A grant is a specific amount of money awarded to an individual or business for deserved purpose or need. Anyone can apply for a grant from the Government, the European Union, local councils and charities.

One does not need to repay the grant back. However, the twist lies in the fact there is a lot of competition and it is usually awarded to specific projects.

In the UK grants are available to a variety of business, charitable and research purposes. The biggest grant distributors are government departments and agencies which offer grants to third party organisations (often a charitable organisation) to carry out statutory work on their behalf. Other major grant distributors in the United Kingdom are the National Lotterycharitable trusts and corporate foundations (through Corporate Social Responsibility policies).

Grants are time bound (usually in the range of one to three years) and are offered to implement existing government policies, to introduce new methods and to secure agreed outcomes.

Example

Google provides grants process through its Google Grants program, where any charitable organisation can benefit financially from free AdWords advertising if they share Google’s social responsibility outcomes.

Advantages:

  • No need to pay back a grant or pay interest on it
  • Control of business lies with you

Disadvantages:

  • Finding a grant that suits your specific project needs may be challenging
  • Fierce competition to win grants
  • You much be expected to pitch in the same amount of funds as the grant.
  • Grants are awarded to proposed projects and not those that have already begun
  • The application process is time consuming.

Where do we find funding or apply for it?

1.

Private Finance providers like banks. Using websites like http://www.betterbusinessfinance.co.uk/, once could find application options here

2.

Public Funding (e.g. Govt. Schemes) through grants, finances and loans, business support e.g. mentoring, consulting, funding for small and medium-sized businesses and start up. Click on this link for further information – https://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support-finder

Most grants that fund a specific project need a particular form of compliance and adherence to regulated reporting.  This leads to the grant writing process. The grant writing process involves an applicant submitting a proposal to a potential funder. It may be his own initiative or a response to a Request for Proposal from the funder itself.

Grants are even given to victims of natural disasters or entrepreneurs who plan to start their own small business.

The latest news and updates for funding opportunities are available on this website: http://governmentfunding.org.uk/news.aspx

Guidelines

Be focused and specific to your project- Avoid overcommitting and creating unwarranted expectations of the project. Write what is truly achievable and not carried away. Use plain and simple English and avoid complicated and flowery language with hard to understand jargons. Be specific, clear and particular about your plan, objectives and the project.

Focus your application on the Funder’s priorities – As an example if you want to start a dance project for local people: if you are applying to a funder that prioritizes projects which help people keep fit and healthy, focus on the fact that dance is good exercise. Show that you work is needed and required – Get people to research and create a report for the need of this project.

Mention all information that the funder needs including documents if any.

Be very particular and strict on meeting the deadline. The proposal needs to be very accurate and particular about your budget including quotes for everything. Vague costs such as “miscellaneous “ do not instil confidence or clarity with the funding organisation.

It is not advisable to apply to more than one funder for the same costs at the same time. If you are successful in both applications, you will end up having to turn down one of the funders. This could damage your chances of getting funding from them in future