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Prior to starting make sure you have thought through all the implications of your project and identified all schemes of potential benefit.
We strongly advise that you make personal contact, if possible, with the grant provider before completing the application documentation.
Make sure your application explains how the project will meet the objectives of the awarding body. Include a work plan, including full cost. Pay particular attention to describing your business's track record - you are applying for public funds and those responsible for making the decision need assurance you will spend it wisely and ensure the project completes.
Generally, the more "local" the awarding body, the quicker you are likely to get a decision.
Applications to your local authority, for example, are likely to be resolved in a matter of days or weeks. National bodies have larger bureaucracies and will take longer, perhaps several weeks, to decide. Many awarding bodies have, or are considering speeding up the applications process by creating what are known as "Fast Track" procedures.
Should you use "grant consultants" or other advisers to help you obtain grants?
The first point to realize is that when you apply for public money it is your company and your project, which is under the microscope. There can be no better ambassador for your cause then you and/or your colleagues! To that extent logic suggests that you are better off if you "Do It Yourself".
However, there are occasions where help can be useful:
a) Identifying Schemes
This is the most difficult aspect of all to deal with unaided, since it is necessary to devote a good deal of time and resource to researching schemes.
b) Applying for Grants
If you are applying for a substantial grant (say one worth several thousands of dollars) and the awarding body is "remote" and bureaucratic, or the information required needs a technical expertise you do not possess, then it can help to appoint a consultant. This may be particularly so in the case of applications where an expert's knowledge of the processes required could prove invaluable.
In most other circumstances, however, the cost of consultancy probably outweighs its usefulness.
The history of "grants consultancy" is not a good one! Many so-called experts have proved to be nothing more than opportunists who make false promises in order to extract fees from clients who have been ultimately left "high and dry" with failed grant applications.
If you do decide to appoint consultants or advisers check their track record and verify their claims before you make a binding commitment. There are some schemes which disbar applications being made by any third party on behalf of another business!