Announced in December 2020, The Show Starter Loan Scheme is a $90 million loan project established by the Australian Government.  The scheme aims to give creative economy businesses access to finances which will make it possible for them to create new productions and events which will result in job creation and economic activity. 

The scheme is part of the federal government’s $250 million Covid-19 Creative Economy Package and is being delivered through the $40 billion Coronavirus Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Guarantee Scheme.  

Under the program, the Australian government has said that they are guaranteeing 100% of new loans taken out by eligible arts and entertainment businesses.

Australian creative economy businesses who are deemed eligible will be able to apply for loans of up to 50 percent of the total budget for an activity (or up to $5 million, whichever is the lesser amount) to support the delivery of new arts and entertainment productions or events. Loan terms are for up to five years. 

Craig Dangar from Vault Accountants has been working closely with his clients in applying for these loans, he notes that “this is the shot in the arm that creative industries need, with the inability to obtain cancellation insurance due to covid, many event operators are on their knees and need additional funding to put events on”.

These concessional loans will be a huge benefit to Australia’s creative economy. They will make it possible for entertainment practitioners to fund new events and productions which have been difficult to orchestrate since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.    

How to Apply for The Show Starter Scheme

During the application process there is a two-step process that applicants are required to undertake when they are being considered for Show Starter Loan Scheme: 

  1. Pre-screening process (assessment of eligibility)
    Submit an Intention to Borrow application through the SmartyGrants online portal. The Office for the Arts will then assess the eligibility of your application. If your Intention to Borrow application is assessed as eligible, you will receive a Notice of Eligibility, which you will need to provide to a participating lender. 
  2. Applying for a loan
    If your submission is assessed as eligible, you can provide a copy of your Notice of Eligibility to a participating lender. This demonstrates to the lender that you meet the Scheme’s eligibility criteria. The Notice of Eligibility does not constitute loan approval.
    You will need to apply for your loan through a participating lender, who will then follow standard lending processes, including a credit assessment. 


Applicants are required to provide the following documentation as part of your Intention to Borrow submission: 

  • Financial statement for 2018–19, certified by your Chief Financial Officer, Board or registered Chartered Accountant. 
  • Financial statement for 2019–20 and/or Part year income and expenditure relevant for 2020–21 with forecast for the rest of the year, certified by your Chief Financial Officer, Board or registered Chartered Accountant. 

Additional information about your entity and proposed activity is also required to be submitted in the Intention to Borrow form. 

Eligibility Criteria for The Show Start Scheme

An eligible borrower must:

• Have an ABN;

• Have had an annual turnover of between $1 million and $120 million during the 2019–20 income year, and/or have a likely annual turnover of between $1 million and $120 million in the 2020–21 income year

• Have been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic

• Be an Arts and Entertainment Entity

• Be unable to fund the new Arts and Entertainment Activity without the assistance of the Scheme.

An eligible borrower must also notbe one of the following:

• An corporation or entity owned by the Australian Government, state/territory or local government

• A Local Government Body; or

• The operator of a theme park or fun park

An Arts and Entertainment Entity is an organisation that in the past 24 months derived its major source of revenue or worked a majority of hours in activities that involve at least one of the following the:

• Employment of Australian Cultural or Creative Workers, and/or Australian Support Workers;

• Operation of venues or facilities often used to exhibit or showcase creative and cultural talent; or

• Organisation of Arts and Entertainment Activities.

The team at C&D Restructure and Taxation Advisory are here to help. As part of the Vault Group we can offer the full suite of financial products and advice to help you navigate the business landscape. Schedule a meeting here via Calendly or give us a call on 07 36086800. 

Post Author: Craig Dangar

Leave a Reply