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Think about your audience when applying for funding and finance

Last updated 20 November 2023
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Let’s Get Funding Ready was the theme of an EM3 Growth Hub webinar, offering top tips and insights into preparing access to different forms of finance, including apply for grants and equity.

Presented by EM3 Senior Growth Hub Champion Roya Croudace, the Funding and Finance webinar was part of our new series of online and in-person workshops.

Aimed at SMEs looking to scale-up and thinking about their options for external finance, the webinar emphasised the need to consider carefully how an application would be considered by a funder.

Roya explained: “When you are looking to access external finance one of the key things to consider is what lenders are looking for.

“It’s really important to think about who you are asking for that funding. If it’s a local council grant, what kind of local impact are they looking for, or if it’s debt finance and you are going to an alternative funder, for example a funding circle, what are the key things they are going to want to see in the documentation in your financials?”

During the presentation, Roya discussed the funding journey, to help build a sustainable business. This includes considering the stage the business is at, what are its ambitions and setting a strategy and having a plan in place to achieve the goals.

Roya emphasised the importance of keeping abreast of development opportunities, business support, grants and loans.

“New grants and funding opportunities are going live all the time,” said Roya, “so make sure you are connected to as many organisation that can support you, such as the EM3 Growth Hub, sign up for the local council newsletters, and organisations like the British Business Bank.”

Roya highlighted three local grants that have just gone live:

Surrey’s Rural Prosperity Fund, covering the DEFRA areas in Waverley, Guildford and Tandridge, where capital projects of up £50,000 is available.

Runneymede Borough Council’s Grants for Growth where offering grants up to £5,000 for capital equipment and expansion-related costs. Applicants must demonstrate growth potential, with priority is being given to cyber security, creative technologies, immersive technologies, and low carbon businesses.

Surrey County Council’s A3 EV Grant which is offering grants of $5,000 for small electric vans and £10,000 for larger fully electric light commercial vehicles.

In additional to local support, Roya also discussed sector and national grants as well as Innovation UK loans and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTN) opportunities with universities.

Roya concluded with a final word of advice: “Focus on the detail, because the guidelines are really important. You don’t want to waste time on applications only to be told you are not eligible.”

Among those who joined the webinar were Stuart Mackrell and Neil Barton, from Hampshire-based Origin Safety, which provides consultancy and auditing services to organisations that design and operate safety critical systems.

They said: “As directors of a micro-SME safety consultancy we have worked hard to position our business as best we can, but have not actually realised much growth yet due, at least in part, due to our lack of basic business understanding. 

Whilst we were aware of some of the information conveyed by Roya in this Funding and Finance workshop, we still found it extremely useful in clarifying certain key concepts and resources, and the differences between them. 

“In particular, we did not know that we could be notified of local city and county council funding initiatives by signing up to business newsletters.  We only recently signed up to receive them from Winchester, Basingstoke and Deane and also Hampshire, and have already found out about a potential opportunity from Winchester City Council, which we’ll be exploring further.  Roya’s explanations of what funders and investors would typically expect to see from us as a small company in any application we do make was also very useful, and her offer of help after the workshop, should we ever need it, was really appreciated. 

“We feel very lucky to have come across EM3 and are sure its expert help will make a real difference to us – our biggest challenge currently is setting aside the time to apply all the lessons we are being taught, whilst keeping our clients happy by producing the work they’re constantly expecting.”

Watch the full webinar by clicking on the YouTube image below:

The EM3 Growth Hub is offering a series of free in-person and online workshops, running until March 2024, to help drive growth in your business. Click here to find out more.



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