Essential Advice for Grant Funding Your Startup

Funding can be a barrier for all startups. Investment isn’t your only option. There are over 200 government grants available to businesses in the UK. This can be an attractive option, well worth consideration. Often they won’t need to be repaid and you won’t have to give up any equity stakes. Innovate UK have put together some essential advice if you’re considering grant funding your startup.

Research Your Grant Funding Options

“Be bold – there are a wide range of grants available for projects that involve significant innovation. Think disruptive innovations not incremental” – Paula Rogers-Brown, National Venturefest Network Manager.

Grant funding - Be boldThere are many different types of grant available. Begin by looking at the Gov.uk site for a comprehensive list of government grants by sector. Consider local and regional opportunities as well as national. There are numerous grants which are exclusive to specific geographical locations.

Be aware, some industries are likely to attract more opportunities than others.

Make Sure You’re Eligible

“Read the documentation fully and familiarise yourself with the scope and eligibility criteria” – Richard Awbery, Customer Support Executive at Innovate UK.

Now you’ve settled on what grant you’d like to achieve, it’s vital to ensure you’re actually eligible. Grants are usually designed with very specific criteria to ensure they only attract certain types of businesses. Before you spend time and resources making your application, be sure you fit the requirements.

To confirm eligibility, be prepared to disclose accurate information on the following:

  • Business size
  • Business type
  • What funding you currently have in place
  • What you’ll use the grant funding for
  • What industry you currently operate in

Some grants require match funding, can you deliver on this?

Prepare Before Applying

Grant funding - Be prepared“Preparation at the bid stage really pays off, greatly improving the chances of success at the assessment stage and throughout the project” – David Elson, Innovation Lead at Innovate UK.

You should only begin your application when you’re fully prepared. Before you start, your business plan, sales projections, cash flow and profit forecasts should all be able to stand up to scrutiny. Tailor your business plan for the grant you’re applying for. If you’re already trading, you should be in a position to provide evidence of your financial situation.

Explore Relevant Alternatives

“Look for loans that are unsecured, so there’s no need to put forward any assets of guarantors to support an application” – David English, Chief Marketing Officer at Startup Loans Company.

A grant may not be the right option for you. There are plenty of other worthy alternatives to consider. Soft loans, for example, are loans with lower interest rates and generous lending options. These are usually government backed and often don’t need to be paid back till you’re earning a profit.

If you’re considering exporting, you may also be eligible for opportunities available through UK Export Finance.

If you’re interested in finding more business advice like this, subscribe to Innovate UK’s YouTube channel here.

Additionally, you can follow @InnovateUK on Twitter here.

To make sure you stand out to potential funders, get in touch with us!