In business we all sometimes need that extra little bit of cash to get certain business ideas off the ground. There are many ways in which you are able to gain extra business finance such as loans, overdrafts, credit cards or through private investors such as business angels; however what do all of these have in common? They all have to be repaid in one form or another but with a business grant it’s another story.
Business grants are a sum of money that is awarded to your company for a very specific purpose or project. This money means that you can undertake the changes that you want to make to your business without having any debts at the end of it; sounds too good to be true? Well let me assure you this is completely genuine but like all things that seem too good to be true there are a few catches. You are only awarded between 15% and 50% of the total money that you need to carry out your project; the rest of the money needed has to come from you. The percentage of the total cost that you will be awarded depends on how much money you need for your purpose or project.
There are many ways in which you can obtain a grant some of the main ones are as follows:
o The government
o The European Union
o Regional Development Agencies in England, Scottish Enterprise, the Welsh Development Agency and Invest Northern Ireland
o Local authorities or local councils and local development agencies
o Chambers of Commerce
o County Enterprise Boards
The main type of business grants that are available are government grants and the reason that they came about was as a way of encouraging entrepreneurialism and innovation, which will translate into opening up more jobs within the business and adding value to the business, which is done mainly through the businesses profits.
Some of the reasons as to why you may be awarded a grant are for the purchasing of machinery, to improve office conditions, increase employment and developing export markets. Everything that it will be awarded for comes down to the idea of helping you to develop your business.
To be in with a chance of receiving a business grant you need to make sure that you meet the conditions set out by the grant. These conditions are that you have to have the rest of the money for your specific project or purpose ready and the project can’t have already been started. These are strict terms and conditions that apply to all grants. If these aren’t followed, immediate repayment of the grant can be required. However, generally you do not have to repay grants or interest on them unless you break the conditions.
Applying for grants can be time-consuming. You will generally be required to submit your business plan, as well as completing the specific paperwork for the scheme. Once your application has been made it will enter the reviewing stage where your application and proposal will be assessed using the following criteria:
o Their assessment of your expertise
o Need for the grant
There aren’t many grants available, which means that competition for them is high so if you aren’t successful this time then I advise you to take on board the reasons as to why your application was turned down so that you can work on these points and apply again.