It might sound like a scheme aimed at hopeful hipsters wielding the latest app idea, but the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme is actually designed for the engine room of the economy — SMEs.

Partly administered in WA by CCI, the Entrepreneurs’ Programme represents a financial boost for eligible small and medium-sized businesses looking to grow.

Matched grants of up to $20,000 are available and you don’t need to be a CCI Member to take advantage of this free initiative.

CCI’s CEO Deidre Willmott says the program is a welcome opportunity for WA businesses looking to position themselves for growth in the transitioning economy.

“The Entrepreneurs’ Programme provides an amazing opportunity for leaders of SMEs to work with an experienced advisor to position the business to reach the next stage of growth,” Willmott explains.

“The program provides this service free of charge and the business advisor develops a Business Evaluation report for your company.

“The report is tailored to the specific needs of your business and can cover topics such as strategy, operations, customers and markets, finance and human resources.”

Willmott says a key plank of the scheme is the provision of a matched funding grant of up to $20,000 if businesses choose to implement any of the items in the action plan.

“The aims of the program are directly in line with CCI’s mission to help business work better and thus grow the economy,” she says.

The opportunity to benchmark his business across similar firms around the country was one of the biggest payoffs of undertaking the Entrepreneurs Programme for Paul Figliomeni.

As managing director of Unique Metals Group, the WA business started by his father 45 years ago, Figliomeni says it was beneficial to take a step back and look at the company with fresh eyes.

“That’s what the program enabled us to do – to give someone independent the opportunity to look at the business, assess its structure and compare where we’re at with others—and from that we had a baseline to work from,” he says.

“That insight reinforced a lot of things we already knew but it also gave us the impetus to actually do what needed to be done – most importantly, to streamline some our processes and systems.”

Figliomeni says Unique Metals used the program’s matched funding of $20,000 to upgrade software of the business’s ERP system, which he says made an immediate positive difference.

“And the funding was really easy to apply for,” he says. “We were guided through the whole process and I was surprised how little time it took. I was expecting the process to be a lot more onerous.”

How the program can help you

  • Improve your business management capability
  • Broker connections with research, knowledge and technology organisations to encourage innovation
  • Find and support the right commercialisation solutions and connections to get your novel product, process or service to market.

Are you eligible?

To be eligible, your business must have been trading for three years and have had turnover of more than $1.5 million in one of the last three years.

Your business must also operate or service clients in one of the following growth sectors:

  • advanced manufacturing
  • food and agribusiness
  • medical technologies and pharmaceuticals
  • mining equipment, technology and services and/or oil, gas and energy resources
  • providing enabling technologies and/or ICT and professional services to one or more of these growth sectors.

►Think you’re eligible and want to get involved? Contact our Entrepreneurs’ Programme advisers today to organise an expert consultation.