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Easier access to grants for small companies

SMALLER companies will find it easier to access the Government’s Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) Scheme under changes introduced to Parliament by Trade Minister Mark Vaile late last month

“The Government thoroughly reviewed the scheme last year and found it had a significant positive impact on jobs and exports. The Government has decided to continue the $150 million per year scheme for another five years,” Mr Vaile said.

“Extending the scheme will deliver major benefits to small business in both regional and urban Australia.

The Government will also make it easier for smaller businesses – those breaking into new markets and creating new jobs – to access the scheme.

“Applicants are currently required to spend at least $20,000 in a year on eligible promotional activities to qualify for the scheme.

“Once a company achieves this minimum level, and passes the other qualification issues, it is eligible for a minimum grant of $2,500.

“The Government wants to extend the scheme to smaller companies, which spend less on promotional activities.

“The Bill lowers the existing $20,000 threshold to $15,000 and so provides better access to the scheme for small businesses and emerging exporters, while keeping the minimum grant at $2,500.”

Mr Vaile said reducing the minimum expenditure requirement would encourage small businesses to start export promotion and to increase their levels of export promotion in future years.

He also said smaller exporting companies often consisted of a family group and that the existing rules made it harder for these companies to claim legitimate travel expenses.

“The Government has therefore decided to change the rules when relatives travel together during overseas marketing visits by reducing the time required for related travellers to have been full-time employees of the applicant prior to a visit, Mr Vaile said.

“This will help smaller family-based companies.”.

o This is my last column in WA Business News, as I shall be moving on to be the Regional Trade Commissioner in Queensland.

John Yeudall, Austrade’s WA State manager will now prepare the column each month.

So it is farewell from me and I wish all WA readers the best of export successes.

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