In an ironic twist during times where finance is so difficult to find, the government is actually having to urge smaller companies to apply for the multimillions it wants them to have free of charge.
That's because technologically innovative small businesses are missing out on £350m worth of grants aimed at encouraging innovation available from the government’s Technology Strategy Board, whose aim is to improve and support tech inventiveness and entrepreneurialism in the UK.
According to the Telegraph today, Iain Gray, the Board's CEO, said the government had recently made improvements to the grant application process to make it less red-tapey – bureaucracy being the most notorious of the hindrances small firms feel prevent them from succeeding with the system.
But he also pointed out that currently it’s thousands of larger private companies who are capitalising on the grants, rather than those with fewer employees and lower profits – the small businesses the Board really wants to be awarded the grants.
“What we are trying to do is make sure that particularly in these difficult times as many of the small businesses as we can get through to understand what’s out there,” Gray said.
It’s a familiar problem. It seems that only when companies are big enough to bring in grant consultants can they successfully enough navigate the process to receive the funds available. And at that stage, of course, they don’t have nearly as much need as smaller businesses who have neither time nor money to go through the reams of information needed to get an application done.
But grants are available – more than 6,000 of them in the UK, in fact - and this very certain signalling that the government is actively looking for smaller businesses to whom to endow its money should be taken as a strong incentive. As should the promise of a more streamlined and straightforward application process.
And even if it does still take a bit of time, receiving a non-repayable grant of tens of thousands of pounds can, as we’re sure you can imagine, be an immeasurable help for your business – and well worth a few hours spent form-filling for. In fact, it'll probably be the least number of man hours you ever put in for that amount of cash.
For more information on how to find and successfully apply for grants, read our feature on how to get a small business grant. There's money out there for you - lots of money. You just have to know where to look.