Grants have a reputation for being hard work. But the right tools can make all the difference
Business owners like the idea of getting a grant: it’s free money, often awarded to develop an idea or a product, and so long as you use it as you said you would, it doesn’t need to be paid back. In the past, however, searching for grants and applying for them used to mean completing a tedious pile of paperwork, with no guarantee of success.
Fortunately, things have changed. Andrea Reyolds, Founder and CEO at Swoop, says that being awarded a grant marked a turning point in her company’s history:
“Swoop has been awarded £6.5million from BCR alone, and it is no exaggeration to say that without that money, Swop would not have been able to achieve all that it has.”
Swoop should be well-placed to put in applications for grants, as finding funding for SMEs is what the company does. “We are our own best case study,” says Andrea, “we very much walk the talk when it comes to business funding.”
Swoop’s grant finder tool removes a lot of the hard work of researching grants in the first place by putting new grants and their eligibility criteria in one place. Founders are able to quickly check which they might be eligible for, apply directly or be put in contact with experts in the field of grant applications who understand the system and increase the chances of a successful application.
With central and regional governments supporting initiatives such as digitisation and sustainability, many businesses in traditional fields are finding that the money gives them a boost to innovate and show the way for others in the industry.
Andrea says that the funding is helping change businesses for the better:
“There are positives that go beyond the bottom line for the recipients of grant money. First, the awards are often made to businesses that benefit society in some way. So local communities will often see a positive change. Second, founders looking to sell equity in their business will find that winning a grant makes their business much more attractive as an investment.”
Andrea says that every business should be aware of what is available at any time by signing up to a grants-focussed newsletter and thinking flexibly about how the money might be put to use.
Grants are often awarded on the understanding that there is matched funding from other sources, so founders should bear in mind that their most ambitious projects may only attract 50 percent of the funding they need.
Finally, Andrea says that businesses should think big:
“It is in the nature of business founders to be optimistic. SMEs have enormous influence over local economies and people’s lives. Getting a grant should send a loud, clear signal that what you’re doing is significant and is worthy of government support.”
Andrea Reynolds will be presenting an interactive breakout session at Elite Business Live. To find out more about the event, book in-person tickets or to attend online. Register here.