What are Businesses using Grant Funding for? A Detailed Breakdown

Businesses need diverse funding streams to thrive and this means that grants that can be applied for provide a range of funding purposes. Typically, some reasons for applying for funding might include launching innovative products, expanding a team or research and development activities. Grants offer an attractive option, providing non-repayable cash for specific purposes. An outline of the 10 major funding purposes is detailed in the sections below, complete with a breakdown of definitions of the funding sub-purposes within each area.

i) Business Growth Grants

Growth grants help businesses expand and thrive. They provide a boost for a company, funding specific projects or initiatives that support different growth goals.

1. Application of Emerging Technologies: Utilising cutting-edge technologies to enhance business operations, expand market reach, and gain a competitive edge.

2. Business Growth Planning: Developing a strategic roadmap for business expansion, including market analysis, financial projections, and operational plans.

3. New Website Development: Creating a modern and user-friendly website to showcase products, services, and enhance brand presence online.

4. New Product/Service Launch: Introducing innovative products or services to attract new customers, increase sales, and diversify revenue streams.

5. New Product/Service Development: Investing in research and development to create new offerings that address market needs and enhance customer experience.

6. Marketing Costs: Allocating funds to marketing campaigns that promote brand awareness, drive lead generation, and generate sales.

7. Software: Investing in software solutions to optimise business processes, improve efficiency, and gain a competitive advantage.

8. Market Development: Expanding into new geographic markets or customer segments to tap into untapped potential and increase market share.

ii) Business Innovation Grants

Innovation grants specifically target fresh ideas and high risk groundbreaking projects that push the boundaries within an industry sector. They allow activities that a business within its current limited financial means alone would not be able to explore.

1. Experimental Development: Funding to support the practical testing and validation of new technologies or innovative ideas. This involves creating prototypes, conducting trials, and gathering data to assess the feasibility and potential of the innovation.

2. Feasibility Studies: Funding to evaluate the practicality, viability, and potential market impact of a new product, service, or process. This involves conducting thorough market research, analysing technical requirements, and assessing financial viability.

3. Industrial Research: Funding to support fundamental research and development activities aimed at improving existing technologies, expanding knowledge, and driving innovation within a specific industry. This often involves collaboration with research institutions and academic partners.

4. Technical Evaluation: Funding to assess the technical feasibility and potential challenges associated with a proposed innovation. This involves in-depth analysis of technical specifications, material compatibility, manufacturing processes, and potential risks.

5. Technical Feasibility: Demonstrating that a particular innovation is technically achievable within the available resources, constraints, and expertise. This involves providing detailed engineering designs, simulations, and feasibility reports.

iii) Purchasing Equipment Grants

Purchasing equipment grants help businesses acquire crucial machinery or tools above the existing resources an organisation currently has the financial means to access.

1. Asset Purchase: Funding specifically allocated for the acquisition of long-term, high-value equipment that becomes a permanent asset of the organisation. This equipment is expected to contribute directly to improved operational efficiency, increased productivity, and long-term cost savings.

2. Purchase New Machinery: Funding to replace outdated or inadequate machinery with newer, more efficient models. This often focuses on upgrading production capacity, introducing new capabilities, or meeting safety and compliance standards.

3. Capital Expenditure: A broader term encompassing significant investments in equipment that contribute to the organisation’s long-term growth and strategic goals. This could include both the purchase of new assets and upgrades to existing infrastructure.

4. Hiring Capital Equipment:  Funding to lease or rent equipment instead of purchasing it outright. This is often preferred for short-term or seasonal needs, avoiding unnecessary capital expenditure while optimising resource allocation and maintaining flexibility.

5. Purchasing ICT Equipment: Funding to acquire Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment such as hardware, software, and IT infrastructure. This is intended to improve data management, communication, cybersecurity, and overall operational efficiency through automation and digitalisation.

iv) Buildings and Renovation Grants

Building and renovation grants can help breathe new life into your commercial property and assist with the costs of construction or refurbishment projects.

1. New Build: Funding to construct a completely new building, often for a specific purpose such as expanding into a new service area, creating additional commercial units, or replacing an existing structure beyond repair. This typically involves site acquisition, design and construction costs.

2. Building Expansion Projects: Funding to add onto an existing building, increasing its size and potentially functionality. This could involve adding new wings, floors, or modifying existing spaces to accommodate growing needs or new programs.

3. Building Refurbishment: Funding to renovate and upgrade an existing building without significantly changing its footprint or overall structure. This may involve repairs, modernisation of systems, improvements to accessibility, or energy efficiency upgrades.

4. Relocation: Funding to move an organisation or project to a new building or location. This could involve purchasing or leasing a new space, covering moving costs, and adapting the new premises to suit specific needs.

5. Shop Front Improvements: Funding to enhance the exterior and entrance of a retail business to attract customers and improve the overall street presence. This might include signage, façade upgrades, accessibility improvements, or energy-efficient lighting.

v) Recruit and Develop Staff Grants

Workforce related grants provide financial support to businesses specifically for attracting and nurturing top talent and increasing the overall headcount.

