Tip 1 - Research your grant options
Start by looking at the different types of grant available. Gov.uk has a comprehensive list of government grants in the UK, whether you’re a start-up or an established business, and you can view options by industry type.
Tip 2 - Make sure you are eligible
Once you’ve found the grant you want, it’s important to check that you are eligible. Grant applications usually have conditions to attract specific projects, so make sure you fit the scope before spending time and resources on applying.
Tip 3 - Prepare fully before applying
Before you seek any start-up funding, it’s vital to have a solid business plan, with realistic sales projections, cash flow and profit and loss forecasts. Tailor your business plan for the specific grant you’re applying for, just as you would tailor your CV for a job application. If you are already trading, you will also be asked for evidence of your financial situation, including business bank account statements.
Tip 4 - Explore possible alternatives to grants
If a grant isn’t the right option for you, don’t worry – there are lots of alternatives. ‘Soft’ loans, which are similar to grants, are loans with lower interest rates and more generous terms than other lending options. Usually government-backed, they offer loans of up to £25,000 with a low interest rate and access to free business support and mentoring, and often only need paying back once you start to make a profit.
With the right combination of research, planning and determination, there’s every chance you’ll find a grant or suitable alternative to help you develop your business idea or grow your company.