CSIRO ‘Innovate to Grow’ program

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, is inviting small to medium enterprises (SMEs) working on advanced manufacturing solutions to apply for a self-paced, 10-week, online program that can help them turn an idea into an R&D opportunity.
Innovate to Grow: Advanced Manufacturing is open to SMEs working in the following sub-sectors:

  • Robotics
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Advanced materials and processes
  • Mechatronics design and engineering
  • Energy storage and battery technology
  • Sensing and detecting technologies
  • Natural products manufacturing
  • Biomedical manufacturing

Learn more and apply for the Innovate to Grow: Advanced Manufacturing program or discover more programs for SMEs.

Applications close on 12 May 2024.

‘Innovate to Grow’ was launched in 2020, and in just four years the free program has equipped over 500 SMEs with the knowledge and tools required to progress their research.

CSIRO recently announced a $20 million investment to provide SMEs with greater access to vital research and development (R&D) opportunities to accelerate their growth.

The funding will support an additional 600 SMEs through its Innovate to Grow program, kicking off with its Advanced Manufacturing cohort.

Source: CSIRO News

Artificial Intelligence AI

AI Adopt funding program

Funding for Artificial Intelligence (AI) Centres to help SMEs adopt AI technologies

The AI Adopt Program provides funding to establish up to five AI Adopt Centres to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that engage in international and interstate trade to adopt responsible AI-enabled services and enhance their businesses.

Key points

  • Grants between $3 million and $5 million over four years for up to 50% of eligible project expenditure are available
  • Businesses in Australia that can establish centres to help Australian SMEs adopt AI technologies in their business can apply
  • Closing date: Monday 29 January 2024 5:00pm AEDT


The program will create a network of AI Adopt Centres, aimed at establishing a ‘front door’ for SMEs looking to explore responsible, safe adoption and usage of AI.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • support the safe and responsible adoption, implementation, and demonstration of real-world applications of AI technologies to address sectoral and local challenges
  • support SMEs to responsibly integrate AI products that assist in development of new or improved products and services
  • improve Australia’s future prosperity and our productivity growth by increasing AI adoption in SMEs and upskilling Australian workers in the usage of AI technologies
  • support a growing network of Australian AI capability that provides expertise, business and technical skills, connectivity, and access to research and partnerships. This includes engagement with the National Artificial Intelligence Centre and the Responsible AI Network to build a cohesive and comprehensive network
  • provide equity of access to SMEs nationwide who are operating within the identified sectoral area, aligned to the National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) priorities
  • create further opportunity for growth in the AI technology market through a broad increase in international demand for Australian AI capabilities
  • positively impact participation of underrepresented cohorts in technology, including women, First Nations Australians, and those with disability
  • support the Australian Government in reaching its target of 1.2 million tech-related jobs by 2030.

The intended outcomes of the program are to:

  • increase SMEs capacity to responsibly, safely and effectively utilise AI technologies by providing guidance, specialist training and access to specific talents and expertise
  • increase awareness and workforce skills within the SME sector of responsible AI adoption
  • increase SMEs productivity through using AI products to promote product development, and build efficiencies in NRF priority sectors.

Check if you can apply

You can apply if you meet the eligibility criteria. The eligibility criteria are a set of rules that describe who can be considered for this grant. You can apply if you:

  • are an eligible entity
  • meet additional eligibility requirements
  • have an eligible project
  • have eligible expenditure
  • can fund your share of the project costs, and any ineligible expenditure.

The Notch Above Team would like to wish you and your family a wonderful festive season and a prosperous 2024. This year we’re taking a break over Christmas / New Year and will be closed from 2PM on Friday 22 December, reopening on Monday 8 January 2024.


job interview

Qld Workforce Connect Fund

Queensland Workforce Strategy

Workforce Connect Fund

Through the Workforce Connect Fund, small businesses can apply for an HR Support Grant of up to $5,000 (subject to available funding) to implement new and innovative HR solutions to address an immediate need.

Speak to an Industry Workforce Advisor about accessing the grant and enhancing your HR strategy today.

Learn more about the Workforce Connect Fund initiative here.

