What are Business Grants and How Can You Get One? A business grant is a sum of money that’s given to entrepreneurs or business owners that doesn’t need to be paid back. Unlike a loan, you won’t have to return the money or pay interest on the capital you receive.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the money you receive via a grant can be used in any way you choose. In fact, most grants are issued on the proviso that the money will be used in a specific way. If you’re a start-up business, for example, you may receive a grant to help grow your enterprise. Alternatively, a grant may be issued to help you fund a specific business function, such as marketing, hiring employees, or conducting research and development activities.
Although business grants can be a welcome injection of cash for your business, it’s vital that the money is used in accordance with the terms of the grant.
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What Is a Grant in Business?
A grant in business is designed to help your enterprise achieve a specific goal. You may receive a grant to help you turn a business idea into a start-up reality, for example, or to help your business invest in equipment or machinery. There are a wide variety of grants out there, but most have strict criteria that must be met.
As you don’t need to repay grants, they are a fantastic way to access the resources you need. After all, every business can benefit from extra funds. Whether you’re running a new business or expanding an existing enterprise, funding from grants can help you to achieve your goals and take your organisation to the next level.
Can I Get a Business Grant UK?
Most people are unaware that there are thousands of business grants available every year. Some are issued by the government, while others are given by charitable organisations and even high-net-worth individuals who want to support entrepreneurs and small businesses.
As you might expect, there is a lot of competition when it comes to securing grants, regardless of whether it’s a government-issued grant or a sum gifted to an organisation by a charity or individual. However, don’t let this deter you from applying for grants. By applying for the grants you’re eligible for, you can access the critical funds you need to enhance your operations and increase your commercial success.
Do I Qualify for a Business Grant?
It’s highly likely that your business will qualify for a grant, particularly if you’re a small or growing enterprise. Given that thousands of business grants are issued each year, most small businesses do qualify for this type of financial support.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be successful when it comes to applying for a grant. In some cases, meeting the criteria isn’t enough to ensure you’ll receive the funds. Instead, you might face stiff competition from other small businesses that are also in need of financial support.
To increase your chances of successfully obtaining a business grant, it’s important to identify the grants that you’re eligible to apply for. Scour the internet for both government-issued grants and grants given by other sources. Then, examine the criteria to determine whether you’re eligible to apply. If so, you’ll know that you do qualify for a business grant and can begin preparing your applications accordingly.
How to Apply for Government Business Grant
The Government issues more than 200 different types of small business grants every year, which means you might be eligible for a significant amount of financial support. However, determining which grants you’re eligible for and successfully applying for them can be a complex process. As each grant typically has an individual and unique application process, you’ll need to pay close attention to the eligibility criteria, application requirements and deadlines.
To start applying for a government business grant, find out which grants you’re eligible for. Popular government-based grant schemes include the Regional Growth Fund (RGF), which are run by local or national organisations and provide grants up to £1 million, Innovation Vouchers, worth up to £5,000 to help small businesses access expert advice, and The New Enterprise Allowance, which helps potential entrepreneurs who are currently unemployed or receiving financial support.
In addition to this, government-issued grants are available in the form of Research and Development Tax Credit, Employment Allowance and Business Rates Relief. In England alone, there are 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) that are designed to offer advice and funding to businesses to fuel economic growth, facilitate job creation and enhance the skillset of the workforce.
By taking the time to systematically identify the government grants you’re eligible for and adhering to the application process, you’ll stand a good chance of securing the funding your business needs.
How to Apply for Small Business Grant
If you want to apply for a small business grant, it’s essential to be organised. You’ll need to identify the application process for the relevant grant and give yourself enough time to complete the application and submit any supporting documentation that’s required. Depending on the grant you’re applying for, this can take a significant amount of time, so don’t be tempted to rush your application. Of course, the more grants you apply for, the longer the process will take. If you’re able to secure one or more grants, however, it can have a dramatic impact on your business growth and your subsequent success, so it’s well worth putting in the effort.
Before you submit your application, it can be advantageous to get in touch with the awarding body. This will give you the opportunity to talk to the people who will be awarding the grants and to find out more about what they’re looking for in successful applications. With this information, you’ll be able to tailor your application and ensure that you highlight the key aspects of your business and show why they’re deserving of a grant.
When you’re applying for a business grant, it’s important to follow the specified process. If you’re applying for multiple grants, don’t assume they will all have the same application processes. In fact, every grant usually has its own unique application methodologies and an error in your paperwork could disqualify you from receiving an award.
How To Get a Business Grant
If you want to successfully obtain a business grant, you’ll need to think about your applications strategically. Not only will you need to meet the relevant criteria, but you’ll also need to make it clear how and why your organisation meets the eligibility criteria within your application. Failing to do this will lead to your application begin disregarded fairly early on, so be sure to make it clear why you’re eligible for the grant in question and why your business should be selected to receive financial support.
Applying early can also be a savvy way to secure a business grant, so don’t be tempted to leave your application until the last minute. Most grants have limited funds available, which means the majority of funding may have already been allocated by the time the deadline approaches. If you want to increase your chances of securing a grant, it can be advantageous to apply as soon as the application process opens.
Although businesses are encouraged to apply for multiple grants, you should never use the same application materials for more than one grant. Assessors will be quick to pick up on applications that have been duplicated and, as a result, these are rarely successful. Instead, take the time to tailor each application to the specific grant you’re applying for. This gives you the opportunity to really show why your business should be awarded the funds and allows you to use the objectives of the awarding body to highlight your suitability.
Creating a Business Plan to Secure a Business Grant
When you’re applying for a business grant, you’ll usually be expected to submit a business plan as part of the application process. To maximise your chances of receiving funding, you’ll need to provide accurate and detailed information. Remember – awarding bodies may ask for this information to be verified, so make it clear if you’re using estimates or forecasting financial information. Where possible, you should always use figures that are based on fact and easily verifiable.
Furthermore, you’ll need to use your business plan to show how a grant will be used and what impact it will have on your business. If you’re applying for a grant that’s designed to facilitate job creation, for example, you may want to show how many employees you’ll be able to hire if you’re awarded funding, what this will enable your business to achieve and what impact it will have on your local community.
Alternatively, if you’re applying for a grant that aims to increase technological innovation, you could use your business plan to showcase which technological solutions you plan to implement with the funds and what they’ll enable your business to achieve.
Using a Grant to Expand Your Business
When you receive a grant, you may be required to agree to certain conditions, such as using the funds in a particular way or providing the awarding body with regular updates about how you’re using the grant and what impact it’s having on your organisation. These conditions are often contractual, which means you could be required to return the funds if you don’t adhere to them.
To ensure your business can benefit in the long-term from a grant, be sure to use the funds in accordance with any terms or conditions that you’ve agreed to. By doing so, you can ensure that your grant is used appropriately and in line with the awarding body’s objectives.
At a time when the vast majority of businesses are in need of additional funding, securing a grant can be one of the best ways to access the funds you need. From growing your start-up business to making a positive impact on your local community, securing a grant can transform your business, enable you to expand your operations, and increase your long-term success.