Grant Funding for Beginners
- GRANT FUNDING FOR BEGINNERS -
Below we've tried to make grant funding as simple and understandable as possible. Please remember that the list of details is not exhaustive and that grant writing can be extremely time-consuming. We always recommend that you seek specialist advice, since your chances of success increase dramatically with in-depth experience and knowledge of the grant funding market.
WHAT IS GRANT FUNDING?
In basic terms grant funding can be defined as:
'Pots of money put aside by the UK government and the EU to support business innovation and fuel economic growth.'
There are an array of grants for British businesses which come from both the UK government and the EU. Generally the money gets distributed out to funding bodies who in turn distribute the funding to businesses through different schemes. It’s important to note that grant funding is given to projects, not just general business activities, and it’s important that project spend has not already begun at the time of the funding application.
UK VS. EU FUNDING, WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
UK funding and EU funding tend to have slight differences in their priorities. European funding is often geared towards Market Innovation, whereas UK funding changes from region to region. In the South West, for example, there is currently a particular focus on Capital Funding, whereas London based businesses stand a better chance for start-up or R&D grants. The grant landscape changes all the time and there are, unfortunately, no hard and fast rules - but that’s where we can help.
Your eligibility for each fund will fluctuate depending on the fund's specific criteria and its priorities. It also varies according to the size of your business, your sector, your location and the type of project you are looking to fund (e.g. capital, R&D or training).We have addressed a few of these elements in more detail below. [M1]
WHAT ARE FUNDING BODIES LOOKING FOR?
1) Your Location:
Some geographical areas of the UK are automatically prioritised, these are called Assisted Areas. If your business falls within one of these geographical locations, this will raise its eligibility and funding rate significantly.
2) Your Sector:
Currently, prioritised sectors in the UK are:
- Manufacturing & Engineering - Supporting the invention and production of new market-altering technologies and products.
- Digital & Marine Technology – supporting the invention and production of new market-altering technologies and products.
- Higher Education & Further Education - Supporting education and improved training.
- Energy Technology - Supporting renewable and energy efficient technologies and practices.
- Councils - Supporting local community projects and growth.
2) Your Company:
The funders will also want to know some factors about your company such as:
- Has your business received funding before?
- Company Structure
- Whether yours is an independent company - do you own other companies or are you owned by other companies?
- What kind of project will the funding go towards, and where does this fit within your overall business? Is this funding for Growth/R&D/Technical Innovation/Training/Job Creation?
3) Your Company Size:
- SME – generally SME sized companies can access a much larger choice of grant funding compared to Large businesses.
- Large Companies - Large companies are eligible for R&D and Training grant funding in the prioritised sections listed above. Click here to see our dedicated R&D section.
4) The amount of funding you require.
5) Your expected project outputs:
Generally funding bodies are looking to fund specific project outcomes; every fund has different criteria and has a variety of outcomes it wishes to fund, which will be stated in its guidelines. The funders will want to see that the grant they give you will have the necessary beneficial effects.
Depending on the type of project and grant, the following factors may be taken into account (not an exhaustive list):
- Job Creation - the number of jobs created through the completion of the project.
- Innovation – the creation of a new, disruptive technology
- Business growth – is the funding going to be a turning point in the growth of your business.
- Socio-economic benefits – does your project line up with the larger picture of regional, national or EU government priorities and strategies (e.g. carbon reduction, increased employability levels)
6) The ways in which you plan to achieve these outputs:
- Set realistic goals - you need to be able to demonstrate that your stated outcomes area achievable.
- Stick to your goals - funding bodies will only provide funding if the project defined on the application is adhered to (with reasonable fluctuations allowed).
- Think ahead - planning the draw-down of the funds and forecasting the ways in which this will fit into your overall business plan are an important part of the application process.
THE IDEAL BUSINESS?
No business is guaranteed to get grant funding, however, if you held the following criteria you stand a very good chance:
A UK owned manufacturing company with a project which would create a market changing or innovative new product, resulting in a doubled turnover and 15+ new jobs.
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
We're always keen to hear from ambitious businesses who are seeking to reach their potential. So far we've secured in excess of £25,000,000 in funding for our clients, and counting.
We frequently hold events in Exeter and the South West and are reaching out further afield. These provide a great opportunity to get an overview of Grant Funding and discuss your eligibility in person with one of our directors. Please check our Events Section to see if we're holding any events soon near you.
You can sign up for alerts for these events in the 'Event Notifications' form to the right.
We frequently post Grant Alerts which outline current funding opportunities. These can be found here. You can subscribe to email alerts for these on the Grant Alert pages.
If you'd like to talk to us in the meantime, we can be reached through:
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