If you’re looking at funding your startup or SME, you need to consider all options. Sometimes investment isn’t the best option for you. There are plenty of government grants available to small businesses. These are often a favourable option because often they won’t require repayment or giving up any equity. If you’re considering applying for startup grant funding, here’s some essential business advice from Innovate UK.
“Be bold – there are a wide range of grants available for projects that involve significant innovation – think disruptive innovations, not incremental” – Paula Rogers-Brown, National Venturefest Network Manager.
Take a look at what type of grants there are available. Gov.uk are a great resource for finding the different types of government grants there are. These are open to both startups and established businesses in a variety of sectors and industries.
Some sectors naturally attract more attention and support than others.
Make 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 found a grant you’d like to apply for, it’s time to check whether you’re eligible. Grants usually have highly specific criteria to ensure they only attract a certain type of business. Read up on the conditions of the grant and find out whether it’s actually worth applying.
If you’re considering your eligibility, be prepared to disclose information on the following:
- Business size
- Business types
- Funding you currently have in place
- Reasons for needing funding
- Industry you operate in
Be aware, some grants require match funding. Before you apply, be sure you can put this in place.
Prepare Fully Before Application
“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.
Ensure you give your application the very best chance of success by doing your research in full.
It’s also vital to ensure you’ve got a business plan, sales projections, cash flow and profit forecasts which can stand up to scrutiny. When you apply for funding, tailor your business plan in the way you would tailor a CV.
Explore Other Possible Alternatives
“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.
A grant still may not be the right option for you. This isn’t an issue. There are plenty other avenues for funding. A soft loan may be another alternative option. These are often government backed with favourable lending options – often, you won’t need to pay these back till you’re making a profit.
If you’re considering exporting your products, be sure to check out funding options available through UK Export Finance.
If you’re a younger entrepreneur (aged between 18-30), the Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme may be a worthy avenue of support.
If you want to find more essential business advice like this, subscribe to Innovate UK’s YouTube channel here.
Additionally, you can follow @InnovateUK on Twitter here.