Some businesses take years to get off the ground. An idea in a lab which provides a glimpse of a better future can require thousands of working hours and millions of pounds to turn into a reality. But it is generally accepted that if a developed nation spends up to three percent of its GDP on research and development (R&D), it will recoup far more in terms of jobs and revenues later. However, the fly in the ointment is that the return doesn’t fully materialise until 15 years later. This means that any government investing billions in R&D today will get little payback during its term in office.
Most grant funding for businesses in the UK tends to be match-funded and those looking to get a piece of the pie need a convincing plan to access it. Governments get few votes from this kind of endeavour and so no-one is giving it away too easily. But thankfully some great businesses do get the nod and see ambitious plans come to fruition.
Here are some I met recently in a feature about government grants in The Guardian.