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Export grants on offer under revised Govt scheme

Business

The State Government is offering up to $200,000 in grants to small and medium-sized businesses looking to expand into overseas markets, in a revamp of the SA Export Accelerator Program.

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The scheme, first introduced in August 2018, aims to support South Australian businesses with a minimum annual turnover of $75,000 and up to 200 FTEs make their first leap into exporting or expanding their international footprint.

Administered by the Department of Trade and Investment, the SAEA provides grants for activities such as marketing and promotion, freight and logistics, export training and market access support.

The previous round of grants offered 1:1 funding of up to $5000, $15,000 or $30,000 for businesses at different stages of export maturity, with just under $500,000 in total funding administered last year.

Minister for Trade and Investment Stephen Patterson said the program had since undergone a review, with the funding categories revised in a bid to give a greater pool of small to medium sized businesses access to the grants.

“Exporters are facing new challenges due to trade tensions and COVID-19 disruptions,” he said.

“As a result, we have introduced new activities within the funding streams to assist with market access, including IP advice, product testing and export accreditation to support exporters that are seeking entry to new markets.”

The SAEA’s new funding categories are:

Grant applications for the new program are now open. The Department says businesses that submit an application by October 1 will receive an assessment notification by November 12.

“I encourage all South Australian businesses to review the new guidelines of the SAEA to check if they are eligible to apply for funding within one of the three streams,” Patterson said.

“The criteria have changed and companies that were once unable to apply may find that they can now access funding due to the changes in the streams.”

A total of $832,000 is budgeted for the relaunched version of the scheme, according to the Department.

To be eligible, businesses applying must be from one of the State Government’s nine “Growth State priority sectors”, which are:

  1. Creative industries
  2. Defence industries
  3. Energy and mining
  4. Food, wine and agribusiness
  5. Health and medical industries
  6. Hi-tech
  7. International education
  8. Space industries
  9. Tourism.

Patterson also said the revamped SAEA program had an emphasis on providing education to businesses looking overseas for the first time, with a new workshop program for rookie exporters.

“In reviewing the SAEA program, we found that the majority of our companies who are new to exporting, or haven’t exported on a regular basis, required a more tailored support approach,” he said.

“These companies will have the opportunity to undertake the Export Fundamentals Program which will assist them in their export preparation and get them ready to potentially apply for SAEA funding in the future.”

Among the businesses to access the last round of funding was Edwardstown aquaculture systems producer SEAPA, which was awarded a $30,000 grant to update its website and produce marketing content on its oyster growing products.

Elsewhere, Adelaide digital intelligence company Fivecast was awarded SAEA funding last year.

The grant enabled the company to identify and target the US as a key growth market, according to Fivecast CEO Dr Brenton Cooper.

“We needed to gain financial assistance to execute on our export strategy faster,” Cooper said.

“Since then, we have also been able to leverage the expertise of the State Government’s Department for Trade and Investment team in exporting from South Australia to new markets.”

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