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Third round of the Business Support Fund

Grants to support Victorian businesses that must stay closed or operate under restrictions until COVID Normal.

Program overview

The Victorian Government recently announced a third round of the Business Support Fund – ensuring businesses impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions continue to receive the support they need to make it through restricted trading. The ‘How we work’ roadmaps outline steady, safe and sustainable steps towards a COVID Normal. Grants from this program will help businesses in these sectors make it through extended restrictions.

Through this third round of the Business Support Fund, eligible businesses will receive grants of $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000, depending on the business’ annual payroll.

Only employing businesses in the eligible sectors listed on this page can apply for a grant from this program, in recognition that these industries are the most affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. If your business is not in one of the listed sectors, you may be able to access other support programs from the Victorian Government’s Business Resilience Package. Information about other support for businesses is also available on the Business Victoria coronavirus (COVID-19) business information page.

To apply for a grant, submit an online application with the required documentation through the ‘Apply Now’ button on this page.

Before submitting an application, you should read all the information on this page, including the program guidelines and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below. You should also ensure you have the required documentation before starting an application.

Third round of the Business Support Fund - Eligible ANZSIC classes fact sheet (DOCX 93.64 KB)DOCX icon

Third round of the Business Support Fund guidelines (PDF 2442.91 KB)PDF icon

Third round of the Business Support Fund guidelines (DOCX 1524.08 KB)DOCX icon

Frequently asked questions

Applications will remain open until funds are exhausted or until 11.59pm on 23 November 2020, whichever is earlier.

Please note: we have been informed that the Australian Business Register website will be unavailable from 11:30pm, Friday 25 September until 11:59pm, Monday 28 September for maintenance. This means that you will not be able to update your ABN details or ANZSIC classification that is linked to your ABN during this time. However, please do not delay submitting your application to this program. Your ABN can be updated when the Australian Business Register website is available again and our system will automatically capture your update.

Who can apply for a grant?

You may be eligible for a grant if your business operates in an industry sector that is Restricted, Heavily Restricted or Closed and for which restrictions are not easing between the First and Second Steps in the ‘How we work’ roadmaps.

Download the full list of eligible sectors

Businesses in the above sectors must also:

  • operate a business located within Victoria; and
  • participate in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper Payment scheme; and
  • employ people and be registered for Workcover Insurance with WorkSafe Victoria; and
  • have had an annual payroll of less than $10 million in 2019-20; and
  • be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST); and
  • hold an Australian Business Number (ABN); and
  • be registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator.

Businesses that have received a grant from the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund grant program are not eligible to receive a grant from this program. At the same time, businesses that have received a grant from this program are not eligible to receive a grant from the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund grant program.

Businesses not in one of the listed sectors may be able to access other support programs from the Victorian Government’s Business Resilience Package. More information about support for businesses is also available on the Business Victoria coronavirus (COVID-19) business information page.

How much are the grants from this program?

Eligible businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million will receive:

  • $10,000 if its annual payroll is less than $650,000
  • $15,000 if its annual 2019-20 payroll is between $650,000 and less than $3 million
  • $20,000 if its annual 2019-20 payroll is between $3 million and up to $10 million.

What can the grants be used for?

Grants may be used to assist the business on:

  • meeting business costs, including utilities, salaries or rent;
  • seeking financial, legal or other advice to support business continuity planning;
  • developing the business through marketing and communications activities; or
  • any other supporting activities related to the operation of the business.

What documentation or evidence do businesses need to provide with their application?

Applicants must provide:

  • Their ABN, which must be linked to the correct ANZSIC classification of their primary business
  • Their current business name that is registered, where required, with the relevant national or state regulator, such as the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commissioner (ACNC) or Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)
  • Their WorkCover Employer Number (WEN) or, if this is yet to be issued by WorkSafe, a WorkSafe Application Reference Number (WRN)
  • Their most recent JobKeeper Business Monthly Declaration Receipt ID or Enrolment ID generated from the Australian Taxation Office’s business portal.

Applicants must ensure that their ABN registration information and, where required, registration with ASIC or other relevant regulator is up-to-date at the time of application.

Applications with incomplete or incorrect information may experience delays and in some instances, this may result in an ineligible assessment. Please ensure you complete the application correctly and provide the correct documentation.

