- FAQs -
We have collected the questions we have been asked by our clients about grant funding over the years and have collated them here for you. If you have a specific question about grant funding, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will reply to you directly and post the question on this page.
+ IS MY BUSINESS ELIGIBLE FOR GRANT FUNDING?
WHAT SIZE OF BUSINESS CAN APPLY FOR GRANT FUNDING?
Grants are available for all sizes and stages of businesses including pre start-ups, start-ups, young businesses and established businesses from micro to large enterprises.
I RUN A SUCCESSFUL AND PROFITABLE BUSINESS; CAN I STILL ACCESS GRANT FUNDING?
Yes. It is a common misunderstanding that only struggling businesses or only businesses based in Assisted Areas are eligible for grant funding. Indeed, the vast majority of our clients are successful businesses that are ambitious and looking to grow or innovate.
I RECEIVED A GRANT LAST YEAR, CAN I GET ANOTHER ONE?
This all depends on how the grant is classified under De Minimis and State Aid rules (see more information in the Glossary section below). In general you can claim up to your allowed De Minimis level in any three year period, whether that is from a single grant or multiple smaller grants. However, you need only comply with either State Aid or De Minimis rules so you may be able to claim further grant support under the State Aid mechanism as long as you comply with the match funding requirements of the particular grant. Some grants even fall outside of State Aid and De Minimis rules.
MY COMPANY HAS A FOREIGN BASED GROUP OWNER, CAN I STILL CLAIM UK OR EU GRANTS?
Yes, in principal. You will need to check with the specific funder either through the published guidance notes that accompany the grant or by contacting the funder direct. There are also specific funds to encourage the relocation of businesses to certain UK regions.
+ IS MY PROJECT ELIGIBLE FOR GRANT FUNDING?
WHAT AREA OF MY BUSINESS CAN RECEIVE GRANT FUNDING SUPPORT?
Grants can support a variety of ventures including business growth, research & development and/or training related projects.
I NEED TO PURCHASE NEW EQUIPMENT FOR MY BUSINESS; CAN GRANT FUNDING HELP ME AFFORD THE COST?
Yes. Business Growth grants are designed specifically to support businesses looking to purchase new equipment or machines, expand to new premises, invest in tooling or IT and other forms of capital expenditure. The grant funder will want to see that the money will enable your business to do more - grow faster or quicker - with the support of the grant funding.
I HAVE AN IDEA FOR A NEW PRODUCT, CAN GRANT FUNDING HELP ME BRING IT TO MARKET?
Yes. R&D grant funding is prioritised by the UK and EU to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, particularly in SMEs and large enterprises. R&D funding is generally split into three phases: 1) market research, 2) concept development and 3) production of prototype; some funds also support national and international market roll-out. Funding percentages for R&D and innovation are generous with between 50% and 100% of the costs of the project covered by a grant.
CAN I CLAIM GRANT MONEY FOR THINGS I HAVE ALREADY PURCHASED?
No. The grant is there to help your business achieve something you could not achieve without funding so retrospective claims are not considered. Consider breaking your project into phases and seeking grant support for the second or third phase.
CAN I GET GRANT FUNDING FOR MARKETING AND SALES COSTS?
This is unusual as this expenditure falls outside of capital, training or R&D. However, if your costs can be incorporated into a wider business growth project and a suitable business growth grant is open then it is possible to match some of the costs. More likely their might be smaller support grants such as growth vouchers or business coaching that could help with marketing and sales.
CAN I GET GRANT FUNDING TO SUPPORT PLANNING?
Yes. If the planning is for new headquarters or building development and you are also seeking funding for the construction of the building(s), then this is possible. It is unlikely that a grant will support only the development of a master plan and securing planning permission for a development though.
+ HOW DOES THE GRANT PROCESS WORK?
WHEN I AM AWARDED A GRANT, DO I GET ALL THE MONEY ON DAY 1?
No, unfortunately! You should plan for reclaiming your project spend on a three months in arrears cycle. Some funds might be more generous and work on one month in arrears, and some EU funds will only fund based on receipts after a six month period. Check with the funder on specific grants.
CAN A FUNDER RECLAIM A GRANT ONCE AWARDED AND SPENT?
Yes, strictly speaking. Grant funding is awarded based on deliverable and agreed outputs which might include job creation, development of new product prototypes or market research. If your company exaggerates the outputs in the grant application and then fails to deliver, the funder is within their rights to reclaim the money awarded. However, it is unusual to happen, for example the recent UK Government scheme Regional Growth Fund awarded a total of £3.2bn and has to date reclaimed £0.
WHAT COSTS ARE ELIGIBLE TO CLAIM GRANT SUPPORT FOR?
This depends on the specific fund so here is a broad indication, but do check guidance on specific funds. R&D grants will usually allow you to claim for almost all costs including capital, staff, overheads and even subcontractors. Business growth grants will not generally pay for revenue costs like wages, recruitment costs and stock purchase, but will support capital purchases. Training grants will subsidise the costs of training courses from 50% to 100% depending on the fund, but will not necessarily cover travel.
