If you dream of jacking in your day job, following your dream and starting your very own company, then we say; what’s stopping you? Don’t be put off by not being able to raise the funds to get yourself started, believe it or not, local councils set aside thousands of pounds every year for small business grants, and many of them go unclaimed. Read on and learn how a small business grant could be the boost you need to get your ideas off the ground.
Why go for a grant?
Often, applying for a small business grant through the council is better than going to the bank for a loan. There are endless kinds of grants out there, waiting to be claimed, from lump sums for small businesses, to cash injections for taking on new employees and even research and technology grants for those looking to invest in something new.
What kinds of grants are there?
Your local council will have a full, comprehensive list of what is available in your area, you can find out what’s up for grabs by just dropping them an email or picking up the phone. Grants are usually easier to come by if you are a small start-up, or looking to invest in new technology or new recruits. Some of the more well-known grants are:
• Community Development Finance Initiatives (CDFI)
These are particularly good if you struggle with getting a loan from your local bank. They are created specifically to help smaller companies get started and are available in many different forms.
• Research and Development grant
This kind of grant can support industrial research and experimental development. The amount you can get will depend on how much the funding body thinks you’ll need to get the job done. To qualify, you’ll normally need to be looking into research for innovative new products, services or processes.
• The Prince’s Trust
These chaps have an ‘Enterprise Programme’ which aims to help people from 18-30 years of age start their own businesses or become a sole-trader. They will provide a low interest loan and even some mentoring to help you take those first steps.
How do you apply? Once you have contacted your local council and chosen the kind of grant you think you’d like to apply for, you’re going to need a full, comprehensive business plan to knock their socks off with. The application for a grant will require some planning— you’re main objective will be to convince the funding body that you have a good idea, that you know what you’re going to do with it, that there’s a market for it and that their money will be well invested.
Make sure you know how much money you need for your business plan, and if you can, show how you plan to spend the money with a finance report. If you really want to ‘wow’ them, try printing your business plan in a professional bound document with printed.com!
Each grant will likely have its own application process and criteria, so make sure you have all the information before getting started.
Although it may take some time and a little research, applying for a grant is a great way to make the most of the opportunities which your local council, government or funding body has created just for small businesses like you.
Did you use a government grant to set up your business? Leave a comment below and let others know how you got on…