Assessing your application

We will endeavour to process and notify applicants of the outcome of their application within five business days. However, delays may occur if the application:

  • does not meet all the eligibility criteria
  • does not have correct evidence or documentation
  • the State Revenue Office is unable to verify if the business had less than $10 million in payroll tax for the year 2019-2020
  • the application has been returned for amendments
  • is a duplicate application for the same business
  • has incorrect details such as incorrect ABN, WorkCover Employee Number (WEN) and banking details (for successful applicants)
  • details with relevant regulators or partner agencies (State Revenue Office, ATO or WorkSafe Victoria) are not current and/or accurate.

The following circumstances are taken into consideration when assessing applications:

  • if there are any adverse finding by a national or state regulator regarding the business
  • if the business has been placed under external administration
  • if there is a petition to wind up or deregister the business
  • if the business is deregistered or unregistered (including cancellation or lapse in registration).

Applicants with multiple businesses

Only one grant per ABN is permitted. If an applicant has separate ABNs for their businesses, they will need to submit a separate application for each ABN. Each business and ABN must be able to satisfy each of the program eligibility criteria in its own right to be considered eligible for a grant.

Sole traders, partnerships and trustees

Sole traders, individuals in partnerships and individual trustees of trusts must employ people other than themselves to be eligible for a grant under this program. Sole traders may be eligible for the Sole Trader Support Fund.

Not-for-profit organisations

Not-for-profit organisations with an annual turnover between $75,000 and $150,000 that are not registered for GST can apply for a grant. To be eligible, the organisation must meet all the other eligibility criteria and be registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission.

How to apply

Applicants must submit an application online 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.

Applicants must certify that they meet the eligibility criteria and intend to remain trading when restrictions are eased.

Applicants will be subject to an audit by the Victorian Government or its representatives and will be required to produce evidence (such as payroll reports) at the request of the Victorian Government for a period of four years after the grant has been approved.

If any information in the application is found to be false or misleading, any grant awarded to the applicant will have to be repaid on demand by the Victorian Government.

Please read all the information on this page, the program guidelines and the FAQs below before applying.

Third round of the Business Support Fund guidelines (PDF 2442.91 KB)PDF icon

Third round of the Business Support Fund guidelines (DOCX 1524.08 KB)DOCX icon

More information

Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for any questions you may have about this program.

For further assistance please contact us or call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.

Note that the Victorian Government’s Business Resilience Package includes other support programs for businesses that have been impacted by restrictions put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), including supports for sole traders and licensed hospitality businesses.

The Business Victoria coronavirus (COVID-19) business information page also provides information on other support and resources for businesses.

Frequently asked questions

Please note: we have been informed that the Australian Business Register website will be unavailable from 11:30pm, Friday 25 September until 11:59pm, Monday 28 September for maintenance. This means that you will not be able to update your ABN details or ANZSIC classification that is linked to your ABN during this time. However, please do not delay submitting your application to this program. Your ABN can be updated when the Australian Business Register website is available again and our system will automatically capture your update.

Who is eligible to apply for a grant?

This program provides support to businesses in industry sectors that are Restricted, Heavily Restricted or Closed and for which restrictions are not easing between the First and Second Steps in the ‘How we work’ roadmaps.

To see if your business in an eligible industry sector you should:

  1. Confirm the 4-digit ANZSIC class linked to your Australian Business Number (ABN) on the Australian Business Register.
  2. Check if the 4-digit ANZSIC class linked to your ABN is included in the list of eligible ANZSIC classes for this program.

If your 4-digit ANZSIC class linked to your ABN is not on the list of eligible ANZSIC classes for this program, then your business is not eligible for a grant under this program.

For more information on how to update your ANZSIC class to accurately reflect your business activity please visit the the Australian Business Register.

If your business is ineligible, you may be able to access other support from the Victorian Government’s Business Resilience Package.

What if my ANZSIC class is not listed on this program’s list of eligible ANZIC classes?

If the ANZSIC class for your business is not included on the list of eligible ANZSIC classes, you are ineligible for this grant because your industry sector is either classified as Open with a COVIDSafe Plan or is subject to restrictions that are easing in the First or Second Step of Victoria’s Roadmap for reopening.

If your business is ineligible, you may be able to access other support from the Victorian Government’s Business Resilience Package.

