Local Authority Grant Funding for UK Businesses

The ability to access liquidity is essential for those businesses in the UK which are hoping to thrive within what can certainly be called a competitive environment. The government appreciates the fact that some enterprises require funded grants in order to continue their operations. Therefore, many companies can enjoy access to this much-needed source of finance. What are some of the grant possibilities, how substantial are these initiatives and perhaps most importantly, have they been successful in recent times?

Governmental Grants Available to United Kingdom Businesses

In the past, one of the main sources of funding came from what was known as the Grant for Business Investment programme. It is unfortunate to note that this framework was discontinued on 30 June 2014 (1). However, there are now several options which (although less centralised) are still open to businesses throughout the United Kingdom. Some of these include:
•The Business Energy Efficiency Programme.
•Child Care Business Grants.
•Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Grants.
•The Enterprise Europe Network Grant.

As we can clearly see, each of these schemes is intended to provide businesses within different sectors room for growth. The two main criteria in terms of qualification include where the enterprise is located and what industry it specialises in. This is the primary reason why major online sources such as the finance and support portal of the HMRC require details such as the type of business, its postcode and the desired levels of support. At the time that this article was written, there were no less than 237 grants available for small businesses.

The Local Edge

Since the dissolution of the aforementioned Grant for Business Investment scheme, there has been an understandable trend for grants to be offered by local and regional authorities. Examples here can include (but are certainly not limited to) Access to Work grants (Wales), the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (West Midlands and Liverpool) and the Boost Business grant scheme (Lancashire). We should note that as these are more locally based funds, access to capital may be limited when compared to schemes which are available throughout the United Kingdom.

A Substantial Initiative

There is n doubt that the effects that these and other grants have had upon the SME sector is considerable. This observation is bolstered from the fact that there are now more funding opportunities for growing enterprises than existed only a handful of years ago. Some examples here can include:
•The UK Trade and Investment Scheme (UKTI).
•The Regional Growth Fund (RGF).
•Innovate UK.

It is thought that access to these and other solutions will be further enhanced thanks to the use of quick and handy online application portals (many of which currently exist).

Room for Improvement?

While there is no doubt that business-oriented grants have had a lasting impact within many sectors, there are still some issues which need to be overcome. One of the major problems that can be encountered is that the sheer variety of choices can be daunting to those who are relatively unfamiliar with this sector (3). Another obstacle is that filing forms incorrectly could lengthen the process and in some cases, even result in the denial of funds. It therefore stands to reason to conclude that it is not the grants themselves which need to be modified, but rather the ways in which their information is presented. Nonetheless, growing enterprises throughout the United Kingdom can now enjoy more funding opportunities than ever before.