Australia launches $352m business growth fund

Night view of Darling Harbour in Sydney, Australia.

The Australian government has launched an A$520-million ($352 million) growth fund that will provide longer term equity funding to small businesses in the country, according to the Department of Treasury.

The fund, dubbed Business Growth Fund, has received a government commitment of A$100 million ($68 million). Australia’s four biggest banks – Commonwealth, Westpac, NAB, and ANZ – have also committed to match the government’s commitment towards the fund. Another A$20 million ($13.5 million) will be put up by HSBC.

The fund, first announced last year, will invest between A$5 million and A$15 million into businesses that have generated annual revenues of between A$2 million and A$100 million and show three years of revenue growth and profitability.

In exchange, the fund will take between 10 and 40 per cent stake in the business.

“Many small businesses find it difficult to attract passive equity investment, which enables them to grow without taking on additional debt or giving up control of their business,” the Department of Treasury said on its website.

The fund will be provided over a five-year period and the government aims to grow it to A$1 billion as it matures. Australia has more than three million businesses employing around seven million Australians.

The Australian Business Growth Fund follows similar international precedents. The United Kingdom’s Business Growth Fund, which was established in 2011, has invested about $1.8 billion ($680 million) in a range of sectors across the economy.

The Australian fund will be managed commercially by a board and an independent management team. It will also not only offer direct cash injections but will provide strategic advice, network referrals, and other non-financial support. Based on the proposed structure of the fund, superannuation funds are also expected to invest in the new vehicle aside from the major banks.

The funding vehicle for Australian businesses was recommended by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, which notes that high potential companies in the country do not have enough access to grow their businesses.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.