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The Small Business Sparks grant program aims to help small businesses deliver innovative solutions.

As a small business owner in Boroondara, the grant could help you:

  • Develop new products or service offerings
  • Introduce new technologies, processes and outcomes to your business
Applications for the grant open in February 2019.
Sparking business innovations

The grant supports those proposals that can demonstrate:

  • a benefit to the local economy
  • contribute to the vibrancy of a strip shopping centre

This grant program provides amounts of up to $3,000.00 per applicant. Businesses will be required to co-contribute 50% of the funding value sought.

If your application is successful, you will receive the approved amount on signing a Funding Agreement.


  • Applications open on 1 February 2019.
  • Applications close on 24 March 2019.
  • Short-listed applicants may be invited to discuss their proposal to the assessment panel at a suitable time in April 2019.
  • Successful applicants will be notified by early May 2019.
  • Project completion required by 30 September 2019.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must:

  • own a business or propose to start up a small business within Boroondara’s municipal boundary (a small business is defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as employing under 20 people)
  • have an appropriate business registration, registered business name or equivalent
  • have a business plan or project plan
  • have the appropriate insurances, permits and licences for business operation
  • demonstrate a 50% cash contribution towards the funding value sought by Council
  • View the Boroondara Economic Development & Tourism Strategy 2016-2021 key objectives.

The following are ineligible for the Small Business Sparks grant:

  • employees of the City of Boroondara
  • employees of Australian and local government agencies and bodies
  • owners corporations (strata and company owned)
  • branches, franchisees or subsidiaries of larger companies
  • businesses that have an adverse effect on public health, safety, the environment, or heritage.

We aim to fund projects that:

  • create localised product or service development (Made in Boroondara)
  • enhances or services a retail activity
  • increase footfall and patronage into strip shopping centres
  • set up business in a local commercial vacancy
  • address a service gap in a strip shopping centre
  • increase visitation within, and into Boroondara
  • provide a new or enhanced resident or visitor experience
  • showcase local assets to visitors
  • enhance digital capacity or transformation
  • apply new technologies
  • demonstrate an innovative or creative solution to a small business issue
  • introduce an environmental or sustainable solution to a business
  • activate underutilised spaces for public use (e.g. arcades, laneway, back of shop)
  • enhance local business to business capability
  • create new business networks / hubs within Boroondara
  • improve the street appeal of your business (pending landlord’s permission)
    • outdoor art/murals
    • outdoor planters, shutters, floral treatments, green walls
  • create a community-based promotional event to attract visitation on behalf of your strip shopping centre (excludes major shopping centres with a special rate and charge scheme).

Funding will not be provided for:

  • marketing and / or business plans
  • the purchase of buildings or property extensions or additions
  • relocation of a business
  • permanent staffing or set up and ongoing operational costs
  • basic or common operational equipment
  • routine maintenance
  • security cameras
  • internal shop fittings including display shelves and painting
  • projects that have not complied with previous funding agreements for the Small Business Sparks Grant Program or Shopfront Façade Improvement Grant Package.

Note: Businesses receiving funding from the State and/or Federal Government are still eligible to apply for a Small Business Sparks Grant. Small business may apply for funds as long as that project has not yet been implemented.

Application assessment

Applications will be assessed by an Assessment Panel of Council officers and Councillors according to the following criteria.

Criteria Weighting 

Contribution towards the achievement of key focus areas within the Economic Development & Tourism Strategy

Reference how your proposed project or activity will align to at least one of the three Boroondara Economic Development & Tourism Strategy 2016-2021 key focus areas:

  • Best in class shopping centres:  The project positively contributes to improving the look, feel and functionality of shopping centres to sustain competitiveness.
  • Boroondara as a tourism destination: The project showcases and promotes growth in visitor numbers and spending in Boroondara.
  • Boroondara’s strategic industry clusters: Priority will be given to a business in these emerging business sectors within Boroondara: Business Services; Retail; Tourism; Education and Health; Property Services; and Transport and Communication.

Project Readiness

On meeting the eligibility criteria, demonstrate how the proposed project will be achieved.

  • Provide evidence that your organisation has the capability to contribute to 50% of Council’s funding contribution 
  • Provide a brief business plan or project plan that demonstrates your research has identified a need and/or opportunity in the market that you intend to meet. 
  • Provide a brief project plan demonstrating how you propose to deliver the project including resources, timelines, cost and evaluation. 
  • Provide a budget that accurately reflects the project or activity proposed 

Demonstrates an innovative or creative product, service or solution

Some key points include (but are not limited to):

  • enhancing small business capabilities 
  • increasing customer visitation 
  • Enhancing visitor experience within Boroondara 
  • activating underutilised spaces or vacancies for public use
  • enhancing digital capacity or transformation
  • enhancing an environmental or sustainable solution to a business
  • improving the street appeal within a strip shopping centre/precinct 

Benefit to the City of Boroondara

Demonstrate how the project will significantly benefit city of Boroondara businesses/residents.  Some key points include (but are not limited to):

  • supporting business growth of local product/service providers in Boroondara
  • contributing to the vibrancy of a strip shopping centre / precinct
  • increasing visitation within and into Boroondara 
  • increasing collaboration between businesses and Council
  • enhancing the health and wellbeing of the community.


    Successful applicants will be required to acquit their grant, providing evidence of the grant fund expenditure and outcomes.

    The funded project needs to be completed by 30 September 2019. The Grant Acquittal Project Summary Report will be made available to successful applicants. All acquittal reporting must be completed at the end of the project and returned within 30 days of the project completion date.

    The acquittal requirements for grant funds include:

    • A Grant Acquittal Project Summary Report detailing the outcomes attributable to the grant funds and digital images where relevant
    • Proof of co-contribution funding (by way of invoices/receipts or alternatively, bank statement showing direct cash input to the project).

    Contact details

    For more information contact the Economic Development Department on 9278 4879 or email [email protected].

    Pre-application consultation

    If you would like a free pre-application consultation to discuss your application over the phone prior to submission, call 9278 4879 or email [email protected].


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