The financial support offered by grants, which can be thousands of pounds, can help you to expand your business. Grants are funds awarded to an organisation for a particular purpose, and to win one you will often need to complete an application.
First, you’ll need to investigate which organisations offer grants you’re eligible to apply for. There are thousands of charitable trusts and foundations in the UK with funds to allocate, such as:
- BBC Children in Need Trust
- Comic Relief
- Community Foundations
- Austin and Hope Pilkington
- Innovate UK
- Awards for All
- Big Lottery Fund
- Youth Investment Fund
- European Social Fund (ESF)
- European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
To find more local funding opportunities, consult gov.uk and find information on:
- Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and enterprise zones
- The ‘business finance support finder’
- Regional Growth funding.
Funding opportunities may be plentiful, but every grant is different, and grant applications can be daunting. There a few easy ways to make sure that you achieve a successful result.
1. Choosing the right grant
Businesses often apply for grants they are not eligible for. This wastes valuable time for both the business and the funding body. You must study the eligibility criteria included in the application pack and be certain your business meets these conditions.
It is easy to be distracted by the amount of money a grant offers and forget that choosing the right grant not only increases the chance of application success but also increases the chance of success for your business in the future. Look beyond the award of the grant: some grants have strict rules on how money awarded can be spent and in some cases, demand that the successful business completes rigorous inspections after funding is awarded. Both these conditions can have a negative impact on business operations. Choosing the right grant, with the right specifications, can increase your chance of success in the application process and beyond.
2. Are you funding-ready?
3. Know your audience and know what to include
- Who you are
- What you deliver
- What you plan to deliver
- How you will deliver it
- How much you plan to spend
- What it will achieve
- What impact will it have
- Who will benefit from it.
4. Ask for help
Read all the instructions on the application and make sure you have relevant and appropriate evidence to strengthen your application, which can range from audits and standardised reports to video links and social media activity. Before you begin the application process, make sure that you have copies of the evidence asked for. There can be several stages to funding applications with tight submission deadlines for each stage, and it is easy to underestimate how time-consuming getting evidence ready can be.
Once you have found the right grant, you must put yourself in the position of the awarding body. What would you look for if you were them? What would you want to know? Most crucially, the awarding body will want to know why investing in your business is the best use of their funds. To answer this, be sure to explain:
Investigate the awarding body. What types of projects do they fund? What core elements do these projects share? What are the goals of the awarding body? By researching the awarding body and understanding their priorities, you can emphasise how you can help them to meet their targets.
Always write with your audience in mind. A grant application is very similar to writing a tender submission for a contract – it needs a detailed pitch which showcases your business and allows your investors to see the unique potential of what you have to offer.
Submitting funding applications can be a technical and extensive process, particularly if you apply for more than one whilst managing ongoing business responsibilities. Our bid writing specialists know how to construct an outstanding funding application and what specific award bodies prioritise. Most importantly, we can support your business through every stage of the process to achieve a successful outcome, from helping you to select an appropriate grant to helping with drafting your technical application answers. Using our expertise is the most secure way of achieving success.
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