Visit our COVID-19 page for information and advice on the assistance available for NSW residents and businesses.

1. About the program

The NSW Government is gradually lifting the restrictions on movement and business operations that were aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19. This is enabling small businesses to reopen or scale-up their operations. In doing so, small businesses may need to make changes to ensure they provide a safe environment for their staff and the public.

Many small businesses and not-for-profits have experienced a decline in turnover due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Small Business Recovery Grant (“the Grant”) will help these small businesses and not-for-profits meet the costs of safely reopening or scaling up operations.

Applications will open on 1 July 2020 and close at 11:59pm Sunday 16 August 2020.

Service NSW and Treasury NSW will deliver the Grant on behalf of the NSW Government.

Applicants will be subject to audit by the NSW Government or its representatives.

2. Available funding

2.1 Eligible businesses and not-for-profits can apply for a one-off grant of between $500 to $3000 via one application.

2.2 Applicants are required to indicate the grant amount being requested when applying.

3. Eligibility criteria

3.1 Businesses and not-for-profits will be eligible for the grant if they:

  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN) as at 1 March 2020 registered in NSW;
  • have total Australian wages below the NSW Government 2019-20 payroll tax threshold of $900,000 as at 1 March 2020;
  • have fewer than 20 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff (including non-employing businesses, such as non-employing sole traders) as at 1 March 2020;
  • have an annual turnover of more than $75,000 as at 1 March 2020;
  • have experienced a decline in turnover of at least 30 per cent from March to July 2020 compared to the equivalent period (of at least 2 weeks) in 2019;
  • are in a highly impacted industry (see Attachment A) as at 1 March 2020. These industries were impacted by the COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement Order 2020;
  • have costs from 1 July 2020 associated with safely reopening or scaling up their business.

4. How funding may be used

4.1 The Small Business Recovery Grant will provide eligible small businesses and not-for-profits with a grant of between $500 to $3000 to support them to safely reopen or scale up operations.  Grant funds can, for example, be used on:  

  • fit-out changes and temporary physical changes (for example, plastic barriers at checkouts);
  • staff training and counselling (for example, health & safety risks and mitigation strategies);
  • business advice and continuity planning; 
  • cleaning products and additional cleaning services; 
  • additional equipment necessary to comply with social distancing or other public health measures;
  • marketing, communications and advertising (for example, to let the community know the business is operating again); and
  • digital solutions (for example, e-commerce or business websites).

4.2 The Small Business Recovery Grant can only be used for purchases made from 1 July 2020.

4.3 The Grant must only be used for expenses for which no other government support is available.

4.4 The Grant amount will be equivalent to the value of eligible expenses between $500 to $3000.

5. Evidence in support of eligibility

5.1 Applicants are required to:

  • declare their costs associated with safely reopening or scaling up operations. They will not be required to provide evidence of costs on application (for example, invoices) but will need to keep evidence of expenditure for a possible future audit;
  • certify to the administrating agency that they meet the Eligibility Criteria;
  • submit documentation to demonstrate eligibility, including a Business Activity Statement (BAS) to demonstrate their business had an annual turnover of $75,000 as at 1 March 2020;
  • declare they have experienced a decline in turnover of at least 30 per cent in the March to July 2020 period, compared to the equivalent period (of at least 2 weeks) in 2019; and
  • lodge other supporting documents as required to demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria.

5.2 Businesses that are not on the list of highly impacted industries (Attachment A) are not able to access the Grant.

5.3 Where a small business or not-for-profit was not in operation a year earlier, or where their turnover a year earlier was not representative of their usual or average turnover (for example, because the business has been affected by drought), the administrating agency will have discretion to consider additional information that the small business or not-for-profit can provide to establish that they have been significantly affected by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

5.4 Small business not in operation 12 months ago, but that commenced operations prior to 1 March must compare their turnover for a period in March to July 2020 (of a minimum 2 weeks) to the average turnover between when the entity commenced and 1 March 2020.

5.5 Small business affected by drought or natural disaster must compare their turnover for a period in March to July 2020 (of a minimum 2 weeks) to the turnover experienced in the same period in the year immediately preceding the year the business was affected by the current drought or other natural disaster.

5.6 If you purchased an existing business after 1 March 2020 but before the COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement Order 2020 was issued on 30 March 2020, and have had to register a new ABN, you may still be eligible for the grant. Contact Service NSW to discuss your case further.

5.7 Where a small business does not submit a BAS to the Australian Tax Office, the small business should contact Service NSW to discuss further. In these cases, an income tax declaration may be accepted as evidence of an annual turnover of $75,000.

5.8 Where a small business operates through a trust structure, the applicant will be required to provide additional information to demonstrate an annual turnover of $75,000 is derived through the trust, as opposed to a business linked to a trust.

5.9 Service NSW can request a combination of the following documents to support its determination of eligibility: 

  • prior BAS statements
  • income tax declaration
  • profit and loss statements
  • extractions from an accounting software (for example, Xero)
  • receipts and invoices from purchases.

Where a business is unable to provide these documents, Service NSW may accept another form of documentation, for example, a letter from an accountant.

5.10 Businesses requiring assistance with their online application can contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.  

6. Terms and conditions

6.1 Applicants are able to apply for assistance once under the scheme where they are an eligible small business owner or not-for-profit organisation.

6.2 Applicants will be required to provide supporting documentation at the time of application.

6.3 Service NSW will check whether an applicant’s business is registered for GST during the assessment process. If you are a small business or not-for-profit that is not registered for GST but you have a turnover of at least $75,000 and you meet the other eligibility criteria, you may still be eligible and should contact the Service NSW Business Concierge to discuss the options available to you.

