Where to start with a grant application
At this point you should have completed your research, understood what grant(s) is available, and be ready to start the application process.
The first thing to always do before starting an application is to check eligibility. Get this wrong and you can potentially waste an awful lot of time. Read through the Guidance Notes and check that your business is eligible for the programme by asking yourself the following questions:
- Is the programme still running? What are the deadlines for application and completion?
- Does it apply to my sector e.g. manufacturing, retail, professional services etc.?
- Do we fit the theme of the programme e.g. innovation, export, energy reduction etc.?
- Does it apply to my stage of business e.g. start-up, established business, etc.?
- Does it apply to my location? Am I in the right postcode? Am I in a priority area that might attract a higher rate of grant?
- Does it apply to my size of business?
- Will my project be too big or too small for the stated criteria?
- Is the project spend eligible i.e. does the grant cover machinery, software, hardware, consultancy etc.?
- Do I have an eligible legal structure e.g. limited company, charity etc.?
- Do I have the financial resources / structure to be eligible in terms of cash, loans, etc.?
- Are there any special conditions or circumstances that might affect me such as significant losses, a history of bankruptcy, problems with financial accounts, group structure etc.?
Secondly, commit the time and resources to ensure that you create a quality submission. Systematically gather all the relevant information required such as turnover, VAT number, staff numbers and your inside leg measurement etc. and then block out half a day to work through it without interruptions. You will have heard the old expression ‘practice makes perfect’ and that is absolutely true with grant applications so the good news is that you can expect your second and third applications to be far easier than the first one.
Thirdly, try to understand what is required from you. Fundamentally almost all grant funds are derived from taxpayer funds so the people holding the grants are not simply going to throw cash at you for making up any old story. However, on the flip side, it is in their interests to try to use up their full grant pot so they will be on the lookout for suitable businesses making a good case for support. The trick (or some might call it skill) is in making sure that you fit their criteria and clearly explain why they should give the grant to you. The ‘why’ is usually based around growth expressed in terms of turnover, staff and profitability but factors such as reviving the economy in a deprived area or developing a new product or service may be just as relevant. It is therefore critically important to understand what the grant programme is attempting to achieve.
Don’t rush a grant application as you are increasing the chances of failure. Seek out professional advisors who can support you with their experience and knowledge to increase your chances of success.
Blunt advice for grant applications from Yorkshire Powerhouse
Have you any questions?
Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’re happy to help as much as possible – is there anything else we can do to help you, do you have any further questions or can we help introduce you to an expert – please let us know:
Management accounts provide a vital insight into the financial health of a business and allow you to understand your numbers and plan for the future