Funding for Growth: Seizing Grant Opportunities in a Flat Economy

With economic indicators highlighting a flat economy through 2023 and growth forecasts for 2024 looking gloomy, it would be understandable if business owners played it safe.  However, there are opportunities out there and ambitious entrepreneurs will still be looking to maximise their potential whilst competitors stand still.  Also, there is no shortage of new ideas, innovations and technology solutions and these will always be a fertile ground for investment and growth.  All of these ventures, however, require funding of some sort in order to flourish.  Traditional funding methods will play a role in this, as do newer routes such as peer to peer and crowd funding and more aggressive options such as venture capital and private equity.

However, these come with their challenges, whether its higher interest rates or big strings attached. There is another option that is often overlooked by businesses – grant funding of course. Research published by the British Business Bank show that the percentage of businesses seeking grant funding grant funding from local or national government schemes has declined significantly since 2020*. Essentially grant funding is free money so you would think that it would be the first port of call for any ambitious business. The reasons for this decline aren’t clear but there are some possible explanations.

There are some historic issues in play that make the overall process more challenging and might go some way to explaining the lack of appetite. First is the task of finding the right grant for your business. There are over 1,200 providers and many thousands of schemes live at any point in time, so trying to check on what’s available, let alone finding whether there is a specific one suitable for your needs is not an easy job. Busy people will be forgiven for giving up at this stage! Obviously has made this job much easier now! The range and number of grants does mean that there is more likely to be a suitable grant for your needs so the chances of finding something are significantly higher than you might imagine.

For those that persist with the task and find a suitable grant, they are then faced with the task of writing a successful application.  Some owners are comfortable with this and able to successfully pull together their application but it can be a time-consuming task.  Others will turn to a grant consultant who will probably have experience in their particular sector to do this for them (GBG can help find you one of course).  However, any commercial lending will require some sort of commitment in time and effort in the application process from the applicant, so grant funding is no different in that respect and has the benefit of being free!  Also, with commercial funding there can be strings attached that you might find too demanding (your property as collateral).

So, in essence the task of finding the right grant has now been made easier.  Also, if you are struggling to get your application in, there is help at hand, so what’s stopping you from turning your ambitions into reality?