Program closed

Due to high demand, applications for the Small Business Specialist Advice Pathways Program have now closed.

You may be eligible for support under another Victorian Government grant or program. For more information visit the grants and program page.

Questions about eligibility

I’ve submitted my ABN via the ABN Checker but received a message saying I may not be eligible. What are my options?

To be eligible for the program, your business must have been operating since at least 1 July 2020. The ABN Checker is a simple confirmation that this requirement has been met.

Please check the ABN you provided is correct and that your business meets the program eligibility criteria. If you still believe you are eligible for a grant, please call Business Victoria on 13 22 15 or submit an enquiry. Please state the enquiry is related to the Small Business Specialist Advice Pathways Program. If you require a translator, please call the Business Victoria hotline and let the operator know. They will call the Translating and Interpreting Service for you.

You can access information about other business support programs on the Business Victoria grants page.

Who can apply for the Small Business Specialist Advice Pathways Program?

To be eligible for a grant under the program, businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a legally structured business registered in Victoria with an active Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN on and from 1 July 2020
  • Be registered with WorkSafe Victoria
  • Employ 1-19 full-time equivalent staff.

Does the business need to be located in Victoria?

Yes. The business must have a physical presence in Victoria. To demonstrate this, the main business location of the applicant’s ABN must be listed as being in Victoria on the Australian Business Register at the time of application.

What if I don’t meet the requirements to participate in the Small Business Specialist Advice Pathways Program?

Businesses that do not meet the requirements to participate in the Small Business Specialist Advice Pathways Program may be eligible for other forms of support. You can find more information on the Business Victoria grants page.

Questions about the grant

How can I use the funds?

Grant funds must be used to engage with a qualified service provider to assist your business with financial and legal advice or services, including:

  • Advice and analysis regarding the management of cash flow, preparation or cash flow budgets and projections,
  • Profitability analysis and formulation of financial management and/or operational business strategies,
  • Strategic analysis to revise business planning and/or governance arrangements,
  • Advice regarding the management of debts and liabilities, or
  • Advice and/or representation regarding commercial agreement contract terms (i.e. commercial leases or commercial supply contracts).

What services cannot be covered by the funds?

Please refer to Section 5 of the program guidelines for a list of ineligible services and expenses.

What is a qualified service provider?

A qualified service provider is either:

  • A qualified accountant who is a declared member of one of the following professional bodies and complies with the professional education requirements:
    • CPA Australia (i.e. CPA and FCPA)
    • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (i.e. CA, ACA and FCA)
    • Institute of Public Accountants (i.e. AIPA, MIPA and FIPA)
  • A registered BAS Agent who is a declared member of one of the following associations and complies with the professional education requirements:
    • the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (FICB, MICB, AICB)
    • the Australian Bookkeepers Association (Member)
    • Association of Accounting Technicians (Australia) Limited
  • A lawyer registered with the Victorian Legal Services Board.

I don’t have a qualified service provider. How can I find one?

If you don’t already have a trusted advisor, you can find a qualified advisor through any of these professional bodies:

What are the requirements of the qualified service provider?

The qualified service provider delivers eligible services for the business, as outlined in Section 4 of the program guidelines.

The qualified service provider must be a business that is registered for tax purposes in Australia with an active ABN.

The qualified service provider cannot be an employee or director of the applicant, or an associated entity of the applicant, or a director or employee of an associated entity of the applicant.

You must include the professional membership details of the qualified provider (refer to Section 3 of the program guidelines) in the application, as well as their name, mobile and email address. You should contact the provider to secure this information and their permission prior to making an application.

Who can apply for grant funding?

The person making the application must be a person identified on the Australian Business Register as either the owner, co-owner, associate, or authorised contact of the business that is applying.

The qualified service provider cannot make an application on behalf of the applicant.

Can I apply for more than $2,000 if my project costs more than $2,000?

No, the grant is capped at $2,000 per eligible business.

I require advice from more than one service provider. Does my grant cover more than one service provider?

No. Your grant payment only covers one service provider.

Questions about evidence and documentation

I’ve received notification that my identification check has returned an invalid result or could not be validated. How do I update my proof of identity?

Update your contact details by following the steps outlined in our Proof of Identity Verification User Guide.

You can also download a copy of these instructions: Updating Proof of Identity Details in Grant Hub forms (PDF 633.93 KB) PDF icon

What identification do I need to provide with my application?

You must provide details of a current proof of identity. This must be one of the following:

  • Victorian Driver Licence or Learner Permit
  • Australian Passport
  • Medicare Card
  • Foreign passport for those issued with an Australian Visa.

