How we assess eligibility
Whether or not a business is eligible for a grant is assessed under Section 9 of the Export Market Development Grants Act 1997 (the Act) and relevant parts of the Export Market Development Grants Rules 2021 (the Rules).
An assessment of each application on its merits will be undertaken. The following example is not intended to be legal advice and has been provided as a guide only.
Austrade assessors will follow the below process when determining eligibility:
Step 1: Submission
The applicant submits an application through the online portal with the following details:
This business received 4 EMDG grants, the most recent 10 years ago. Export sales were generated at the time but were not sustainable and the business refocussed on the domestic market.
The business was sold to a new entity, the applicant, and the new owners want to reboot export activities. They weren’t sure which Tier to apply for, but applied for Tier 2.
Which Tier should the applicant apply for?
It is up to the business to determine which grant tier would work most strategically for it (within the requirements of the Rules) based on what it is currently doing and what is proposes to do, and whether they can meet the obligations of that tier.
Applicants should remember that they must spend at least an equal amount of their own money on eligible expenses.
Step 2: Are you an eligible person
Austrade must consider all eligibility criteria in the Act and the Rules to determine whether the applicant is an eligible person. The applicant must:
- be an eligible kind of person listed in the Rules
- have an ABN
- have a turnover of less than $20m in the previous financial year
- have a plan to market eligible products
- not have exceeded the grant limits
- not have any disqualifying convictions or be under insolvency administration.
EMDG assistance will not be provided to a business who has received 8 or more EMDG grants or more than $770,000 in EMDG assistance. This includes where a business received EMDG assistance under a previous owner. This is explained further in Guidelines 4.2.1.
Austrade will consider if this is the same business when making an assessment about caps.
- In making these assessments Austrade will look at Rules 13 (8 year cap) and Rule 48 ($770,000 cap, among other things)
- Factors considered in making this assessment can include:
- the nature and assets of both businesses;
- who controls or constitutes both businesses;
- Anything else that is relevant, for example whether the business is trading under the same ABN
In this example, assuming all other criteria are met, and based on the information provided, the applicant appears to be under both caps.
Step 3: are you ready to export eligible products? Tier 1
The applicant has not applied for Tier 1 and so the assessors will not look at this question.
For those applying for tier 1 the assessor will assess an applicant is ready to export if:
- it has not previously exported eligible products, and
- it has appropriate skills in marketing eligible products in a foreign country (Rule 5).
- has received a single grant under the reimbursement scheme (Rule 56), and
- if it has the appropriate skills in marketing eligible products in a foreign country.
- This means they may have exported before and can still access Tier 1.
Step 4: are you exporting eligible products? Tiers 2 and 3
For a Tier 2 or 3 grant, the applicant must be exporting and seeking to expand their export promotion activity for eligible products (Act, s16).
The word exporting is intentionally broad.
In this example the applicant has exported in the past, paused their exporting activities for a period, but is now actively resuming exporting. They must provide evidence (for example: contracts in place, actively seeking customers, evidence through their marketing plan) to be considered to be exporting.
Step 5: are you seeking to expand your promotional activities for eligible products? Tiers 2 and 3
For both Tier 2 and 3 applications the applicant must show through their plan to market how they will seek to expand their promotional activities from what they are currently doing.
Strategic Shift – Tier 3 only
For Tier 3 only, the applicant must also demonstrate through its plan to market it intends to make a strategic shift in their marketing of eligible products in a foreign country (Rule 51).
The Guidelines section 4.2.4 give further guidance on what this means. It may involve launching new products or targeting new markets.
Step 6: Will you have eligible expenses in relation to your eligible product?
All products must be of substantially Australian origin to be eligible (Rules, Part 3).
The applicant must show in its plan to market it will have expenses for promotional activities undertaken for the purposes of marketing their eligible products that falls within at least one of the categories in the Rules.
The applicant must also show in its plan to market that it has or will have a designated connection to the product (Rule 27). In practice, this will be checked at the milestone reporting phase and a payment cannot be made unless you have a designated connection.