Tuesday, 12 November 2013

It's Business Baby - Free Cash, Anyone?

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It's no secret that starting out in business is hard; one of the more frustrating aspects of being a small business owner is having sky high dreams - researching the perfect way to improve your products, design a swanky new marketing campaign or lusting after that new piece of equipment, only to do the sums and find the biggest barrier is the lack of cold, hard, cash. We don't all have Daddy's trust fund to rely on, or a wealthy spouse to foot the bill - and, despite the best interests of those that advise us to have at least 6 months capital behind you before you start - this world we're living in is a financially unstable one so the perfect scenario for starting your business is no longer applicable. However, there are now so many avenues available to grab yourself a chunk of cash to elevate your business to new levels, from government loan schemes to public crowdfunding - there's bound to be something below that could be available to help you come one step closer to achieving your dreams.

Designed for anyone aged 18-30 who is unemployed or working less than 16 hours per week. the Prince's Trust is so much more than just a cash cow - the programme provides self-employment training, one to one mentoring, help with writing a business plan and support to apply for a low interest loan up to £5,000
Backed by the UK government, Start Up Loans does exactly what it says on the tin - offers low interest, government backed loans to start up businesses. They have recently lifted their age bracket to include anyone, so this is a good one for those over 30, too. A business plan is required to apply, and like The Prince's Trust, mentoring and guidance is also included.
If you're a recent graduate, based in Cornwall, with a cracking business idea then Unlocking Potential are the guys for you. We actually received 1 year of support from Unlocking Cornish Potential when we first started out, with cash injections and mentoring and I truly believe they have been paramount to the success of our business - from a dedicated mentor who helped me build my PR skills from non-existent to international, to cash injections, training courses and peer-to-peer networking.
Supported by Intuit Quickbooks and Start Up Britain, Love a Local Business will be granting 11 wishes - 10 grants of £1000 and 1 grant of £5000 - by December 11th, 2013. Part X-Factor popularity contest and (thankfully) partly judged by the panel, it's a really simple and easy way to get a cash injection in your business - as long as you don't mind pestering the hell out of your facebook friends ;) Absolutely anyone based in the UK can apply, so competition is pretty tight - but make sure you've got a stellar vision for that cash so you've got more of a chance of winning. We're backing Sugar and Vice and Jen Made This for much needed cash injections for their respective businesses.
Kickstarter is the number 1 funding source for creative projects on the planet. It's a platform for everyone from film makers to ceramicists to pledge for funding for a whole variety of projects. Each project is independently created - project creators set a funding goal and a deadline, and if people like a project, they can pledge money is return for rewards - for example, a copy of the films' DVD, or a ticket to an event. Kickstarter funding is all or nothing - if the funding target is not met within the set deadline, the projects don't get anything and pledgers do not get charged; but with an impressive success rate of 44%, there's an opportunity to have your dreams realised with the help of people around the world. We're currently backing Veronica Varlow's Revolver project and Fishee Designs Photobooth Revamp project.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of funding available for small businesses - make sure you check your local area to see if there's a project available to you. Also don't discount packages that don't offer cold hard cash; mentoring, training and support could actually take your business so much further than a lump sum could. The cynical among us may wonder if the above could really be true - you don't get something for nothing in this life, right? But small businesses are the backbone of our communities and keep our economies strong. Small business supports honest people, with honest hearts and souls.

So, I'd love to know, what funding would you apply for and why?

Image by Champagne Lotus at So Eclectic

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  1. Thanks so much for this Sophie, I may be starting my own business after uni.


  2. This is an intresting blog that you have posted, you shares a lot of things about Small Business Funding UK, Invest In Northern Ireland and Small Business Investors Uk. Which are very informative for us. Thanks


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