The impacts of the reforms made to the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) programme are now being felt, with grant amounts unexpectedly and significantly reduced.
With the changes in the eligibility criteria, an explosion of applications has resulted in the funding being thinly spread. One biotech company has had their approved $450,000 three-year grant unexpectedly reduced to $105,000, at most, due to this unprecedented demand.
The EMDG scheme is a key Government financial assistance programme to help aspiring and current exporters grow their business overseas.
AusBiotech CEO Lorraine Chiroiu said, “The Australian life sciences industry is global in nature and relies on international trade and investment for success, and the EMDG has been an important opportunity to support the early stages of their global export mission.”
“The explosion in applications demonstrates the strong need for the programme. This is the first year of the reform implementation and the Government needs to ensure the support remains so that Australian biotech can continue to shine on the world stage.”
The life sciences industry is characterised by a large number of micro and small business in growth phases. While these small and emerging innovative businesses are beneficial for Australia’s economic growth, it also provides challenges for the companies themselves in accessing global markets.
A press release from the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, notes on 23 December that exporter demand for EMDG grants had soared in 2021.
“This year Austrade received more than 5,300 applications [up from 4,000, the year prior] for the reformed EMDG grants - the highest number in the history of the program – demonstrating strong business support for the new, forward-looking EMDG program.”
“The much higher number of grant recipients will see the fixed funding pool spread across more businesses with all eligible businesses receiving a payment.”
Following the reforms, three tiers of funding are now available:
- Tier 1 - First-time exporters, for a maximum of $40,000/financial year;
- Tier 2 - Businesses currently exporting and expanding activities, for a maximum of $80,000/financial year; and,
- Tier 3 - Businesses currently exporting, expanding and making a strategic shift, including new markets or customer types, for a maximum of $150,000/financial year.
With the significant uptick in eligible companies, individual grant sizes have been significantly reduced.
Biotech companies impacted by this change are asked to share their concerns with AusBiotech, by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.