The second round of the Queensland Government’s Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant has been announced, with an additional $100 million in funding available. It will be open for applications on July 1st. The first round (in late May) received applications for over 100% of the available funding in less than 4 days. Thankfully for this second round, businesses have been given an opportunity to prepare before the grant applications are opened.
So what do you need to know about the Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant Program?
The program website outlines its objective as “to support small businesses subject to closure or highly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdown restrictions announced by the Queensland Government, to adapt and sustain their operations, and build resilience.”
The funding is available to Queensland businesses, divided equally between regional Queensland and South East Queensland.
There is a range of eligibility criteria for the grant program, including (but not limited to):
- being able to demonstrate a minimum 30% decline in business since March 23, 2020 (over a one month period).
- employing staff but having fewer than 20 employees at the time of your grant application. (Employees must be on your payroll (not contractors) and do not include the business owners). Payroll must be less than $1.3 million).
- having a valid ABN number (active as at March 23, 2020) with your head office in Queensland.
- being registered for GST and having an annual turnover of at least $75,000.
(To see full details and eligibility criteria download the Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant Round 2 Guidelines.)
So what can you do to get ready for your grant application?
- Check your eligibility using the government’s eligibility tool to help you determine if you’re eligible to apply. This can save you a lot of time pulling together information if you’re not eligible.
- Subscribe to be alerted when the program opens on July 1st. (You’re given the opportunity to subscribe after you use the eligibility tool)
- Read the application guidelines, FAQs and application tips to make sure you have all the information you need.
- Get quotes or invoices from your preferred suppliers as these will need to be attached to the application. Make sure these are formal quotes, including an ABN, company logo and website. Ask your suppliers to detail the work that will be included in the scope, and the associated costs.
- Pull together all of the information that you will upload when the applications open. Have the information written in a concise and clear way so that you don’t have to spend too much writing the application or worrying about how to word your application.
What information do you need to have ready?
The program’s application tips and application guidelines provide detailed outlines of the information you need, which includes:
- Information about your business – your ABN, who owns the business, where your head office is located, information about your staffing (the number of employees, diversity).
- Information about the impact of COVID-19 on your business – collect relevant data and statistics including staff reductions, loss of trade, loss of revenue.
- Financial Information – BAS Statements, financial reports or a letter from a CPA Accountant showing your usual business and the reduction in earnings.
- Information about how you will spend the funding – the type of spending (eg operational costs or digital), a description of the project including the start and finish dates, and how it will impact your business (eg employee retention, business capability / sustainability, business continuity, diversification or increase in capability).
- You will also need to submit a formal external quote/invoice/receipt from your chosen supplier.
Other tips for creating your grant submission
- Keep it succinct. Some questions have word limits, and bear in mind that those assessing the applications will be reviewing thousands of submissions, so keep your answers clear and concise and relevant to the question asked.
- Keep it focussed – focus on the project(s) you will undertake if you get the funding, and how it will impact your business (and therefore let you impact your staff and the economy).
- Consider the objective of the grant program. The Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant is aimed at getting businesses back on their feet and able to adapt their business to make it sustainable and resilient, so they can continue to employ Queenslanders and contribute to the state’s economy. Keep this in mind when preparing your answers.
- Create original answers. Do not copy and paste answers from a third party. It’s stated in the terms and conditions that “applications that are found to have been derived from a third party will be considered invalid.”
- Get in touch with your chosen suppliers asap. Speaking from experience, round 1 of the grant applications was a hectic time as many clients asked for proposals/quotes at the same time. I heard of businesses who weren’t able to get their submission in before the funding ran out because they were waiting on quotes. Give your suppliers plenty of notice so they can create the proposal before applications open.
- If you submitted for Round 1, be aware that you need to submit a new application for Round 2. Also note that the guidelines and questions may be different, so take the time to review the Round 2 guidelines and make sure you have all of the information you need at hand.
- Have time set aside on July 1st to upload your application as quickly as possible. Applications must be submitted online on the State Government website and will be processed on a first come, first served basis. There will no doubt be thousands of businesses applying, so I believe it will be important to submit your application as quickly as possible. (Extra tip: as you’re uploading your application, copy and paste the answers to each question into a Word document or Notes file on your computer – just in case you lose connection and lose your answers. You might not need them, but it’s extra insurance to make sure you’re not losing time recreating your answers if the worst happens.)
- Be aware the submitted application is final. Once submitted, you won’t have a chance to provide additional evidence or documents.
So take advantage of the lead time provided to pull everything together and have your application answers ready to roll. This will give you the best opportunity to make the most of the program and fund a project that will strengthen your business for the long-term.