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City of Melbourne’s Social Enterprise Grants Program

Application Deadline: Friday 14 January 2022 

Applications are open to social enterprises, charities, philanthropic organisations in operating in the non-for-profit, and for-profit sectors. 

This year, the program will support start-ups and existing enterprises which are expanding or developing new products or services. Up to $10,000 grant funding per enterprise is up for grabs and additional support will be available, including access to temporary space for pop-ups, plus mentoring and capability building opportunities. There’ll also be a great opportunity to pitch at a showcase event.

A specific program stream will support social enterprises which demonstrate positive circular economy outcomes in the community. This could include things like collecting and processing hard waste to recycling or refurbishing donated bicycles which would otherwise go to landfills. This aspect of the program is supported by the City of Melbourne’s Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy. 


To be eligible for a City of Melbourne social enterprise grant:

  • The business is a business or activity that will take place within the City of Melbourne municipality.
  • Demonstrate how the City of Melbourne will benefit from its proposal and the alignment to key City of Melbourne plans including: Council Plan 2021-25, Economic Development Strategy 2031 as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Have a valid Australian Business Number (ABN).
  • Have documented evidence of an appropriate legal structure, such as a sole trader, an Australian registered company, business cooperative or partnership. 
  • Organisations can be a not-for-profit constituted body, a certified B Corporation or a social enterprise that meets the Social Traders definition of a social enterprise. 
  • Demonstrate sustainable business practices in line with the Australian Ethical Charter.
  • Have no outstanding acquittals or debts to the City of Melbourne. 
  • Be able to commence the proposed activity promptly upon receiving the grant.
  • Be able to demonstrate financial viability as evidenced by a basic business plan including projected financial statements. 

Franchisees, subsidiaries of larger companies, unincorporated associations and government departments or agencies are not eligible to apply. Branches of foreign companies not registered as Australian companies are also ineligible.

Application Procedure

Applications are online via SmartyGrants. We do not accept applications sent by email or via post (hard mail).

Download the guidelines and follow the instructions carefully. You can only apply under one grant category per round.

Applications can only be made online and must be submitted by the deadline. 

Use clear, concise language and avoid industry jargon. Spell out acronyms and abbreviations.

Provide all information requested in the application form, including:

  • details about your proposed new social enterprise or its expansion activities
  • details of the social purpose of the enterprise
  • an outline of the economic, social and/or environmental benefits your enterprise will deliver to the City of Melbourne
  • a comprehensive set of financial statements, including profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow reports to substantiate the financial viability of your enterprise.

Have your financial statements reviewed by an accountant or by Small Business Mentoring Service prior to submitting your grant application. To access this service, call our Business Concierge hotline on 9658 9658 (press 1 for business) or go to Small Business Mentoring Services and enter the code ‘MCCON1’. The cost of one session is $100.

Financial template

Applicants with a disability may contact us to discuss any additional support they need. If you are deaf, hearing-impaired, or speech-impaired, please email or call us via the National Relay Service:

  • Teletypewriter (TTY) users phone 133 677 then ask for 03 9658 8710
  • Speak & Listen users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 03 9658 8710

Official Website: City of Melbourne’s Social Enterprise Grants Program



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