What is a Business Grant? Is it free money?

A business grant is an amount of money given to an individual or business for a specific project or purpose.

If you own a business, you can apply for a business grant (usually only if you trade mainly with other businesses – ‘B2B’). They are often awarded by a local government body, but could come from Central Government or even the European Union.

You will not need to pay a business grant back (providing you meet the award criteria) or pay any interest, but there is a lot of competition and grants are almost always awarded for a specific purpose or project. This could include: plant, IT equipment, marketing, consultancy, building works or innovation. Each grant will have its own criteria that need to be satisfied, but creation and safeguarding of jobs is usually high on the list.

So often, I find that business grant availability is a postcode lottery! In other words, the eligibility of your business for the grant may be dictated by its location.

You will usually be expected to match the funds that you are awarded, for example, a grant might cover part of the cost of a project (up to 50%) but you will have to fund the rest yourself, either from your own resources, or by attracting funding. Business grants are usually awarded for proposed projects, not ones that have already started. The application process can be time-consuming, so if you have a pressing commercial need to undertake the project, do not rely upon waiting for the grant process to complete. I always say to business owners: never let the grant tail wag the commercial dog!

That said, the application process often include the preparation of a Business Plan and Forecast, which is no bad thing, as it helps you to step back from the day to day requirements of your business focus on its future direction. This information can also help you attract finance to help you grow your business.

In summary, whilst business grants are free, the application process is not, whether you do it yourself (which takes up your precious time), or work with a professional to prepare one (which I would recommend as it does mean you can keep focussed on running your business).

Business grant availability is a moving target, so if you think you think you might benefit from a grant and would like to find out if you are eligible for one, please contact me, email me at Ralph@drs-business-solutions.co.uk, or pick up the phone and call me on 0777 454 88 22.