Frequently Asked Questions

How many applications has Austrade received under the new EMDG?

We received over 5,300 applications for the new EMDG. Of those, 43% were in Tier 3. This is the highest number of applications received in the history of the program.

Application numbers are higher this year, will I still receive a grant?

Yes, we will offer a grant agreement to all eligible applicants. You must enter into a grant agreement with Austrade to receive a grant. This will show the maximum grant amount that the government will give you per financial year, if you match that amount with your own funds when spending on eligible expenses.

I plan to spend $500,000 per financial year on promotional marketing activities and have applied for a Tier 3 grant agreement. Will my grant agreement include the capped amount of up to $150,000 per financial year for Tier 3?

EMDG is an eligibility-based grants program. We assess applications against the program eligibility criteria.

The EMDG program funding is capped per financial year. This means we need to spread the funding across the high level of demand. We allocate funds fairly among all eligible applicants. Businesses might hope to receive the grant amount they applied for. However, we won’t be able to offer grant agreements that equal the maximum tier amounts. This is due to the high demand and capped funding. The CEO of Austrade determines the grant amounts for successful applicants.

You might plan to spend $500,000 per financial year on promotional marketing activities and have applied for a Tier 3 agreement. Your grant agreement may be less than the capped amount of $150,000 per financial year.

How will I know how much my grant will be?

We allocate grant amounts in line with stages of the exporting journey and the relevant tiers. This allows us to give a grant to all eligible applicants within the available funding.

We determine the final grant amounts after we have assessed all applications. 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.

To receive a Tier 3 grant, applicants must demonstrate their eligibility. Where Tier 3 applicants have not given sufficient information, we are likely to offer a Tier 2 grant in line with the grant rules.

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.

I was expecting a higher grant amount. What do I do?

This advice about the likely grant amounts can help you to avoid spending more than you can afford. You should review your plans and adjust your spending for the rest of the grant period based on this early advice.

The goal of the reformed scheme is to give exporters certainty about the grant funding. This is so exporters can plan effectively. This early advice and the multi-year grant agreements help to achieve the goal.

Will I receive the same amount as previous years?

This is a new scheme with new guidelines. It is unlikely you will receive the same amount as in previous years.

We estimate applicants could expect to receive up to the following grant amounts:

  • 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.

Returning applicants may receive grant amounts lower than previous years’ payment. This is due to the large increase in applicant numbers and capped program funds.

How long will it take to receive an outcome?

This year we are managing two schemes:

  • the last year of the reimbursement scheme
  • the first round of applications for the new multi-year grant program.

We have employed more staff to assess the extra applications. We are aiming to issue grant agreements within 10 weeks of applications closing. The increased interest means assessments may take a little longer than in previous years.

For the last year of the reimbursement scheme, we will assess applications in the order we received them. We aim to assess up to 98% of applications by 30 June 2022. This target is in line with the previous years. If you can prove you are in significant financial difficulty, let us know and we’ll prioritise your payment.

For the new grant program, we aim to advise you of your outcome around 10 weeks after the application closing date. We will then provide your grant agreement for you to sign.

When can I expect to receive a grant agreement?

We expect to issue grant agreements from mid-February 2022 onwards.

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.

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.

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.

Which Tier do I apply for?

It’s up to you to determine which grant Tier would work best and most strategically for your business (within the requirements of the Rules). You can base this on what your business is currently doing, what it proposes to do, and whether it can meet the obligations of that Tier.

For more information, refer to:

How can I make strategic use of Tiers?

While Tiers are designed to reflect a traditional growing export business, you can apply for any Tier level that suits your organisation if you meet the criteria (refer to section 4.2 of the 2021-22 grant Guidelines).

You do not have to progress through each Tier in any particular order (see Section 3.2 of the 2021-22 Grant Guidelines for further explanation).

Eight years is the maximum funding available under the program but you do not have to use these consecutively. You can take a break and come back when you need it.

When deciding Tiers, what should I think about?

