Posts Tagged ‘business grants’

Getting the most out of your grant and loan

grany moneyFor a disabled entrepreneur grants for starting up in business can be few and far between. Even if grants are coming at you from all angles it’s extremely important to prioritise the items you need and match the item to the funder. For example some granting organisations will not pay for motor vehicles and only grant IT equipment. If you need a business grant for a van then make sure that you are not applying for a website via the only organisation who will give you a grant for a vehicle.

In my other article Looking for grants guide for disabled entrepreneurs I talk about how you should contact as many granting bodies as possible. I would then make a wish list of all the items I need to start up in business and prioritise them with the most important at the top of the list. I would then try and match the item with the grant provider to make sure I had everything covered.

It’s worth asking the business grant provider what they do and do not offer grants for. Not only will it give you a better chance of getting everything you need, but it may also increase your chance of getting the grant, especially if it’s something they usually fund.

In the past organisations such as the Prince’s Trust gave grants and soft loans to fund a vehicle. Your Disability Employment Adviser may have a discretionary grant which was traditionally used to fund clothing for people who did not have the finances to buy something suitable for an interview. Other uses for the grant would be to purchase tools for jobs which required the person to have their own set. Now disabled entrepreneurs are taking advantage of this grant when they start up in business, suing it to fund specialised safety clothing required for their new business. By matching the item to the grant, you can increase your chance of getting what you want.

Business grants for disabled entrepreneurs? No such thing as a free lunch

business grantsGuess what? Everyone wants free money! And one way to get it is a business grant. As I have discussed locating a business grant can be difficult if you don’t match anyone’s criteria. Being eligible to apply for this “free money” is only the first hurdle in the race to claim your prize. Applying for a business grant can be a long and laborious process with many hurdles, and it’s not only you in the race.

Other entrepreneurs are gunning for these grants, armed with a business plan and determined to get their share of the pot. It’s worth remembering something; these grants are only available for a short period of time or even stop once the pot runs out.

It can be a case with these grants of who shouts loudest will get the grant. An entrepreneur can greatly improve their chances of getting the amount they need by working closely with the grant company and contacting them for regular updates.

Every grant provider will want a business plan and a list of all the items you need. The problem is each provider may want to see something different in each business plan. It’s not uncommon for an entrepreneur to be applying for several grants, working with several organisations and having several versions of the business plan.

This is where the hard work comes in and you realise that there is no such thing as free money. It can be quite demoralising if the business plan you have slaved away on is not what is required to get the grant and when you have got it right for that organisation, another granting body may want you to make changes. Don’t take this personally, every person reading a business plan will expect something slightly different and will want you to make changes. You will save yourself time by listening and working closely with the organisation and making the changes as quickly so that you don’t delay the process.

As I have said, with some of these organisations it can be a case of who shouts the loudest wins, so you can’t afford to sit back and wait for things to happen. Phone for updates regularly and ask them if they need anything else to process the application. You never know, applications for business grants sometimes get lost so it’s worth a phone call to check everything is in place.

All in all applying for business grants can be a time consuming process, but that’s the price you pay for “free money”

Need money for your business? Soft loans, the disabled entrepreneur’s friend

Soft loans are another source of finance when starting up a business. I would always advise people to first try and obtain a grant but if your business has a large amount of start up costs then a soft loan may be unavoidable.

For any disabled entrepreneur taking on a loan should not be done lightly and careful consideration should be given to the interest, the size of the repayments and the overall cost.

Soft loans are usually offered to disabled entrepreneurs by national and regional organisations like the Prince’s Trust and charities who work with the visually impaired, deaf, those in wheelchairs etc.

A soft loan is like any other loan, such as a personal loan or a business loan offered to a person with a disability. Basically you borrow an amount of money to eventually pay back, in regular payments, plus interest. The main differences between a soft loan and a regular loan are;-

1. Soft loans tend to come at a lower rate of interest than your standard business or personal loan. On some soft loans rates are even at 0%, but often there is an administration fee.
2. There is usually a holiday period from when the loan hits your bank account to when you have to start your first payments. This can be up to 6 months.
3. Sometimes organisations supporting the disabled entrepreneur will offer holiday periods if the person gets into trouble paying back the loan. This can be useful to a person with disabilities if their business is on a downturn or illness is dictating how many hours they are working.
4. The biggest advantage of a soft loan is in some circumstances if the business stops because of ill health or lack of business, it can be possible for the debt to be written off by the organisation who granted it. This would be at their discretion and the person with the disability would have to show that they have really tried to make the business a success.

The other thing to remember when being granted a loan is to include the repayments into your business plan and cash flow. This way you will be able to see if you can really afford it.

Does a disabled person need specialist support to start a business?

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