Why are Grant FAQs important to your business?
You cannot be successful without first learning the basic rules of Grant funding; the more you learn about these the more likely you are in getting grant funding.
What do Xsortal Grant FAQs do to help?
There are key grant topics you need to know about and the Xsortal Grant FAQs has all of the important grant topics covered for you.
How do Xsortal Grant FAQs meet your business needs?
  • Get access to FAQs covering the entire end-end Grants process
  • Browse an A-Z list of grant FAQs to pick and choose topics relevant to you
  • Ask your own business Grant question to get the specific answers you need
  • Search the grant FAQs and Glossary to quickly get to grips with Grants
UK Grants Frequently Asked Questions
Help your business to grow with grants by quickly learning the basics; whether it's finding out how to get a business grant or how to apply for a business grant get the answers you need in the Xsortal's Grant FAQs.
1

QUICKLY LEARN THE
GRANT BASICS

  • A comprehensive set of Grant FAQs all
    in one place
  • Organised into easy to follow grant
    topics
  • Find out what the grant answers really
    mean for your business
2

ASK A SPECIFIC
GRANT QUESTION

  • Get grant answers tailored to your
    business needs
  • Find out how grants can benefit your
    business
  • Learn how to quickly multiply the grant
    benefits
 
1
Grant Basics
Master the grant basics to extract the full grant benefits
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1.1 What is a grant and how does it help my business to grow?
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A grant is a sum of money normally given by the government or other funding providers to achieve a specific economic objective or business development purpose. Grants help fund business growth and job creation projects that would otherwise not have started due to insufficient funding.

Why is this important?
If you don’t get to grips with the grant framework, you won’t be able to fully leverage grants in your business.
1.2 What do grants fund in my business?
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There are many different ways grants provide funding to help businesses with their growth plans. The Xsortal organises business grants into 10 funding purposes:

  • Buildings and Renovation Schemes
  • Business Growth Schemes
  • Business Innovation Schemes
  • Energy Efficiency Schemes
  • Overseas Market Development Schemes
  • Property Development Schemes
  • Purchasing Equipment Schemes
  • Recruit and Develop Staff Schemes
  • Starting a Business Schemes
  • Working Capital Schemes


Why is this important?
If you don't know the purpose of grants you won't be able to select them to transform your business.

You can quickly see what grants are available for each funding purpose using the Xsortal Grants Finder.
1.3 What types of grants are available?
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Grants are just one type of financial support available, the Xsortal categorises the different types into the following:

  • Business Grants
  • Business Support
  • Equity Finance
  • Export Guarantee
  • Export and Import Finance Support
  • Interest Free Loan
  • Loan Support Funding
  • Vouchers

Why is this important?
Knowing the different types of financial support available lets you match and fulfil your project financing needs.

You can quickly see what types of funding is currently available using the Xsortal Grants Finder.
1.4 What size of business are eligible to apply for grants?
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Grants are available for businesses of all sizes, the Xsortal categorises them into the following:

  • Micro Businesses
  • Small Businesses
  • Medium Businesses
  • Large Businesses
  • Start-ups
  • Academic
  • Research Organisations

Why is this important?
If you can’t match with grants tailored to your size of business then you are missing out on funding opportunities.

You can quickly see what grants are available for each size of business using the Xsortal Grants Finder.
1.5 Where does my grant funded project have to take place?
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The majority of grant schemes will place restrictions on where a project can be carried out either wholly or partly, e.g. in a city, or a region. There are a few exceptions such as EU Collaborative Projects so it is best to check the individual scheme rules.

Why is this important?
You need to know the grant rules about regional and country location to take full advantage of grant opportunities.

You can quickly see what grants are available locally, regionally and nationally using the Xsortal Grants Finder.
1.6 Are grants available for my sector?
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There are grants available to businesses across most sectors and there are grants that are targeted at particular sectors. Targeted sectors will vary over time depending on the UK government’s strategic development priorities.

Why is this important?
If you can’t match with grants tailored to your sector then you are missing out on funding opportunities.

You can quickly see what grants are available for your sector using the Xsortal Grants Finder.
1.7 How much grant funding can I apply for?
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The amout of funding you can apply for will vary depending on the type of projects being funded, the grant provider and the funding they have available. Typically, the maximum amounts you can apply for varies from a few hundred pounds to 100’s of thousands.

