When running start up or established businesses, it can be challenging to acquire the funds necessary to operate, especially if your size limits your eligibility for traditional business loans. Many business owners use money from their own savings to help fund their company, however, before taking this step, it is wise to consider the other options available to you such as local and government business grants.
Business grants are sums of money awarded to businesses by the government, a business growth hub, industry specific associates or even large corporate entities. This type of financial aid is incredibly popular as it doesn’t need to be paid back (i.e. free money) and is usually provided for a specific purpose, such as for growth, recovery, relocation etc….
With hundreds of different business grants out there, it can be difficult to know which apply to your business and whether or not you’ll be eligible for them. That’s why we have created this simple guide to finding grants your business may be eligible for.
Government Grant Scheme Search Tools
The government offers a range of grants to small, medium and large-sized businesses in the not-yet-trading, start up or established stages in the UK. Their website has a useful tool that allows you to select your industry, business size, business stage and region, filtering out the grants that do not apply to your business and providing you with information on those that are available to you, such as the Construction Industry Training Board grant scheme, the Energy Efficient Grant for Greater Manchester, Horizon 2020 and many more.
For support during the coronavirus pandemic, the government offers specific grants to employers and the self-employed. The tool on their website allows you to find grants and support (specifically related to coronavirus) available to your business. These include the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Local Restrictions Support Grant and the Additional Restrictions Grant.
The LEP Network
The Local Enterprise Network (LEP) is a not-for-profit company, governed by volunteers to support businesses and innovation across England. They make it easy for business owners to find financial support by combining the national and local support into one place, divided by 38 regional Growth Hubs.
Seek Professional Advice
An accountant can provide you with expert advice and guidance that is tailored specifically to your business, on the grants available to your business. At Ryans, we’re constantly keeping up-to-date on the latest financial news, so you can be sure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to securing your business the financial support it needs. We can also help you with the application process, ensuring you have all the correct important information that you need in order to qualify and assist you in checking the fine details to avoid any nasty surprises in the future.
At Ryans, we can guide you on how to save and make more money by identifying the problems and providing solutions. We have years of experience advising the local business community and a wealth of expertise for you to draw on. With straightforward and in-depth advice, we can establish your current position and make informed decisions to help your business function at its best in the future.
Alternatives to Business Grants
In some cases, business grants may not be suitable for your business, or your company may not be eligible for certain business grants. In this case, there is no need to worry as there are plenty of alternative methods of securing funding for your business.
Equity finance schemes offer funds in return for a share of your business (providing your business is under 2 years old and has less than 25 employees.) The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) was introduced by HMRC in 2012 to help small early stage companies raise funds through investors by providing a number of tax reliefs on investments made into companies. The SEIS lets you claim relief on up to £100,000 invested through the scheme per year, which means the relief could cover 78% of your investment or more.
Soft loans are similar to grants but they must be paid back eventually. The advantages of soft loans over regular loans are the lower interest rates and more preferable terms. The Start Up Loans scheme is backed by the government and offers loans of between £500-£25,000 with a 6% interest per year rate as well as access to free business support and 12 months of mentoring to help grow start up businesses.
Advice from Ryans
Whether you have a new or established business, ensuring you have the necessary funding is essential for achieving your objectives. Unsurprisingly, one of the most common causes of business failure is badly structured or inadequate financing. For professional advice and guidance on finding business grants for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our friendly team at Ryans who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.