There are many grants available if your business fits the criteria. A good starting point is to engage the services of an expert. The main issue with grants is that they appear and disappear in quick succession and the criteria for each grant can be difficult to meet.

Before you apply for a grant you should make sure that you meet the conditions of the scheme. Additionally, you should ensure that you:

• are ready to put up some of your own money 
• need the money for a specific purpose 
• don't start the project before you get an agreement in principle of funding. 

Before applying for a grant, you can contact the Business Link helpline (0845 600 9006) to make sure the scheme is appropriate for your circumstances and location. You could also consider contacting a private business adviser, such as a Chartered Certified Accountant for help and advice.

When you have identified the right grant scheme for your needs, you will have to provide:

• a detailed project description 
• an explanation of the potential benefits of the project 
• a detailed work plan with full costings 
• details of your own relevant experience and that of other key managers 
• completed application forms where stipulated 
• a business plan. 

Most reviewers will assess your proposal by using the following criteria:

• significance 
• approach 
• innovation 
• their assessment of your expertise 
• need for the grant. 

Be prepared to wait for anything from a few weeks to a year for a decision. Local applications are typically processed much more quickly than others.

The grant provider will seek to ensure that the grant has been applied for correct and qualifying purposes. Failure to expend the grant for the agreed purpose can lead to clawback of the grant.  

In addition to grants, there are many other sources of finance to explore. From loans and commercial mortgages to cashflow finance and trade solutions, Barclays can help businesses find the right solution to support growth. Follow the link below.