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Where do I get the cash to keep my business afloat?

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Feeling overwhelmed?

This is a very tough time and it’s understandable if you are experiencing stress and anxiety as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and the impact it has had on your business.

It’s really important to look after yourself right now. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and getting enough sleep is a good start, but sometimes you need more support.

The good news is there is help available if you need it.

Find out more

It’s OK to not be OK

We know that small businesses are under enormous pressure in this rapidly changing environment.

If you aren’t sleeping, struggling to concentrate or are seeing other signs of anxiety or depression, Beyond Blue has a dedicated COVID-19 Mental Health Support Service including online resources.

Find out more

Struggling to cope?

Feelings of anxiety are a natural response to a period of uncertainty, like what we are experiencing now in this global pandemic.

It’s really important to be conscious of how you are feeling and to take care of yourself because your business depends on it.

This can be as simple as soaking up some sunshine in your backyard. Beyond Blue has developed good advice for coping amid COVID-19 with a dedicated Mental Health Support Service including online resources.

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Take this 5-min check-up

If you feel like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders, this 5 minute check-up developed by Ahead for Business can give you the tools you need to manage your stress levels.

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This is really tough, right?

At times, you may need help from professionals to work through concerns you have, whether they relate to anxiety you may be experiencing due to COVID-19 or the impact this health crisis is having on your business.

Beyond Blue has a dedicated COVID-19 Mental Health Support Service including online resources.

Find out more

Trouble sleeping?

We are living through extraordinary times and sole traders are facing huge challenges.

If you’re struggling to sleep, that can be an indicator that some of the worries you have are getting on top of you. Your business needs you, so seek some help if you need it.

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Where do I get the cash to keep my business afloat?

JobKeeper Payment

Under the JobKeeper Payment, businesses significantly impacted by the coronavirus outbreak will be able to access a $1,500 subsidy per fortnight for up to six months to continue paying their employees. 

This payment is available for every full-time, part time and casual employee who has worked for the business for more than 12 months and who were on the payroll in March.

This assistance will help businesses to keep people in their jobs and ramp up when the crisis is over. For employees, this means they can keep their job and earn an income – even if their hours have been cut. 


Employers will be eligible for the subsidy if: 

  • their business has an annual turnover of less than $1 billion and estimate their turnover has fallen or will fall by more than 30 per cent.

How to apply

Businesses can enrol with the Australian Taxation Office for the JobKeeper Payment using the Business Portal and authenticate with myGovID. Businesses must do this by the end of May to claim JobKeeper payments for April and May.


Payments started in the first week of May 2020. It’s paid one month in arrears.

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Sara runs a landscaping company, and employs five full-time gardeners. Sara is paying her employees $1,700 per fortnight before tax. She expects that her turnover will decline by more than 30 per cent over the coming months and that she will either need to lay staff off, or reduce their wages significantly.

As a result of the JobKeeper Payment, Sara will be able to keep employing every gardener, and only needs to pay the $200 wage cost per fortnight before tax per employee above the $1,500 per fortnight (before tax) JobKeeper Payment.

Cash flow boost

The Government will provide up to $100,000 (tax free) to small and medium businesses and not-for-profits (including charities) that employ people, with a minimum boost of $20,000.

Employers will receive a payment equal to 100% of salary and wages withheld with a maximum of $50,000 and a minimum of $10,000 this financial year with the same in the first quarter of 2020/21.


Businesses with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million are eligible. Eligibility will generally be based on prior year turnover.


The boost will be delivered by the Australian Taxation Office as a credit in the activity statement system from 28 April 2020, upon businesses lodging eligible upcoming activity statements. There are no new forms required.

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Sarah owns and runs a building business in South Australia and employs eight construction workers on average full-time weekly earnings who each earn $89,730 per year. In the months of March, April, May and June for the 2019–20 income year, Sarah reports withholding of $15,008 for her employees on each activity statement.

For March 2020, Sarah’s initial cash flow boost is three times her withholding. This equates to $45,024 ($15,008*3). As this amount is greater than $10,000, Sarah will receive a cash flow boost of $45,024.

For April 2020, Sarah’s withholding is $15,008, however there is only $4,976 of initial cash flow boosts remaining before she reaches the $50,000 limit. She will receive a further initial cash flow boost of $4,976.

