Effective 1 July 2021 the EMDG program is changing. Now businesses that intend to undertake promotional activities will apply for a grant before conducting the activities. If an application is successful the business will enter into a grant agreement with AusTrade, and payment will be made upon the satisfaction of milestones set out in the agreement. Grantees will still be required to spend an equal amount of their own money on any eligible expense (50% of the total expense).

Tier system for grants

There are three tiers of grant agreements that are designed to provide varying levels of support, and to align with the business’ stage of exporting.

  • Tier 1: for eligible SMEs who are new to exporting, grants of up to $40,000 per year for two years.
  • Tier 2: for exporters who plan to expand their presence in current markets, or enter new markets, grants of up to $80,000 per year for three years.
  • Tier 3: for exporters who plan to make a strategic shift in their exporting business, grants of up to $150,000 per year for three years.

For Tier 1 you will need to be ready to start exporting. For Tiers 2 and 3 you will have already exported. You can apply for any tier level that suits your organisation and you do not have to progress through each tier.

For all applicants, the new application process will require applicants to submit a ‘plan to market’ that details the targeted market of the promotional activities that are to be conducted, and their purpose. Applications open on 16 August 2021 and close on 30 November 2021.

Payment of grants

The new EMDG program aims to provide greater certainty to those undertaking promotional activities, and give assurance that expenditure will be reimbursed. This prospective approach to grants has necessitated the creation of milestone payments, with payment made upon satisfaction of the milestones set out in the grant agreement. The new process will proceed as follows:

  • Applicants will apply for a grant, for promotional activities to be undertaken in the next two to three years.
  • Austrade assesses applications and offers a grant agreement to each eligible applicant for the full grant period of that tier.
  • You enter into a grant agreement with Austrade that sets out the amount to be received, and the conditions of the milestone payments.
  • You undertake your promotional activities as agreed in the grant agreement.
  • You request milestone payments in accordance with your grant agreement.

The changes to the EMDG program will provide greater assurance to exporters, but will require them to take more care in preparing and lodging their grant applications.