Simplifying the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) scheme

The Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme will be simplified and reoriented from a reimbursement scheme to a more traditional grants program. Currently the scheme provides assistance to exporters by reimbursing expenses on eligible marketing and promotion activities, and will move to an upfront grant agreement over two years (for those new to export), or up to three years (for those growing or making a strategic shift).

A reoriented EMDG program will maintain those features valued by SME exporters and industry bodies, while making it simpler to access and providing greater funding certainty before they embark on their marketing and promotion activities.

Support for exporters

In the reoriented EMDG program, multi-year grants will be available for eligible SMEs at three stages of their export journey:

  • Tier 1 grants: eligible SMEs who are new to export will be able to access grants of up to $80,000 over two years
  • Tier 2 grants: eligible SME exporters who are seeking to grow or expand will be able to access grants of up to $240,000 over three years
  • Tier 3 grants: eligible SME exporters who are seeking to make a strategic shift will be able to access grants of up to $450,000 over three years

Unlike the current reimbursement scheme, which saw exporters waiting up to two years for payments, eligible SMEs will be able to get upfront funding certainty over multiple years for eligible marketing and promotional activities. To be eligible, SMEs will need to be export-ready and have a turnover of less than $20 million.

Assistance for industry bodies and alliances

Assistance provided to industry bodies and alliances will be expanded to provide help for members who are new to export to become export-ready. Industry bodies and alliances will continue to have access to financial assistance to enable them to undertake promotional activities on behalf of their members in international markets with grants of up to $150,000 per year.

What is the status of EMDG for the 2020-21 financial year?

The current EMDG scheme will remain in place for the current 2020-21 financial year.

What are the next steps in the reform process?

The Export Market Development Grants Act 1997 will be amended to give effect to these changes. Key principles will be retained in the legislation, while the rules and administration will be moved into subordinate legislation and guidelines, simplifying the administration of the EMDG program.

Austrade released the draft EMDG Rules 2020 (PDF 348KB) for public consultation in December 2020, and is currently working through this feedback. This Quick Reference Guide: What do the new EMDG Rules mean for me? (PDF 342KB) might help you to understand these changes.

The EMDG Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 (PDF 550KB) and the draft EMDG Rules 2020 (PDF 348KB) create the framework for the operation of the new EMDG program. The Administrative Guidelines are still being developed and will answer questions about how you do things, like how you apply, what you will need to show us, and how to get milestone payments. The Administrative Guidelines will be released for public consultation and feedback early 2021.

Have questions?

Austrade will continue to consult broadly on these changes throughout the reform process. See our FAQs page for answers to common questions. If you have questions about the proposed EMDG reforms which are not covered here – these can be sent to Austrade’s dedicated mailbox:

Review of financial assistance to SME exporters

For more information about the Review of financial assistance to SME exporters, please visit: