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Small Business

Thinking of exporting?

[PDF 788KB]

Need advice on expanding your business or getting export ready? The Government can help.

The Government is committed to generating jobs, exports and a more prosperous economy. Australia’s free trade agreements increase opportunities for Australian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to go global and open the door to prospective new markets and customers. To be globally competitive, small businesses must be productive, efficient and focused on growth. The Government’s Industry, Innovation and Competitiveness agenda helps export-focused businesses develop a competitive advantage. The Government can help your business become more competitive, ready for the global marketplace.

The Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP
Minister for Small Business
Assistant Treasurer

Build Your Business and Become Export Ready

The website is a single point of information and advice for business. It is accessible via web chat, online enquiry, telephone and AusIndustry’s national facilitation network. puts Australian businesses first and has simplified and streamlined access to information and advice. provides tips, tools, templates and howto guides for exporters. The website provides referral services to help you improve your business sustainability and management practices to ensure you are export ready.

For the latest news and information for small business, including free trade agreement seminars in your region, subscribe to updates or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Australian Small Business Advisory Services

If you are a small business or looking to start a new business and need more hands-on help, Australian Small Business Advisory Services provide low cost advice on how to make your business more efficient and competitive.

Small businesses can access a range of advisory services to find solutions on:

  • funding avenues and financial analysis
  • building your business
  • making the most of your talent and team
  • management capabilities
  • engaging online.

Free Online Training – Small Business Building

Get free online training at a time and pace that suits you for starting and growing your business. Small Business Building is a training and information service accessible 24/7. The training covers business topics, including importing and exporting. Developed by the University of Western Sydney, the training uses videos, planning tools and checklists to help you identify areas that need strengthening.

To access Small Business Building training please visit the Small Business Building website.

Build Your Business Capability Online

Developing or enhancing your online presence can help to build your business profile and improve your export capability.

If you are ready to take your business online or want to enhance your digital capability and presence, the Digital Business website has practical tips, tools and information for small business.

You can explore digital business opportunities in your own industry with the Digital Business Kit. The kit shows you how to use innovative digital solutions to:

  • market your product or service
  • engage with your clients
  • improve your business operations.

For more information please visit the Digital Business website.

Stay Smart Online

The Stay Smart Online Small Business Guide (the guide) helps you put in place some basic online security practices for your business. It only takes a few minutes to read through the five easy steps, which will provide you with the basics on how to protect the information entrusted to you by your customers and suppliers. For more information, please visit the Stay Smart Online website or access the Guide online.

Entrepreneurs’ Programme

The Entrepreneurs’ programme provides tailored support to your business to make it more competitive, productive and export-focused.

The programme is the Australian Government’s flagship initiative for business competitiveness and productivity at the firm level. It provides practical advice and support for businesses, including advice from people with private sector experience; co-funded grants to commercialise novel products, processes and services; funding to take advantage of growth opportunities; and connection and collaboration opportunities. Services and grants are delivered through three elements:

  • Accelerating Commercialisation, helping entrepreneurs, researchers and businesses address key commercialisation challenges in bringing novel products, processes and services to market.
  • Business Management, providing support for business improvement and growth.
  • Research Connections, providing support for business to collaborate with the research sector and connect with appropriate sources of expertise, technology and advice.

Industry Growth Centres Initiative

The Industry Growth Centres Initiative is a sector based approach to drive growth, productivity and competitiveness by concentrating investment in key growth sectors.

The Centres will initially be established in five key sectors of the Australian economy: advanced manufacturing; food and agribusiness; medical technologies and pharmaceuticals; mining equipment, technology and services; and oil, gas and energy resources.

Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive

If your business undertakes research and development (R&D), it may be eligible for the R&D Tax Incentive. This is an easy-to-access entitlement programme available to eligible businesses in all industry sectors.

The programme provides an incentive to offset the costs of R&D and offers a 45 per cent refundable tax offset for most small to medium companies with an annual turnover of less than $20 million. This is available as a cash refund for eligible businesses in tax loss. Companies with an annual turnover greater than $20 million may receive a 40 per cent non-refundable tax offset.

From 1 July 2014, a $100 million threshold applies to the R&D expenditure for which companies can claim a concessional tax offset under the R&D tax incentive. For any R&D expenditure above $100 million, companies are still able to claim a tax offset at the company tax rate.

The Australian Government has announced its intention to change the rates of assistance to 43.5 and 38.5 per cent respectively.

Industry Skills Fund

Getting the right skills and training for you and your employees can help your business adjust to market changes and adapt to new growth opportunities and technological change. It can also help your business become more competitive and export ready.