I’m a supplier to a business that has been impacted by restricted trading conditions. Am I eligible for a grant from this program?

You will only be eligible for this program if your business’ ANZSIC class is eligible for this program. 4-digit ANZSIC classes are linked to your ABN. Find out if your ANZSIC class is eligible for this program here.

You may also be able to access other support programs from the Victorian Government’s Business Resilience Package. More information about support for businesses is also available on the Business Victoria coronavirus (COVID-19) business information page.

What is an employing business?

For the purposes of this program, an employing business is a business required to be registered with WorkSafe Victoria for WorkCover insurance in accordance with relevant WorkCover legislation.

That is:

  • Generally businesses that employ apprentices or pay annual wages of more than $7,500 in a financial year.
  • A sole trader, individual partner in a partnership or an individual trustee of a trust that employs other people and meets the above thresholds.
  • NOT one that hires workers through labour hire or training organisations (e.g. apprentices) or that contracts other businesses, sole traders or individual partners to conduct their work.

How do I provide evidence that my business is a participant in the Commonwealth’s JobKeeper Payment scheme?

Evidence of participation will be your most recent JobKeeper Business Monthly Declaration receipt ID or enrolment receipt ID generated from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Business Portal.

You will need to supply the ATO JobKeeper receipt ID number in the application form and some additional information about your business, JobKeeper enrolment and current participation, which may be used to cross-check your business is a current participant.

To enrol for the JobKeeper payment, visit the Enrol for the JobKeeper payment on the ATO website.

Please make sure the ABN on your application is the same as the ABN registered for JobKeeper. Where the ABN and receipt ID do not match, the application will be considered ineligible.

My business only started operating in the last 12 months and may not be eligible for JobKeeper. Can I still apply the third round of the Business Support Fund?

Businesses that are not participating in JobKeeper are not eligible for the third round of the Business Support Fund.

Why do I need to have WorkCover Insurance to be eligible for the third round of the Business Support Fund grant?

The third round of the Business Support Fund was launched to support businesses that employ people and have been heavily restricted or closed as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Registration for WorkCover Insurance shows that:

  • your business is employing people
  • your business is operating in a location in Victoria.

For the purposes of the program, an employing business is a business required to be registered with WorkSafe Victoria for WorkCover insurance in accordance with relevant WorkCover legislation.

If your business is exempt from the requirement for WorkCover Insurance, for example you expect to pay less than $7,500 in remuneration in 2020-21, then you will not be eligible for the grant.

The address details provided to WorkSafe and registered as ‘workplace addresses’ under your insurance policy are also used to verify your business is operating in Victoria. Please ensure your workplace address details held by WorkSafe are current and accurate.

If you are unsure, WorkSafe Victoria’s website has detailed information WorkCover Insurance requirements. You can also contact WorkSafe Victoria about the unique circumstances of your business.

How do I provide evidence that my business is registered for WorkCover Insurance with WorkSafe Victoria?

All businesses registered for WorkCover insurance have a unique WorkCover Employer Number (WEN). Include your WEN on your application.

All employers should have received their 2020-21 WorkCover Insurance Notice from WorkSafe via email or mail in July 2020. You will find your WEN at the top right-hand corner of the notice, under date of issue.

You do not need to attach your WorkSafe Certificate of Currency. However, your certificate of currency contains your WEN if you cannot find it in other documents.

If you have only recently applied to be registered with WorkSafe you may not have been issued with a WEN. In this case, please provide the WorkSafe Application Reference Number (WRN) instead of the WEN.

If I only register my business for WorkCover Insurance with WorkSafe Victoria now am I eligible for the third round of the Business Support Fund.

If you have only recently applied to be registered with WorkSafe, you may not have been issued with a WEN. In this case, please provide the WorkSafe Application Reference Number (WRN) instead of the WEN.

You can use your WRN when you apply for a grant from third round of the Business Support Fund.

A WRN is issued in the format of NR-XXXXXX-XXXXXX when you submit an online application for WorkCover insurance. It appears in printable form once the application is submitted. You will also receive an email with the number.

When your WEN is issued, your information will be updated in our systems automatically and we will process your application. You do not need to take any action.

However, please note that applications with a WRN instead of a WEN may take longer to process because the WorkCover registration process must be complete before we can start assessing your application.

