Government Grants, All About


Consultants and Advisers

Should you use “grant consultants” or other advisers to help you obtain grants?

The first point to realise is that when you apply for public money it is your company and your project, which is under the microscope. There can be no better ambassador for your cause than you and/or your colleagues! To that extent logic suggests that you are better off if you “do it yourself”.

However, there are occasions where help can be useful:

a) Identifying Schemes

This is the most difficult aspect of all to deal with unaided, since it is necessary to devote a good deal of time and resource to researching schemes.

It is wise to use others to help in the identification process – ideally to subscribe to a reputable information service which is accessible on an on-going basis so you can always check on the current and up to date situation as and when different potential projects arise in your business.

b) Applying for Grants

If you are applying for a substantial grant (say one worth several thousands of pounds) and the awarding body is “remote” and bureaucratic, or the information required needs a technical expertise you do not possess, then it can help to appoint a consultant. This may be particularly so in the case of applications to European bodies where an expert’s knowledge of the processes required could prove invaluable.

In most other circumstances, however, the cost of consultancy probably outweighs its usefulness.

Caution

The history of “grants consultancy” is not a good one! Many so-called experts have proved to be nothing more than opportunists who make false promises in order to extract fees from clients who have been ultimately left “high and dry” with failed grant applications.

If you do decide to appoint consultants or advisers check their track record and verify their claims before you make a binding commitment.

NB: There are some schemes which disbar applications being made by any third party on behalf of another business!

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