COVID-19 Resources for Small Businesses

COVID-19 Resources for Small Businesses

Bodie Czeladka
By Bodie Czeladka

It’s no secret that things are getting a bit tough out there for a lot of businesses - these are unprecedented times that we are facing. A silver lining amongst this uncertainty is that it has brought out the generosity, empathy and mateship from organisations, businesses and government bodies, who are trying their best to support businesses in any capacity that they can. We wanted to compile a list off all of the support and resources that are out there that may help. We’re updating this list regularly so check back every now and then because there might be a few new ones.

1. Financial Support from the Australian Government

Please check to see if your business is eligible for each of these initiatives, as they do not apply to all industries and all businesses. We also strongly suggest calling 133 140 or visit www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au to ensure you are accessing all of the assistance that may be available to you.

  • Up to $100,000 in Payments for Employing Businesses and 50% Apprentice and Trainee Wage Relief
  • Increased Access to Instant Asset Write-Off, from $30,000 to $150,000.
  • Increased Access to Unsecured Government-Backed Loans of Up to $250,000 with a Repayment Holiday of 6 Months. 
  • Sole Traders Who Experience Hardship Have Easier Access to Increased Income Support.
  • The Ability of Sole Traders to Draw Up to $20,000 Tax-Free from their Superannuation.
  • Up to 4 Months of Deferral of Payment Date of Amounts Due Through the Business Activity Statement (including PAYG Instalments), Income Tax Assessments, Fringe Benefits Tax Assessments and Excise.
  • Eligible businesses will be able to access the JobKeeper Payment - a fortnightly subsidy of up to $1,500 per eligible employee, for a maximum of 6 months.

2. Financial Support from the WA State Government

In addition to the Federal Government’s measures, the WA State Government is investing $114 million to support WA businesses. These do not apply to every business in every industry so please check your eligibility.

  • One-off $17,500 grant to small and medium businesses whose annual Taxable Wages are $ 1million-$4 million. No applications are required and the grants will automatically be paid from July 2020. 
  • Increased payroll tax threshold to $1 million from 1st July 2020 (6 months earlier than planned).
  • Small and medium-sized businesses can apply to defer payment of their 2019-20 payroll tax until 21st July 2020. This is available to impacted businesses who pay $7.5 million or less in Australian Taxable Wages.
  • One-off $2,500 credit on electricity bills for 95,000 small businesses - this is available to those who consume less than 50MWh each year.
  • Suspension of power and water disconnections as well as no interest charges on deferred payments until 30th September 2020
  • Waiving of a range of licence fees for small and medium-sized businesses in impacted industries.
  • Businesses can also now apply for interest-free payment arrangements and for late payment penalties to be waived for a range of taxes and duties. 

3. Advisory and Counselling Support from the Australian Government & Organisations

Although financial support may be crucial during this period, emotional and business support is also incredibly important.

4. $100 Million from the Facebook Small Business Grants Problem

Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses. Applications open soon so watch this space.

5. $340 Million in Google Ads Credits for Small Businesses

This will become automatically available to SMBs that have had active accounts over the past year - these credit notifications will appear in your Google Ads accounts and can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across Google Ads. 

6. Support from Commonwealth Bank (Existing Customers)

This is relevant for businesses who bank with Commonwealth Bank.

  • All BetterBusiness loans and Equipment Loan principal and interest repayments for eligible businesses (with total lending limits of up to $5 million) will be automatically deferred in April, May and June 2020. 
  • Eligible businesses (with total lending limits between $5-$10 million) can choose to defer their BetterBusiness Loan principal and interest repayments for up to 6 months from April 2020. 
  • Unsecured loan of up to $250,000 with no repayments for 6 months for businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million annually. 
  • Merchant fees automatically waived for eligible business customers with an EFTPOS device or eCommerce facility in March, April and May 2020.

7. Support from ANZ (Existing Customers)

This is applicable for businesses who bank with ANZ.

  • Decreased variable interest in small business loan rates by 0.25%pa, as of 27th March 2020 (resulting in a 0.5%pa reduction since last week).
  • Eligible impacted customers can request a 6-month payment deferral on the loan repayments for term loans (with interest capitalised). 
  • Temporary increases in overdraft facilities for 1 year.
  • As of April 3rd, there will be a reduction by 0.8%pa to a new 2 and 3 year fixed rate of 2.59%pa for secured SMB loans up to $1 million.

8. Support from Westpac (Existing & New Customers)

For existing business who bank with Westpac, along with new customers in some instances.

  • Access to unsecured 3-year term loan up to $250,000 for eligible new and existing customers (turnover of less than $50 million), as of March 23rd.
  • 200 basis point reduction on overdrafts, making these more accessible.
  • 100 basis point interest rate reduction on small business cash-based loans, making them more accessible.
  • Repayment relief for small business customers - the ability to defer principal and interest repayments of business term loans or up to 6 months.
  • Merchant terminal rental fee refunds for up to 3 months.
  • No establishment fees for equipment finance loans until the end of June 2020.
  • Deferred payments for Business credit cards for at least 3 months, for eligible small business customers.
  • No fee redraw, for eligible small business customers.
  • Consolidating and restructuring loans, for eligible small business customers.
  • Flexible termination of term deposits without the interest rate adjustment, for eligible small business customers.

9. Support for Small Businesses from NAB

Available to existing NAB small business customers.

  • Option to defer your principal and interest payments for up to 6 months on a range of business loans with floating and variable rates, including equipment finance loans.
  • Automatically receive a 100 basis point reduction on variable rates for small business loans.
  • Access to an unsecured loan of up to $250,000 for eligible customers.
  • Pause business credit card repayments for up to 6 months (including a 3 months checkpoint). 
  • Fee waiver on terminal rental for up to 6 months for eligible merchants who can still trade.
  • Fee waiver on terminal rental for up to 6 months for eligible merchants who cannot trade and need to temporarily suspend their facility.

10. $200 Million into Shopify Capital for Affected Merchants

Shopify has injected an additional $200 million into Shopify Capital - it’s a fund that is used to support merchants with small loans. This is currently only available in the US, but Shopify is working with the Australian Government to bring this to Australia too. 

11. Support for Small Businesses from Telstra

Small business customers with Telstra can benefit from a number of measures.

  • Pausing of all late payment fees and disconnections for non-payment for small business customers at least until the end of April 2020.
  • Unlimited data allowances on fixed broadband and extra data free of charge for small business customers. 
  • Access to Free Telstra Virtual Meeting Room (VMR) service until 30th June.
  • 50% Off Digital Marketing Services and website plans for 3 months for new customers - this discount will be automatically applied for existing customers.
  • Discounts on Telstra’s mobile worksuite and all mobile broadband plans.

12. Support for Small Businesses from Optus

Small businesses who are with Optus will benefit from some of their new measures. These measures are applicable to customers who find themselves in difficult financial circumstances due to the effects of COVID-19. 

  • Ability to put their current plan on hold, free of cancellation fees, if there is no need for the service.
  • Waiving of late payment fees for all customers until 30th April.
  • Stopping of disconnection and credit collection activities until 30th April.
  • Free trial of Loop Live for small businesses who are now working remotely from home.

13. Free Handbooks from Facebook on How to Respond to COVID-19

Facebook has published these fantastic little handbooks on tips to how businesses should be responding to COVID-19. There are three in total, and each is tailored advice for a specific industry. There is one for retail, eCommerce and travel. You can download yours by heading to their website here - https://www.facebook.com/fmp/agencies/resources/covid-19.

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