CAN A SINGLE GRANT COVER CAPITAL EXPENDITURE, R&D AND TRAINING COSTS?
Yes. Business growth grants are intended to do exactly that. Effectively the funder will support a business plan predicated on ambitious company growth as long as the plan meets the output requirements of the specific fund - often job creation. What you will have to do is convince the funder that your business deserves support more than other businesses and that the risks in your growth plan have been considered and managed.
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT WHAT GRANTS ARE AVAILABLE?
There are a variety of websites and newsletters that will offer grant search and alert services, some are free and some ask for a subscription fee. We are yet to find a comprehensive and fully accurate source for all grant funds because there are so many and the grants available are continually changing. See our Funding Alerts page for a good place to start.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO WRITE A GRANT APPLICATION?
This very much depends on the grant fund. Some are as simple as registering online and spending five minutes answering some simple questions. Others require you to establish partnerships across Europe, provide a full business plan, generate financial forecasts and complete a 40-page application form. Check the guidance notes with each grant fund for an indication of what will be required.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT FOR A DECISION ON FUNDING?
This depends on the fund and can vary from an instant decision to six months. As a rule of thumb, R&D funds tend to have a one-month turn around, business growth grants take about three months and EU funds generally six months. Check fund guidance for specific information for each grant fund.
HOW QUICKLY DO I HAVE TO SPEND THE GRANT MONEY?
This depends on the grant, but generally you are allowed between six months and two years for business growth and R&D projects. Remember that most grant funding needs to be claimed in arrears so you will need to be able to cash flow the first one to six months of the project before reclaiming your costs.
WHO DECIDES WHAT GRANT FUNDS ARE CREATED AND WHEN?
In the context of business and public sector focused grant funds, it is generally the government that sets priorities and provides grant funds where it is understood that there is either: • A failure of the private sector to deliver economic growth, or • Specific sectors are to be promoted, or • Infrastructure support is seen as key to unlocking developments.
+ GLOSSARY OF TERMS
WHAT IS MATCH FUNDING?
Also known as the Intervention Rate, match funding is the % of the total project cost that is funded by the grant. Each grant fund will require a contribution from your organisation towards the costs of the project you are seeking grant funding for. Grant funding support will range from 10% to 100% of project costs depending on the funder, sector, location and project. For example, SMEs and organisations located in Assisted Areas are eligible for higher levels of grant support, and R&D and Training projects receive more generous levels of support than capital projects.
WHAT IS AN ASSISTED AREA AND HOW DOES BEING LOCATED IN ONE HELP?
Assisted Areas are designated by the EU as areas of economic deprivation where there is a failure of the private sector to generate jobs and prosperity. These areas are officially identified and targeted for additional support through state grant funding. If your business is located in an Assisted Area you will be entitled to higher levels of grant funding and it is likely there will be funds that prioritise your Assisted Area for support. See the interactive map to check whether you are in an Assisted Area at http://www.ukassistedareasmap.com/ .
WHAT DOES DE MINIMIS MEAN IN A GRANT CONTEXT?
De Minimis is a limit on the amount of grant funding any single business can receive over a three year period. The limit is set EU wide at €200,000 to prevent unfair state aid support of one company over another. It is important to know that your company needs to comply with either De Minimis or State Aid regulations when securing grant funding. See State Aid below.
WHAT DOES STATE AID MEAN IN A GRANT CONTEXT?
State Aid rules set the levels of grant funding support that any company in the EU can receive. Levels depend on the size of the enterprise, the location of the enterprise and what that enterprise is planning to do. For example, an SME in an Assisted Area looking for grant support in Industrial R&D can legally claim 70% grant support, whereas a company classed as ‘Large’ in the same area can only claim 50%. See more information at https://www.gov.uk/state-aid .
WHAT DOES ADDITIONALITY MEAN IN A GRANT CONTEXT?
Grant funders want to see that your project is adding value to the economy and not simply taking value from competitors. Are you creating new products or opening up new markets with your project? Or are you simply taking market share in an established space from you competitors? This is the question that the funder will ask when considering your application. This requirement tends to rule out certain sectors from grant funding, for example retail or professional services.
WHAT DOES INTERVENTION RATE MEAN IN A GRANT CONTEXT?
Please refer to Match Funding above.
Granted Consultancy is a leading provider of funding services to ambitious businesses in the UK and EU with specific expertise in identifying and securing grant funding. Our experienced team works across tech, digital, advanced engineering & manufacturing, public and third sectors to help develop and fund ambitious projects. We continue to work with clients on Grant, Angel, VC, Crowd and Accelerator Funding options to unlock exciting and disruptive projects in the UK, EU and worldwide. To find out more, contact us on 0203 507 1903 (London) or 01392 427860 (Exeter) or contact us online.