Tourism Industry Growth Package FAQs

The TSRA

When will the Tourism Business Growth Package applications open and when do they close?

Applications will open on 2 July 2018 and will remain open until otherwise advised.

What types of support will be made available under the Business Growth Package?

The Business Growth Package will be delivered in a flexible and tailored way to support Torres Strait Islander and/or Aboriginal tourism business development in the Torres Strait Region. A successful Applicant may receive a mix of financial and in-kind assistance, depending on their individual needs. This may include support that is available through the TSRA’s ‘Into Business’ Workshops, its mentoring and support services, the TSRA business support standing panel and the TSRA business loan scheme.

What is the ‘tourism’ industry

The tourism industry refers to business located in the Torres Strait Region that sell goods and / or services to international and domestic visitors (tourists) who are in the Torres Strait Region on day or overnight trips. Tourists include: those who travel to the Torres Strait Region for leisure (holidays); those visiting friends and relatives in the Torres Strait Region; and those travelling to the Torres Strait Region for work-related purposes (for conferences, business meetings, stakeholder consultations, seminars, etc.)

What sorts of businesses are ‘tourism’ businesses?

The tourism sector (industry) includes a diversity of individuals and organisations (businesses) that provide (sell) goods and services to visitors to the Torres Strait Region. It includes, for example:

Categories of small business include:

    • Short-term accommodation providers (hotels, motels, bed & breakfast accommodation providers);
    • Travel services (such as travel agents, online tour booking companies, online tourist accommodation booking companies and guided tour operators);
    • Transport services (e.g. ferry transfer service providers, chartered flight operators, scheduled air transport service providers, car hire companies, etc.);
    • Those businesses involved in the selling of certain retail goods (such as souvenirs, art & craft, jewellery, etc.);
    • Those businesses providing food services (including restaurants and cafes);
    • Private operators providing visitor information services and materials (such as maps, information booklets, travel guides, etc.); and
    • Privately operated cultural service providers such as museums and galleries.

    Some businesses provide goods and/or services to both locals (residents) and visitors (tourists).

    Note: As a tourism business, you may provide more than one of the categories of goods and services described above. That’s OK.

What does commercially-viable mean?

Commercially-viable refers to the ability of a business, product or service to compete effectively and make a profit (without permanent ongoing government support).

What does financial sustainability and financial viability mean?

These two terms mean to the same thing, which is the ability of a business to generate sufficient income to meet business operating expenses, debt commitments and where applicable, to allow for profit and growth.

What does insolvent and insolvency mean?

The term insolvent or insolvency can apply to either an individual or a business, but is more often used in relation to a business or company. A business is said to be insolvent when it cannot pay its debts when they are due.

What is an unincorporated body?

An unincorporated body refers to a business that does not possess a separate legal identity from its owner(s). The owner(s) bear full liability for any action or inaction of the business: they may sue and be sued for business activity or inactivity. Unincorporated enterprises include sole proprietorships, partnerships and family trusts.

What is an incorporated body?

An incorporated body is a legally declared corporate entity in its own right that is separate from its owners and which continues regardless of changes to its ownership or membership. Incorporation under Australian legislation is under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 or the Corporations Act 2001.

What is economic development?

Economic development is about growing the Torres Strait Regions income and wealth and distributing that wealth to the communities through business creation and employment. It involves Indigenous people in employment, business, asset and wealth creation in the communities and regions where they live.

I'm not Indigenous but I would really like assistance to set up a business and employ local Indigenous people. Is the funding for me?

The Business Growth Package funding is available for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people residing in the Torres Strait Region. If you are not a Torres Strait Islander or Aboriginal person residing in the Torres Strait Region, the Business Growth Package funding and support is not for you.

I or my company is non-Indigenous. Is there any way I/we can access assistance?

Yes. You may wish to consider partnering with a Torres Strait Islander and/or Aboriginal entrepreneur or business bearing in mind that the business must be at least 50 per cent Torres Strait Islander and/or Aboriginal owned and based in the Torres Strait Region.

