If you’re planning on starting your own company in the near future, you might be wondering how to go about raising the capital you need to get the ball rolling. The good news is that there are a number of small business grants available across different sectors and from different sources that might just help to give you the boost you need.
What is a Small Business Grant?
A grant is a sum of money awarded to an applicant to help them achieve a certain end. Depending on the type of grant you receive you may or may not need to pay it back. If it is to be repaid, there are many repayment plans available to allow you to return the money in a way and at a pace that is best for you. It’s rare that one grant will cover the full amount you require to get your business up and running, but they can go a long way towards getting you to where you need to be, particularly if a number of them can be combined. You may find that a funding bodies are interested in putting the money towards a particular project you are running or a certain area of your business, so it’s important to look into the interests of potential supporters before applying.
How Can I Get a Grant?
It’s no secret that the grant application process can be highly competitive. Most funding bodies have a set amount that they are able to offer each applicant, and a great many businesses may be in the running for that sum. Before you apply for a grant, you should make sure that your business fits the specific eligibility criteria publicised by each potential funder, as some may be more suitable for your purposes and therefore your application may be more likely to succeed. You may not be eligible if your company already has a number of backers, if you do business in an affluent area or if you’re applying for support within the general running of your company instead of applying in the hopes of achieving a certain goal, building particular facilities or undertaking a specific project. There are a wide range of parameters and various selections of criteria to meet depending on the body you’re applying to, so it’s important to read up on each.
How Can I Make it Easier?
Many grant providers ask that you undertake an amount of “match funding” to ensure that you are not entirely relying on them to provide you with capital and that your idea is more likely to move forward successfully. This does not necessarily require you to raise an identical amount to the one you’re requesting, but funders often expect you to acquire a certain percentage yourselves. You are more likely to succeed if your business has interests that positively affect the wider world, such as a consideration for the environment or accessible, community focused activities. It’s definitely worth researching any grants that might be available within your own locality before searching further afield as you may find that there are bodies interested in funding local projects or activities.
Are There Particular Organisations I Should Approach?
A good place to start is with a local business advisor or via Business Link, a network of experienced entrepreneurs and business people offering advice and guidance to SMEs and startups in the UK. Asking them for their suggestions may save you a great deal of time. Local businesses, authorities and organisations often offer small grants, so it’s worth researching what is available. Larger organisations such as national charities that share an interest with your company may also be able to offer an amount, and there are also government or European Union backed funds you may be able to tap into. The Regional Growth Fund scheme offers amounts in support of private sector companies, and you can also look into the Regional Selective Assistance if you are based in Scotland, or the Enterprise Northern Ireland Loan Fund for businesses in Northern Ireland. Bear in mind that these are very well-known bodies, so seeking funding from them may prove highly competitive.
Research is vital when it comes to finding relevant grants for your new business, so take your time and look into every avenue. Beginning a new venture can prove expensive, but there are a number of ways to keep your overheads down so that more of your costs can be covered by a small business grant. Arranging flexible office space for your company can save you a great deal, so to discuss this option just call Signature Works today on 0151 558 1566.