Entrepreneurs Programme

What is the Entrepreneurs’ Programme?

The Entrepreneurs Programme is a $400 M government initiative which aims to help small businesses become more competitive and to accelerate their growth.



The Entrepreneurs’ Programme was announced as part of the 2014-15 Federal Budget. The program is the Australian Government’s flagship initiative for business competitiveness and productivity at the firm level. It forms part of the Australian Government’s industry policy outlined in the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda, released on 14 October 2014
and the National Innovation and Science Agenda, announced on 7 December 2015.

A new Strengthening Business element was announced on 11 March 2020 to support supporting businesses to recover from the 2019-20 summer bushfire emergency.


Program Elements

The programme offers support to businesses through five elements:

  • Accelerating Commercialisation — helps small and medium businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers to commercialise novel products, services and processes.
  • Business Growth Grants — provides access to a national network of experienced business advisers and facilitators to assist you to improve your business practices, become more competitive, and take advantage of growth and collaboration opportunities in order to increase your business’s capability to trade in Australian markets and/or markets in other countries.
  • Incubator Support — assists new and existing incubators to improve the prospects of Australian start-ups achieving commercial success in international markets, through helping them to develop their business capabilities.
  • Innovation Connections — experienced Innovation Facilitators work with your business to identify knowledge gaps that are preventing your business growth. The outcome is an Innovation Facilitation Report.
  • Strengthening Business – connects you with specialists to help you strengthen, resiliency, and future-proof your business.


What does the Entrepreneurs Programme provide?

The Entrepreneurs’ Programme is designed to help you strengthen, grow, innovate, and commercialise. The program is client-centred and tailored to meet your needs and levels of commitment.

Through the program, you also have the opportunity to access grant funding.  This funding can help you to:

  • commercialise novel intellectual property
  • take advantage of growth opportunities
  • connect to research collaboration opportunities.



The objective of the program is to connect small and medium sized businesses with the capabilities and networks they need to grow, innovate and commercialise in Australian markets and/or markets in other countries.

The program offers expert advisory and facilitation services that support:

  • growth and innovation through business improvement and innovation connections in targeted Growth Sectors;
  • innovation through the incubation of innovative globally focussed Australian start-ups; and
  • commercialisation of novel products, processes and services in Australian markets and/or markets in other countries.

In meeting the program objective, the program aims to deliver the following outcomes:

  • Improved business capability;
  • Effective business, research and commercialisation networks;
  • Improved business and commercialisation performance; and
  • Value to participants.


Are you in the right growth sector?

To be able to apply for the Entrepreneurs Programme you must be operating in one or more of the Growth Sectors which are:

  1. Advanced Manufacturing
  2. Food and Agribusiness
  3. Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals
  4. Mining Equipment, Technology and Services
  5. Oil, Gas and Energy Resources
  6. Enabling Technologies (for the 5 above)


Do you earn enough?

To be able to apply for the Entrepreneurs Programme you must have an annual turnover (or operating expenditure) within the current, or one of the last two financial years:

  • Between $1.5 million and $100 million or
  • Between $750,000 and $100 million for applicants from Remote Australia or Northern Australia.


Accelerating Commercialisation

Accelerating Commercialisation provides successful applicants access to expert guidance and grants to find the right commercialisation solutions for novel products, processes and services.

Accelerating Commercialisation offers the following services and grants:

  • Commercialisation Guidance
  • Accelerating Commercialisation Grant
  • Portfolio Services.


Business Management

Business Management consists of two elements.

Business advice and facilitation services to small and medium business to help build capacity, improve capability, extend networks and take advantage of growth opportunities in Australian and/or markets in other countries. Independent advisers and facilitators provide business advice and facilitation services to eligible businesses for one of four streams:

  • business evaluation
  • growth services
  • supply chain facilitation
  • tourism partnerships (northern Australia only).

The advisers/facilitators will work with you to develop a plan on how to achieve your business goals in these areas.

Business growth grants assist you to implement recommendations.


Business Evaluation

Experienced Business Advisers review business operations, including business direction and strategy. The outcome of the review is an Evaluation Report that has business improvement suggestions.

A skilled and expert Business Adviser will:

  • come to your business premises to gather information about your business
  • undertake further research and analyse the information off-site
  • prepare a tailored Business Evaluation Action Plan outlining strategies your business can take to become more competitive, improve and grow.

When you are ready to apply the strategies, the Business Adviser will coach and mentor you for up to twelve months.

To be able to apply for a business evaluation, you must;

  • Satisfy one of the following:
    • have the skills, ability, expertise or intellectual property to work in or with one or more of the Growth Sectors in the future, or
    • be a tourism business operating in Northern Australia.
  • be solvent
  • have an annual turnover (or operating expenditure) within the current, or one of the last two financial years:
    • Between $1.5 million and $100 million or
    • Between $750,000 and $100 million for applicants from Remote Australia or Northern Australia.
  • have filed Business Activity Statements in Australia showing ongoing trading in at least three successive years
  • not have received a Business Evaluation Report, Business Evaluation Action Plan or a Business Review Report in the last five years.