Tiers are designed so you can access EMDG at critical times during your unique export journey. You need to think strategically about when is the right time to apply for a particular Tier. Following are some helpful questions to ask yourself:

  • Should I take a break from EMDG funding until my business is ready for the next stage in my export journey?
  • Is now the best time to consolidate my current market? If yes, it might be advantageous for your business to wait until you are ready to expand or make a strategic shift.
  • Am I ready to invest more into marketing to expand my market or diversify my markets (remembering that you are obliged to match the funding provided by Austrade dollar for dollar)?
  • What promotional activities do I want to do differently or more of?

Who is an eligible person?

Most Australian businesses will be eligible persons as outlined under Section 4.1 of the 2021 grant guidelines.

To be eligible for a grant you must be an eligible kind of person within the meaning of the EMDG Rules, being one of the following:

  • an individual whose principal place of residence is in Australia
  • a body incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001
  • an association, or cooperative, incorporated under an Australian law
  • a partnership that is Australian, that is if the partnership was formed and operates under a law of a State or Territory, and at least half the partners are Australian persons
  • a trust that is Australian within the meaning of the EMDG Rules, that is the trustee, or each trustee, of the trust is an Australian person
  • a body corporate established for a public purpose by or under an Australian law
  • a representative body.

Please see chapter 4 of the 2021-22 Grant Guidelines for more details.

How do you measure a turnover of less than $20 million?

Section 4.2 of the 2021-22 Grant Guidelines states:

If you are an SME exporter, at the time you apply for a grant you must also:

  • have a turnover for the last financial year (2020–21) of less than $20 million (annual turnover is the total ordinary income that you derive in the income year while running your business).

This is an explanation of the EMDG Rules [Export Market Development Grants Rules 2021 (legislation.gov.au)] at section 10 Eligibility conditions for applicants other than representative bodies, which requires the following condition to be satisfied by a person other than a representative body, at the time the person applies for a grant:

(2) The person’s turnover for the financial year before the financial year in which the application is made is less than $20,000,000.

Do you have an example of a strategic shift?

Please see our page on expanding and strategic shift for two examples.

For a further explanation please see section 4.2.4 of the 2021-22 Grant Guidelines

What does exporting mean?

We will interpret exporting broadly.

A good indication that you are exporting is evidence of having exported recently (with 1 July 2020 a sound indicator of you having exported recently).

We will also consider other evidence including:

  • Contracts in place with offshore buyers
  • Agreement or memorandums of understanding with offshore buyers to sell or market your product
  • Evidence of current negotiations with offshore buyers for the sale of your products
  • Evidence (whether in your plan to market or otherwise) to show you are currently actively engaged in exporting, for example of active customer engagement with a realistic prospect of resulting sales (as demonstrated by evidence such as the capacity to produce and deliver your export product)
  • Any other evidence

Each application will be judged on its merits and the individual circumstances of the applicant. This should not be taken as a guarantee that your application will be assessed as satisfying this requirement of the EMDG legislation. However, your explanation will be considered as part of the overall application assessment process.

For further information please see Exporting 

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.

For more information see section 4.2.1 of the 2021-22 grant Guidelines and page on how we assess eligibility.

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 documents do I need?

Please see the list of documents required at section 7.2 of the 2021-22 Grant Guidelines

Are there templates?

Our templates have been developed for your convenience and to guide you.

We recommend you take a look on the How to apply page which you will find the application form and templates.

What does substantially Australian origin mean when you talk about products?

Please see Chapter 5 of the 2021-22 Grant Guidelines which provides a broad summary of eligible and ineligible products.

You should also read and understand the relevant sections of the EMDG Act Division 4 and EMDG Rules Part 3 as to what constitutes eligible .

How long is my grant for?

Grant agreements entered into for the 2021-22 EMDG grant round are for promotional activities you undertake from 1 July 2021.

Please see visit the page EMDG from 1 July for more information.

How does matching funding work?

Your grant agreement will say how much you grant is for. You must match this funding.

The requirement concerning matching funding is found in the EMDG Act 1997 at section 10(2)(a):

(2) The grant agreement must include terms and conditions that:

(a) have the effect of requiring the grantee to spend the grant money, as well as at least a matching amount of the grantee’s own money, on eligible expenses of the grantee in relation to eligible products.

For further explanation, please visit our Grant management page or refer to Section 3.5 of the 2021-22 Grant Guidelines.

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).

