We’ve talked a lot in our blog posts about how difficult it is to navigate funding for startup founders. Now, it’s time to delve into one specific area of funding: Grants.
Typically, there are four main ways of sourcing money for businesses: venture capital, bootstrapping, loans or grants. Grants are sometimes seen as the safer option, primarily because startups are not required to pay anything back. However, it is not “free money.”
Getting a grant is much like getting an investor: the company that issued the grant expects a return on their investment, just not a monetary one. Grants are most commonly given to startups that give something back to the community, for example, through innovation, economic growth or the common good.
Another thing to remember is that the issuer may not just hand over the money to you; they may instead decide to spend it on behalf of your startup on resources they believe will be useful to your business. The fact that you may not have complete control over how your grant will be spent is an important aspect to consider and something you may want to look into when searching for a grant provider.
Can you get a startup business grant?
Yes! If you have a good business plan, there’s no reason why you can’t start looking at getting a grant. Startup grants are widely available in the UK, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t competitive. Hundreds of thousands of companies are created every day, and they’ll all be looking at the best ways to fund their ideas. So, before you get started, it might be an idea to create a plan of action:
● Look for grants in your industry and be prepared to explain how your startup will change the field.
● Make sure your startup is eligible for the grant you are applying for. The last thing you want is to invest time and energy into something you definitely won’t get!
● Know exactly what you’ll be spending the grant money on. Even if your grant provider doesn’t ask (which is unlikely), you’ll want to use your grant as efficiently as possible.
So, now you know how you’re going to approach securing a grant for your business, where do you go to find one?
- The New Enterprise Allowance - A government grant for people starting their businesses.
- The Do It Awards - Grants of up to £5000 and support to help your plan become a successful business.
- The Eureka Eurostars Scheme - If you’re a founder that wants to collaborate with other organisations, this is the funding opportunity for you!
- The Plug-In Van Grant - This is a government-sanctioned scheme aimed at startups who require transport for their business.
Those are just a few of the many grants available to founders. Because there are so many grants to choose from, you may want to consider consulting a financial specialist to help you find the right one. This will ensure that you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re making the best decision for your business.
Grants are a great way to secure funding for your startup, but there are lots of other ways too. We’ve even written about how startups can survive without funding! The options can sometimes seem overwhelming and reaching out to other founders can help you get advice and make sense of some of the decisions you need to make. Remember - you’ve got this!