Sarah will not receive any further initial cash flow boosts after she has reached the $50,000 limit.

Early access to superannuation

While superannuation helps people save for retirement, the Government recognises that for those significantly financially affected by COVID-19, accessing some of their superannuation today may outweigh the benefits of maintaining those savings until retirement.


Small business owners whose business has been suspended or turnover has reduced by 20 per cent or more can access up to $10,000 of superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.

How to apply

If you're eligible for this early release, you can apply directly to the Australian Taxation Office through the myGov website. You'll need to certify that you meet the above eligibility criteria.


You can apply for early release of your superannuation through myGov until 24 September 2020.

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SME Guarantee Scheme

Under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, the Government will provide a guarantee of 50 per cent to eligible lenders for new unsecured loans to be used for working capital. 

The government guarantee allows lenders to provide more loans at lower interest rates.

SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive these loans.

The Government will provide eligible lenders with a guarantee for loans with the following terms:

  • maximum total size of loans of $250,000 per borrower
  • the loans will be up to three years, with an initial six-month repayment holiday
  • the loans will be in the form of unsecured finance, meaning that borrowers will not have to provide an asset as security for the loan.


The Scheme is available for new loans made by participating lenders until 30 September 2020.

How to apply

If you're interested in the Scheme you should approach your financial institution for more information.

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The Government is supporting small businesses to retain their apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during the 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000, per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter).


The subsidy will be available to small businesses employing fewer than 20 employees who retain an apprentice or trainee. 

Employers of any size and Group Training Organisations that re‑engage an eligible out‑of‑trade apprentice or trainee will be eligible for the subsidy. The apprentice or trainee must have been in training with a small business as at 1 March 2020.


Employers can register for the subsidy until 31 December 2020.

How to apply

Employers will be able to access the subsidy after an eligibility assessment is undertaken by an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider. 

Contact a provider in your area


David’s Plumbing is a small business that employs 10 people, including two full‑time Australian apprentices.

Taylor is a first year Australian apprentice, aged 20, undertaking a Certificate III qualification.  She commenced her apprenticeship with David’s Plumbing on 6 February 2020. Taylor receives a weekly wage of $532.89.

Lisa is a third year Australian apprentice, aged 29, undertaking a Certificate IV qualification. She commenced her apprenticeship with David’s Plumbing on 18 November 2017. She receives a weekly wage of $772.71.

David’s Plumbing is eligible to receive 50 per cent of the apprentices’ wages that have been paid by David’s Plumbing since 1 January 2020.

David’s Plumbing will receive:

  • $9,059 subsidy for employing Taylor for 6 February 2020 to 30 September 2020
  • $15,068 subsidy for employing Lisa for 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020

State and Territory grants

NSW Government

The NSW COVID-19 Small Business Support Grant of $10,000 is available to eligible NSW small business owners. Eligible businesses can apply online.

Find out more

NT Government

The Small Business Survival Fund makes immediate payments to small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

The immediate survival payment amounts include:

  • $5,000 for businesses with 2 to 4 employees (FTEs)
  • $20,000 for businesses with 5 to 19 employees (FTEs)
  • $50,000 for businesses with more than 20 employees (FTEs).

Eligible businesses can apply online.

QLD Government

The Queensland Government has launched a COVID-19 business assistance finder to help small businesses find financial assistance. A Small Business Hotline (1300 654 687) has also been established, or you can take their Business Impact Survey to link to relevant support.

Find out more

SA Government

The South Australian Government is providing $10,000 emergency cash grants for eligible small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Eligible businesses can apply online until 1 June 2020. 

Find out more

TAS Government

The Tasmanian Government is providing support to Tasmanian small businesses impacted by COVID-19 through:

VIC Government

The Business Support Fund has been established to help small businesses survive the impacts of COVID-19 and keep people in work. Funding of $10,000 per eligible business is available and will be allocated through a grant process.

Eligible businesses can apply online.

WA Government

Small and medium businesses whose annual Australian Taxable Wages are between $1 million and $4 million will receive a one-off grant of $17,500 to assist them to manage the impacts of COVID-19.

No applications are required. Grants will automatically be paid from July 2020, but there may be delays for taxpayers whose tax status changed during the 2018-19 assessment period or who commenced as new employers in 2018-19 and 2019-20.