1. Create New Jobs: Funding to directly support the creation of new, permanent positions within an organisation. This could involve funding salaries, benefits, recruitment costs, or training for new hires.

2. Safeguard Jobs: Funding to prevent job losses within existing operations, often during times of economic hardship or industry transition. This may involve funding training programs, wage subsidies, or short-term employment support.

3. Business Coaching: Funding to provide professional guidance and support to business owners and managers. This could involve one-on-one coaching sessions, workshops, or access to coaching networks.

4. Business Mentoring: Funding to connect entrepreneurs and business owners with experienced mentors who can offer guidance, support, and expertise. This may involve matching grants for mentorship programs or individual matching programs.

5. Performance Improvement: Funding to implement initiatives that enhance the performance of existing staff. This could involve training programs, performance management systems, or incentive programs.

6. Training and Skills Development: Funding to equip staff with new skills and knowledge relevant to their current or future roles. This could involve funding for specific training courses, certifications, or professional development programs.

7. Hiring Interns: Funding to support the recruitment and onboarding of interns within an organisation. This could involve covering intern salaries, supervision costs, or program development expenses.

vi) Energy Efficiency Grants

Business energy efficiency grants help companies slash their energy bills while saving the planet and support businesses in upgrading to more sustainable practices.

1. Heating, Ventilation and Cooling Equipment (HVAC): Funding to upgrade or purchase energy-efficient HVAC systems, including boilers, furnaces, air conditioners, ventilation systems, and heat pumps. This aims to reduce energy consumption, improve building comfort, and potentially access renewable energy sources.

2. Lighting: Funding to replace outdated lighting with energy-efficient LED technologies or implement smart lighting controls. This reduces energy consumption, improves building illumination, and creates a more sustainable environment.

3. Insulation: Funding to install insulation in walls, roofs, and floors to reduce heat loss or gain in buildings. This improves thermal comfort, saves energy costs, and contributes to climate change mitigation.

4. Renewable Energy: Funding to install and integrate renewable energy technologies such as solar panels, wind turbines, or geothermal systems. This allows buildings to generate their own clean energy, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and contribute to energy independence.

5. Boiler Equipment: Funding to upgrade or replace outdated boilers with high-efficiency models or alternative heating technologies like heat pumps. This improves energy efficiency, reduces emissions, and potentially access renewable energy sources for heating.

6. Water Efficiency: Funding to implement water-saving measures like low-flow faucets, toilets, showers, and irrigation systems. This reduces water consumption, lowers utility bills, and promotes sustainable water management.

7. Electric Vehicles: Funding to purchase electric vehicles for organisational use, install charging infrastructure, and promote employee adoption of electric vehicles. This reduces transportation emissions, promotes sustainable mobility, and potentially access green energy tariffs.

8. Refrigeration Equipment: Funding to upgrade or replace outdated refrigeration equipment with energy-efficient models. This reduces energy consumption, maintains optimal food storage conditions, and contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

vii) Overseas Market Development Grants

Overseas market development grants help support international expansion and breaking into new markets overseas and can make global business ambitions a reality.

1. Market Visits: Funding to support participation in trade missions, conferences, or industry events held in target overseas markets. This allows businesses to connect with potential partners, gather market intelligence, and showcase their products/services.

2. Overseas Market Introduction Service: Funding to access government-supported programs that connect businesses with qualified in-market experts and advisors. This helps navigate foreign regulations, find distribution channels, and build local networks.

3. Export Credit Guarantees: Funding to protect against the risk of non-payment by overseas buyers when exporting goods or services. This allows businesses to secure financing and expand into new markets with greater confidence.

4. Export Finance: Funding to access loans, guarantees, or other financial instruments at preferential rates to facilitate international trade activities. This supports working capital needs, pre-shipment financing, and other aspects of exporting.

5. Market Research: Funding to conduct in-depth research on specific overseas markets, including competitor analysis, consumer trends, and regulatory landscape. This helps businesses assess potential, develop effective entry strategies, and adapt to local requirements.

6. IP Advice: Funding to access legal and technical expertise on protecting intellectual property (IP) rights in overseas markets. This helps businesses secure patents, trademarks, and other IP assets and avoid infringements.

7. Translation Services: Funding to cover the cost of professional translation services for marketing materials, business documents, and website content into the target language of new markets. This ensures clear communication and effective engagement with local audiences.

8. International Social Media and SEO: Funding to develop and implement targeted social media strategies and search engine optimisation (SEO) campaigns for overseas markets. This helps businesses reach their target audience, build brand awareness, and drive engagement in specific foreign regions.

9. Consultancy and International Commercial Services: Funding to access expert advice and guidance from specialised consultants with extensive experience in overseas market development. This covers aspects like market entry strategies, cultural considerations, and navigating international business transactions.

viii) Property Development Grants

Property development grants provide funding for new build and renovation projects relating to both residential and commercial properties.

1. Building Residential Properties: Funding to support the construction of new houses, apartments, or other residential dwellings, often with a focus on affordable housing, social housing, or revitalisation of neglected areas. This can involve land acquisition, planning and construction costs, and potentially infrastructure development.