Having trouble retaining employees?

Building strong and productive working relationships is integral to the success of any business, but what do employees want? Sometimes the answer to that question is not so easy to find!

That’s why the Back to Work team has released the Harrison Tool for Retention — to help employers retain staff within their business.

Using the tool, employers can start conversations with their employees about what motivates them, their strengths and how they can work together.

Learn more about the Harrison Tool for Retention or the other support available through Back to Work here.

Notch Above Bookkeeping are Xero business bookkeepers and Certified Xero Platinum Partners Australia-wide, specialising in cloud bookkeeping setup, training and ongoing support. Contact us on 1300 015 130.


QLD Ignite Spark Funding closing soon

Supporting Queensland innovation-driven enterprises

Apply by 31 October 2023

Ignite your innovation with up to $75k Ignite Spark funding and business mentoring

If you’re a Queensland small or medium-sized enterprise with an innovative new product or service prototype to finesse, then here’s a chance you don’t want to miss!

  • The Advance Queensland Ignite Spark Program provides up to $75k funding to develop your prototype towards minimum viable product stage and ready for commercialisation
  • Successful applicants also gain privileged access to the Ignite+ program offering a wealth of professional expertise, invaluable business advice, and dedicated mentoring to propel your business forward
  • Access program guidelines and apply today.

About the program

The Ignite Spark Program aims to support Queensland-based small to medium-sized innovation-driven enterprises with high-growth potential to progress the development of an innovative product or service closer to market.

In particular, the program aims to support innovation-driven enterprises to progress prototypes to advanced staged products and/or services that have been tested, validated, customer endorsed and are ready to be commercialised.

An innovation-driven enterprise is a business that emphasises innovative solutions as a key driver of growth, competitive advantage, and value creation. Such enterprises focus on developing and commercialising new products and/or services to achieve their strategic objectives.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • strengthen key industries in Queensland
  • diversify the Queensland economy
  • compete in domestic and global markets
  • engage and/or benefit regional Queensland
  • create new jobs, now and into the future.

Funding and support

Funding of $50 000 to $75 000 (excluding GST) is available for projects with a duration of up to twelve months with a matched funding contribution from the applicant organisation in either one of two tiers. Organisations and their related parties are limited to one application per funding round.

Application process and timeframes

  • The program has a two-staged application process – an Expression of Interest application being the first stage followed by a Full Application stage for shortlisted Expression of Interest applicants
  • All applicants will receive written notification of the outcome of their Expression of Interest application to the email address provided in the application form.


To be eligible for funding, applicant organisations must, at the time of application:

  • be a business headquartered in Queensland
  • have no more than 50 full-time-equivalent employees
  • not be a subsidiary of a group of companies that has more than 50 full-time-equivalent employees
  • not have received funding for the proposed project activity from either the state, federal or local government
  • be registered for GST (at time of Full Application submission).

To be eligible for funding, at the time of application, projects must:

  • have an existing functional prototype for a product and/or service that is scalable to meet industry/market demand
  • demonstrate that the product and/or service is ready to be validated in an industrially or operationally relevant environment
  • demonstrate that the product and/or service is not currently in market.

Notch Above Bookkeeping are Xero business bookkeepers and Certified Xero Platinum Partners Australia-wide, specialising in cloud bookkeeping setup, training and ongoing support. Contact us on 1300 015 130.

cash flow

Getting paid on time

6 Ways to Improve Cash Flow by Managing Receivables

Need to forecast and improve your cash flow? All businesses should carefully monitor their cash position.

Healthy cash reserves enable investment in growth, allow distributions to owners or – for some businesses – can be a matter of survival. In any case, cash management is critical.

One way to improve the cash position is to carefully manage Accounts Receivable (or collections). Here are some Best Practices which can positively impact the cash position.

1. Set weekly cash collection targets

Accounts Receivable (AR) management is an important business process and clear targets should be set. Short-term targets help you chip away at the larger AR balance. These targets can be increased or decreased depending on your cash requirements and the total AR balance at any time.

