There is a bewildering array of different grants and support schemes available to businesses, all of which demand considerable time and preparation of a business case for justification. There are also the time demands to satisfy the administration processes needed to claim stage payments. And in addition, there are extra rules and special conditions governing specific regions and a plethora of selection criteria to overcome. Navigating the options available to successfully secure a grant is not for the faint-hearted.
Here are some insights on grants:
What are Grants?
Grants are: “a form of assistance, usually financial in nature, and non-repayable, given by one organisation to another to undertake or continue activities which it could not otherwise do without that support”.
Most grants are usually paid quarterly in arrears (after expenditure) and only contribute towards a proportion (typically 35% to 50%) of a project’s costs – so they require matched funds. A company does not have to pay back grants, there is no interest to pay, no security required and no loss of equity or IPR rights. Be aware though that even if you get a 50% grant, you still need to stump up the other 50%, and prove that you can do so – it is not entirely a free ride.
How much can I get?
Grants come in all amounts – anywhere from £5,000 to £500,000. The amount of grant can be determined by the nature of the project, the type of grant scheme and the size of business. Many grants are specifically targeted at small and medium size businesses.
What kinds of projects are supported?
Grants are targeted at specific objectives, for example, to achieve CO2 emission reductions, to undertake research and development of innovations, or to invest in capital equipment and plants for business growth and new jobs. To qualify for a grant, you need to be investing in a project that meets the grant criteria.
What’s involved in an application?
In most cases you will need to prepare a comprehensive project proposal comprising a technical work plan, project plan, project cash flow, cost breakdowns, resource summaries, marketing plan, business plan and business cash flow. This will need to be supported by evidence of your ability to fund your share of a project.
When can I apply?
Applications can occur in fixed phases/funding rounds, they can follow a specific call for proposals, or they can be part of a continuous rolling application programme – it all depends on the grant scheme.
How long does it take?
A typical project proposal can take six to eight weeks to prepare and a similar length of time for the awarding body to assess.
What are my chances of success?
Grant schemes vary tremendously, but it’s not unusual for an awarding body to award between 35-50% of applications. That’s a far greater proportion than a typical venture capital investor supports.
Talk to one of our grant specialists at ibd, who can guide you through the options and help you with your application. We can also assist with the administration and grant claims once you have your grant.