Supply Chain Facilitation

Supply Chain Facilitation offers your business practical ways to:

  • connect with, and supply existing and new markets
  • provide you with project opportunities.

At no cost to your business, a skilled Business Adviser or Business Facilitator will work closely with your suppliers and customers to:

  • strengthen your supply chain
  • improve your ability to access new markets.


Growth Services

A Growth Services engagement will enable your business to identify and capitalise on growth opportunities more rapidly, easily, and capably, with less risk. The engagement will help your business build the capacity to accelerate growth.

At no charge to you, a Business Adviser will:

  • develop a Growth Plan to help you reach your growth opportunity
  • provide support, advice and mentoring to build the necessary capabilities, culture, strategies and connections for growth
  • facilitate access to relevant advice, networks and knowledge
  • help maintain your growth momentum through regular meetings and follow-up.


Tourism Partnerships

Brings together tourism buinesses that offer complementary products or services. Businesses must be located and/or have their main operations in Northern Australia.

The service will help businesses to reach their potential and achieve benefits that they might not have access to on their own.


Business Growth Grants

Business Growth Grants provide financial help for businesses to improve their business operations and grow their business.

The improvements are available in a:

  • Business Evaluation
  • Supply Chain Facilitation
  • Growth Service
  • Tourism Partnership service.

A Business Growth Grant reimburses businesses for up to half of the cost of engaging a service provider, to a maximum of $20,000 (excluding GST). This funding supports business improvement projects.

The grant supports strategies that improve the abilities and skills of your business. It doesn’t support fixes for problems that are part of the ordinary, every day operations of your business.

You may apply for a Business Growth Grant if your business:

  • has received an Entrepreneurs’ Programme Business Evaluation Report or Action Plan, Supplier Chain Facilitation, Growth Plan, or Tourism Partnership Plan, and
  • is submitting an application in accordance with the eligibility timeframes (typically within six months of receipt of advisory services).


Incubator Support

The Incubator Support initiative provides grant funding to incubators to deliver support services to Australian start-ups with an international focus.

Grants are available to support the establishment of new incubators in regions or sectors with high innovation potential, and for existing incubators looking to expand their services. Funded incubators will deliver a range of activities designed to improve the prospects of commercial success of innovative start-ups, allowing them to realise their economic potential faster than they otherwise would. The initiative supports entrepreneurial activity and contributes to the development of the innovation ecosystem, including in Australia’s regions.

The Incubator Support initiative provides grant funding through two components to deliver Incubator Support projects, both of which require a funding contribution from applicants.

  • Support for New and Existing Incubators:
    • to help develop new incubators in regional areas and/or sectors with high potential for success in international trade
    • to boost the effectiveness of high performing incubators, including funding support to expand their services and/or develop the innovation ecosystem
    • to encourage incubators to work with more data-driven start-ups that use public data as part of their business.

This component allows for a minimum grant amount of $26,000 and a maximum grant amount of $500,000 per project with a maximum grant period of 24 months.

  • Support for Expert-in-Residence:
    • to increase the capabilities of incubators and improve the chance of commercial success for start-ups in international markets by organising and providing access to top quality research, managerial and technical talent through incoming and outgoing secondments of national or international experts.

This component allows for a minimum grant amount of $5,000 and a maximum grant amount of $100,000 per project with a maximum grant period of 12 months.


Innovation Connections

Expert Innovation Facilitators work with your business to identify knowledge gaps that are preventing your business growth. The outcome is an Innovation Facilitation Report.

Innovation Connections consists of two components:

  • Innovation Connections Facilitation
  • Innovation Connections Grant.


Innovation Connections Facilitation

Provides your business with an Innovation Facilitator to help you to:

  • identify knowledge gaps
  • identify opportunities to work with research organisations to test and develop new ideas
  • connect to other business assistance packages
  • find the expertise to support your business.

Innovation Facilitators will also provide a report with possible solutions to your problems and referrals to other research and industry programmes.


Innovation Connections Grant

If you chose to implement the suggestions in the report and would like to work with a research organisation, you can apply for an Innovation Connections Grant.


Strengthening Business

Strengthening Business offers a facilitation service, which will connect you to a dedicated facilitator who:

  • is a local, independent expert, with private sector expertise
  • has extensive networks across national, state and local government 
  • understands your region
  • will advise on what it takes to run a successful business in your industry and help you assess the gaps in your business knowledge.

Your facilitator will work with you to address the challenges and opportunities your business now faces in the community. You’ll get a roadmap with strategies and goals to achieve in the immediate, medium and long term. 

Strengthening Business is provided at no cost to your business. However, you will need to invest your time to maximise your engagement. 

Entrepreneurs Programme

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