Establishment of the Australian Business Growth Fund

The Coalition government will establish a new public-private fund to provide small and family businesses greater access to funding. With an initial equity investment of $100 million, the Australian Business Growth Fund is hoped to eventually grow to $1 billion through partnerships with banks, super funds and other financial institutions. The Fund would support 30–50 businesses each year with annual turnovers between $2 million and $50 million, both through direct financial investment and also through non-financial support including:

  • provision of strategic advice
  • mentoring
  • talent management
  • network referrals for small business to access.

The Fund is modelled off similar schemes established in the UK and Canada and will complement the existing $2 billion Australian Business Securitisation Fund, which supports small businesses through debt financing. The Fund follows the release of the Affordable Capital for SME Growth report by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, which identified a major funding gap for Australian SMEs to start or grow their business.

The Fund provides new opportunities for public-private partnership, with two large domestic and one international bank already expressing some interest, and represents new funding opportunities in the wake of the Financial Services Royal Commission.

Establishment of the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund

Further support for small and medium Australian businesses will come in the form of the new Manufacturing Modernisation Fund. The Government will inject $50 million over three years to establish the Fund, allocating:

  • $20 million for small scale grants ($50,000 to $100,000), with industry to invest $1 for every $1 from the Government to support technology and efficiency improvements
  • $30 million for large scale grants (up to $1 million) with industry to invest $3 for every $1 from the Government to support more transformative investments in technologies and processes.

The Government expects the Fund to stimulate at least $160 million worth of business investment in new technologies and processes to enable manufacturers to employ more Australians, and hopes to complement this growth with a reinvigoration of the "Australian Made" Export Campaign delivered by Australia Made Campaign Ltd and funded by $5 million from the Government over four years.

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