We are an existing business wanting help to restructure our business, but we don't need any money. Is the Business Growth Package funding and support for us?

In this case, you should contact the TSRA on (07) 4069 0700 or economic@tsra.gov.au and outline the support you are seeking. You may be eligible for business support from the TSRA business support standing panel.

I think I need some training to do my own payroll and invoicing. Can training be funded?

In this case, you should contact the TSRA on (07) 4069 0700 or economic@tsra.gov.au and outline the training you are seeking. If you only need training, you do not need to apply for support through the Business Growth Package.

We are a new business just starting up and we are seeking support to help develop our business idea. Can the funding be used for this?

The Business Growth Package is focussed on more ‘mature’ businesses and proposals with a well-developed business case. It may be that your business is not yet ready for Business Growth Package support and instead, other forms of assistance such as the TSRA’s ‘Into Business’ Workshops may be more suited to your needs. The workshops are designed to help you to develop your business past the ‘idea’ stage to a well-researched business proposal that is ‘finance-ready’. If you are unsure, you should complete the online REIS Product Selector tool available on the TSRA website www.tsra.gov.au.  For more information, contact the TSRA at economic@tsra.gov.au and we will help you identify what type of business assistance might be available to you.

I just want a small amount of money to buy a few tools to help me become self- employed. Can the funding be used for this?

If the amount of money you need is quite small (less than $20,000), we may refer you to a micro-finance lender. Micro-finance lenders specialise in lending to very small businesses (typically from one to four employees), and provide tailored support before, during and after the loan has been approved. Check out our website for further information about how the TSRA can assist you with access to micro-finance lenders such as the National Australia Bank. If you need help with this, you should contact us at economic@tsra.gov.au.

I have a great idea but no previous experience running a business. Should I apply for funding?

If you are unsure, you should first complete the online self-assessment tool on the TSRA website www.tsra.gov.au or if you need further assistance contact us on economic@tsra.gov.au and we will help you work out if you are ready to apply. If you haven't run a business, but have experience in the Arts and Creative Industries, or have worked in a general business environment, or have experience from other activities you have undertaken, the TSRA may be able to assist you to progress your idea through the TSRAs Arts and Creative Industries Into Business Workshops. The workshops are designed to help you to develop your business past the idea stage to a well-researched business proposal that is finance-ready.

I don't have a business plan. Will development of a business plan be funded?

A business plan can be very simple so you may already have enough information to put something together. If you need help with this, you should contact us on economic@tsra.gov.au as you may be eligible to attend the TSRAs Arts and Creative Industries Into Business Workshops. The workshops are designed to help you to develop your business past the idea stage to a well-researched business proposal that is finance-ready.

What does finance ready mean?

For a business to be finance ready, it will need to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of a lender, that the business proposal is or has good prospects for commercial viability and financial sustainability. Individual lenders such as banks will have their own criteria and procedures for determining whether or not a business proposal is finance ready.

What does entrepreneur mean?

An Entrepreneur is someone who starts up and runs a business to make a profit, taking on financial risk to do so. You can learn more at; https://www.business.qld.gov.au/business/business-improvement/being-an-entrepreneur

How is funding different to financing?

Funding is the act of providing financial resources, either in the form of money or other in-kind values such as effort or time, to finance a program or project, usually by an organisation or government.

Financing on the other hand refers to the act of providing money for business activities, making purchases or investing. Financial institutions and banks are in the business of financing as they provide capital to businesses and investors to help them achieve their goals.

What is collateral?

Collateral refers to security offered by a borrower to a lender for the payment of a loan. Collateral can take a number of forms, for example, the borrowers house or other assets, which would be forfeited (lost) by the borrower in the event of a default on (failure to repay) the loan.

We’re an Indigenous organisation looking to set up a tourism business in our community. We have a non-Indigenous private sector partner who will be contributing funding and in-kind assistance. Can we receive Business Growth Package funding and support too?