The $664 million Industry Skills Fund will provide over 250,000 training places and support services over five years. The fund will assist Australian industry access training and support services so Australia will have the highly skilled workforce it needs to adapt to new business growth opportunities, rapid technological change and market driven structural adjustment. The fund will prioritise SMEs, including micro businesses. This programme is delivered by the Department of Education and Training and is available through

Advice on Anti-Dumping

The International Trade Remedies Advisory Service provides detailed advice and assistance to Australian SMEs seeking to access Australia’s anti-dumping and countervailing system. Dumping occurs when an exporter sells goods to Australia at a price that is below their ‘normal value’ usually the domestic price of the goods in the country of export.

Assistance for SME Importers

The Enhanced project By-law Scheme provides duty-free tariff concessions for eligible goods imported for use in the mining, resource processing, agriculture, food processing, food packaging, manufacturing, gas supply, water supply and power supply industries.

Certain Inputs to Manufacture (CIM) aims to support the development of Australia’s manufacturing competitiveness by reducing input costs through a tariff concession on the importation of specific goods for the manufacturing of a specific end product.

CIM provides duty free imports of raw materials or intermediate goods which have a substantial advantage over substitutable goods produced in Australian. CIM can provide concessions for the importation of raw materials including dyes, dye carriers, pigments, tannins, starches, glues, waxes, polishes, plastics, and other eligible raw materials that are used in the manufacturing of a specific end product.

Help for importers who also export: To assist your business through customs duty exemptions or refunds, see Duty Drawback Scheme and Tradex at the end of this brochure.

Export Your Product or Service

Free Trade Agreements

Free trade agreements (FTAs) are international treaties that reduce or eliminate barriers to trade and investment.

Australia has negotiated a number of FTAs with individual countries and groups of countries. These FTAs mean Australia has better access to important markets, a more competitive position for Australian exports, increased prospects for two-way investment, and reduced costs for imports, for Australian businesses and consumers.

The Government’s programmes and assistance for small business development and exporting can help position your business to take advantage of the benefits of Australia’s FTAs.

Learn more about Australia’s existing FTAs and ongoing negotiations led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on the DFAT website. Detailed fact sheets and user guides are available for agreements. DFAT welcomes business and community feedback and input on current negotiations.

Trade and Investment News

Business Envoy is a bi-monthly online publication that connects DFAT with business. It provides Australian business with a direct line to the Australian Government’s global diplomatic network and shares insights on the economic and market implications of geopolitical events and trends. Business Envoy draws on reporting and advice from Australian embassies and high commissions in key trade and investment markets, as well as analysis and assessments on international issues from DFAT in Canberra.

To subscribe to Business Envoy and read the latest edition online, please visit the Business@DFAT website.

Subscribe to Trade Talk for a weekly roundup of the latest trade and investment news delivered direct to your inbox. Sign up on the trade pages of the DFAT website and catch the latest headlines on Twitter: #TradeTalkAU.

Get Australian trade statistics from DFAT’s trade pages on the DFAT Trade Resources website. This includes all of DFAT’s statistical publications as well as monthly trade data, Australia’s top trading partners, trade time series data and analytical articles on Australia’s trade and investment.

Find a range of resources to help your business operate overseas on DFAT’s Smartraveller website. This includes resources on safe travel planning and risk assessments. Read more about specific risks to business travellers and mitigation measures on the Smarttraveller website.


Austrade’s role is to advance Australia’s international trade, investment, education and tourism interests by providing information, advice and services for SMEs.

Assess your export readiness: Austrade’s online International Readiness Indicator tool will help you determine whether your business is ready for exporting. Access the tool online.

Get how-to export guides: Read about practical aspects of exporting such as choosing and working with agents and distributors, risk management, export pricing and how to manage overseas sales enquiries.

Research overseas markets: Learn about doing business in overseas markets and find links to more information to help you conduct desk research.

Get general assistance on doing business overseas: Austrade can provide export ready businesses with advice on doing business overseas, including:

  • international market selection and market entry/ expansion strategies
  • business culture and etiquette
  • upcoming international promotions such as trade shows and missions
  • information on financial assistance and other government programmes
  • introducing export ready businesses to networks of key decision makers, customers and contacts, including:
    • connecting you with international buyers
    • alerting you to upcoming international promotions
    • incoming buyer delegations; and
    • referring you to specialist service providers in Australia and overseas.

Tailored services for export ready businesses: Through its global network of advisers, Austrade provides tailored services which are customised to your business and your specific needs. These include providing market research, identifying potential partners, service providers and customers, and setting up meetings. Tailored services are offered through Austrade’s overseas offices on a fee for service basis.