Please note WorkSafe Victoria is experiencing a large volume of WorkCover Insurance applications and there may be delays in finalising or updating your registration.

I’ve applied for a WorkCover Employer Number (WEN). Can I apply for the Business Support Fund 3, even if I don’t receive my WEN before the program closes on 23 November 2020?

Businesses that have applied for WorkCover Insurance can apply to the Business Support Fund 3program by providing their WorkSafe Application Reference Number (WRN) in place of the WEN in their application. However, please note that your Business Support Fund 3 application must be submitted before the program closes on 23 November 2020.

A WRN is issued in the format of NR-XXXXXX-XXXXXX when a business submits an online application for WorkCover insurance. It appears in printable form once the application is submitted, and the applicant will also receive an email containing the number.>

Please also note that applications for the third round of the Business Support Fund 3 with a WRN instead of a WEN may take longer to process as the WorkCover registration process needs to be completed before the business can be verified as an employer operating at a location in Victoria.

Once WorkSafe issues a WEN for your business, your eligibility for a Business Support Fund - Expansion grant will be assessed using the program's standard grant assessment process.

Please note that WorkSafe Victoria is experiencing a large volume of WorkCover Insurance applications and that there may be delays in their finalising or updating your registration.

Will WorkSafe Victoria issue a Certificate of Exemption for businesses that are not required to register for Workcover insurance?

WorkSafe Victoria does not issue certificates or letters of exemption for businesses that are not required to register with WorkSafe Victoria for WorkCover insurance. WorkSafe will only register businesses and issue a WorkCover Employer Number (WEN) to businesses that are required by law to be registered for WorkCover insurance.

Businesses that are not considered employers under WorkSafe legislation will not be registered and issued with the associated WEN, and are not eligible for the third round of the Business Support Fund.

Do I need to change my business address to the address where my ABN is registered?

No, the address listed against an ABN is not the primary method for verifying a business address in your application. The primary method of confirming a business address is a Worksafe Employer Number (WEN). This is used to verify that the address you provided in the application is a location in Victoria and matches the address of a workplace registered with WorkSafe under your business’ WorkCover policy. This process is simpler and completed more quickly where the addresses match closely and do not have to be manually checked.

My business employs people, but I am covered by other insurance and not required to register for WorkCover insurance. Am I eligible for the third round of the Business Support Fund?

No. You must be registered with WorkSafe or have lodged an application for WorkCover Insurance with Worksafe at the time you apply for a grant, to be eligible for the third round of Business Support Fund.

What evidence do I need to prove my business had an annual payroll of less than $10 million in 2019-20 on an ungrouped basis?

The State Revenue Office (SRO) will verify if your business had a payroll of less than $10 million for 2019-20. You are not required to attach documentation.

For some businesses, you may need to complete your annual payroll tax reconciliation, which was due by 21 July 2020 to enable the SRO to assess if you had a payroll of less than $10 million.

Should I include grant funding in determining my business’ annual turnover figure?

No. Government grants received, including from JobKeeper or previous Business Support Fund rounds, are “payment for no supply” and not taxable. Therefore, they are not to be included in annual turnover figures.

I recently registered my business for GST. Can I apply for the third round of the Business Support Fund?

To be eligible for the third round of the Business Support Fund, a business must be registered for GST as at 13 September 2020.

Why does my business need to be registered for GST to be eligible for a grant?

The third round of the Business Support Fund was created to provide financial support to small and medium-sized employing businesses in Victoria. A business must register for GST when it has a GST turnover (gross income minus GST) of $75,000 or more.

For the purposes of this program, GST registration and its associated obligations indicate the business was operating prior to 13 September 2020. It is also a signal that the business has a large enough turnover to be an employer, which is a component of the program’s eligibility criteria.

Are businesses that are not required to be registered for GST eligible to apply for the third round of the Business Support Fund?

Charities and not-for -profit organisations that were registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC) on 30 June 2020 and have an annual revenue between $75,000 and $150,000 may apply for the grant if they meet the other eligibility criteria.

Businesses with annual 2019-20 turnover of more than $75,000 that are not required under relevant taxation legislation to be registered for GST are also eligible to apply.