Yes, as long as your registered principal place of business is in the Torres Strait Region and you are a Torres Strait Islander or Aboriginal person living in the Torres Strait Region, then you are eligible to apply for support under the Business Growth Package.

What does value for money mean?

Value for money is a term used to assess whether or not the TSRA, in delivering the products and services it provides, will obtain the maximum benefit possible within the resources available to it, to achieve stated economic development policy and strategy objectives in line with the Torres Strait Development Plan, 2014-2018.

I am a travel agency based in Cairns and occasionally I employ Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people living in the Torres Strait Region. Am I eligible for support?

To be eligible for support under the Business Growth Package, your registered principal place of business must be in the Torres Strait Region and you must be a Torres Strait Islander or Aboriginal person living in the Torres Strait Region. If you do not meet these criteria, you are not eligible for support under the Business Growth Package.

I don’t want to start a business but I would like support to assist me develop my skills to help me to secure employment in the tourism industry. Can Business Growth Package funding be used for this?

If you are looking for support to develop your basic skills as an employee or potential employee working in the tourism industry, you may be eligible for support delivered by the ‘My Pathway’ Programme. The Business Growth Package is focussed on providing support for the development of commercially-viable businesses. It specifically targets entrepreneurs and businesses from start-up to expansion. For more information, contact the TSRA at economic@tsra.gov.au and we can advise you on the type of assistance that may be available and most appropriate to your particular needs.

I am a local tourism accommodation provider seeking support to attend a Queensland tourism trade show in Cairns. Can Business Growth Package funding be used for this?

The Business Growth Package is focussed on providing support for the development of commercially-viable businesses. As a tourism operator looking for support to attend a trade show or another similar event to ultimately help grow your business, you may be eligible for assistance under the TSRA’s Tourism Business Growth Package. For more information about the package of assistance that may be right for you, contact the TSRA at economic@tsra.gov.au.

We are a not-for-profit art gallery looking for assistance to help maintain and promote Torres Strait art to visitors to the Torres Strait Region. Can the funding be used for this?

The Business Growth Package is focussed on providing support for the development of commercially-viable businesses. It specifically targets entrepreneurs and businesses from start-up to expansion. If you are looking for support to develop a gallery, arts centre or cultural centre, you may be eligible for a grant or other support delivered by the TSRA’s Culture, Art and Heritage Programme. For more information, contact the TSRA at economic@tsra.gov.au and we can put you in contact with a Culture, Art and Heritage Programme team member.

We are an existing business that is owned by an arts centre and we are seeking support to help grow the tourism side of our business. Can the funding be used for this?

Yes, so long as you are a registered business in the Torres Strait Region, the business owners are Torres Strait Islanders or Aboriginal people living in the Torres Strait Region and you meet all the Tourism Business Growth Package eligibility criteria.

We are a commercially-run gallery selling local art for profit and we are seeking support to help grow our business to attract more tourists to our gallery. Can the funding be used for this?

Yes, so long as you are a registered business in the Torres Strait Region and the business owners are Torres Strait Islanders or Aboriginal people living in the Torres Strait Region and you meet all the Tourism Business Growth Package eligibility criteria.

I don’t want a loan. Can I get a small grant to start up my business?

Under the Business Growth Package, grants will only be available to cover part of the funding you require to help grow your business. The grant will help you get started and may give the TSRA or a commercial lender the confidence to give you a loan. Research shows that when an owner has a financial stake in their business, long-term success is more likely. And paying off even a small loan is a good way to build your credit history and demonstrate your reliability. This will allow you to grow your business and better manage your business’s finances.

I have a really good relationship with a business consultant. Can I choose this consultant to help me develop my business?

If you already have a mentor, consultant or business advisor, and want to continue working with them, let us know. We might also ask you to consider another advisor, because sometimes fresh ideas can really help a business move to the next level or open up your business networks.