2. Residential Property Renovation: Funding to upgrade and improve existing residential buildings, addressing issues like energy efficiency, accessibility, or structural deficiencies. This may also involve modernising interiors, adapting layouts, or enhancing energy-saving features.

3. Building Commercial Property: Funding to construct new commercial buildings such as offices, retail spaces, warehouses, or industrial facilities. This typically involves infrastructure development, land acquisition, planning and construction costs, and catering to specific needs of the commercial sector.

4. Commercial Property Renovation: Funding to revitalise existing commercial buildings, improving their energy efficiency, functionality, and attractiveness to potential tenants. This may involve facade upgrades, modernisation of interiors, accessibility improvements, or energy-efficient upgrades.

ix) Starting a Business Grants

Business start-up grants provide entrepreneurs with seed funding to kickstart a commercial journey. These can provide a much needed uplift to support carrying out the many activities that must be done at an early stage to get a business idea off the ground.

1. Business Plan: Funding to support the development of a comprehensive business plan, including market analysis, financial projections, competitive strategies, and operational roadmap. This helps clarify your vision, secure additional funding, and guide your venture’s success.

2. Market Research: Funding to conduct in-depth research on your target market, customer needs, competitor landscape, and industry trends. This informs your product/service development, marketing strategies, and competitive advantage.

3. Financing: Funding to access loans, grants, or other financial instruments to launch and scale your business. This may cover start-up costs, equipment acquisition, working capital, and operational expenses.

4. R&D: Funding to support research and development activities that contribute to your innovative product or service. This could involve prototyping, technology development, or feasibility studies.

5. Purchasing Capital Equipment: Funding to acquire essential machinery, tools, or technology needed for your business operations. This may include manufacturing equipment, software licences, or specialised devices.

6. Purchasing ICT Equipment: Funding to acquire computers, network infrastructure, hardware, and software essential for your business management, data storage, and communication needs.

7. Company Structure: Funding to cover legal and professional fees associated with setting up your business entity, choosing the appropriate structure (sole trader, private limited company etc.), and complying with legal requirements.

8. Hiring Staff: Funding to support the recruitment and onboarding of initial employees, covering salaries, benefits, and potentially training costs. This lays the foundation for your team and operational capacity.

9. Training: Funding to invest in training programs for yourself, your staff, or key personnel to acquire essential skills and knowledge relevant to your business operations. This enhances your team’s capabilities and ensures optimal performance.

10. Develop a Website: Funding to cover the design and development of a professional website that serves as your online presence, showcases your products/services, and facilitates customer engagement.

11. Marketing: Funding to implement initial marketing campaigns and strategies to reach your target audience, build brand awareness, and generate leads or sales. This may involve online marketing, advertising, event participation, or public relations efforts.

12. Premises: Funding to cover the costs associated with securing a suitable workspace for your business, including rent, lease deposits, renovation or adaptation of the space to meet your needs, and utility setup.

x) Working Capital Grants

Working capital grants can provide vital continuity funding when a business faces a cash flow bottleneck. They are designed to keep business operations running smoothly as a going concern in the short term, covering a range of day to day running costs.

1. Manage Cash Flow: Funding to improve the flow of money in and out of your business, smoothing out fluctuations and ensuring operational stability. This might involve implementing financial management systems, optimising billing and payment cycles, or accessing revolving credit lines.

2. Bridge Delayed Payments: Funding to cover temporary gaps in cash flow when customer payments are delayed or take longer than anticipated. This prevents disruption to operations and avoids costly penalties for late payments.

3. Fund Important Purchases: Funding to acquire essential equipment, inventory, or materials crucial for business operations but not feasible to purchase solely with available cash. This can avoid hindering growth and productivity due to financial constraints.

4. Repairs, Updates and Upgrades: Funding to cover the cost of necessary repairs, maintenance, or upgrades to existing equipment, technology, or infrastructure. This ensures continued smooth operation, avoids costly breakdowns, and potentially improves efficiency.

5. Cover Seasonal Shortfalls: Funding to bridge periods of lower income or increased expenses experienced by businesses with seasonal fluctuations. This prevents cash flow depletion and ensures consistent operation throughout the year.

6. Unexpected Expenses and Business Emergencies: Funding to provide a safety net for unforeseen events, accidents, or urgent repairs that could otherwise significantly impact business operations and finances. This promotes resilience and protects the business from financial disruptions.

7. Expansion Purposes: Funding to support planned expansion initiatives like hiring new staff, opening new locations, or launching new product lines. This provides the additional resources needed to accelerate growth and reach new markets.

8. Sufficient Inventory: Funding to maintain adequate inventory levels to meet customer demand and avoid lost sales opportunities. This can optimise operational efficiency and prevents stock shortages that could harm customer satisfaction.

9. Payables: Funding to ensure timely payment of outstanding invoices and supplier debts. This maintains good relationships with vendors, avoids late payment penalties, and protects your business credit score.

10. Finance Daily Operations: Funding to cover ongoing operational costs like salaries, rent, utilities, and other recurring expenses. This ensures consistent business function and avoids falling behind on essential payments.

Find out more

For more information and support relating to applying for UK business grants and funding opportunities, please visit https://getbusinessgrants.com/