How to Get Grant Funding for Your Business, In a nutshell – expert advice from Ewan McClymont at Bishop Fleming Chartered AccountantsClick here to view the transcript
First. Are you eligible? Not all business sectors are eligible for certain funding so an early dialogue with the fund provider is therefore recommended.
Second. Can you demonstrate a ‘need’ for funding? If the project will go ahead anyway then your case for grant is seriously weakened. Some examples of ‘need’ could be a cashflow shortfall, funding gap, payback policy, or simply to reduce risk. The maximum intervention rate is normally 50% so you will need to find match funding either from reserves, cashflow or loan.
Third. What will the impact be on competition? Generally speaking, if you sell to or service a mainly local client base you could struggle to attract grant funding. This is due to EU ‘displacement’ rules that don’t allow your local competition to be disadvantaged by you receiving a grant.
Fourth. Has the project already started? Grants are very rarely retrospective — in other words, if you have already started to incur costs then you cannot claim funding against them and indeed, the overall project may be deemed ineligible as it would be viewed as proceeding anyway.
Fifth. What will you deliver in return? To attract grant funding you normally have to deliver outputs that provide economic benefit to the region. These are usually – protecting jobs, creating new jobs, up-skilling staff, increasing productivity or improving profitability.
Finally. First impressions count. Getting your house in order with up-to-date management information, market and customer data, costs and project benefits — this will significantly enhance your credibility. The overall application usually requires some form of business plan and credible financial forecasts.
If in doubt, seek professional advice.