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Central Finance

19.08.2015

Grant Funding – Tips and Techniques from the experts

Alison Bradley has accessed millions of pounds worth of grant funding for businesses over the years and has a 100% track record in accessing grant funding for hundreds of businesses.

In recent years there has been a massive amount of grant funding available to businesses in the West Midlands and the surrounding areas and this looks set to continue. At Central Finance we have assisted hundreds of our clients apply for grant funding and with great success. A grant is a great bonus and can be that piece of the funding jigsaw that makes the investment work; but they are not suitable for every business.

Here are a few tips and hints when deciding whether to apply. (please note that the below can differ when applying for Research and Development grant funding)

  1. Check that your business is eligible. Those businesses that trade directly to consumer are usually not eligible for local grant funding schemes. So if you are in the retail and leisure sector then your business will not be able to apply. There are also many other business types that are not eligible so best to check before applying.
  2. Grant funding can be targeted at specific locations. Is your business in the right geographic location?
  3. Grants are usually awarded on a matched basis and this can range from 10-50%.
  4. In the main, grant funders will require your business to create and safeguard jobs (creation is very often more important). As a loose ‘rule of thumb’ for every £10,000 of grant that you would like to achieve, your business will be expected to create a job. (this can differ depending on the scheme)
  5. There is usually a minimum grant threshold of c. £10,000. For example on a 50% match funded basis your business must be able to cashflow the FULL spend of £20,000 and then claim the £10,000 grant back. Most schemes work like this as you will need to evidence your company spend in order to claim the grant.
  6. Make sure that your business can afford the whole project cost and if not then how will you overcome this? Many schemes will not allow Asset Finance to be used in conjunction with grant funding and some will. Or do you need to arrange a loan alongside the grant to make the whole package work? You will need to check this in advance.
  7. Do not go ahead and spend or place deposits on equipment , machinery etc as this will exclude your business from the grant funding scheme. If you go ahead – then you are demonstrating that you don’t NEED the grant. Your expenditure must be planned and in the short term future. Any expenditure must be made AFTER the date of any grant offer letter.
  8. Check what is eligible expenditure under the scheme you want to apply for. It’s no good putting equipment and machinery in your grant application if the scheme is only open to marketing, website, branding type costs.
  9. Different funding schemes have different aims so it’s worth checking what are the funders aims? What is their focus? Or speak to someone that is experienced in writing and submitting grant applications to each specific scheme.
  10. Check whether the scheme you are applying for falls under De Minimis aid. This is assistance from a public source and allows a company to receive up to €200,000 of De Minimis aid over a rolling three-year period. State aid rules can be complex – seek advice if you are unsure

Finally, Grant Schemes are bureaucratic, there seems no way to escape this, so be prepared to spend time completing long forms, preparing forecasts and putting together a full pack of supporting information.

And if you need help then please GET IN TOUCH; WE ARE ALWAYS HAPPY TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT YOUR POTENTIAL GRANT APPLICATION.