Your business might be entitled to claim a grant if it carries out eligible projects or operates in a particular area. Here's how to identify a scheme and apply for grant funding.
- Identify potential projects you plan to undertake which might attract grant funding: for example, training, innovation, relocation or job creation.
- Contact sources of information on grants you might qualify for: for example, your local business support organisation or trade association and grant websites.
- Make sure you have funds available to invest in the project; grants typically only cover 15–60% of the costs of any project.
- For large projects and grants, consider using a consultant. Negotiate their responsibilities and fees carefully.
- Identify the key constraints of potential grants - how much funding you will need to provide and what the project must achieve (eg job creation).
- Contact the administrator of appropriate schemes for guidance on the funds available, whether you might qualify and how to apply.
- Assess whether it is worth applying: consider your chances of success, the time and effort of completing the application, and when you might get any grant funding.
- Check whether undertaking any preliminary work on the project will adversely affect your chances of receiving a grant. Most grants are for projects which are not already under way.
- Establish timescales; check whether there are closing deadlines for applications, how often funds are granted, and when the next round of applications will be considered.
- Submit an application, typically including a project description and plan, details of how your project meets the scheme's objectives, and give costings.
- For some schemes, be prepared to submit a more detailed application if you get through the preliminary application process.
- Sell your project - emphasise the project's benefits, why you need the grant, and how your background and expertise will make it a success. Wait for the decision.
- Check any conditions the grant provider imposes: for example, any targets you must reach before payments are made, how the money can be spent and what records you must keep.
- Check the payment schedule and plan your cash flow and financing to cope with any payments made in arrears.
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