A grant is when an amount of money is given to an individual or business to be used for a specific project or purpose. It normally only covers part of the cost or service with the balance paid for by the person receiving the grant.
There are many sources of grants for business development, often linked to specific business activities like exporting, training, specific industries and specific geographic areas in need or economic regeneration. Many grants are limited to small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – typically one with fewer than 250 employees.
The government provides support through not only financial support but advice and training.
The following are key areas of government support…
- Grants for research and development, and innovation.
- Grants for training and skills development.You can read about funding for training on the Learning and Skills Council website.
- The New Deal
- The Princes Trust for young entrepreneurs.Anyone unemployed or employed in a part-time or low-paid job, aged 18-30 and with a business idea, can apply for funds to the Prince’s Trust.
- Economic regeneration.
Competition for monetary grants can be fierce. They come with strict terms and conditions that must be followed or the grant repaid and they are normally for specific proposed projects and not those already started.
The amount of matching funds to be provided by the receiver of the grant will vary from grant to grant. Sometimes it could be half and other times considerably less. The matching funds can come from the the business, a loan or from a new investor.
When you have identified the right grant to apply for you will need to provide:
- a detailed project description
- an explanation of the potential benefits of the project
- a detailed work plan with full costings
- details of your own relevant experience and that of other key managers
- completed application forms where stipulated
The application is normally judged according to the following criteria:
- their assessment of your expertise
Local grants are processed more quickly but grants can take anything from a few weeks to a year to get a decision.
What not to do when applying for a grant
The following are common reasons why grant applications are rejected…
- The area for which the grant is applied for is not relevant to the body awarding the grant.
- The explanation of how research ideas will be translated into an achievable plan of action is unsatisfactory.
- There are not enough facts in support of the proposal..
- The amount of work is unrealistic.
- The impact of the work on the wider community/industry has not been communicated effectively.
- Information provided in the application is not up-to-date.
- It has not been made clear how important the funds are to the project’s success or failure.
- The applicant cannot prove they have matched funds.
If your application is declined then it is important to get feedback to help you in structuring future grant applications