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Sole Trader Support Fund

Grant support for non-employing sole traders operating out of commercial premises or locations to help their transition to COVID Normal.

Program overview

The $100 million Sole Trader Support Fund provides support to non-employing Victorian sole traders operating out of commercial premises or locations within specific sectors.

Through this program, eligible sole traders who have been impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions will receive a grant of $3,000 that can be used towards their overhead costs and to help their transition to COVID Normal.

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.

Guidelines

Sole Trader Support Fund guidelines (PDF 360.52 KB)PDF icon

Sole Trader Support Fund guidelines (DOCX 1528.93 KB)DOCX icon

Eligible ANZSIC classes

List of Eligible ANZSIC classes - Sole Trader Support Fund (DOCX 93.5 KB)DOCX icon

List of Eligible ANZSIC classes – Sole Trader Support Fund (PDF 123.37 KB)PDF icon

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Click here to read the list of FAQs

Applications will remain open until funds are exhausted or 11.59pm on 30 December 2020, whichever is earlier.

Who can apply for the grant?

This program provides support to businesses in industry sectors that were Restricted, Heavily Restricted or Closed and for which restrictions did not ease between the First and Second Steps in the Roadmap ‘How we work in metropolitan Melbourne’ in place when the program commenced in September 2020. The eligible industries are set out below.

Download the full List of Eligible ANZSIC classes – Sole Trader Support Fund (PDF 123.37 KB)PDF icon.

List of Eligible ANZSIC classes - Sole Trader Support Fund (DOCX 93.5 KB)DOCX icon

Businesses in the eligible sectors must also:

  • Operate a business within Victoria
  • Be a sole trader with no employees*
  • Operate from a commercial premises or location (and not a residential premises) for at least six months as a:
    • Tenant, licensee, or owner / occupier of a fixed commercial premises, or
    • Operator of a registered ‘mobile food premises’ (e.g. a food van) with a permit or commercial agreement to operate at specific location(s)
  • Be a participant in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper Payment scheme
  • Be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • Hold an Australian Business Number (ABN).

*A business is assessed as having no employees if it is not registered with WorkSafe Victoria for WorkCover insurance and has an annual payroll of less than $7,500 for any person other than the business owner.

Who is not eligible?

The following businesses are not eligible:

  • Businesses who have received a grant under the Business Support Fund, Business Support Fund-Expansion, third round of the Business Support Fund or Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund programs
  • Businesses that are trusts, companies or partnerships
  • Non-employing sole traders who do not operate from a commercial premises or location
  • Non-employing sole traders in metropolitan Melbourne who are able to open with a COVIDSafe Plan in the First Step in the ‘How we work in metropolitan Melbourne’ roadmap
  • Non-employing sole traders in metropolitan Melbourne operating in sectors for whom restrictions are easing in the Second Step in the ‘How we work in metropolitan Melbourne’ roadmap
  • Non-employing sole traders in regional Victoria who are able to reopen with a COVIDSafe Plan in the Second Step in the ‘How we work in regional Victoria’ roadmap.

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

How much are the grants from this program?

Eligible sole traders will receive a grant of $3,000.

What can the grants be used for?

Grants may be used to assist the business in paying overhead costs such as utilities or rent.

Grants may also be used to pay for:

  • 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.

Documentation or evidence required with an application

Applicants must provide:

  • Their ABN, which must be linked to the correct ANZSIC classification of their primary business.
  • Their most recent JobKeeper Business Monthly Declaration Receipt ID or Enrolment ID generated from the Australian Taxation Office’s business portal which shows that the business has received a payment.
  • Evidence of their commercial premises or location as listed below:
    • If they are a tenant:
      • a current commercial rental agreement or lease of six months or longer
      • a signed and dated letter from a real estate agent or landlord confirming currently leasing premises at this location for 6 months or more
      • a signed and dated Landlords Disclosure Statement on renewal of lease or
      • invoices for rent (one current and one at least six months ago).
    • If they are a licensee – a current commercial licence or similar agreement of six months or longer for fixed premises.
    • If they are an owner/occupier of a fixed commercial premises – a 2019-20 or 2020-21 Municipal Rates Notice.
    • If they are a registered ‘mobile food premises’ – Streatrader Statement of Trade and a current Roadside Trading Permit issued by a Local Government, VicRoads or other commercial agreement to use a particular location(s) for at least six months.

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.

Applicants with incomplete or incorrect information may experience delays and follow up requests to complete their application. In some instances, this may result in an ineligible assessment. Please ensure you complete the application correctly and provide the correct documentation.

Sole Trader Support Fund supporting document examples (PDF 2097.26 KB)PDF icon

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
  • has been returned for amendments
  • is a duplicate application for the same business
  • has incorrect details such as incorrect ABN and banking details (for successful applicants).

The following circumstances are taken into consideration when assessing applications.

  • Any adverse findings by a regulator regarding the business.
  • The business is or becomes deregistered or unregistered (including cancellation or lapse in registration or permit required to operate).
  • The business is the subject of a petition for bankruptcy.

You can check the status of your application by logging on to the Business Victoria grants portal. For further assistance please contact us or call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.

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. Please ensure you attach all requested documentation to ensure timely assessment and grant payment.

Applicants must certify that they meet the eligibility criteria and intend to resume or 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.

Guidelines

Sole Trader Support Fund guidelines (PDF 360.52 KB)PDF icon

Sole Trader Support Fund guidelines (DOCX 1528.93 KB)DOCX icon

Eligible ANZSIC classes

List of Eligible ANZSIC classes - Sole Trader Support Fund (DOCX 93.5 KB)DOCX icon

List of Eligible ANZSIC classes – Sole Trader Support Fund (PDF 123.37 KB)PDF icon

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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

More information

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

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) business information page provides information on other support and resources for businesses.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Who is eligible to apply for a grant?

