Free money for your business! Seriously, you just have to know where to look…
So, have you been doing as I suggested – saving money and being tight, mean and cheap beyond the dreams of parsimony? Good, glad to hear it. Time then, to bust some more myths about business start ups.
Myth: “Hey all entrepreneurs are zany risk takers, living in the fast lane, addicted to the adrenalin of the deal” Well, that’s what they say in the papers, on all those programmes on telly and in every profile of the latest 23 year old billionaire. However, like most of telly and quite a bit of what you read in the papers, it is not reality, it isn’t true. Listen very carefully: Real entrepreneurs (who by and large have between 10 and 30 years experience of a particular industry and deep specialist knowledge) absolutely hate risk. You should hate risk too. Do everything you can to de-risk your business, everything you can to nudge up your chances of success by 0.01%, because it all adds up.
Free money? No! Surely not, it can’t exist! Can it?
You bet it does. The economy is in a hole, big firms are laying off people, and the government is about to as well. If you set up a business, then you employ yourself. That’s one off the dole figures. You pay tax and you might well employ other people – even more off the dole figures. As a result Her Majesty’s Government is very keen on supporting entrepreneurs and giving them money. Don’t believe me? Just Google “grants, small business” and see what you get. Stunning isn’t it. Grants for expansion, grants for training, grants for modernisation, grants for new boilers (grants for old boilers!).
There are schemes for all sorts of business, in all sorts of places. Don’t take my word, spend a couple of hours online and check – look at your local Regional Development Agency, Local Authority, Enterprise Agency. Think laterally. The government wants to give you money. Even the taxman does – take a look at R&D tax relief as an example.
Let me give you some more examples – they are local to me in the East of England but there will be similar, in fact probably better, examples nearer to you. Fact: the further you go from London and the South East the more money there is available.
- £20,000 to see whether your idea has commercial potential? Try this scheme to test the commercial viability of a business idea
- £50,000 – £125,000 loan to match an Angel investment?
- £10,000 to modernise your business
- £1000 assistance with leadership and management training and support for the wage costs of employees being trained.
These are just a few examples and if you are a member of particular groups – over 50, under 24, have a disability, live in a particular area of the country…whatever…there will be more schemes targeted to you.
A few hours in front of your computer with a web browser and a phone line can give you a great many opportunities for free money and access to a lot of people who are paid to help you. Indeed, their performance indicators will be based on helping you.
No amount of grants or government schemes can substitute for a good product well executed into a ready market place,but in the words of that big supermarket – “every little helps!”. Looking in detail at the grants available to you regionally and nationally can make a big difference to your business, it can help you de-risk it significantly and as I said at the beginning, removing risk is the name of the game.
If you know of other opportunities or maybe you have experience of accessing these types of support (good or bad) then let us know via the comments box.