Financing CE innovation

The transition to a circular economy is a transformative shift for businesses in Tasmania. This shift will bring environmental benefits but could also result in significant economic benefits, if we have the means for strategic investment in innovative solutions. Navigating the financial aspects of this transition—such as acquiring new equipment, retraining staff in sustainable practices, and developing new products and business models—can be challenging for SMEs (small to medium-sized businesses) with limited capital.

An opportunity and a challenge.

The journey towards a circular economy is paved with both opportunities and challenges. On one hand, adopting circular economy practices can lead to reduced waste, lower operational costs, and access to new markets. On the other hand, initial investments in technology, training, and product development can be substantial and may not deliver a return on investment for some time.

Scroll down to view a selection of grant programs that your SME may be eligible to access for early-stage development of new business ideas for the circular economy. Each program will have different eligibility requirements and selection criteria. Preparing an application is time-consuming and success is never guaranteed.

The Reuse Shed received a grant from the Huon Valley Council to add an installation in their sculpture garden. Image by Billy Button Photography

The key success factors below are general advice only. As with any type of investment, it is critical to consider inherent risk. Funding programs typically have compliance and reporting requirements. and a timeframe for completion. Failing to deliver the agreed result could affect your ability to access funds in the future. Read funding guidelines carefully and make contact with the funder to confirm terms and conditions before starting an application.

Key success factors

Seek advice from an accountant or financial advisor before entering into any agreement.

Carefully consider any conditions attached to support received,
financial or otherwise.

Be prepared, with a project plan, a detailed budget, and clearly defined deliverables.

Directly align expected project outcomes
with the objectives of the funding program.

Funding programs

The funding programs below are presented for information only. Explore these options and make enquiries directly with the funding organisation to check the eligibility of your business and the activities for which you are seeking funding assistance.

Business Energy Efficiency Scheme (BEES): Aimed at improving energy efficiency, the BEES offers grants to businesses looking to reduce energy costs and environmental impact. Learn more.

Business Growth Loan Scheme: The Tasmanian government provides low-cost loans to businesses seeking to expand, innovate, or adopt new technologies, including those focusing on circular economy initiatives. Conditions apply. Learn more.

Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Grants: Offered by NRM North, these grants support projects that enhance resource recovery and contribute to the development of a circular economy in Tasmania. Learn more.

NAB Green Loan: Specifically for purchasing green equipment, this loan from the National Australia Bank supports businesses investing in sustainable practices. Learn more.

R&D Tax Incentive: Encouraging businesses to engage in research and development, this incentive provides tax offsets for companies innovating in areas including new products that contribute to the circular economy. Learn more.

CSIRO Kickstart Program: For startups and SMEs, this program offers matched funding to engage with CSIRO on research projects, including those related to the circular economy. Learn more.

Business Research and Innovation Initiative (BRII) – Renewables and Low Emissions Round: This initiative seeks innovative solutions from SMEs to specific government challenges in the renewables and low emissions sector. Learn more.

Federal Government Industry Growth Program: Supporting high-growth sectors, this program offers funding to businesses innovating in areas including sustainable practices and the circular economy. Learn more.

Not eligible?

If your business and/or project idea are not eligible for the programs above, here are some alternative ideas:

Local Government Grants Many local councils across Tasmania offer sustainability grants or support programs aimed at enhancing environmental outcomes within their communities. These grants could support projects focused on waste reduction, energy efficiency, or other resource efficiency initiatives. Check in with your local council to explore potential funding or partnership opportunities.

Corporate Sustainability Programs Many corporations operate sustainability programs or funds dedicated to supporting environmental initiatives. These can be a source of grants or partnerships, especially if the goals of your project align with the corporation’s sustainability objectives. Target companies with a significant presence in Tasmania or those known for their commitment to environmental causes.

Research and Education Institutions Partner with Tasmanian research and education institutions that have a focus on sustainability, environmental science, or engineering. These partnerships can lead to collaborative grant applications for research and implementation trials. You may also be able to access resources and expertise to support your initiative.

Sustainable Business Awards Engage with organisations that offer recognition for sustainable businesses or projects, through awards or certification. Winning an award may not include prize money, and achieving certification may require some effort, but this increases the visibility and credibility of your business, attracting investment or partnership opportunities.

Crowdfunding and Community Support Consider leveraging crowdfunding platforms to raise funds for your project. A well-organised campaign can attract small contributions from a wide audience, including end users of your products and services. Seek help from online communities through fundraising activities or presales of your products and services.

Innovation and Start-Up Grants Tasmania has programs for innovation and start-ups, which could be applicable if your project involves the development of new technologies, processes, or business models for resource efficiency. Visit for more information about funding options and valuable business development support.

Note: The information provided is current at the time of this post. This is not an exhaustive list and new opportunities emerge all the time. Register your interest in the Business Resource Efficiency Program (BREP) to receive timely information on funding opportunties, gain insights into resource efficiency, and become part of a community of businesses, non-profits and local governments participating in the circular economy in Tasmania.

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The Business Resource Efficiency Program is delivered by BALT in partnership with the Tasmanian government.