TradeStart: The TradeStart network provides access to Austrade services for export ready businesses in outer metropolitan and regional areas. The prime objective of Austrade’s TradeStart network is to assist SME exporters to achieve long term success in international markets by offering exporters the combined resources of TradeStart Partners. They deliver Austrade services and have access to Austrade’s worldwide resources and systems.

Export Market Development Grants (EMDG): EMDG assists SMEs by reimbursing up to 50 per cent of promotional expenditure. Recent changes to EMDG have seen an additional $50 million per year made available for grants and a reduction to the minimum expenses threshold required to be incurred by an applicant from $20,000 to $15,000.

For more information about Austrade’s programmes and services please visit the Austrade website.

Women in Global Business (WIGB)

WIGB is a joint initiative by the state, territory and Australian governments, which supports businesswomen to take their products and services to the world. WIGB aims to increase female participation in international trade and deliver greater economic benefit and job creation. The initiative offers a central source of information and resources, support and connection for women-led businesses in Australia. WIGB services include:

  • events and seminars tailored to assist in accessing markets and showcasing successful women exporters
  • capacity building workshops, including access to finance and capital
  • a mentoring programme matching aspiring women exporters with experienced female mentors
  • research on the barriers and enablers associated with women in export
  • international WIGB chapters and connections
  • international partnerships on women’s economic empowerment projects
  • monthly newsletter
  • free membership.

For more information please visit the Women in Global Business website or call: 03 9648-3285.

Efic: Helping SMEs Access Finance

As Australia’s export credit agency, Efic is a specialist financier that delivers simple and creative solutions for Australian companies to enable them to win business, grow internationally and achieve export success.

Efic operates on a commercial basis and partners with banks to provide financial solutions for:

  • SMEs that are exporters
  • Australian companies in an export supply chain
  • Australian companies looking to expand their business operations overseas to better service their clients
  • Australian companies operating in emerging and frontier markets.

With a long history of successfully operating in overseas markets, Efic uses a range of products to help exporting SMEs receive the finance they need, such as:

  • Export contract loans, where it provides SMEs with a direct loan to support a specific export contract or purchase order
  • Working capital guarantees, where it provides a guarantee to an SME’s bank if the SME doesn’t have the assets that its bank requires as security to approve further working capital for an export contract or purchase order
  • Bonding facilities, including bonding lines and contract-specific bonds, which are used if an SME’s bank can’t support the total bonding requirements for a specific project
  • Overseas direct investment guarantees, where Efic provides a guarantee to an SME’s Australian bank so that the bank can approve the funding needed for the SME to expand overseas.

Efic has helped many Australian exporters take advantage of new contract opportunities that may otherwise haves been out of reach.

To find out more about how Efic could help your export business grow, please visit the Efic website, call: 1800 093 724 or email:


The Australian Government administers the Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme which allows Chinese tourists to travel to Australia in guided groups. Tourist visas under the ADS scheme are only available to people travelling in tours organised by outbound tour operators approved by Australian and Chinese government authorities. ADS helps to ensure Chinese group-tour visitors in Australia receive quality tourism experiences. For more information please visit the Austrade website.

Duty Drawback Scheme

The Duty Drawback Scheme assists exporters to obtain a drawback (repayment) of customs duty paid on imported goods where those goods are:

  • exported unused since importation; or
  • treated, processed, or incorporated into other goods for export.

Your business may be eligible to make a claim for duty drawback if you legally own the goods at the time they are exported. You can claim the duty drawback within four years from the date of exportation, with the exception of tobacco products, which must be claimed within 12 months. The minimum claim per application is $100.

For more information about duty drawbacks please visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website; call: 1300 304 322 or: email:


Tradex allows an importer to gain an up-front exemption from customs duty and GST on eligible imported goods that are intended for export or incorporated in other goods that are to be exported. This Scheme can provide significant cash flow advantages for any importer that meets the criteria.

Exporting Agricultural, Fishery and Meat Products

If you are a new or potential exporter of agricultural products, the Department of Agriculture can help get your product to its destination market.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources can help you understand the export requirements for your particular product and the import conditions of destination countries so your agricultural products have a smooth transition to market. Some agricultural products have legal and administrative requirements for export. These may be licensing requirements for exporters, premises registration export permits and health certificates to accompany export consignments or export inspection procedures prior to load-out.

Some of the Department’s services attract fees. For more information about the Department’s services for exporters, visit the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website or call: 1800 900 090.

Need more information ? 13 28 46
Make an online enquiry or use the web chat service

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Contact the Treasury

Telephone +61 2 6263 2111 or
1800 020 008 (Switchboard, 8.00 am to 5.30pm AEST)
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ABN: 92 802 414 793