Government opens Asian Century business grants

Media release

1 March 2013

The Gillard Government today took another step in helping business capitalise on opportunities in Asia by calling on expressions of interests in the $6 million Asian Century Business Engagement Plan.

The engagement plan was announced last year as part of the Government’s White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century.

Aimed at helping member-based business organisations fund trade missions, market research and other innovative activities, it is one of a number of initiatives to assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) wanting to sell into the massive Asian market.

From 1 July, member-based business organisations will be awarded grants of between $20,000 and $300,000, based on a competitive application process.

In other initiatives, the Government will amend the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Act 1991 so more of EFIC’s resources are devoted to SMEs looking to expand overseas.

The Government will also this year open an Austrade office in Yangon, which is Myanmar’s commercial centre.

All of this builds on the recently announced Plan for Australian Jobs, which will improve business services and access to venture capital for SMEs, and establish up to 10 Industry Innovation Precincts to fuel collaboration and innovation between business and researchers.

”The Business Engagement Plan is part of the Government’s broader strategy to help Australian businesses benefit from Asia’s extraordinary economic growth,” Dr Emerson said.

“By funding programs that build understanding of, and access to, regional markets, this plan will help businesses grasp exciting opportunities for partnerships in Asia.” 

Guidelines for the Plan are available at Draft guidelines released for public comment on 19 December 2012 have now been revised, reflecting valuable suggestions from the business community.

Austrade will administer the plan as another service to business, as well as the support provided through its expanding network of offices in Asia.

To register for Austrade’s information sessions between March 4 and 8, potential grant applicants can complete an Expression of Interest form, available at

Enquiries about the Plan can be made by phone on 1300 136 014, or by email to

The closing date for applications is 5pm on 26 April 2013.

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