This program provides support to businesses in industry sectors that were Restricted, Heavily Restricted or Closed and for which restrictions did not ease between the First and Second Steps in the Roadmap ‘How we work in metropolitan Melbourne’ in place when the program commenced in September 2020.

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.

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

I’m a sole trader operating from my home. Am I eligible?

Sole traders operating from home are not eligible to apply for this fund. The fund is designed to provide support to sole traders that incur overhead costs directly related to their business operations, such as rent or rates.

Below are some examples of eligible and ineligible businesses based on their business’ location or premises.

  • Mary is a tutor who teaches maths classes online from her home. As she operates completely from home, she is not eligible to apply for this grant.
  • Ari operates an Uber vehicle and Sally operates a taxi. Both operate from their homes. These vehicles are not a commercial premises or location, so they are not eligible to apply.
  • Tina runs outdoor and indoor bootcamp classes at a local hall that she has been renting every Friday night for more than six months. She is eligible to apply for this grant because she can show a lease agreement of more than six months’ duration in her application.
  • Roberto runs a food truck and has a Roadside Trading Permit and a Streatrader Statement of Trade. He is eligible to apply for this grant.
  • Jenny is an artist and owns a small gallery. She is eligible to apply for a grant, based on the costs of operating her gallery.
  • David is a mechanic who operates from his garage next to his residence. He’s not leasing commercial premises to undertake his work, so he is not eligible to apply for this grant.

What evidence do I need to provide to prove my commercial premises or location?

You must provide one of the following documents to show your commercial premises or location.

  • If you are a tenant of fixed commercial premises:
    • a current commercial rental agreement or lease of six months or longer
    • a signed and dated letter from a real estate agent or landlord confirming currently leasing premises at this location for 6 months or more
    • a signed and dated Landlords Disclosure Statement on renewal of lease or
    • invoices for rent (one current and one at least six months ago).
  • If you are a licensee of fixed commercial premises – a current commercial licence or similar agreement for fixed commercial premises of six months or longer.
  • If you are an owner/occupier of a fixed commercial premises – a 2019-20 or 2020-21 Municipal Rates Notice.
  • If you are a registered ‘mobile food premises’ – Streatrader Statement of Trade and a current Roadside Trading Permit issued by a Local Government, VicRoads or other commercial agreement to use a particular location(s) for at least six months.

I operate a mobile business. Can I apply for this grant?

Mobile sole traders that are registered as a ‘mobile food premises’ are eligible to apply for this grant. Other mobile businesses are not eligible to apply.

You must show a Streatrader Statement of Trade. You also need to provide a current Roadside Trading Permit issued by a Local Government or VicRoads or another commercial agreement to use a particular location(s) for at least six months.

Are operators of taxis, Ubers and other commercial passenger vehicle ride services eligible for a grant?

A registered commercial passenger vehicle, such as a taxi or Uber vehicle, is not considered a fixed commercial premises or location. Therefore, an applicant whose commercial passenger vehicle is listed as their commercial premises or location is not eligible for funding under this program.

However, an applicant who is a tenant, licensee or owner of a fixed commercial premises (i.e. not a residential premises) that serves as a base for their commercial passenger vehicle ride service, may be eligible for funding under this program, subject to meeting the other eligibility criteria.

Why are mobile food vans eligible for this grant?

Mobile food vans generally have commercial arrangements to operate at fixed locations for more than six months, in line with the nature of their work. This support primarily assists sole traders with overhead costs such as rent or utilities.

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

I’m a sole trader and I have one part-time employee. Am I eligible?

This fund is designed for sole traders operating out of commercial premises or locations within specific sectors, who do not employ staff. You will be considered to be an eligible sole trader if your payroll is less than $7,500 for any person other than the business owner.

Businesses who have a payroll greater than $7,500, may instead be eligible for support from third round of the Victorian Government's Business Support Fund.

How do I provide evidence that my business is an eligible business participant in, and has received payment from, 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. Note to be eligible you must have received at least one JobKeeper payment.

Please make sure the ABN on your application is the same as the ABN registered for JobKeeper. If 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 for this grant?

Sole traders who are not participating in JobKeeper are not eligible for a grant from the Sole Trader Support Fund program. Please check your eligibility for JobKeeper on the Australian Taxation Office website.

I recently registered for GST. Can I apply for this grant?

To be eligible for the Sole Trader Support Fund, a business must be registered for GST as at 14 September 2020.

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

The Sole Trader Support Fund was created to provide extra financial support to eligible non-employing sole trader businesses operating from commercial premises or locations.

For the purposes of this program, GST registration and its associated obligations indicate the business was operating prior to 14 September 2020.

A business must register for GST when it has a GST turnover (gross income minus GST) of $75,000 or more.

Are sole traders who are not required to be registered for GST eligible to apply?

Sole traders who are not registered for GST (including those who are not required by law to be registered for GST) are not eligible to apply.

For the purposes of this program, GST registration and its associated obligations indicate the business was operating prior to 14 September 2020.

My business is a trust/company/partnership. Am I eligible?

No. This program is for non-employing sole traders. If your business is ineligible for a grant from this program, you may be able to access other support from the Victorian Government’s Business Resilience Package.

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

No. Recipients of other coronavirus (COVID-19) support grants, such as the Business Support Fund or the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund, cannot apply for a grant from this program.

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 is incorrect.
  • 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).
  • Your business’ registration with the Australian Taxation Office is not current and accurate.

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

What happens if I have applied 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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