The Federal Government has proceeded with its plans to expand the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme by $50 million in order to help small and medium sized businesses enter new overseas markets and achieve sustainable growth.
According to the joint media release by the Hon Andrew Robb and the Hon Bruce Billson, the legislation has already been introduced into the Parliament and is waiting to be brought into force, paving the way for the $50 million increase of the EMDG scheme and lowering the eligibility requirements for entering the program.
Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb said the legislation would present small and medium sized businesses with a great opportunity to export to the exploding middle class markets across Asia.
“Now is the right time to support smaller exporters looking to capitalise on the weaker Australian dollar, including those businesses in rural and regional Australia. This is consistent with the government’s aggressive trade and investment agenda,” he said.
Changes to the EMDG scheme include reducing the threshold of expenses required before a company becomes eligible for a grant from $20,000 to $15,000 and increase in the number of grants available to eligible companies from seven to eight.
Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson said the enhanced EMDG scheme would help small and medium sized businesses become sustainable, long-term exporters and create new jobs in the country.
“The scheme helps small businesses by refunding up to 50 per cent of export market expenditure. Export markets offer enormous potential for small to medium size businesses and offer new pathways to sustainable growth and job creation. The EMDG scheme helps bring these markets within reach while at the same time supporting innovative across the country,” Mr Billson said.
The Australian Industry Group has also welcomed the expansion of the EMDG scheme, branding it as “a positive move” that would help many businesses explore overseas markets as part of a strategy to diversify their business.
“This has long proven to be a popular scheme among exporters and increasing the claim limit from seven to eight will support long term exporters in what is a challenging international environment. Reducing both the deduction and threshold for claims will ensure that emerging exporters, more likely to use non-traditional forms of marketing such as social media and AdWords rather than trade shows, will be able to claim EMDG earlier in their exporting journey,” Ai Group Chief Innes Willox said in a media release.
“The overall success and take up of schemes such as EMDG is not isolated from the need for a domestic business environment that supports competitive and innovative companies who are able to compete on the world stage.”