As a new business start-up, the only thing better than typical investments and loans is grant funding. The reason being that, depending on the type of grant offered, it isn’t always necessary to repay so much as a penny!
Too good to be true? Not necessarily, although grants can be uniquely tricky to obtain.
Right now, there are more than 200 different government grant schemes up and running for British businesses. No collateral required, no repayments necessary, and in many instances, no upper-limit to what’s on offer. It’s simply a case of knowing where to look, what to look for and how to ensure your start-up qualifies accordingly.
Research Your Options
First up, checking Gov.uk to research UK business funding schemes comes highly recommended. As already mentioned, there are hundreds of grants you could choose to apply for and the list is constantly growing. Along with various local and national schemes, there are also those that specifically target certain industries and niches. Agriculture, manufacturing, technology and others are attracting particularly heavy government support right now. The better you understand your options, the more likely you are to choose the right option for your business.
It’s important to avoid wasting time on any grant applications that are completely unsuitable for your business. Taking qualification criteria into account before getting started is therefore of high importance. However complicated the terms and conditions may be, it makes sense to read and digest them fully. These will include strict rules as to your location, type of business, current financial position, business size, viability, financial projections and whether you’ve applied for and/or received similar funding before.
Prepare Fully Before Applying
You can expect your application, your business and you yourself to be scrutinised pretty intensively throughout the process. Before the grant is authorised, you’ll need to convince those offering it that you and your business are the real deal. Which in turn means being ready to answer any and every question imaginable. Not to mention, backing up your claims with plenty of hard evidence. From sales projections to competitor research to market analysis and so on, anything you can do to help validate your business will certainly help. Regardless of how long it takes, you need to invest the necessary time and effort in essential research and preparation.
Explore the Alternatives
Last but not least, it’s important to remember that most start-ups encounter challenges with funding along the way. Particularly those looking for the kinds of grants that don’t need to be repaid. Along with hundreds of grant schemes, there are also countless other avenues to explore for alternative methods of financing your business. From business loans to crowdfunding to traditional investor involvement and so on, there’s no such thing as a dead-end. So even if your grant application fails, accepting defeat really is the worst thing you can do for your business.
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