1. Research small business grants available
Start by searching what grants are available to you. Swoop has a list of accessible grants, whether you’re an established business or a startup. You can view the options available to you by signing up here.We have a wide range of grants available across many sectors including grants for manufacturing, tech businesses, transport, energy, information & communication technologies, security, climate, aerospace, food, health, and environment to name a few.
2. Check your eligibility for a small business grant
Once you have found the grant best suited to you and your business it is important to check you are eligible and fit the scope. Read the documentation carefully and ensure you check all of the criteria. Allow plenty of time for this checking, as it is easy to spend time applying for grants which are not suitable to your business. Be able to answer the classic Dragon’s Den questions “could anyone else do this?” and “what have you done to protect your IP?”. If your answers are ‘yes’ and ‘nothing’, forget it.
3. Prepare your small business grant application
Preparation is the key to success. Make your application worthy of receiving funding by ensuring you have done all the necessary preparation. It is important to have a solid and realistic business plan with sales projections, cash flow and loss forecasts. Ensure your business plan is tailored for the grant you are applying for. If your business is already trading you will need bank statements and evidence of your finances. Prepare for your application as soon as you can to avoid missing out on its deadline as this process will almost certainly take longer than you think. Make sure you have at least 6 months (elapsed time) to prepare your first bid and expect to have to resubmit 2 or 3 times in major calls!
4. Involve the right people in your proposal
The people involved are just as important as the project you’re proposing. Ensure that you’re able to provide evidence that the team is capable of delivering the work and a return on the grant funder’s investment. Ensure you can convince them you have the right people with the right experience to succeed.
5. Share your objectives clearly
Make sure you are clear what success looks like as a result of taking on a small business grant. How will you know when you’ve got there? Create specific aims and well-defined criteria to quantify success, and keep it clear and concise. What is each element of the project/business going to deliver to help you address the grand challenge? Be focused. You’re selling an idea to an audience – make sure it’s an exciting idea taking on a serious challenge. If your project doesn’t; make enough money for you, deliver enough new jobs, reduce CO2 emissions, achieve any significant business, environment or social KPIs, forget it.
6. Check and review your small business grant application
Get a second opinion from a mentor, senior colleague or expert. Proofread, spell check and stick to specified formats – remember the little things count! Presentation, punctuation and grammar set the tone for how people feel about your work – so don’t slip up here.
7. Ask for help
The process of applying for grants is lengthy and time consuming. Our grant experts at Swoop will be delighted to help – from offering simple advice, to taking on the entire application process on your behalf.