shutterstock_185382380I met a potential new client this week looking to see if grant funding could help fill the funding gap he faced between self-funding development and gaining sufficient traction to attract equity investment.

He had already made a great start, having built a great app demonstrating his potentially patentable innovations and a public trial lined up. Could a grant help fund the necessary development to make this business proposition take off?

The challenge with grant applications is that the work you are funding must fit the purpose of the grant giving body, whether that be the UK government, the EU or a Local Enterprise Partnership.

“The challenge with grant applications is that the work you are funding must fit the purpose of the grant giving body”


Your great business idea and team aren’t enough to win grant funding, unless they fit their output aims. Chances are you are going to have to reconsider how you think about your work in order to match the grant priorities.

So what do you have to look for in your project to fit the grant mind set? The diagram below should help work out where the most likely funding source for your idea is:

funding diagram

Match idea with fund

Each grant body will have a core set of outcomes that it is funded to achieve, such as creating jobs or encouraging innovation. To gain funding your idea must match their focus and fit with their appetite for risk. Your Local Enterprise Partnership is looking to create employment in your area this year, so has a very different focus to InnovateUK (previously the Technology Strategy Board), who are trying to encourage UK innovation and the products of the future, which are inherently less certain and riskier.

Of course all the grant authorities will want you to demonstrate that the benefits of your project “tick all the boxes” of social good, environmental benefits, innovation and creating jobs but their specific focus is different.


Michael-YoungmanMichael “Grants Ninja” Youngman leads the Technology Delivered consultancy based in The Guild, Bath.

This year he has applied and managed delivery of three TSB funded projects, securing £177k grants. He is currently awaiting the outcome for an application for a £996k project for beacon software company blispa



Jamie Middleton