Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses: Seven Ways to Get Help

| 7 min read Financial Assistance

Millions of businesses across Australia are feeling the financial strain of the coronavirus after closing their doors to uphold social distancing practices recommended by the Department of Health. While more consumers follow suit and practice self-isolation to prevent the spread of COVID-19, small businesses face potentially devastating financial challenges.

While many businesses can stay afloat in the short-term, others will need to take stronger precautions to ensure their survival through this crisis. If you’re one of the two million small business owners across Australia worried about the future, or you’re already struggling with sustaining revenue, there are many avenues for financial assistance. The seven ideas below aim to offer coronavirus relief for small businesses.

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1. Coronavirus small business loans 

To help combat the financial fallout from the coronavirus, the Australian government is offering cash flow boost loans for small business owners. The Federal government and Australian Treasury has created a financial relief plan to help small businesses affected by coronavirus through affordable loan options. The JobKeeper payments and Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will offer small business loans to help them through the coming months. The scheme offers long-term repayment options for SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million.

To find out if your business is eligible, plus other relief funds announced by the Australian Federal Parliament, visit the Australian government’s Coronavirus assistance for business page.

2. Leniency from credit card companies

Many credit card companies have released statements announcing that they’ll be giving COVID-19 relief for small businesses too. They’re doing this by waiving service fees for 30 days, or offering other types of disaster relief assistance for small businesses. For example, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has announced it will forgive customers who were unable to pay credit card bills in March and will be refunding late fees and interest payments.

Be sure to check with your bank or credit card company to find out if they are offering any special services during the COVID-19 pandemic, or other business resources. During times of crisis, many lenders and credit card companies are willing to negotiate on payment timelines and fees.

See this list of how banks are helping customers impacted by the coronavirus.

3. State and local resources

COVID-19 relief for businesses varies across different states and cities. For example, New South Wales is offering $10,000 grants for state-based small businesses struggling with the Coronavirus shutdown under a new assistance scheme. Meanwhile, the Premier of Victoria announced a $500 million Business Support Fund to assist small to medium businesses and help retain employees as revenue decreases.

Check with your state’s chamber of commerce to find out what financial relief options exist for your small business.

4. Coronavirus help for small business through crowdfunding

Fundraising for coronavirus expenses can be a lifeline when your business is struggling during the COVID-19 outbreak. While grants, loans, and stimulus measures can help greatly, it can take weeks—and even months—to receive that type of assistance. But with crowdfunding, you’re able to receive emergency financial assistance immediately.

Many people who are financially secure are now looking to help those affected by COVID-19—and crowdfunding gives them a way to easily do that. Your customers want to show their support and lend a hand to their favorite local business, but they may not know how. With online fundraising, loyal customers have an actionable way to step up and help you when you and your business need it most.

You can use crowdfunding to pay for any of these expenses and more during this period of COVID-19 closure:

  • Your monthly rent or mortgage payment
  • Health insurance for your employees
  • Paid sick time for your employees who are affected by COVID-19
  • Crisis pay for employees who aren’t sick but are out of work
  • Employees who need time off to care for their children
  • Any other operational expenses you’re struggling to pay

If your business has already started a GoFundMe and you have questions about how to set up withdrawal to your business bank account, please take a look at our article on business and organisation withdrawals

Further reading:

Real businesses that have started successful fundraisers

Below are just two examples of small businesses that turned to online fundraising during a personal financial crisis.


After closing due to the New South Wales shut down of non-essential services, the owners of the Bearded Tit bar in Redfern, Sydney were concerned about its staff being hurting financially. They launched a GoFundMe page to act as a “virtual tip jar” or where loyal customers could buy a drink for the venue’s bartenders as a way to support their staff during COVID-19. Customers and supporters donated over $12,000 in less than five days.


In Western Australia, Mojo’s Bar in Fremantle had to close its doors because of COVID-19. After recent closures for renovations, they were concerned about “weathering the storm” through the closure period so launched a crowdfunding page to collect donations to see them through the hard times. Thanks to its supporters, Mojo’s Bar raised more than $50,000 in two weeks.

5. Tax free cash flow boosts

To help those affected by the pandemic, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) is providing small business tax relief for coronavirus. The ATO announced that it was giving small businesses a tax-free cash flow boosts between $20,000 and $100,000 upon lodging activity statements. From 12th March until the 30th June 2020, businesses with a turnover of less than $500,000 are also eligible for an instant asset write-off increase from $30,000 to $150,000.

6. Coronavirus business grants through private companies

Facebook’s Small Business Grant Program

Facebook is making $100 in cash grants and ad credits available to small businesses in over 30 countries. The grant money can be used to cover operational costs, take care of employees, pay rent, and more. Facebook says it will start taking applications in the coming weeks, and businesses can sign up for updates on their grant page.

Message Media Small Business Grants

Giving a boost to Australian small businesses, Message Media is running a small business grant program (deadline to apply: 14th August) offering businesses the chance to win one of 3 x grants. Each grant will include a $1,000 Visa debit card to spend on the business, and an ongoing subscription to its Pro SMS package to help more business navigate the pandemic.

7. Pivot your business to offer in-demand services

Many small businesses are using their creativity and skills to serve some of the most in-demand needs at the moment. Whether taking your performance virtual, or offering online ordering and delivery, Australian small businesses have been quick to adapt and pivot to ensure the cash flow doesn’t dry up during the Coronavirus crisis period. Popular snorkel and face mask company Ninja Shark is converting its water sport products into N95 face masks to help protect our frontline workers amid a supply shortage of personal protective equipment.

With a little help, your business will weather the storm

Though the coronavirus pandemic leaves a lot of uncertainty in our future, rest assured that your customers and supporters want to help you survive. Free fundraising can help you navigate this financially stressful period, and our free Donate Button makes it easy to share your cause online. Start a GoFundMe today and get financial relief for your small business right away.

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Written by GoFundMe Team

The GoFundMe Team creates fresh content to help answer common fundraising questions and share proven fundraising tips and tricks to help you reach crowdfunding success.