FCS Associates

7 Misconceptions about Grants

October 6, 2015

In the first 9 months of 2015 Rachel Fletcher and the team at FCS Associates have helped organisations win grants worth over £650k.   With 20 years of bid writing experience Rachel explains the 7 biggest misconceptions that organisations have about applying for grant funding.

You can learn more about current grants available via our grants page


7 Misconceptions about Grant Funding

Photo by Sujin Jetkasettakorn courtesy of Free Digital Photos

1 – Asking which grants can you get?

When businesses get to know what I do the very first question I often get asked is which grant can I get? This is the first misconception about accessing grants because the focus really needs to be on what challenges, issues or growth plans you have for your business.  From this the grants that can support you to achieve this can be identified, rather than ‘grant chasing’ and taking your business into research or development which in hindsight is more costly than the grant you actually secured.


2 – Thinking there’s a postcode lottery

A second misconception is the ‘postcode lottery’. Most grants, such as research and export related, are available wherever you are in the country and capital grants, although given different names depending on where you operate, are pretty much universal but are managed by local public sector organisations rather than a central body.


3 – There are grants for everything

The third misconception is that grants are available for everything. They are not. The reason grants are given out by government is to promote business and organisations to do things that UK Plc feel is best for growth such as exporting or innovation. Therefore most grants are around the key themes of research, export, capital investment and skills.


4 – Applying for grants is complicated 

For some grants which contribute 10’s of thousand then yes the application form will be detailed. After all it is tax payer’s money being given out and no one wants to see it wasted. However, many smaller grants such as the Innovation Voucher, which is a £5k grant, is a short online form with successful applicants chosen frequently.


5 – That you can claim money back on items you have already committed

The fifth misconception is that you can claim money you have already committed to spending. For example, if you have pre-ordered or bought a machine. For many Regional Growth Fund programmes the ethos of the scheme is that the grant fills the ‘gap’ in what you can afford and therefore if you have already bought a machine then you clearly could afford it. Therefore most grants are paid retrospectively, however this is not the case for every grant, particularly those targeted at SMEs.


6 – Go for the biggest grant you can get.

I would always advise a business applying for a grant to go for a small grant first such as a skills grant or small R&D national grant rather than launching into a huge multi partner European grant which takes significant management time.


7 – Partnering with People Is Good

The final misconception is that by having a ‘token, Greek, Spanish or other Southern European partner it means your chances of success will increase. This is wrong on two counts, firstly all partners need to be involved and therefore they need to be relevant and have a role to play in the project.  Secondly it’s very dangerous to partner up with a company or organisation that you have no track record with. As the saying goes ‘act in haste and repent at leisure’ not something anyone wants to do.


Could your organisation benefit from grant funding? 

Visit our grants page to learn more about what’s available. And if you think your organisation could benefit from professional bid writing support please contact us for an information and no obligation chat.



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