Note that the majority of grants only fund for a percentage of eligible costs and your business will have to find funding for the remaining project costs yourselves.

Why is this important?
If you are not aware of the different grant funding bands you won't be able to match your current and future project needs.

Request funding support from Xsortal to get help with finding the additional funding needed for your project.
1.8 Who are the main grant providers?
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The main sources of public grant funding for businesses come from the UK Government, the EU, local authorities and enterprise support organisations such as growth hubs. There are also grants available from corporates, charities and universities.

Why is this important?
Once you know the main grant providers and their objectives you will be able to find the right strategic fit for your project.

You can quickly see what grants are available for your business using the Xsortal Grants Finder.
1.9 Are grants still available from the EU?
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Funding is still available across the vast majority of EU funded programmes for UK businesses. Under the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK will continue to participate in the existing programmes until their closure.

Why is this important?
If you're aware of when EU funding will run out you can better plan your current and upcoming grant funding applications.

You can quickly see what grants are available for your business using the Xsortal Grants Finder.
1.10 Is private grant funding also available?
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There are private sources of grant funding available alongside public funds, and just like public funds they are set up to achieve specific economic or societal objectives.

Why is this important?
If you're not aware of the different sources of grants you're missing out.

You can quickly see what grants are available for your business using the Xsortal Grants Finder.
2
Grant Fit
Determine if grants are a good fit from the outset
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2.1 Are there grants that fit my business profile?
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Grants are a great way to reduce your financial risk in a new project but apart from the “free” money aspect there are other factors to consider when deciding if a grant is the best fit for your business project.

  • Competition – grants are competitive and you may not end up with grant funding at the end of the process
  • Overheads – time needs to be spent preparing your application and supporting documents such as business plans
  • Timing – it can be weeks or even months before a grant decision is made so this needs to be factored into your project timeline
  • Reporting – additional monitoring and reporting overheads of your project also need to be considered

Why is this important?
If you don’t know there are grants available that fit your business profile, then you’re missing out on grant funding opportunities.
2.2 Will I get grant funding if my project has already started?
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You won’t be eligible for grant funding if your project has already started. Grants are designed to be a fund of last resort - meaning that your project would not have gone ahead without the aid of grant funding.

Why is this important?
If you don’t apply for grant funding at the right stage of your project you won’t qualify for grant funding.
2.3 What are state aid rules and how do they affect grant support given to businesses?
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The EU's state aid rules are designed to prevent the distortion of market competition by individual governments through the use of state resources. In most cases the rules apply to aid in the form of grants, loans, tax breaks (including enhanced capital allowances) and the use or sale of a state asset for free or at less than market price.

In principle, state aid is not allowed in the EU. However, the rules allow for good aid, where state aid is beneficial to the economy and supports growth and other policy objectives.

Why is this important?
If you don’t understand how state aid rules apply to you then you may not get the project funding you need.
2.4 What is De Minimis aid and how does it affect how much grant funding I can get?
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De Minimis aid rules allow taxpayer-funded support to be given to businesses without it distorting competition. The current rules allow up to €200,000 over 3 consecutive fiscal years, to be given to a single undertaking without having to notify the EU.

The de minimis regulations (chapter 4) allows EU Member States to give small amounts of state aid (€200,000 over a 3 year fiscal period) without having to notify and receive approval from the EU.

Why is this important?
If you don’t understand how De Minimis aid rules apply to you then you may not get the project funding you need.
2.5 How do I determine my company size under EU rules?
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The size of your company determines the percentage of grant funding you can get. The EU has set out rules on how to determine the size of your company and has published a user guide with a 4 step process to determine if your company is an SME and how to determine if it is controlled by a larger company.

Why is this important?
If you’re not clear on how to determine your company size under EU rules, then you don’t know how much grant funding you can get.
2.6 How many grants can I apply for in a single project?
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The majority of grant schemes do not allow multiple grants to be used for the same project costs, but most will allow businesses to apply for grants for different projects at the same time. It is best to check with individual grant providers on their rules for applying for multiple grants.

Why is this important?
If you don’t know if you can apply for multiple grants for a single project, then you could be missing out on grant funding.
2.7 Is there a limit to the number or amount of grant funding I can use in a year?
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There is no limit to the number of grants you can use in a year but there is a limit to the amount of grant funding you can apply for under EU de minimis regulations (chapter 4); the rules allow your business to receive up to €200,000 over three consecutive accounting periods.

