The government’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has just launched a new grant scheme for small businesses’ research and development (R&D) projects. The scheme will pay up to £250K to enterprises developing new prototypes and products, or pursuing market research for their ideas. Businesses with fewer than 250 staff can apply, even those in London which were previously excluded. However, the sums of money available will not be as large as before, and there will be stiff competition for them.
Previous schemes were administered by the regional development agencies (RDAs), now being phased out. Many companies have run into difficulties since a government directive to the RDAs to cease many payments on the schemes last summer, and not take on new applicants. So the new scheme is seen as a life saver for lots of development projects.
While the application process will be more straightforward, the selection process will be just as rigorous. Those selected for grants will have solid business plans that prove their innovative ideas have been well worked out. If you do receive an R&D grant, your integrity will be proven and your projects seen as credible, so you will have a much better chance of attracting other investors.
A Word of Warning
Arrangements are in hand to transfer currently running grants from the RDAs. The TSB procedures will need to be able to manage the volume of applicants without too many delays. Because of the embargo from last summer, there is bound to be a backlog of applicants to be dealt with.
Nevertheless this is good news. If you have an innovative project to fund, you could be one of the lucky ones. Why not discuss it with your outsourced bookkeepers, and see if they can assist?