In a previous post, I told you about a great opportunity to access £30 million through a government scheme for small businesses, entrepreneurs and the self-employed. There was up to £2,000 available to small business owners in the ‘Growth Vouchers’ programme which offers expert advice to small businesses including individuals who are registered as self-employed. At the time I was a little sceptical as to who would be eligible and those of my readers who have been on any of my courses will know that I like to experience what I teach or talk about if possible. So yes, I have applied for the vouchers. The first time I applied I did not get anywhere, just a few emails. So I thought I would have another go! Hey presto! I was awarded a Growth Voucher. Let me remind you about the Growth Vouchers and then I will give you a little tip I used the second time of applying.
Businesses must have been running for at least a year, have fewer than 50 employees, be registered in England and have not sought strategic business advice before in the last three years. This also includes micro businesses – so if you are thinking ‘not for little ole me’ – reconsider. Growth Vouchers are worth up to £2,000 and must be match funded by the small business. This means that if you put in £2,000 as a business the Government will match this with an additional £2,000, giving you a total of £4,000 to spend. You do not have to put in £2k – that is the maximum so if you only have a couple of hundred quid and you are successful you will end up with a pot of £400 worth of vouchers.
The programme helps small firms get expert advice in five different areas including marketing, attracting and keeping customers. For further details on Growth Vouchers and how to apply go to the ‘Marketplace’ section of the Enterprise Nation website at: marketplace.enterprisenation.com/about. You will be sent an email asking you to fill out a questionnaire. HERE IS THE TIP: before you fill in the questionnaire decide on a SINGLE area of advice you want. i.e. Marketing. Then when you fill in the questionnaire for all the other areas (HR – business growth etc..) answer the questions where you do not want advice by selecting the appropriate, no answers, and when you get to the area you do want advice, marketing for example, answer yes, to needing help. I think it was absolute clarity of need for advice in only one area which seemed to be the key to getting the vouchers. It is worth the effort.