What do SMEs need to be aware of when seeking and applying for business funding?

There are a number of things you should consider and steps you can take to ensure you identify the right source of funding for your business project. Remember that:

  • As well as grants and loans, your business may be eligible for tax relief schemes. There are a number of capital allowance schemes that have been introduced in the UK to encourage investment in particular assets or by particular types of businesses, including SMEs. R&D tax credits offer tax relief for small businesses which invest in the conception and implementation of new product ideas, and there are also direct investment incentive schemes. All offer tax incentives to encourage investment – and, in turn, growth – in qualifying companies.

  • Often it is the lack of a particular skill or skills which your company wishes to address. In recognition of this certain schemes focus on delivering these skills directly by offering, at free or subsidised rates, training or consultancy services.

  • A funding provider can only offer support to your project if it meets the aims and objectives of their programme. In particular, don’t expect to get hold of taxpayers’ money easily – take the time to find out the criteria for each scheme. Indicate how the benefits outweigh the cost of your project and that you have internal buy-in.

  • Grants are usually paid to companies that need them, so if it is clear that the project won’t take place without it, finance is more likely to be awarded – however, you are often expected to match what the provider offers and you will normally get an instalment after agreed business goals have been achieved. It is rare for a grant to finance 100% of the costs of any project – you must be prepared to put up some of your own money, or finance from additional sources.

  • You will need to provide full information on your business and your plan, including financial projections – funding providers are looking for feasible projects, not simply to give away their money.

  • The amount of funding available varies widely depending on the location of your business. This can be an advantage, however, where you are eligible to access funding focused on your city, county or region.

When applying for funding for your project, to maximise your chances of obtaining the support you should:

  • Keep track of key dates such as deadlines and, if you are successful, when the funder expects the project to start and when you should have spent the money by.

  • Remember: funders want to support those projects that help to deliver their own policy. And you need to know what that is! Published information such as annual reports and case studies can help you identify policy, as can attending funding briefings and conferences. Such events present an opportunity for you to talk with funding providers directly.

  • Ensure your application is easy to understand. Layout is important – it’s good practice to base the structure of each section on: a label – 1-sentence intro that will grab the reader’s attention; a chunk – introductory paragraph; a list – made up of bullet points and not too text heavy; and a drawing (if allowed) – eg a graph or photograph to help get your point across.

  • Take care with your writing style. Make sure you answer precisely any questions that have been asked, avoiding jargon and long words or sentences. Make sure your application comes across as credible – no spelling or grammar mistakes and accompanied by a budget that adds up and is realistic.

j4bGrantsWhether you are looking for funding for staff training, equipment, developing a new product or to cover marketing costs, j4bGrants can help you identify suitable funding opportunities that match your project’s aims.

Click here to register with j4bGrants now

Related Articles

You can read more about grants in the Get Britain Growing articles What are grants? and j4bgrants.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>