BUSINESS MONTHLY: Top 10 free money grants you need to know about

Andrew McDaid of Mitchells accountants, left, and Richard Walters, managing director of Addooco IT
Andrew McDaid of Mitchells accountants, left, and Richard Walters, managing director of Addooco IT

Free money - get your free money here! There are hundreds of grants for business these days - perhaps too many.

Often money goes begging because a fund isn’t well known, or because bosses fear red tape.

But struggling to give away money? That can’t be right.

Now companies across Sheffield City Region are being urged to look at grants again - and if necessary get help.

Andrew McDaid, partner and grant expert at Chesterfield-based Mitchells Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers has compiled a starter for 10 of free money exclusively for The Star Business Monthly.

He said: “There are many pots of money but businesses just don’t know about them and are not claiming. The people administering the grants are keen to award it or it will be taken away.

“These grants are just the tip of the iceberg – there are many more out there.

“Often, a combination of grants and finance can fast track a business to the next level in its development.”

Mitchells received a £3,000 grant from Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme for a 90Mb upgrade for its CloudMitchells platform.

Andrew added: “The scheme is a great example of grant funding that is undersubscribed. Just over half of the original £100m funding pot set aside for SMEs to upgrade has been claimed since the scheme was launched nearly two years ago.”

Andrew’s top grants

1: Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme

Businesses can get a connection voucher of up to £3,000 for faster broadband through the Government’s Broadband Connection Vouchers scheme.

2: Grow on Growth Fund

Grants from £20,000 to £100,000 to support businesses moving from incubation to the next stage of expansion and creating jobs.

Applicants need to secure at least 60 per cent match funding from private sources (e.g. own funds, banks, private investors). The grant needs to be spent within 12 months.

3: Research and Development (R&D) Relief

If your company pays corporation tax then it can cut its tax bill by claiming relief on research and development.

The relief R&D costs for SMEs is 230 per cent - that is, for each £100 of qualifying costs, your company could have the income on which corporation tax is paid reduced by an additional £130 on top of the £100 spent. It also includes a payable credit in some circumstances.

Alternatively, if your company is small or medium-sized, you may be able to choose a tax credit - up to 30 per cent of research and development costs - paid in cash.

4: Innovation Vouchers

Payments of up to £5,000 are available to SMEs to pay for an expert to help a business grow using a new idea, or exploit intellectual property. Vouchers can also be used for time and support on specialist equipment or facilities.

Applications are entered into a draw and winners chosen at random.

5: Innovate UK

Grants of 100 per cent are available for research. Dependent on company size, grants of up to 70 per cent are available for feasibility studies, industrial research and development.

6: THE Business Growth Service

The government-backed Business Growth Service is aimed at UK-based high growth businesses with fewer than 250 employees and generate less than £40m in turnover annually. Experts provide help with grants, finance, networking and mentoring.

7: SCR Growth Hub

£2.5m of funding from Sheffield City Region LEP has been secured to develop a Growth Hub, which will put in place ‘world-class’ business support, up to March 31 2016.

8: Pub Loan Fund

A new £1.5m fund designed to help community groups take over their local by providing small loans to start feasibility work, pay for lawyers’ fees or get materials for refurbishment.

9: Invest to Grow Fund (Derbyshire only)

Grants or loans of up to £1million for up to 30 per cent of project costs for small and medium sized enterprises Medicine/Bio-science,

10: European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) Growth Programme

Grants of up to £140,000 for rural micro and small businesses including helping farmers to diversify into non-agricultural activities.

The scheme is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The Rural Payments Agency manages the grants, working with Local Enterprise Partnerships.