Grants – what are business grants and how do I get one?
For any start-up or small business, applying for a business grant is a great way to initiate growth. Make it your business to find out about any grants that are available in your area, or for your business sector, as the extra money can go a long way in shaping your business.
So, what is a business grant?
Grants can be awarded to new or established businesses as a cash award. The cash award is subject to certain conditions being met by the business. The cash award allows the company to grow faster, save money, become more innovative or run with another forward thinking initiative. These grants usually offer between 1,000 and £100,000, sometimes more. They are typically match funded by the business. The best thing about grants is that as long as you stick to the criteria and do not break the conditions, you won’t need to pay a single penny back!!
Grants for start ups
As a start-up business there is a wide range of funding and grants which you may be eligible for. According to the last count by the UK government there are 512 registered schemes . Not only is there is a huge array of European and UK-wide government business grant schemes, there are also local business funding schemes provided through Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) or through local authorities and other organisations.
How to apply for a business grant
It can be a daunting task finding a suitable business grant and an even more daunting task applying for one. However, this should not put you off. It’s a fact that every grant has its own set of criteria and purpose, so it is critical that you do your research. This will help you narrow down the list of grants in order to find the perfect one for your business.
How do I get a grant?
For a small business in the UK, the best place to start is by looking through the governments ‘business finance support finder’ tool. This detailed list of grants allows you to select the best funding and grants options according to the location, size, and type of business activity.
It is important to remember that grant schemes are extremely competitive, so be prepared!
Before you begin applying make sure you have a clear project plan which has a clear breakdown of what the money is going to be used for. It should also include a description of the history of your business and how the ‘awarding organisation will be meeting their objectives by awarding you the money. Try to include any existing funds you have that will also be invested in the business as the grant you get will not finance your whole project. Typically a grant is awarded for up to 50% of the project costs.
Grants can be an attractive option for small businesses. The extra money will allow you to work on new and exciting projects. Grants will ultimately boost innovation which will thus help to expand your business and create jobs. Grants are often linked to new job creation. Be sure to check the grant eligibility criteria, including deadlines and timescales for applying, implementing projects and taking on new staff.
Never spend on the project until you have had your official grant offer letter as you cannot claim back costs retrospectively.
If you are eligible to apply for a grant, then take advantage of the opportunity and apply today!
Clare Mckee MA has helped over 500 small businesses get bigger online. Previously working with Tesco, Direct Line & The National Lottery and now helping SME's compete with the giants.
UX professional, MA Digital Marketing.