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

If you are an employing business, you will need to include your unique WorkCover Employer Number (WEN) on your application.

Your WEN can be found on the top right-hand corner of an invoice from WorkSafe Victoria. Your WEN is also printed on your WorkSafe Certificate of Currency. Note you do not need to provide your certificate of currency when applying for this grant.

If you have only recently applied to be registered with WorkSafe and do not have a WEN, please provide the WorkSafe Application Reference Number (WRN) instead.

I’ve recently applied for a WorkCover Employer Number (WEN) but haven’t received it. What can I provide in my application as evidence that I’m registered with WorkSafe Victoria?

If you have only recently applied to be registered with WorkSafe and do not have a WEN, please provide the WorkSafe Application Reference Number (WRN) instead.

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 progress your application. You do not need to take any action.

Please note that applications with a WRN may take longer to process because the WorkCover registration process must be complete before we can start assessing your application.

Where do I find the professional membership details of my qualified service provider to include in my application?

You should contact your provider to request their professional membership details (refer to Section 3 of the program guidelines) prior to making an application to the program.

How will my personal information be treated?

Information provided for this program will be used by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions for the purposes of assessment of eligibility, program administration and program review. In registering for a grant, the applicant consents to the sharing of information as outlined in the program guidelines.

Questions about the application process

How are applications assessed?

Funding will be allocated through a grant application process.

Each application will be carefully considered and assessed against the eligibility criteria.

Only final applications that are lodged with the department will be considered and assessed. Applications in draft stage will not be considered.

How do I know the status of my application?

The status of your application will appear in the Business Victoria Grants Portal as one of the following:

  • Draft – you have started an application
  • Submitted – you have accepted the terms and conditions and submitted
  • Successful – your application was successful
  • Unsuccessful – your application was unsuccessful
  • Under assessment – your application has been received and is being assessed by the Business Victoria team

From the time you submit your application, the department will endeavour to provide you with updates on the progress of your application.

Please note, we cannot process your application if it remains in draft.

I’ve registered for the waitlist. When will I know if I can apply for the program?

There was very strong demand for this program. If funds become available, waitlisted businesses will receive an invitation to apply to the program on a first-in-first-serve basis. We anticipate invitations will be sent in January 2023, subject to funding approval. Registering for the waitlist does not guarantee an invitation to participate in the program.

There are other Victorian Government support initiatives that may assist your business:

  • Business Planning Tool will help you with business planning, improving cashflow, managing staff, building resilience, finding your work-life balance or learning new skills.
  • The Finance section of the Business Victoria website has guides and templates to help you keep on top of your finances and set yourself up for success.
  • Ready for Growth provides businesses with tailored advisory services by expert Growth Facilitators.
  • You can access a range of mental health and wellbeing support through Business Victoria’s Workplace Wellbeing Hub.

You can find a full list of grants and programs on the Business Victoria website.

If you are experiencing financial stress and are in need of assistance, please contact Partners in Wellbeing Helpline on 1300 375 330. Partners in Wellbeing offers free, one-on-one financial counselling, wellbeing support and business advice. This includes advice on managing debt and financial issues.

Questions about grant payments

When will I receive an outcome?

We will endeavour to process your application and notify you of a successful outcome via email before 31 October 2022.

For the purposes of this program, business days are Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.

It may take longer to notify you of an outcome if your application:

  • Does not meet all the eligibility criteria
  • Requires you to make changes
  • Is a duplicate application for the same business
  • Contains incorrect details of the qualified service provider
  • Has incorrect information such as ABN or WorkCover Employee Number (WEN)
  • Does not include current or accurate information registered with relevant regulators or partner agencies (such as the Australian Business Register or WorkSafe Victoria).

If your application is successful, you will be asked to respond to the email confirming your acceptance, and then the first $1,000 of your grant will be paid into your nominated bank account. Depending on your bank, it may take up to twenty business days for the payment to reach your account.

You will receive a second grant instalment of $1,000 after you submit a claim form to confirm the project has concluded. You can expect email notifications in November 2022 to January 2023 to confirm project completion.

Is this grant GST exclusive?

The grant provided under this program is not a taxable supply and therefore is not subject to a GST liability.

What is a statutory declaration? 

A statutory declaration is a written statement that you (the declarant) sign and declare to be true and correct in the presence of an authorised witness. By signing it, you agree that the information in it is true.

Where can I get a statutory declaration? 

To make a statutory declaration, download and complete the statutory declaration available on the main program page.