One of the hurdles to starting up or expanding a business is money. Banks aren’t too keen on giving out business loans at the moment. But if you know how, you can actually get free (well almost free!) money to start your business.

Get a Grant To Start A Business!

Here’s how you could get a grant to help make your business plans come true…

What is a grant?

Basically a grant is a sum of money given by a governmental (or similar) organisation to help encourage new business start up or expansion. Grants can be had from anything from a few hundred to a few MILLION pounds!

A grant isn’t the same as a loan. With a grant you don’t have to pay the money back (unless you break the rules) or pay any interest.

Are there any catches?

Yes, there can be. Grants are usually only available for certain types of business, in certain types of industry, or in certain types of location. There’s a lot of competition for not that many grants, and there might be a waiting list for funds to become available.

Also, you might have to raise a certain amount of funding yourself to receive the grant – this is known as match funding.

Who gives out grants?

There are various organisations who give out grants. These include the UK Government, the Scottish and Welsh Governments, Invest Northern Ireland, the European Union and local councils. Some charities even offer business grants.

How to find out what grants are available:

One of the snags with grants is that they can be tricky to track down. Business Link is a good place to start researching grants. Check out their Business Support Finder. In Scotland Business Gateway offer a similar service to Business Link. In Wales you should contact Business Wales. In Northern Ireland contact NI Business Info.

You could also give the Economic Development Unit (or similar) at your local council a call.

How to apply for a grant

Here are a few tips to bear in mind:

* Don’t start anything up until you’ve got the grant. Many grants aren’t available to projects that have already started. (And never spend the grant money until it’s in the bank!)

* Obtain full details and study the rules and regulations of the grant scheme carefully. Make sure your business can comply with them before you apply.

* Have a chat with the scheme organisers. They should be able to tell you if your chances of success are reasonable before you even begin – and avoid wasting time applying for grants that aren’t likely to be granted.

* You will need a detailed business plan/proposal as part of your application.

Here’s a handy guide to help you with this: How To Write A Business Plan. 15 Key Points To Include When You Come to Write a Business Plan

More Information. In this report, we look at some of the main ways of raising the money to start a small business – including some little known ideas you might not have thought of: How To Raise The Money To Start A Small Business