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Grants! Do I Qualify?

Nov 5, 2007
There are over 5,000 grants available for small business from the EU, central and local government and a wide range of organisations and trusts.

All grants have different criteria and different conditions, some will take the form of interest free loans others will be free grants of cash or they could be grants in the form of advice or business support.

Whether or not you qualify will often depend on where you are based, what business sector you operate in and what you want the money for.

What are Grants for?

This varies according to the type of grant it is. In some areas you can get assisted grants for marketing and export while selective regional assistance gives grants of up to 15% of the start up costs of a project.

The DTI's Smart Grants, meanwhile, are aimed at helping companies in the technical sector conduct development of feasibility costs. And young entrepreneurs may be able to get loans from either The Princes Trust or Shell LiveWire

The Pro's

Grants can provide valuable support for start ups and companies wanting to develop particular projects. They often come as a package with additional business advice and support which can prove as important as the cash.

Your local Business Link should be able to point you in the direction of relevant grant schemes and many business support organisations subscribe to a grants database. Alternatively there are companies that specialise in finding and winning you a grant on a no win/no fee basis.

The con's

With so many grants on offer finding the one that's right for you can be time-consuming - and then you have to wade through lengthy and complex application forms with no guarantee that your request will be successful. So you should carefully check the terms and conditions of a grant scheme before you even start applying.

There are companies that can help with this as they specialise in finding and winning you a grant on a no win/no fee basis that can make the process easier - but obviously you will sacrifice a percentage of the award if you do it this way.

Most grants will only give you partial funding for a venture or project so you may still have to find a proportion of your funding elsewhere.
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