Where to find funding as a Local Canberran Start up

Embarking on the journey of growing and building a startup with nothing but a laptop is a high stakes game. While seeking funding in a sea of sharks may seem daunting, it’s merely a stepping-stone on the path to realising your entrepreneurial dreams. At the Canberra Innovation Network, we can guide you and help you access a diverse range of funding options to help make your business growth smoother.


Innovation Connect Grant (ICON)
CBRIN facilitates the Innovation Connect (ICON) Grant program on behalf of the ACT Government. Matched funding between $10,000 – $30,000 is available to support the thriving Canberra startup culture and empower entrepreneurs to develop and grow their innovative ideas.

What is this grant for?

  • Supports innovative entrepreneurial ideas to a market ready position including market testing.
  • Funds projects that prove the technical or commercial feasibility of a concept.
  • Supports the development of product prototype or functional software.
  • Assists with development and testing of effective marketing approaches, and with legal, IP and patenting advice.

To apply for ICON, the first step is to book an intro meeting with a Business Growth Manager. If you are eligible to apply, you will be invited to submit an EOI and a 60 second video pitch. ICON is open twice a year in April and October.

Click here to find out more.

Energy Innovation Fund
As Canberra transitions to net-zero, funding is available to support energy transition innovation for a brighter future.

Canberra’s Energy Innovation Fund is driving the long-term development of the ACT’s industries and jobs that support energy transition. Formerly known as the “Renewable Energy Innovation Fund” or the “REIF”, the Fund has invested $12 million since 2016 and has been instrumental to the growth of a vibrant renewable energy sector in the ACT.

An additional $17 million was committed to the Fund following the fifth round of the ACT renewables auction (which help maintain the ACT’s 100% renewable electricity achievement). This additional funding will help develop innovative, emerging energy technologies and solutions to support the net zero transformation.

The Technology Demonstration Grant and Innovation Ecosystem Grant will be open year-round. Online drop-in sessions are available and you can book in an online one on one session via EPSDD.EnergyInnovationFund@act.gov.au.

Click here to find out more.


Capital Angels

Capital Angels is a company with a vision to connect investors with companies seeking investment. They provide a forum for high net worth individuals to become Capital Angels and proactively support Capital region entrepreneurs through both investment and direct activities to support the companies. An entrepreneur that views Canberra as its stepping stone to the global marketplace is encouraged to consider taking a Capital Angel along for the journey.

Looking for investment?
Capital Angels maintains a network of qualified high net worth individuals who proactively support Capital Region entrepreneurs through both investment and direct activities supporting the companies.

Looking to invest and become a Capital Angel?
Why invest as part of a group? You might think it’s simply to make money, but for many investors, it’s a way to give back to the community, to help build successful companies and to participate in the satisfaction that comes from this involvement.

Click here to find out more.



Epicorp works with CBRIN, ACT Government, CIT and innovation and business support networks to provide Australian companies with short term growth capital with Early-Stage Business Support Loans.

Epicorp offers an alternative debt solution, is flexible in its design and accessed quickly. Unlike venture capital, debt is non-dilutive to founders or existing shareholders and if borrowing can delay your capital raise through further growth, it’s likely you’ll benefit from a higher company valuation when you do decide to raise capital.

EPICORP’s Business Support Loans are specifically tailored for companies that have started to generate revenue, need help meeting a growing demand for their product or service or require short-term bridging finance. Loans range from $75,000 to $300,000 and can take lending risks well beyond commercial banks.

Epicorp seeks to help companies that can demonstrate a commercially validated product, a scalable business model and growing customer demand. Their mission is to help small to medium sized businesses overcome early-stage capital constraints and increase revenue capacity to fuel longer-term growth.

Click here to find out more.


Accelerator for Enterprising Women – Kickstarter Challenge

The Kickstarter Challenge is a competition for female entrepreneurs with a new business idea. Kickstart your business by entering this national competition and be in the running to win some amazing prizes, including a life-changing share of $60,000 equity-free prize money to help you accelerate your business idea. Finalists will receive support for the journey ahead with mentoring sessions, media training and more.

To be eligible

  • Be registered and have their primary place of business within Australia.
  • Hold a current ABN, either as a sole trader or associated with the business idea/name entered.
  • If trading, commenced on or after 1 January 2022.
  • Have business revenue below $75,000 in the last 12 months of trading from date of application, inclusive of grants.
  • Have a business banking account in the name of the business idea submitted set up prior to entering or be willing to set one up if successful as a finalist.

Industry experts from a broad range of backgrounds and sectors and will assess the applications and finalists will then pitch their business ideas to five industry judges, in person at the Grand Final.

Click here to find out more.


Business Research and Innovation Initiative

The Business Research and Innovation Initiative (BRII) is a challenge-based innovation program. It provides funding for startups and SMEs to undertake research and development (R&D) on new-to-market technologies.

Objectives of the program:

  • Builds the innovative capacity of startups, SMEs and government agencies
  • Improves capability to access national and international markets
  • Helps SMEs be more confident and aware when working with government
  • Increases government agencies’ sourcing of innovative solutions.

BRII works in 3 phases:

  • Challenge identification: Australian Government agencies identify and nominate public policy or service delivery challenges requiring solutions.
  • Feasibility grants: Startups and SMEs apply their proposed solution to the challenges. We award feasibility grants of up to $100,000 for the best solutions to each challenge. These help the grantees test the technical and commercial feasibility of their solution over 3 months.
  • Proof of concept grants: We invite grantees that successfully demonstrate feasibility to apply for a proof-of-concept grant. This is up to $1 million to produce a prototype of the solution.

There are a variety of rounds that can be applied for, each with a new public policy or service delivery challenge.

Click here to find out more.


Department of Industry, Science and Resources – Industry Innovation

The Department of Industry, Science and Resources – Industry Innovation offers a variety of funds to support research, collaboration, entrepreneurship and commercialisation.

Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Grants:
CRC Grant support medium to long term collaborative research for up to 10 years.

Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Project Grants:
CRC Project grants support short-term collaborative research for up to 3 years.

Industry Growth Centres:
Industry growth centers are driving innovation, productivity and competitiveness in 6 key growth industry sectors.

Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive:
The R&D Tax Incentive stimulates business investment in R&D through tax offsets.

Venture Capital program:
The Venture Capital program encourages investment in innovative early-stage businesses through tax benefits. Whether you are a fund manager wishing to establish a venture capital partnership, an investor looking to invest in Australia’s venture capital market, or seeking venture capital for your business, you can benefit from these programs.

Click here to learn more.