EMDG applications this year, while the education industry accounted for 5.4 per cent.
Is EMDG classified as income?
YES, the Export Market Development Grants are assessable income and need to be included in your company income tax return.
Government payments such as Grants are assessable income.
Can I ask for my grant agreement to be varied to a higher amount if I spend more?
Austrade will not vary the amount of an agreement in a way that will result in a higher payment as the funding pool available for each Tier is fully allocated at the time of entering into grant agreements.
If I receive money from the reimbursement scheme in FY2021-22 how does that affect my grant agreement entered into in FY2021-22?
Your payment will be reduced to the extent that you would exceed the overall caps. Your grant agreement will state:
For the avoidance of doubt, the Commonwealth may reduce a payment in accordance with Rule 48(3) in the circumstances where the Grantee is eligible for a final payment under the outgoing reimbursement program that would result in the Grantee receiving more than the cap on total grants payable.
Can I apply for a one-year grant agreement?
No. Austrade will offer you the maximum term for your Tier unless the maximum will mean you exceed your caps (8 years or $770,000).
When are future EMDG grant rounds scheduled?
Round 1 is open to everyone and the closing date is 30 November.
There will be a grant round for each Tier and representative bodies in FY2022-23. The EMDG News page will be updated when dates are decided, or you can subscribe to the EMDG newsletter.
Some of the recipients of the EMDG program are:
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In 2014, HIVERY conducted an experiment with a fleet of 60 vending machines in Newcastle to test the ability of machine learning to optimise sales by recommending changes to the product assortment and space-to-sales ratio of available products.
Once the AI system was trained, it made recommendations that were implemented for those 60 machines and, a few months later, the changes had resulted in a 15 per cent increase in sales and an 18 per cent reduction in restocking visits.
When intern Ryan Griffen brought an idea for a children’s show to management at Goalpost Pictures, nobody could have imagined that the adult drama that grew from his concept would achieve one of the highest levels of export sales for a television series in recent Australian history.
First broadcast in June 2016, by the end of 2017 the first season of television show Cleverman had achieved total sales in excess of $4 million.
Tama Berkeljon was at the top of a ladder changing yet another blown light bulb while an entire film crew waited to continue work when he decided there had to be a better way to light a movie set.
So he designed and created a rig of 100 LED ring lights – one of the first high-power, large-scale LED installations to be used in a film industry environment.
The success of that lighting rig was the seed that grew into Outsight, a company that designs and manufactures high-power LED lighting systems for the film and television industry.
From inception, Outsight has focused on designing reliable and innovative equipment that solves problems in the film and television industry, where there is constant pressure to provide more and better content on a reduced budget.
After nearly a century of boot making, EMDG recipient Redback Boots has a rich history of success in finding product needs in the marketplace and delivering quality solutions to meet those needs.
Started by three Greek immigrant brothers in 1927, the business that became Redback Boots remains a family-owned private company that spans five generations.
Redback has been exporting boots since the early 90s and has a solid footing overseas but is moving to take a more considered hand on the reins globally as part of the current refocusing on data-driven market analysis.
The company heard about the funding available through EMDG for companies expanding their presence in overseas markets and felt that it perfectly complemented its current plans.
Webinar: Can your business benefit from an Export Market Development Grant?
Join this free Austrade hosted webinar to find out more about these changes and how you can take advantage of EMDG to grow your export business.
From Atlassian to Zimmermann, close to 50,000 Australian businesses have benefited from the support of EMDG on their road to export success.
23 February 2022 – Export grant program in disarray as $26M in funding is ripped out
$26 million will be taken from last year’s allocation to cater for increased demand. This effectively equates to a cut of more than 15 per cent from the scheme. The EMDG scheme was in the crosshairs at a Senate Estimates hearing on Thursday night.
Major changes to the EMDG program came into effect this financial year. The changes have led to significantly increased applications to the scheme. Austrade officials confirmed that $26 million of the $157 million allocation for the 2020-21 financial year would be taken away to pay eligible applicants.
01 February 2021 – Austrade has significantly reduced the maximum amounts businesses can receive
According to the update, Austrade has received the highest number of applications in the history of the program and, as they work within a set allocation of resources and funding allocated each year, estimated payments have been severely reduced and grant assessment times extended.
The 2022 initial ceiling amounts for each tier of funding have been significantly reduced from an annual ceiling of $40,000 in Tier 1 to $15,000; from $80,000 to $23,000 in Tier 2 and from $150,000 to $35,000 in Tier 3.
Austrade is aiming to advise application outcomes before February 8, 2022, but has warned this may take longer given the high number of applications. Grant agreements will be issued from mid-February 2022 with no final date given.
04 February 2021 – ResApp Health receives $93,994
Mobile healthcare company ResApp Health (RAP) has received an Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) of $93,994.