2. Improve the invoicing process

It’s difficult to maintain a low AR balance when invoices are sent late or contain errors. Also, an overdue invoice should immediately trigger follow-up actions, signalling to your customer that you are serious about collecting your cash on time.

3. Make getting paid easy!

Give multiple payment options and make payment as convenient as possible so there can be no excuses. Online payment options are increasingly popular in most industries.

4. Offer discounts for quick payments

This lets the customer know that you value getting your cash on time and offers an incentive for them to pay you fast.

5. Stay in touch with customers (especially regarding the state of their business)

Business conditions are always changing. Hopefully, things improve… but some customers will encounter difficulties which compromise their ability to pay you. Early warnings help you take appropriate action, but this requires you to stay in touch with customers.

6. Prioritise customers with large AR balances

Your Accounts Receivable process should prioritise customers where returns will be greatest. That doesn’t mean you neglect the others… but recovering a large debt will have the biggest impact on cash AND increase team morale!

Success in Accounts Receivable management comes from building systems and implementing them consistently. That’s better than waiting for the AR balance to spiral out of control… and then trying to fix things. A few small steps can make a big difference to cash… so why not get started?

Need to forecast and improve your cash flow?

Do you never have enough money for wages or BAS payments? Are you always wondering where your profits went? It’s no secret that failure rates among Australian small business is high and about half of corporate insolvencies are the result of inadequate cash flow or high cash use and trading losses. The professionals at Notch Above Bookkeeping can assist with cash flow forecasting for your business. We will help you understand the cash flow requirements of your business. Contact our Xero Certified Bookkeepers Australia-wide on 1300 015 130.

cash in hand

Another $2.5M in grants for QLD small businesses

Business Boost Grants Program Queensland

Key points

  • Business Boost grants of up to $20,000 to help Queensland businesses are up for grabs
  • $2.5 million will be available in this round
  • For more information go to
  • Applications close 12 September 2023.

The Business Boost grants program provides support to businesses to improve their efficiency and productivity through organisational development.

The grants can be used for activities that will create growth, such as strategic business planning, design and implementation of sophisticated cloud platforms and online management systems, and, planning and systems for staff management and development.

The Business Boost Grants Guidelines have been updated for this round and are available online now and businesses will be able to register their interest from 9am on 6 September 2023 until 5pm on Friday 12 September 2023.

Business Boost Grants are a pillar of the Queensland Government’s Big Plan for Small Business Strategy 2021-23. Business Boost grants have already helped 379 businesses which have shared in more than $4.7 million.

Notch Above Bookkeeping are Xero business bookkeepers and Certified Xero Platinum Partners Australia-wide, specialising in cloud bookkeeping setup, training and ongoing support. Contact us on 1300 015 130.


tradie working on a deck

Project Trust Accounts for QLD Tradies

Security of payment for tradies

Extension provided for smaller contracts

Key points

  • Nearly $10 billion is now protected for tradies under Project Trust Accounts
  • Qld Government extending commencement date for eligible contracts for up to two years – between $3 and $10 million to 1 March 2025, and over $1 million to 1 October 2025.

The Queensland Government has announced an extension of the commencement date for eligible contracts under the Project Trust Accounts (PTA) framework, providing further security of payment for tradies.

The extension allows for eligible contracts between $3 and $10 million to commence by 1 March 2025, and contracts over $1 million to commence by 1 October 2025.

The government is committed to leading the nation in the security of payment frameworks, including Minimum Financial Requirements, Retention Trust Accounts, and PTAs, which all aim to strengthen payment security for tradies and ensure safe workplaces and quality construction.

In recognition of the challenges faced by smaller builders in complying with the PTA framework, the government has formed a Steering Committee to work with software providers to develop a suitable solution for compliance.

More information about PTAs

A Project Trust Account (PTA) is an account through which project payments are received and paid. A PTA is needed for all eligible construction contracts in Queensland. A separate PTA is required for each eligible contract.

Typically, a PTA is:

  • paid into by the project owner or developer
  • managed by the head contractor
  • the account from which all subcontractors are paid
  • the account from which the head contractor pays themselves.

