This is a guest post by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.
If you need funding, grants can be a hugely attractive option. There are more than 200 government grants available to UK businesses. Some of these don’t require repayments or giving up equity in return for funding. If you’re considering this option, be sure to follow Innovate UK’s essential business tips for grant funding.
Research Your Options
“Be bold. There are a wide range of grants available for projects that involve significant innovations. Think disruptive innovation, not incremental” – Paula Rogers-Brown, National Venturefest Network Manager.
Before you do anything, we recommend checking Gov.uk to see a comprehensive list of government grants in the UK.
Look at the local and regional opportunities as well as national offerings. There’s funding available in specific geographical locations which can’t be found in others.
Some sectors, like manufacturing, naturally attract more support than others. Research and development activity is also well funded, as are tech businesses. Look for the types of funding available for your specific sector.
Be Sure You Are Eligible
“Read the documentation fully and familiarise yourself with the scope and eligibility criteria” – Richard Awbery, Customer Support Executive at Innovate UK.
Once you’ve settled on an appropriate grant, check your eligibility. Applications for grants often feature strict conditions in order to attract certain types of ventures. Before you begin your application process, make sure you actually fit the necessary requirements.
To be sure you’re eligible, ensure you have details on the following:
- Business size
- Business type
- Any funding currently in place
- Reason for wanting the grant
- Industry you operate in
There are a few other vital points to consider when applying for a grant. What time-frame is involved? Do you need to match funding?
Prepare Fully Before Applying
“Preparation at the bid stage really pays off, greatly improving the chances of success at the assessment stage and throughout the project” – David Elson, Innovation Lead at Innovate UK.
Give yourself the very best chance of success by fully preparing before applying for a grant.
Before you reach the stage of funding applications, you need to be sure your business plan is up to scrutiny. Can you discuss your sales projections, cash flow, profit and loss forecasts with confidence?
Explore Possible Alternatives to Grants
“Look for loans that are unsecured, so there’s no need to put forward any assets or guarantors to support an application” – David English, Chief Marketing Officer at Startup Loans Company.
Don’t worry if grants aren’t the right option for your business. There are plenty of viable alternatives. Soft loans, for example, can be hugely helpful for small businesses. These are loans with low interest rates, generous terms and often won’t need paying back until you start making a profit.
There are also plenty of options for companies that are looking to export. UK Export Finance is a great place to start.
If you’re interested in finding more essential business tips like this, subscribe to Innovate UK’s YouTube channel here.
Additionally, you can follow @InnovateUK on Twitter here.