My business received a grant through one of the previous Business Support Fund programs - do I have to apply again for the third round of the Business Support Fund to receive another grant?

Yes, businesses still need to submit an application to receive a grant as this program has different criteria to the previous Business Support Fund programs.

Can previous recipients of the Victorian Government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) support packages apply for this grant?

Yes. You can apply for a grant from this program, even if you previously received another business support grant. However, recipients of grants from the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund are not eligible for this program.

The Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund program will provide grants of up to $30,000 to eligible licensed pubs, clubs, hotels, bars, restaurants and reception centres, based on their venue capacity and location. Liquor license fees will also be waived until 2021. This program will open soon.

My details are already on file from earlier applications for grants from the Business Support Fund and/or Business Support Fund – Expansion.  Do I have to provide all the same information again?

Yes. This program is assessed differently to the previous Business Support Fund programs, therefore businesses are required to submit a new application to receive a grant.

What are the responsible federal or state regulators that a business needs to be registered with?

For the purpose of this program, businesses must be registered with the responsible federal or state regulator as required by law.

Charities or not-for-profit organisations must be registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

Incorporated associations must be registered with Consumers Affairs Victoria (CAV).

A business is an entity with a business name registered  with the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC).

However, some entity types and structures may not be required to register with ASIC. Some examples where you do not need to register your business name with ASIC include:

  • A sole trader or partnership trading under its legal name – that is, the individual(s) personal legal name(s).
  • A trust operating as a business under the same legal name as the trust (the legal name of the trust when registered).

Further information on registering a business is available on the Australian Government Business website.

You must ensure your business’ registration is current before you apply.

If your business is not registered with the required regulators when you apply, it will not be eligible to receive a grant.

How do I register with the responsible federalor state regulator?

I received an email telling me that my application was unsuccessful. What can I do about it?

If you have received an unsuccessful application email, check to see whether you have correctly provided your WorkCover Employer Number (WEN), business registration details and ABN.

WorkCover Employer Number (WEN)

  • You may have entered incorrect details on your application. If you have forgotten your WEN, or if you don’t have one, visit Getting started with WorkCover Insurance to set up your WorkSafe insurance and receive a WEN.
  • You can also register for a new WEN and submit a new application with your new WEN.
  • The information held by WorkSafe Victoria may not be accurate or current. You can contact WorkSafe Victoria to check the ABN, business name and workplace address details under your WorkCover policy are correct.

Business registration details

You may have entered incorrect details, or there may be an adverse finding against your business. To find out more:

ABN

  • Check you have entered your ABN correctly and that it is the same ABN registered with JobKeeper, WorkCover and the State Revenue Office (SRO).

If you require further assistance, call Business Victoria on 13 22 15.

What do I do if I accidentally submit two applications? How can I retract one?

Each business, as identified by its ABN, is eligible to receive only one grant. If you have accidentally submitted two separate applications for one business (i.e. one ABN), you do not need to do anything to retract one of them – we will only pay one grant for that ABN.

I have not heard about my application. Is it still being considered?

We endeavour to process all applications within five business days.

Delays may happen if:

  • Your application does not meet all the eligibility criteria.
  • You have not submitted the requested supporting documentation.
  • Your submitted documentation, such as a gas bill, council rates or banking information, is incorrect.
  • The State Revenue Office is unable to verify that your business had less than $10 million in payroll tax for the year 2019-2020.
  • The application has been returned to you for amendments.
  • More than one application has been submitted for the same business; in this instance, while there may be a delay in assessment, if all other eligibility criteria are met, you will receive funding for the one ABN (i.e. one application).
  • You entered incorrect details on the application form, such as an incorrect ABN, WorkCover Employee Number (WEN) and banking details (for successful applicants).
  • Your business’ registration with relevant regulators or agencies, such as the State Revenue Office, Australian Taxation Office or WorkSafe Victoria, are not current and accurate.

If you require further assistance, please call Business Victoria on 13 22 15.

What happens if I have submitted an application and not received any email notifications?

Your spam filter may have may have prevented you from seeing email notifications from us, so please check your junk inbox for emails from covid19programs@ecodev.vic.gov.au. If you cannot find an email in your junk inbox, please call/email Business Victoria 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.

We cannot contact you while your application remains in ‘draft’ as you haven’t yet given permission for the department to use your contact details.

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