Many members will already know that on the 21st October Lord Mandelson announced a £350 million package to help small and medium sized businesses weather the storm in the current economic climate.  Although the majority of us never get around to applying for grants, if accepted, they can be a healthy boost to the coffers and a direct benefit to staff. 

ACID member, Nick Stainier from New House Textiles has been through the grant application mill with excellent results.  “Over the years, winning additional grant funding has made a huge difference to New House. A grant does more than just help stretch your company’s funds, as they are usually targeted towards helping make your company more innovative, more creative or more diversified. A grant can very liberating too. Unlike bank loans, grants don’t usually have to be repaid, which means you don’t need to play-so-safe and can take a longer-term view – all of which helps your project to be a lot more successful in the end!’  

The latest support package includes paying firms who supply the Government within 10 days rather than the usual 30 – this probably does not affect many ACID members. However and importantly the deal also offers SME’s a series of training grants.  These can normally be obtained through local business links or other regional bodies authorised to administer the process and include funding to train staff in Intellectual Property awareness as well as the usual raft of business skills – selling, health and safety, web building etc.

Grant money is limited but if you don’t ask you don’t get – you could get contributions for between 30-80% of your application -  so first point of call is to get in touch with your local Business Link and hopefully they will point you in the right direction – in these belt tightening times it could be worth a try!

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