Why is this important?
If you are not aware of what the limits are then you may not get the grant funding you need.
2.8 How are grants normally paid?
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Most grants are paid in arrears and require you to submit receipts so that only eligible costs are being claimed. It is important to check the individual grant scheme rules on how the grant funding will be paid so you can effectively manage your project cash flow.

Why is this important?
If you don’t know how your grant funding will be paid, you can’t effectively manage your project cash flow.
2.9 What can trigger a clawback of grants paid?
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Keeping accurate financial records and ensuring your project meets the objectives agreed up with the grant provider are important to minimise the risk of grant funding clawbacks. It is important to check with the grant provider on the conditions that may trigger a clawback.

Why is this important?
If you are not aware of the conditions in which grant funding could be clawed back, then you could be putting your project at risk.
2.10 What are the post-funding project monitoring and review requirements?
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Make sure you understand the conditions under which the grant funding has been given and that you have clear and comprehensive records documenting your compliance. Keep records of all project related expenditure and make sure the grant funding is only used on allowable expenses as set out in the grant rules.

Why is this important?
If you are not aware of the project compliance and record keeping requirements, then you could at risk non-compliance with the grant funding conditions.
3
Grant Readiness
Assess your project readiness to avoid application delays
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3.1 Is your project viable for grant funding?
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The grant provider will want to know how the project’s stated outcomes will benefit your business (e.g. turnover growth), the local economy (e.g. create jobs) or the sector (e.g. new innovation) and whether those expected benefits align with the grant provider’s objectives.

Why is this important?
If you don’t clearly define your project objectives and its benefits, then you won’t be able to justify your project is viable to the grant provider.
3.2 When should you be checking for grant funding for your project?
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You should be checking for grants early on in your project planning phase so you can align your objectives to the grant providers to increase your chance of getting a grant. New grants are continuously launching and closing so being kept up to date with new grants will help you plan ahead for future projects.

Why is this important?
If you don’t check for grants early on in your project, then you could be missing out on grant funding opportunities.
3.3 Do you have additional funding for your grant project?
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Matched funded grants require you to finance part of the project costs yourself, and depending on how the grant is paid (i.e. in arrears) you may have to cover all of the project costs until they can be reclaimed from the grant.

Why is this important?
If you don’t have the remaining project funding or a firm commitment of funding, then you won’t be able to secure matched grant funding.
3.4 What staff resources do you have to plan and implement your grant funded project?
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Allocating the right team members to your project is critical to its success in meeting your grant funded objectives in the agreed time frame. In addition to allocating resources to implement the project you will also need to allocate enough resources to manage the grant funding compliance.

Why is this important?
If you don’t have the right team with the right skill set to implement your project, then you risk project delays and even failing to meet its objectives.
3.5 Do you have buy-in from project stakeholders to achieve your grant funded project objectives?
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Getting buy-in from the project team is key and the grant provider will want to see that the team is committed to making the sure the grant funded project is a success.

Why is this important?
If you don’t have buy-in from project stakeholders, then your project is less likely to fulfil its objectives and produce the outcome you want.
3.6 What is your timeline for your grant funded project?
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Most grant schemes run for a limited time so projects that are awarded funding must be completed and the grants claimed within the time frames set out in the scheme.

Why is this important?
If you don’t have a project timeline then you run the risk of missing your project milestones and deadlines for claiming your grant.
3.7 What are the main tasks in your grant funded project?
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Setting out the key project tasks and milestones helps you check to see if your project can achieve its objectives within the projected timelines.

Why is this important?
If you don’t set out the main project tasks, then you won’t be able to identify the milestones to achieving the overall project objectives.
3.8 What are the main cost areas in your grant funded project?
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A robust financial plan setting out the core costs and non-core expenses is key to managing the project finances. Make sure to check the grant rules on what expenses can be funded by the grant.

Why is this important?
If you don’t define the core costs and expenses in your financial plan, then your project is more at risk of financial failure.
3.9 What monitoring and review process do you have in place to increase the chance of a successful grant project?
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Getting the right information from your project and regularly monitoring and reviewing your project progress is key to keeping it on track and for achieving the right outcome.

