EMDG Program | Open dates, eligibility and how to apply

The Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) program is the Australian Government’s flagship program for supporting SMEs in developing and expanding their export markets. An entitlement, eligibility-based and demand-driven program, it is designed to encourage the creation, development and expansion of foreign markets for Australian products.

The EMDG program provides targeted financial assistance for marketing and promotional activities, and the development of marketing skills, to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with a turnover of less than $20 million, and representative organisations.

The government hasn’t officially closed the EMDG program, but cuts were announced in the most recent Federal Budget and it is subject to a ‘strategic refocus’ (details below) prior to future rounds becoming available.

See below for details of the program and visit our R&D and Government Grants page to contact our team with any questions.

EMDG past rounds: Relevant dates and status

There are no grant rounds currently open for applications. Rounds One (2021), Two (2022) and Three (2023) of the EMDG program are now all closed and program funds are fully committed. Successful applicants should refer to their grant agreements for their approved funding amounts and milestone reporting due dates, as these are specific to each round and recipient. There are over 9,600 businesses across the three rounds, who will continue to receive grant payments across the 2023/24 and 2024/25 financial years – provided their grant obligations are met.

EMDG future rounds

The EMDG information on the Austrade website applies to Rounds One, Two and Three. It will not apply to Round Four. Amended rules are expected to apply to Round Four of EMDG, which is likely to open in late 2024 or early 2025, subject to the program’s ‘strategic refocus’. This includes: 

  • Developing and approving revised EMDG rules and grant guidelines
  • Developing program documentation
  • Conducting communication and outreach activities
  • Making changes to the EMDG online portal and the grants management platform.

Austrade has previously advised that they are aiming to assess Round Four applications and issue grant agreements prior to the start of the 2025/26 financial year, and start making Round Four payments from July 2025. Austrade will communicate all changes when the program details, including guidelines, are finalised and released. We’ll keep this page updated as further details are confirmed.

EMDG program eligibility

Eligible applicants are legislatively able to receive up to $770,000 over eight financial years. These funds are for promotional activities to market eligible products - including goods, services, events, IP and software - in foreign countries, or training activities to develop marketing skills. The eight years do not need to be consecutive.

Which EMDG grants are available?

For Rounds One, Two and Three, EMDG grants were available in three tiers, designed to provide different levels of support as you grow your export markets throughout the different stages of your export journey. In addition, the grant agreements span multiple years, giving applicants certainty over eligible grant payments for two or three financial years.

The three tiers of EMDG grants are:

  • Tier 1 – Ready to export: For eligible SMEs who have not exported eligible products before, but are ready to begin exporting in the grant year.
  • Tier 2 – Exporting and expanding: For eligible businesses with plans to expand their existing exporting.
  • Tier 3 – Exporting, expanding and strategic shift: For eligible exporters who plan to make a strategic shift in their exporting business.

 High demand for the program resulted in grant amounts for recipients in all three rounds being significantly lower than the legislated caps.

Important notes regarding applications for the EMDG:

  • The definition of Strategic Shift was changed for Round 3. Learn more here.
  • Grant recipients must spend at least an equal amount of their own money on eligible expenses
  • All applicants are required to provide a plan to market, which shows Austrade what you intend to do to market your product overseas in the next two to three years, and why.

What types of expenses are eligible?

The types of expenses eligible under each expense category of the EMDG program are:

Category 1: Maintaining representative in foreign country

Maintaining a representative in a foreign country, for more than six months in a financial year, who is:

  • Conducting research into the market in that country for your eligible products
  • Undertaking promotional activities to market your eligible products in that country.

This includes expenses such as salary and wages of the representative, office rental costs, education of the representative’s children if relocated for the role, relocation expenses, and recruiting a replacement representative.

Category 2: Short trips to a foreign country

Up to 21 days of continuous travel for you or your representative to a foreign country, departing from and returning to Australia. This includes the cost of travel during the marketing visit - e.g. airfares, departure taxes, accommodation expenses, incidentals, ground transport and food.

Category 3: Consultants

Engaging a consultant to undertake:

  • Research into the market in a foreign country for your eligible product
  • Promotional activities to market your eligible product in that country.

This includes expenses such as original research, export planning and export pricing strategies, and designing marketing materials.

Category 4: Short trips within Australia

Up to 21 days of continuous travel within Australia for you or your representative, to undertake activities relating to marketing your eligible product to potential foreign buyers. This includes food, accommodation and ground transport to meet overseas delegates, or foreign residents in Australia, in respect of promoting eligible products. This does not include ordinary remuneration for you or your representative.

Category 5: Foreign buyer visits

Up to 21 days of continuous travel between Australia and a foreign country, and within Australia, for a prospective foreign buyer of your eligible product so you can undertake promotional activities to market your eligible products to that buyer. This includes airfares to and from Australia, accommodation, food and incidental ground travel expenses.

Category 6: Soliciting for business in a foreign country

Expenses for activities undertaken by you or your representative to solicit for business in a foreign country for your eligible products.

Category 7: Free samples

Providing free samples of your eligible product to either:

  • A person in a foreign country
  • A person in Australia from a foreign country, if your eligible product is tourism services.

 This includes:

  • Expenses that are attributable to the actual cost of providing product samples free-of-charge
  • Costs such as postage or freight to deliver samples overseas.

This does not include samples given away as discounts or sales-related adjustments to the recipient, or where they relate to product or prototype development. Your samples must be the same as your product that would be provided under any future sales agreements.

Category 8: Promotional and advertising material

Producing and providing material to promote or advertise your eligible product in a foreign country. This includes website design and build costs, social media marketing, Google advertising, and design and printing of brochures.

Category 9: Intellectual property rights

Seeking the granting, registration or extension of intellectual property rights of your eligible product in a foreign country. This includes payments to patent and trademark attorneys and to relevant government trademark and patent offices.

Category 10: Training activities – Representative bodies

If you are a representative body delivering, or arranging to be delivered, training to members of the represented group to enable them to better market their eligible products in foreign countries.

Category 11: Training activities – Tier 1 applicants

If you are a Tier 1 applicant, obtaining training to enable you or your staff to better market your eligible products in foreign countries.

Your training expenses are not eligible if that training is being funded under a grant agreement with a representative body.

BDO comment

Recipients must keep payment records of all eligible expenditure and be able to explain how the costs relate to the conditions of your grant agreement. Eligible applicants will be required to provide a milestone report before Austrade makes a milestone payment. The report must be submitted in-line with the timeframes detailed in the grant agreement.

We can help recipients assess which expenses are eligible under the program. If you have any questions about the EMDG or any other government grants, please contact us.