Regional Queensland Agents Can Access Up To $100 million in Grants
There’s no argument that small businesses have had it tough over the last 12 months. With lockdowns and restrictions in place, it’s been difficult for businesses to operate normally, if at all. In acknowledgement, the Queensland Government announced the Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant Program. The grant was put in place to support small businesses that were impacted by the pandemic, and to help them navigate a new way of operating.
While South East Queensland’s portion of the grant has now closed, round two is now open for Regional Queensland. The REIQ urges real estate professionals in these areas to consider applying before applications close (when funds have been exhausted).
How Do I Apply for the Grant?
Now you know about the grant, the next step is to check that you are eligible. There are a few requirements such as: your agency must have been subject to closure or highly impacted by the shutdown restrictions; your agency must have demonstrated a decline in business revenue since 23rd March, 2020; your agency must have fewer than 20 employees; and more. To view all eligible requirements please visit the Small Business Adaption Grant guidelines.
Once you have determined whether you are eligible and have read all the relevant terms and conditions, create a QRIDA business profile and lodge your application.
If your grant is approved, applicants will have six months to complete their projects and acquit the amount of funding received. An acquittal survey must be completed to confirm that the funds were spent consistent with the application guidelines and overall intent of the program.
Ian Clarke, Principal at Ian Clarke Real Estate recommends that applicants process their applications as quickly as possible, without getting caught up in finessing their action plans.
“Many people miss out on grants by spending too much time working out where the money can be spent. The best way is to engage a trusted supplier to produce a basic quote. By basic, I mean get the supplier to write a quote that outlines what they can do at a high level. Once you have the grant, then work out the specific actions you wish to take with your supplier, as you will then have the allocated time frame to make educated decisions and spend the money wisely,” says Clarke.
How Can I Use the Grant?
While there are numerous ways you can use the grant to get back on your feet, we spoke to Clarke to find out what projects he is prioritising now he has received the grant.
“The grant is initially being spent on engaging external consultants to review how we operate our business and conduct an overview of our business operations and staffing ability,” says Clarke.
“We have found that having an independent, unbiased overview of the business really highlighted some areas which are holding the business in a position of stagnated growth.”
Clarke has engaged Speaker, Consultant and the Chairman of the REIQ Board, Peter Brewer to mentor Clarke through these adaptions, who has already been a tremendous help for business.
“Having the grant available has been the catalyst in being able to engage a mentor to put forward ideas and recommendations towards business structure, staffing ideas, a growth plan for sales and rental managements, and specific marketing ideas that suit our style of business and ability,” says Clarke.
When asked what 2021 looks like for Ian Clarke Real Estate now he has received this grant, Clarke expressed that staff engagement is already higher and the agency now has a productive plan in place. It is vital now more than ever that agencies adapt to the times and invest in solutions such as proptech and digitisation of processes and operations.
“With considerable changes on the horizon, trying to do business as we have done previously is unrealistic,” says Clarke.
“Change is inevitable and needs to be adapted to suit the business owner and the staff. Having a mentor check in and see completion of achievable results and targets will go a long way in making sure the business focus is kept to plan,” says Clarke.
Other Available Grants
Grants for small businesses are often popping out of the woodwork, particularly at times of difficulty.
“We found that there were a few grants available for small to medium-sized businesses to assist with mentoring, financial management, and training of staff. More recently, we were advised of a grant to assist with marketing and digital adaption, which has enabled us to improve our website and digital marketing exposure,” says Clarke.
“Small businesses have to keep an eye out for these grants as they don’t just fall in our lap, or in your inbox,” says Clarke.
To stay on top of available grants in your area, visit the Business Queensland Grants hub, browse the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training site and the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority site.