Why is this important?
If you don’t monitor your project’s progress against milestones you won’t know if your project is on track to achieving its objectives.
3.10 What processes do you have in place to manage the project finances to keep your grant funded project within budget?
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Make sure your processes cover the physical performance of the project and the following core financial management elements:

  • Planning
  • Budgeting
  • Accounting
  • Financial reporting
  • Internal control
  • Auditing
  • Procurement
  • Disbursement

Why is this important?
If you don’t have financial management processes in place, then you risk losing control of your project finances.
4
Applying for Grants
Assess your application readiness to reduce wasting application time
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4.1 Have you contacted the grant provider before starting your application?
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It’s good practice to speak with the grant provider before you make an application to assess your chances of getting a grant and to establish a point of contact so you can speak to them if there are any problems with your application.

Why is this important?
If you don’t check with the grant provider if the grant is suitable for your project, then you could be wasting your time.
4.2 Have you started your project before applying for your grant?
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Grants are designed to be the “funding of last resort” to help businesses start projects that otherwise would never have gotten off the ground. So it’s vitally important that you assure the grant provider there is no way your project can proceed without grant funding and you don’t go ahead with your project until you receive a decision on your application.

Why is this important?
It is important that you do not start your project before your grant application is successful as doing so would prove there was no need for the grant.
4.3 Have you aligned your project objectives to the grant’s funding objectives?
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Grant schemes are set up to achieve specific objectives so aligning your business project with those objectives will increase your chance of successfully getting a grant. You should clearly state in your application how your business is fulfilling the scheme’s objectives.

Why is this important?
If your overall project objectives don’t align with the grant providers funding objectives, then it is unlikely that you will get funding.
4.4 Have you clearly identified what the benefits of the grant funded project are and to whom?
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Defining your project benefits, the impact it has on your business, and possibly on the wider community, will help you justify your project to the grant providers.

Why is this important?
If you haven’t clearly defined and communicated your project’s benefits, then grant providers won’t be able to justify funding your project.
4.5 Do you have clearly defined grant project milestones and objectives?
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Grant providers are interested in projects that have the best chance of achieving their stated objectives and having a clear plan with milestones to achieve your project objective you are increasing your chances of a successful outcome.

Why is this important?
If you don’t clearly define the overall project objectives and the milestones to achieve it then your project is at risk of failing to meet its original objectives.
4.6 Does your executive summary sell the benefits of your grant funded project?
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It’s your chance to make a powerful first impression, draw the reader in and make them want to read the rest of your proposal. Keep it succinct and make sure to tell them about your project objectives and how it aligns with the scheme’s objectives, and how you expect to achieve them. Also make sure your summary describes the contents of your grant proposal.

Why is this important?
If your executive summary fails to engage the reader, then it’s hard to make them want to read your full proposal.
4.7 Is your grant application laid out in a structured way with headings and subheadings, and where allowed, charts and tables to illustrate key points?
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Grant providers receive a lot of applications and need to make decisions quickly about eligible projects. If your application is poorly structured or fails to get the key points across succinctly then it makes their job harder to justify funding your project.

Why is this important?
If you don’t structure your application in a clear and easy to follow manner, then you wont’ be able to sell the benefits of your project effectively.
4.8 Do you have an up to date business plan for your grant application?
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It’s always a good idea to have a business plan that you keep up to date on a regular basis as it keeps you on track and focused on your business objectives. Having an up to date business plan also means you can apply for grants more quickly.

Why is this important?
If you don’t have your business plan ready you won’t be able to react quickly to new grant funding opportunities.
4.9 Have you clearly defined what the grant money will be spent on?
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Most grant applications will ask you to list out the major costs of your project to make sure you can justify the project costs and are only spending on eligible items or services that help you achieve your project objectives. Grant providers can also ask for multiple quotations for items above a certain value.

Why is this important?
If you don’t list out your project costs, then you can’t justify the amount of grant funding you’re applying for.
4.10 Do you have your additional project funding in place for your grant project?
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Most grants will only fund a percentage of your project costs, some as low as 15% and others up to 70%. Depending on how the grant works you may have to pay for the project costs first and then claim back eligible costs through the grant, so understanding how and when grant money is paid is key to managing your project cash flow.

Why is this important?
Grants will only fund a percentage of your project costs so it’s important that you have other sources of funding available to meet the remainder of the project costs.

If you need funding for your projects click hereto arrange your free funding review.
 
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