6.4 Applicants must retain for five years all tax invoices, official receipts, bank statements, or other similar records that show grant monies have been used to purchase items that will allow them to safely reopen or scale up operations in accordance with these Guidelines.

6.5 Applicants must consent to the administering agency conducting an audit of documentation used to support an application to verify information provided.

6.6 If information in the application is found to be untrue or misleading, the matter may be referred to NSW Police and criminal penalties may apply.

7. Definitions

Administrating Agency means the responsible agency/department/body for assessing and/or administrating the grant package including any applications.

Eligible expenses are costs businesses and not-for-profits incur in providing a safe environment for their staff and the public as they reopen or scale up their operations.  

Employee means an individual employed by the business and included in the payroll. An employee is someone who the business makes payments to subject to withholding for tax purposes; such as salary, wages or director fees.

Full-time employment means an individual who ordinarily works for at least 35 hours each week for the small business.

Full-time equivalent (FTE) employment is the total number of paid employee hours divided by the number of full-time employment hours. To calculate, divide the employee's hours by 35 to determine the FTE. For example, an employee scheduled to work 21 hours per week would be 0.6 FTE.

Highly impacted industries refers to the list of industries in Attachment A.

Non-employing business means a business owner who does not have employees. This may include a range of entity types, such as non-employing sole traders or any other businesses without employees.

Not for profit organisation means an incorporated charity or non-profit entity which is registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) or an equivalent NSW regulatory body.

Small Business is a business that:

  1. holds an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  2. has fewer than 20 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff (including non-employing businesses).

Small business owner is a sole trader, partnership, private company or trust that carries on a small business.

Turnover is the total ordinary income derived in the ordinary course of running a small business typically measured on an annual basis.

Attachment A: List of highly impacted industries

Small businesses that do not fall under one of the highly impacted industries in this Attachment A are not eligible for the Small Business Recovery Grant.

If you are not sure if your business operates in a highly impacted industry, call us on 13 77 88.

Industry

Industry categories

Accommodation and Food Services

  • Clubs (Hospitality)
  • Accommodation
  • Pubs, Taverns and Bars
  • Cafés and Restaurants
  • Catering Services

Administrative and Support Services

  • Travel Agency and Tour Arrangement Services
  • Other Administrative Services (includes some events related businesses)

Arts and Recreation Services

  • Museum Operation
  • Zoological and Botanical Gardens Operation
  • Casino Operation
  • Other Gambling Activities
  • Other Horse and Dog Racing Activities
  • Performing Arts Operation
  • Performing Arts Venue Operation
  • Amusement and Other Recreational Activities not elsewhere classified
  • Amusement Parks and Centres Operation
  • Health and Fitness Centres and Gymnasia Operation
  • Horse and Dog Racing Administration and Track Operation
  • Nature Reserves and Conservation Parks Operation
  • Sports and Physical Recreation Administrative Service
  • Sports and Physical Recreation Clubs and Sports Professionals
  • Sports and Physical Recreation Instruction
  • Sports and Physical Recreation Venues, Grounds and Facilities Operation

Information Media and Telecommunications

  • Libraries and Archives
  • Motion Picture Exhibition

Manufacturing

  • Beer Manufacturing
  • Spirit Manufacturing
  • Wine and Other Alcoholic Beverage Manufacturing

Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services

  • Real Estate Services

Other Services

  • Brothel Keeping and Prostitution Services
  • Hairdressing and Beauty Services
  • Laundry and Dry-Cleaning Services
  • Other Personal Services not elsewhere classified

Retail (excluding food retailing)

  • Car Retailing
  • Motor Cycle Retailing
  • Trailer and Other Motor Vehicle Retailing
  • Motor Vehicle Parts Retailing
  • Tyre Retailing
  • Furniture Retailing
  • Floor Coverings Retailing
  • Houseware Retailing
  • Manchester and Other Textile Goods Retailing
  • Electrical, Electronic and Gas Appliance Retailing
  • Computer and Computer Peripheral Retailing
  • Other Electrical and Electronic Goods Retailing
  • Hardware and Building Supplies Retailing
  • Garden Supplies Retailing
  • Sport and Camping Equipment Retailing
  • Entertainment Media Retailing
  • Toy and Game Retailing
  • Newspaper and Book Retailing
  • Marine Equipment Retailing
  • Clothing Retailing
  • Footwear Retailing
  • Watch and Jewellery Retailing
  • Other Personal Accessory Retailing
  • Department Stores
  • Pharmaceutical, Cosmetic and Toiletry Goods Retailing
  • Stationery Goods Retailing
  • Antique and Used Goods Retailing
  • Flower Retailing
  • Other Store-Based Retailing not elsewhere classified
  • Non-Store Retailing
  • Retail Commission-Based Buying and/or Selling

Transport

  • Air and Space Transport
  • Water Passenger Transport
  • Scenic and Sightseeing Transport

Education and Training

  • Preschool Education
  • Primary Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Combined Primary and Secondary Education
  • Special School Education
  • Technical and Vocational Education and Training
  • Higher Education
  • Sports and Physical Recreation Instruction
  • Arts Education
  • Adult, Community and Other Education not elsewhere classified
  • Educational Support Services

Wholesale trade

  • Textile Product Wholesaling
  • Clothing and Footwear Wholesaling
  • Pharmaceutical and Toiletry Goods Wholesaling
  • Furniture and Floor Covering Wholesaling
  • Jewellery and Watch Wholesaling
  • Kitchen and Diningware Wholesaling
  • Toy and Sporting Goods Wholesaling
  • Book and Magazine Wholesaling
  • Paper Product Wholesaling
  • Other Goods Wholesaling not elsewhere classified
  • Commission-Based Wholesaling

Professional, Scientific and Technical Services

  • Professional Photographic Services