Introduction to Grants
Many businesses, particularly new and young businesses, are eligible for grants and government financing in order to assist with the setting up or growth of the business. Typically, grants are available for businesses that satisfy several key criteria, including creating jobs and bringing a certain level of wealth to a traditionally poor region.
Local Government Grants
Local government agencies and councils may offer individual grants and assistance to new and growing businesses. Although the overall budget is managed centrally, it is generally at the discretion of the local government as to exactly who gets the cash and for what reasons. Local councils will often offer a set of smaller grants that are available for specific purposes, such as to comply with new disability laws. It is certainly worth asking your council, on a regular basis, what is available so that you do not miss out on any new incentives.
Regional and National Grants
National grants tend to be much larger, but also harder to obtain than smaller local grants. National grants may be available in line with current drives such as the desire to assist certain sectors including childcare or farming. Or, they may be available on a more general front for those businesses that are offering new employment opportunities in certain regions, such as the creation of multiple new jobs.
European grants are available for specific sectors, such as farming and agriculture, where subsidies are required to assist with the financing of traditional industries. European grants are available directly from the European Commission and generally require a considerable amount of paperwork. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you are eligible, before beginning the application process.
Applying for a Grant
Anyone applying for a grant will need to be focused and organised as there are fewer grants available than there are businesses applying for these grants. Consequently, it is necessary to ensure that your application stands out from the crowd. Make sure that you have a well thought out budget and detailed estimate of future costs and income, even if you are not asked for this information. This approach will help prove that you are organised and that your business is viable, long-term. As part of your application, it is always wise to state what your business can offer your local area and region; issues such as the environment, education and the new jobs that your business will generate are all important considerations.
Although most grants will have a specific focus such as assisting environmentally positive projects, it does no harm to widen the scope and mention the other positives that will come out of your business, if you are successful in achieving the grant. Ask plenty of questions before filling in the form in order to establish the key decision factors that might sway your application. This information is often readily available for those who ask! Get yourself to the front of the queue and ask the questions that will help you set yourself apart.
- Grants are a great way to obtain finance for a new business or project, as they do not have to be paid back
- Grants are available, locally, regionally and from the European Commission and vary in terms of amount and availability
- The grants available change regularly and it pays to keep up to date
- Always take the time to find out the exact decision criteria so that you can hone your application to give you the best possible opportunity of obtaining the grant
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