Words By: Drone Major
Following the economic impact of the pandemic, at Swoop we have continued to see an increase in demand for grant funding - particularly innovation funding.
The most appealing thing with business grants is that the money doesn’t have to be paid back. However, they often come with a match funding requirement (typically 25% - 50%) in place. Another consideration is that during the application process your business may have to set and agree the expected outputs to be achieved from the activity that is to be funded by the monies provided.
The good news is there are thousands of grants available in the UK, both at a national and regional level. Many grants are also sector-specific. In the Spring Budget March 2021, a number of grants were discussed like the:
Looking beyond these schemes, below are some other key areas of opportunity to bear in mind.
With many of us trying new ways of doing business over the last year, innovation funding has gained even more prominence. Innovation grants are a sum of money given by the government or other organisations for a specific purpose or project, to achieve a given aim. They are distributed by the likes of Innovate UK, Eureka Eurostars and other funders such as the Global Innovation Fund.
To be eligible for innovation grants, your business must be:
With lots of competitions taking place in select areas, registering with Swoop will enable you to check your eligibility and keep up-to-date with current Innovate UK competitions. What’s more, our expert panel of grant writers are able to increase your chances of success in applying for an innovation grant by up to 70%.
LEPs – Local Enterprise Partnerships - and Growth Hubs
In England, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses. They play a vital role in supporting businesses and innovation across England, developing skills, delivering infrastructure, and securing investment.
Currently, there are 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships in operation and each LEP has its own pool of grants and funding opportunities for local small businesses. There are also 38 regional Growth Hubs - local public/private partnerships led by LEPs - running which offer business support. Find out if your business is eligible for LEP grants by registering with Swoop.
Research & Development (R&D) tax credits
R&D tax credits are a tax incentive from the UK government, designed to encourage companies to invest in research and development. This scheme can dramatically reduce your tax bill or you can claim payable cash credits as a proportion of your R&D expenditure.
Claims must be submitted no later than two years after the end of the year in which the money was spent and your business must be able to demonstrate to HMRC that the product or service you’re claiming for is truly innovative and an advance on what’s currently available in the market. According to HMRC, R&D for tax purposes is a project which “seeks to achieve an advance in science or technology”. R&D is still deemed to have taken place whether or not the project goes on to be successful; it’s the attempt that counts.
There are different types of R&D relief depending on the size of your company and whether the qualifying project has been subcontracted to you or not.
R&D Tax Credits and Grants working together
Grants are up-front funding for which you have to pitch, whereas R&D tax credits are a retrospective tax incentive that you claim after having begun your research and development.
It is a common misconception that grants and R&D tax credits cannot be used together. If your business is grant-funded and looking for additional sources of funding you should, certainly consider R&D tax credits. R&D tax credits can help you grow without diluting your equity.
If you think your business may be eligible for grant funding, simply create your free account on Swoop to start reviewing your options today. And if you’re not sure grant funding is right for business, you can quickly and easily compare and apply for alternative finance opportunities including business loans, commercial mortgages, and equity finance.