Top 5 Mistakes Businesses make when Applying for EMDG


Navigating the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme can be a complex process, filled with potential pitfalls for unwary applicants. The EMDG grant application, designed to reimburse a portion of marketing and promotional expenses to Australian exporters, is a critical component of Australia’s export support mechanisms. However, success in securing these funds often hinges on a meticulous application process and a deep understanding of the program's requirements. Here, we delve into the top five mistakes made by EMDG applicants, providing insights to help prospective applicants avoid common errors and maximise their chances of securing this valuable grant.


  1. Inadequate Documentation and Poor Record-keeping

One of the most prevalent mistakes is the failure to maintain detailed and organised records of export promotion activities and associated expenses. The EMDG scheme requires comprehensive documentation, including invoices, receipts, bank statements, contracts, and evidence of payment. Applicants often underestimate the level of detail needed, leading to rejections or reduced grant amounts.

Avoidance Strategy: Implement a systematic approach to record-keeping from the outset of your export activities. Use digital tools or software to track expenses in real-time, ensuring that all documentation is EMDG-compliant. Regularly review your records to ensure completeness and accuracy.


  1. Misunderstanding Eligible Expenses

A common pitfall is the misconception about which expenses are eligible for reimbursement under the EMDG scheme. Applicants may mistakenly include domestic marketing expenses, non-promotional travel costs, or capital expenditures, which are not covered by the program.

Avoidance Strategy: Thoroughly review the EMDG guidelines provided by Austrade, paying close attention to the definitions of eligible expenses. Consider consulting with an EMDG specialist or attending an Austrade workshop to deepen your understanding of eligible activities and expenses.


  1. Incorrect Apportionment of Expenses

Many applicants struggle with the concept of apportioning expenses between eligible export activities and other business operations. This is particularly relevant for businesses that market to both domestic and international audiences or have expenses that serve multiple purposes.

Avoidance Strategy: Develop a clear and justifiable methodology for apportioning costs, based on time, effort, or direct attribution to export activities. Ensure this method is consistently applied across all relevant expenses and adequately documented.


  1. Late or Incomplete Applications

The EMDG scheme operates on strict EMDG deadlines, and late submissions are not accepted. Additionally, incomplete applications—missing crucial information or documentation—can lead to delays, requests for additional information, or outright rejection.

Avoidance Strategy: Begin preparing your EMDG application well in advance of the EMDG application deadline. Create a comprehensive checklist of required documents and information to ensure nothing is overlooked. Consider leveraging EMDG grant consultants who can provide expertise and support throughout the application process. Your EMDG grant consultant will ensure that your EMDG application form is prepared ahead of the EMDG grant due date and keep you on track.


  1. Failing to Demonstrate Market Development Activities

Some applicants do not sufficiently demonstrate that their expenses were directly related to developing export markets. Merely attending trade shows or conducting overseas visits does not guarantee eligibility; applicants must show that these activities were part of a coherent strategy aimed at generating export sales.

Avoidance Strategy: Develop a detailed export marketing plan that outlines your objectives, target markets, and strategies. Link each claimed expense to specific activities within this plan, providing clear evidence of how each expense contributed to your export development efforts.



Securing funding through the EMDG scheme can significantly support Australian businesses in their international expansion efforts. However, the application process is fraught with challenges that can easily undermine an otherwise eligible claim. By avoiding these top five mistakes—ensuring meticulous documentation, understanding eligible expenses, accurately apportioning costs, adhering to deadlines, and demonstrating market development activities—applicants can significantly enhance their chances of a successful EMDG claim.

The importance of early and thorough preparation cannot be overstated. Engaging with Austrade, seeking advice from experienced EMDG grant consultants, and leveraging available resources and workshops are all prudent steps to take. Ultimately, a successful 0 not only requires adherence to technical requirements but also a strategic approach to documenting and demonstrating how your business is striving to capture and grow international markets. With careful planning and attention to detail, Australian exporters can navigate the complexities of the EMDG scheme and secure the financial support they need to thrive on the global stage.


Contact us today and discover how we can support you navigate the EMDG scheme for export success.