Avenues for startup grants

Recruitment consultant MBA & Company won £1,000 through the Shell Livewire Award, and jewellery retailer Mama Jewels benefitted from a startup business grant from a local council. SmallBusiness.co.uk talks to each to find out how the government grants were achieved.

SmallBusiness.co.uk talks to MBA & Company founder Daniel Callaghan and Mama Jewels owner Amanda Waring to find out about the different avenues for startup business grants.

How did you find out about the business grant?

AW: Business Link has information about the possibility of applying for small grants from councils, so I rang my local council and discovered I was eligible to apply for £1,000 from the council and £3,000 from Business Link itself.

DC: A friend told me about the Shell Livewire Award, an opportunity to win £1,000 worth of startup funds for the most innovative ideas submitted by new businesses in their first 12 months of trading, and I decided to investigate further.

What did you have to do to secure the grant?

DC: You fill out a first round of application forms and if you get shortlisted you’re asked to make a one minute video presentation on why you should be considered. It is then put to a public vote and a panel of judges.

AW: You have to write a business plan, giving detailed revenue forecasts, marketing strategy and your customer base, basically everything you would do to prepare for a bank loan. The applications go to a board and they let you know whether it has been approved.

What did you spend the money on?

AW: The £1,000 from the local council went towards basic startup costs such as laptops and printers. The £3,000 from Business Link was for website development.

DC: The money helped pay for a designer and our first desk in Soho at the very beginning of the business. From receiving that £1,000 in 2009 we progressed to getting a seven figure valuation last year, so it was definitely a catalyst for growth.

What other benefits did the business grant bring?

DC: We use the award as a marketing tool on our website. It’s a good credibility builder. There are so many small businesses out there and each needs a point of differentiation and this definitely helps. It shows our proactivity in applying for it and the faith others have in our service to win it.

Useful link: – Looking for funding? Find the right finance for your business here

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