Grant funding for SME Manufacturers, Assemblers and Distributors in the UK

Despite the tough economic climate and the huge impact, the pandemic has had on government spending there are still grants available for SME’s in the UK who are operating on legacy software and whose wider business strategy for success includes a digital transformation which includes an Enterprise Resource Planning solution (ERP)

What grant can I apply for?

Commonly, grants are linked to improvements in specific areas: digital boost, carbon footprint, job creation and innovative product development are key examples.

Here is an example of the type of grants currently available:

Grants are available for support software, consultancy, or the purchase of equipment. A project must be directly linked to introducing new data analytic tools and techniques to a company, and for larger awards, a data project must lead to a new product or service being launched.

Grants are available for (but not limited to) the following projects:

  • Software projects that will help make your dispatch and logistics systems more efficient.
  • Implementation of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, WMS (Warehouse Management Systems) or core management systems.
  • Implementation of new vehicle routing systems.
  • Design, Build and launching of web-based customer information portals linking in your existing systems.
  • Software systems or CRM systems that will help you use data to gain much stronger business intelligence.
  • Consultancy costs to help with selecting the correct software
  • Small items (under £1,000) to support your projects – printers, tablets, mobile phones, vehicle trackers.

What are the potential obstacles to successful grant funding?

Grant Application Process

For many SME’s the obstacle to success is finding a suitable grant to apply for in the first place. This government website can sometimes be useful.  However, it’s not always obvious that your business and business plan will be eligible against the grant description.  Trying to pick through the red tape can frustrating and confusing if you are not familiar with the process.

Time taken to complete the grant application

It can be time consuming to complete the forms and jump through the hoops required to be considered for grant funding and if your business case is not presented correctly – applications can be rejected.  The time taken to complete an application and the wait for the final decision can potentially delay a project to the detriment of your business.

Using a third-party grant application expert

We can all put paint on walls but getting a painter and decorator in means you can get on with your life, the job gets done on time and to a high finish.

Grant application specialists

Increasingly, businesses will seek the services of a professional, expert in collating the required information and presenting the grant application accurately and convincingly.  Whilst in many instances these professionals will work on a fee if a grant bid is successful, for many businesses (Qi customers included), the fee is a small price to pay in exchange for the noteworthy project contribution the grant provides.  In some instances, this can be up to 40%. If your bid is not successful, there is not cost to you. 

Grants may not be for everyone

Applying for grant funding to complete a project that if completed effectively will return positive outcomes not only for your business, but your community, your environment and so on, does not always sit well with business owners. It’s the principle.

Some businesses in the UK will not qualify due to overseas ownership, employee numbers or turn over.

The purpose of this article is not to comment on whether businesses should explore grant funding for projects such as ERP software and equipment, but just to highlight that it is available.

SMEs in the UK are winning successful grant bids every day and improving their business infrastructure as a result.

Thought for the Day

Qi, does not offer a grant application service. What Qi does have is a close relationship with its community of customers who have opted to share their grant application experiences with us. Contact Qi to become part of that community.