The Victorian Government has developed the First Peoples’ COVID-19 Business Support Fund to support Victorian Aboriginal businesses that have been affected by trading restrictions introduced to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Grants can be used to help to meet business costs including rent and salaries, develop marketing activities or pivot the business offering in response to the current environment. A full list of uses can be found below.
Eligible businesses will be provided with a one-off grant of up to $10,000.
To be eligible, businesses must be a certified Victorian Aboriginal business through Kinaway Chamber of Commerce (Kinaway).
You can find out more about the process of certification on the Kinaway website.
Before applying, please read the information provided on this page, including the program guidelines and frequently asked questions (FAQs). Applicants must also ensure they have the required documentation before they apply.
If you have already received at least $10,000 from a round of the Business Support Fund you are NOT ELIGIBLE for this grant.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Read the list of FAQs before applying.
Applications will be open until 11:59pm on 26 March 2021 or until available funds are exhausted, whichever is earlier.
What support is available?
Eligible Aboriginal businesses can receive a grant of up to $10,000 per Australian Business Number (ABN).
Businesses that have already received financial assistance through these Victorian Government business support grants, will be eligible for a lower level of support through this fund:
- businesses who have received a $5,000 grant from the Business Support Fund – Expansion program are eligible for a $5,000 grant from this fund
- businesses who have received funding of $3,000 from the Sole Trader Support Fund (STSF) are eligible for a reduced grant amount from this fund (the grant amount will be reduced by the amount already received from STSF).
Only one grant will be awarded to each eligible ABN, regardless of the number of business names attached to that ABN.
Who can apply for this grant?
This fund is open to Victorian Aboriginal businesses (including sole traders and self-employed businesses) that meet all of the following criteria:
- are a Victorian business (registered in Victoria)
- hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and held that ABN on 16 March 2020
- are certified as an Aboriginal business through Kinaway
- have a minimum annual turnover of $30,000 (or pro-rata turnover if an annual turnover is not available)
- have been impacted by temporary trading restrictions introduced to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
What businesses are not eligible for this grant?
Not-for-profit, charitable organisations, community organisations, co-operatives and Australian public companies are not eligible for funding under this program.
Aboriginal businesses who have already received funding of $10,000 or more from the Business Support Fund, the Business Support Fund – Expansion program or the third round of the Business Support Fund are also not eligible for funding under this program.
What can the grant funds be used for?
Grants can be used to:
- meet business costs, including utilities, stock, salaries or rent
- seek financial, legal or other advice to support business continuity planning
- develop the business through marketing and communications activities
- address supply chain and logistics challenges
- pivot the business offering in response to the current environment
- conduct other supporting activities related to the operation of the business.
What evidence do businesses need to provide to prove eligibility and compliance?
Applicants must certify in writing that they meet the eligibility criteria.
Applicants must provide a copy of their business certification documentation from Kinaway as evidence that the business is an eligible Victorian Aboriginal business.
If the business is not a Kinaway certified business, the applicant will need to contact Kinaway and complete a certification process before submitting their application for funding under this program.
Applicants must also provide evidence that the business meets the minimum annual turnover of $30,000 (or pro-rata turnover if an annual turnover is not available). This evidence can be any of the following:
- a letter from an accountant declaring annual turnover or pro-rata turnover of three months prior to 16 March 2020
- an annual Business Activity Statement (BAS) from 2018/19 or 2019/20
- at least one Quarterly BAS from 2019/2020
- a fully executed statutory declaration attesting to annual turnover.
How to apply
Before applying, please ensure that you have read and understood the information on this page, including the program guidelines and frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Applicants must also ensure they have the required documentation before they apply.
To apply, please submit an online application via the ‘Apply now’ button on this page.
All questions in the application must be completed and any requested documentation attached to ensure timely assessment and grant payment.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Are previous recipients of the Victorian Government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) support packages eligible for this grant?
- Aboriginal businesses who have already received funding of $10,000 or more from the Business Support Fund, the Business Support Fund – Expansion program or the third round of the Business Support Fund are not eligible for funding under this program.
- Aboriginal businesses who have received a $5,000 grant from the Business Support Fund – Expansion program are eligible for a $5,000 grant under this program.
- Aboriginal businesses who have received funding of $3,000 from the Sole Trader Support Fund (STSF) are eligible for a reduced grant amount under this program (the grant amount will be reduced by the amount already received from STSF).
I run an Aboriginal small business but I am not certified by Kinaway Chamber of Commerce. Can I still apply?
You must complete certification with Kinaway before submitting your grant application. Visit their website for more information on certification.
I have not heard about my application. Is it still being considered?
We endeavour to process all applications within 10 business days.
Delays may happen if:
- you have not submitted the requested supporting documentation
- your submitted documentation is incorrect
- the application has been returned to you for amendments
- more than one application has been submitted for the same business – this may cause a delay in assessment, but if all other eligibility criteria are met, you will receive funding for the one ABN (i.e. one application)
- your business’ registration with the Australian Taxation Office is not current and accurate.
In all circumstances you will be notified of any of these issues.
If you require further assistance, please call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.
How do I know what the status of my application is?
The status of your application will appear in the Business Victoria Grants Portal:
- draft – you have started an application
- submitted – you have accepted the terms and conditions and submitted
- under assessment – your application has been received and is being assessed by the Business Victoria team
- successful – your application was successful
- unsuccessful – your application was unsuccessful.
From the time you submit your application, you will receive progress notifications by email.
However, please note that we cannot contact you while your application is still in ‘draft’ or not yet submitted as this means that you have not given the department permission to use your contact details.