All other protections, including payment terms, reporting, and financial obligations (including existing Project Trust Account thresholds), will continue to require compliance and will be enforced by the building regulator.

Source: QLD Government

energy efficieny

Energy Efficiency Grants for SMBs

Energy Efficiency Grants for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises — Round 1

Funding to purchase energy-efficient equipment upgrades for small and medium businesses now available.

The Energy Efficiency Grants for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Round 1 will support businesses to upgrade or replace inefficient equipment to improve their energy efficiency. These upgrades will enable industries to reduce their energy use and manage energy cost volatility in the long term. This will contribute to Australia’s target of a 43% reduction on 2005 emission levels by 2030. 

Key points:

  • This grant opportunity is for small and medium-sized businesses with an employee headcount of 1 to 199 employees
  • The grant provides small and medium businesses up to $25,000 to replace or upgrade existing equipment to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs
  • Grant funding will be distributed between states and territories based on the distribution of small and medium-sized businesses nationally
  • Grants will be awarded to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until the funding is exhausted in each jurisdiction
  • Applications will be checked to ensure they meet the eligibility criteria in order of application receipt.

When the online form is available, you must submit your application through the online portal here. You’ll need to set up an account when you first log into the portal. The portal allows you to apply for and manage a grant or service in a secure online environment.

Grant objectives

  • improve energy efficiency practices and increase the uptake of energy-efficient technologies
  • assist small and medium businesses to manage their energy usage and costs
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The intended outcomes of the program are:

  • increased awareness of energy efficiency opportunities and help businesses to save energy
  • reduced power bills for small and medium businesses
  • emissions abatement to contribute to Australia reducing its emissions to 43% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Check if you can apply

You can apply if you meet the eligibility criteria. The eligibility criteria are a set of rules that describe who can be considered for this grant. You can apply if you:

  • are an eligible entity
  • have an eligible project
  • have eligible expenditure.

The rules are in the grant opportunity guidelines. If you enter a grant agreement under the Energy Efficiency Grants for Small and Medium Enterprises program you cannot receive other funding for the same activities from other Commonwealth, state or territory programs. Funding includes, but is not limited to, grants, rebates, contributions, certifications and certificates that have a value and any other form of financial assistance.

Check if you’re ready to apply for a grant

Finding a suitable grant opportunity is just the start of the process to get funding. The application process can take time and effort. Understanding the entire process will help you be grant ready and may improve your chances of getting funding.

Use this checklist to find out what it takes to apply for a grant.

Source: Australian Govt


Made in Queensland

Made in Queensland Round 5 now open

Made in Queensland (MIQ) is a $101.5 million Queensland Government program helping small and medium-sized manufacturers

It helps firms increase international competitiveness, productivity and innovation via the adoption of new technologies, and to generate high-skilled jobs for the future.

The applicant guidelines for Round 5 (PDF, 689.1KB) are now available. The $20 million Round 5 of Made in Queensland opened for applications on 31 October 2022.

Queensland-based manufacturers looking to adopt the processes, practises and equipment of Industry 4.0 implementing projects that include energy efficiency, export, reshoring, supply chain improvements, sustainability and/or decarbonisation are encouraged to apply for matched funding grants of $50,000 to $2.5 million. See the applicant guidelines for full details including eligibility and evaluation criteria.

About MIQ

Since 2017, MIQ has supported 104 advanced manufacturing projects across the state. It is expected to create more than 1,700 jobs over 5 years and generate more than $140 million in private sector investment. Of the 104 projects funded through MIQ, 38% are being delivered in regional Queensland, creating more than 500 jobs over the next 5 years.

The MIQ program is part of the Queensland Advanced Manufacturing 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan to support our manufacturers. On 21 June 2022, the Government announced that Made in Queensland is receiving $40 million for two more rounds, over the next two years, to continue helping small and medium manufacturers to increase international competitiveness through adopting new technologies.

Looking for a Xero Certified Bookkeeper for your business? Are you drowning in paperwork? Cash flow keeping you awake at night? Learn how Notch Above Bookkeeping can solve all these problems, and more. Contact our team on 1300 015 130 Australia-wide.

Source: QLD Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water