What is the process and timeline for reviewing applications?

We appreciate and thank you for your patience and understanding as we concurrently deliver both the EMDG reimbursement and grant programs this year.

  • For the reimbursement scheme, we will assess applications in the order they are received. 
  • For the EMDG grant program, we will aim to assess applications and advise you of the outcome 10 weeks after the application closing date. We will then provide you with a grant agreement for you to sign.

Section 7.2 of the 2021-22 Grant Guidelines states:

You must submit your application between the published opening 16 August 2021, and closing date, 5pm AEDT 30 November 2021. We cannot accept late applications.

Visit the how we assess eligibility page for a detailed description about the process or see chapter 8 of the 2021-22 grant Guidelines for a description of the assessment and notification process.

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.

What is the profit and loss statement for?

The 2021-22 Grant Guidelines, at section 7.2 provides these details:

Applicant

Attachment

Why do we need it?

SME exporters – all tiers

2020–21 Profit and Loss Statement

To substantiate that your turnover is less than $20 million.

Are there limits to each expense category?

There are upper spending limits for travel costs including accommodation, flights, and daily allowances. This will be set out in your grant agreement and will be reflective of the true cost to SMEs enterprises than previously.

There are no upper limits to other expense categories. You can choose the best way to market your business.

Each grant agreement will state the upper limit for your overall grant in each financial year. If you spend more than matched funding for this limit you will not receive further grant money.

What has changed from the previous scheme?

The following information will be particularly relevant if you’re familiar with the previous EMDG reimbursement scheme.

EMDG is now a forward-looking grant program. Some requirements under the reimbursement scheme are no longer necessary and have not be incorporated into the grant program.

To familiarise yourself with the new processes for the EMDG grant program, read the 2021-22 Grant Guidelines or visit the web page EMDG from 1 July 2021. These guidelines will help you when filling out your application form.

Is there a pre-approval process?

There is no pre-approval process in the EMDG grants program.

Is there an audit process?

Audit processes were relevant to the EMDG reimbursement scheme. The grant program will follow Commonwealth grant processes.

After assessing your milestone report, an assessor can ask you for more information if it’s needed.. You will not receive a milestone payment until Austrade accepts the milestone report.

Will an applicant have to show how they will be able to match funding at application stage?

No. At the milestone reporting stage an applicant will demonstrate that they have provided matched funding.

What are related entities?

The requirement for related entities have been translated into the grant program:

A designated connection to goods

27 Designated connection to eligible product

Goods

(1) A person has a designated connection to an eligible product that is goods if:

(a) the person, or a related entity of the person, owns the goods; or

(b) the person, or a related entity of the person, owns, or holds an exclusive licence for, one or more intellectual property rights in relation to the goods; or

(c) the person is a representative body and members of the represented group have a designated connection to the goods within the meaning of paragraph (a) or (b).

And

The assessment of caps:

When assessing whether you have reached either the 8-year cap or the $770,000 cap on total grant funding available to you under EMDG, Austrade will include the grants of another grantee where Austrade considers organisational restructuring activity has occurred that means you are, in substance conducting the business the previous grantee conducted. This is done by assessing whether your business is similar in substance to a previous EMDG grantee (including a grantee that has ceased to exist) (Please see section 4.2.1.2 of the 2021-22 Grant Guidelines.

These assessments of caps are reviewable decisions.

How does matched funding work?

The grant agreement will specify the maximum grant amount per financial year. You must, match at the minimum, the dollar value of the grant monies received.

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.

For example, if your grant agreement states that you can access $60,000 in a given financial year, you must match that amount to receive the full amount in your grant agreement.

This means the total amount spent on marketing activities must be at least $120,000 in that financial year for you to receive a $60,000 milestone payment.

Please note this amount is the maximum you will receive for that financial year. If you spend $100,000 on eligible activities in that financial year, you will receive $50,000 through the milestone payment.

If you spend more than $120,000, for example $140,000, you can only receive up to the maximum $60,000 grant amount as per your grant agreement.

Does trade with New Zealand count as an eligible expense?

Expenses with respect to trade with New Zealand are not eligible expenses under Section 6.2.5 of the 2021-22 Grant Guidelines.