This article is by Swoop Funding
Business grants can be a great way to fund your business. The impact of the pandemic has enhanced the importance of business grants for UK businesses – in particular innovation funding – even further in recent months. Why are grants such an appealing source of funding?
The majority of business grants are funded by national, local or European governments which means you don’t have to pay grant money back. You do however need to meet specific requirements and commit to certain outputs when completing the application process.
It can be difficult to keep track of the different business grants available to your business as well as the eligibility criteria for each grant. To help you on your way, below is a summary of the main sources of grants in the UK so you can feel that little bit more confident about the grant opportunities available to your business.
You can also speak to the team of experts at Swoop for guidance on the grants available to your business and assistance completing the application process.
Now let’s take a look at what’s out there.
Innovation grants are one of the most important types of grant funding. To be eligible for an Innovation grant, your business must be:
• Undertaking research & development projects
• Designing or building something novel, disruptive, innovative that exceeds anything else on the market
• A company with high-growth potential
• A commercial entity of any size/stage in the UK, Europe or Worldwide
The UK government has increased their investment into Innovate UK programmes this year, as the continued disruption has forced many business owners to innovate and try to do business in a new way. To make sure you’re always up to date with the current Innovate UK competitions, or other funding opportunities, simply register with Swoop.
Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs)
Another way to access grant funding is through Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). There are currently 38 LEPs across the UK, with each responsible for leveraging other funding from the private sector and local partners. Every so often funds are allocated to LEPs, and if your business has engaged with its LEP, you’ll be in a better position for these opportunities.
Led by the LEPs, Growth hubs are also an option to consider. Like the LEPs, Growth Hubs are also responsible for allocating government business support. Businesses affected by the pandemic can apply for one of these grants, based on a £20m funding initiative made by the UK government in June 2020.
Applications must be submitted before 28 February 2021 and are available on a first-come first-serve basis. You can use the Growth Hub finder to track the Growth Hub closest to you.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund
After the transition period for Brexit has ended, the government will introduce the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which will replace the European structural and investment funds. The idea behind the EU’s five European structural and investment funds is to try and lessen regional disparities in connection with income, wealth, and opportunities.
Covid-19 government cash grants
Lastly, the government has introduced the Local Restrictions Support Grant Fund (LRSG) and the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) following the decision to go into a second lockdown in November 2020. The LRSG is a property-related grant. The grants are mandatory and are being awarded to businesses that have been required to shut down due to the lockdown. The grant sum is dependent on the business rate typically paid by the business.
The ASG is a discretionary grant being allocated by the local authorities. ASGs are being granted to businesses that have been severely impacted by the lockdown, e.g. in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, but haven’t legally been required to close. The grant sum here will depend on the level of impact demonstrated on the business.
So those are some of the grant options available to businesses right now. To help you get started, you might want to consider the tips below to help increase your chances of success.
1. Research small business grants available
2. Check your eligibility for a small business grant
3. Prepare your small business grant application
4. Involve the right people in your proposal
5. Share your objectives clearly
6. Check and review your small business grant application
7. Ask for help
Swoop can help match your business with the most relevant grant provider and guide you throughout the entire application process. Our expert panel of grant writers are able to increase chances of success in applying for an innovation grant by up to 70%.