Australian Small Business Advisory Services (ASBAS) Digital Solutions

At a glance

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Provides up to $18.02 million over three years to business advisory service providers to deliver low cost, high quality, digital advisory services to Australian small businesses in metropolitan and regional areas. Advisory services will include assessment of small businesses’ needs, tailored digital engagement plans, and support in relation to one or more of the priority digital capabilities including websites and selling online, social media and digital marketing, using small business software, and online security and data privacy.

Who can apply:

To be eligible you must:

  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • be registered for GST

and be

  • an entity incorporated in Australia (including an incorporated trustee applying on behalf of a trust, an incorporated for profit organisation or an incorporated not for profit organisation) and a trading corporation, where your trading activities
    • form a sufficiently significant proportion of the corporation’s overall activities as to merit it being described as a trading corporation; or
    • are a substantial and not merely peripheral activity of the corporation.

Other eligibility requirements apply.

Deadline to apply:

Contact information:

13 28 46

business.gov.au/contact

Overview

ASBAS is an ongoing program with funding rounds generally announced every three years.

ASBAS Digital Solutions funding round will provide up to $18.02 million over three years from 2 July 2018 to 30 June 2021.

It will fund service providers to deliver low cost, high quality digital advisory services to small business located in the metropolitan and regional parts of the following three coverage areas:

  • $6.09 million for Area 1 - New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory
  • $5.68 million for Area 2 - Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia
  • $6.25 million for Area 3 - South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.

Total grant funding cannot exceed the amount of available funds per coverage area.

You can only apply for funding to service one coverage area.

Small businesses will be able to access the services for a small contribution fee through a combination of channels and formats, including face to face, or phone calls, video calls online, webchats, interactive webinars and face to face workshops.

The services will include assessment of small businesses’ needs, tailored digital engagement plans where required, and advisory support in relation to one or more of the priority digital capabilities:

  • websites and selling online
  • social media and digital marketing
  • using small business software, and
  • online security and data privacy.

The program forms part of the Australian Government’s commitment to helping small businesses create jobs, opportunity and growth, and complements general business advisory services offered by State and Territory governments.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible to apply you must:

  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • be registered for GST

and be

  • an entity incorporated in Australia (including an incorporated trustee applying on behalf of a trust, an incorporated for profit organisation or an incorporated not for profit organisation) and a trading corporation, where your trading activities
    • form a sufficiently significant proportion of the corporation’s overall activities as to merit it being described as a trading corporation; or
    • are a substantial and not merely peripheral activity of the corporation.

You are not eligible to apply if you are:

  • an individual, partnership or trust (however, an incorporated trustee may apply on behalf of a trust)
  • a Commonwealth, State, Territory and local government agency or body (including government business enterprises).

For more information on eligibility please refer to the program guidelines.

Merit criteria

To be competitive, you will need to address all merit criteria in your application. We will assess your application against each merit criterion using the weighting indicated. We will only award funding to applications that score highly against all merit criteria, including at least 50% against each merit criterion, as these represent best value for money.

Merit Criterion 1: Extent that your proposed advisory services will improve the digital capability of small businesses in the selected coverage area (30 points)

You should demonstrate:

  • how your proposed service and delivery format mix (including the anticipated number of one-on-one advisory support hours, number of interactive webinars and number of workshops to be delivered) will meet demand and improve digital capability of small businesses in the selected coverage area
  • your strategy to promote and market your services to small businesses in the selected coverage area
  • the customer journey for a small business accessing your services including how they will discover, access and participate in the services
  • the reach of your services across metropolitan and regional small businesses in the selected coverage area and the number of businesses that you anticipate assisting including through each service delivery format.

Merit Criterion 2: Capacity, capability and resources to deliver the project (40 points)

You should demonstrate this through identifying:

  • your track record managing similar projects
  • your access to personnel with the right skills and experience, including management and technical staff
  • your access to any capital equipment, technology, intellectual property, administrative systems, including record keeping practices, data collection, information sharing and reporting and required regulatory or other approvals
  • your ability to comply with relevant policies and laws to ensure the privacy and security of client data
  • a sound project plan to manage and monitor the project and risks.

Merit Criterion 3: Financial capability and governance (30 points)

You should demonstrate this through identifying:

  • a detailed project budget that identifies the costs of all key project activities/services, including the costs of promotional activities, the development of content, travel and end of project financial audit, and demonstrates that costs are commensurate with the level of service to be provided
  • your ability to fund the running costs of your organisation external to the project and any project costs that are not covered by the grant
  • how your organisation meets appropriate governance standards.

How to apply

You should read the program guidelines and sample grant agreement (to be published soon) before you apply.

To apply, fill in the online application form and attach all mandatory attachments.

When you submit your online application, we will provide you with an automated receipt number and a link. The link goes to a page where you can enter your email address to receive acknowledgment and a copy of your complete application.

If you are unable to complete the online application form contact us on 13 28 46 or business.gov.au/contact.

How we assess applications

We first assess your application against the eligibility criteria and then against the merit criteria. Only eligible applications will proceed to the merit assessment stage.

To recommend an application for funding it must score highly against each merit criterion.

The Minister for Small Business decides which grants to approve taking into account the recommendations of the merit assessment and the availability of grant funds.

If your application is successful

If your application is successful, you will need to enter into a grant agreement with the Australian Government.

We must execute a grant agreement with you before we can make any payments.

The grant agreement will state the maximum grant amount we will pay. You will receive an initial payment on execution of the grant agreement.

We will make subsequent grant payments six monthly subject to satisfactory progress on the project.

You will be required to report quarterly on your progress against the agreed service delivery targets.

If you are unsuccessful, we will notify you in writing. The Minister’s decision is final and we cannot review decisions about the merits of your application.

Key documents

  • Program guidelines
  • Factsheet
  • Sample application form
  • Sample detailed budget table
  • Sample grant agreement (to be published soon)

Customer stories

Read our customer stories to find out how ASBAS service providers are helping small businesses.

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