What if my preferred lender isn’t interested in giving me a loan for my business idea?

We will make sure your business proposal undergoes a commercial viability assessment. If your preferred commercial lender decides not to review your application, we will review your application to determine if you are eligible for a TSRA business loan.

I am a successful business consultant. Can I get funding to support the development of Indigenous businesses in the Torres Strait Region?

No. Business support services for businesses will be procured by the TSRA. The TSRA has established a business support services panel to facilitate the procurement of these services.

What is a partnership?

partnership is an arrangement in which two or more people put their money, skills and other resources together, and share profit and loss of a business venture in accordance with the terms of the partnership agreement. Various types of partnership arrangements are possible. For example, all individuals involved in the partnership (the partners) might share liabilities (financial debts and obligations) and profits equally, or some partners may have limited liability.

What is a consortium?

A consortium is a group of individuals, businesses, investors or organisations joining together as one for a common purpose such as the establishment of a new business venture (joint venture).

What is a joint venture (JV)?

A joint venture (JV) is a contractual business arrangement undertaken jointly by two or more individuals or organisations without actual partnership or incorporation meaning each party to the joint venture retains their distinct identities.

Are there any GST or income tax-related issues involved in receiving funding?

Yes. If you receive a grant/loan package, the Funding Agreement for the grant component will outline the taxes (including GST), duties and government charges for which you will be responsible.

Can TSRA staff help me prepare my application?

Staff in the TSRA are available to answer any queries you have on the application or the funding however they cannot help you with financial advice or business planning.  TSRA staff cannot write your application for you.

I am finding it hard to answer the questions on the form because I don’t have many answers yet. Should I bother applying?

If you are unsure, you should first complete the online Product Selector tool on the TSRA website www.tsra.gov.au. If you need further assistance, contact the TSRA’s Economic Development Programme on economic@tsra.gov.au and we will help you work out if you are ready to apply. It may be that you would benefit from undertaking the TSRA’s ‘Into Business’ Workshops as a first step. The work you would do in the workshops will help you to research your business proposal more fully and get it to the ‘finance-ready’ stage. This will put you in a better position to answer the questions.

I am submitting my application in hard copy. What do I need to do?

;When submitting a hard copy Application, you must print off the online Application Form, complete it, and submit two unbound copies to the address at the front of the Application Kit. If you require more space for your written responses, please attach additional pages. In the Application Form, the authorised person who is completing the form and filling in the Declaration should sign their name in the box labelled “Signature Applicant’s authorised representative”. If you are supplying support material (information) as part of your Application in the form of multi-media files/presentations, images or videos, these must be supplied on a USB drive or portable hard drive along with your hard copy Application.

Why should I submit support material with my Application?

Support material can form an important part of your Application and it may be essential for us to fully appreciate your business or business proposal when it is being considered against the assessment criteria. It is highly recommended that you pay close attention to the support material you choose to submit with your Application to ensure that it offers the best support for your Application and that you observe the limits on support material outlined in the Application Kit.

How do I choose what support materials to submit with my Application?

When submitting support material such as audio files, videos, photos/images or documents, prioritise items by considering what materials are most relevant to your Application and what materials best allow you to demonstrate your business or business idea.

How much support material can I submit with my Application?

Choose no more than THREE different units from the four units of support material outlined in the table in the Application Kit. Be sure not to exceed the limits within each of your chosen units of support material.

How do I submit my support material?

You can choose to submit your support materials together with your Application Form electronically via email to economic@tsra.gov.au OR you can post/courier your materials to the TSRA in hardcopy and on a USB drive or portable hard drive. If you choose to email your Application and support material, all documents, images, audio and video content submitted together with your Application must not exceed 20Mb to ensure accessibility through the TSRA email servers. For detailed instructions on how to prepare, list and submit your support materials, including information you need to provide the TSRA, please refer to the Application Kit.

Who should I contact if I need more information?

If you have any other questions or you need more information, you can send your enquiry to economic@tsra.gov.au