What, no grants?

23rd July, 2018

The age of grant funding has passed (well not exactly)

On 28 June 2018, I hit send on an email submission for an Expression of Interest for the Countryside Productivity Scheme (CSP) ‘Adding Value to Agri-Food’.

This was a reasonably momentous day in terms of national grant funding for our food and drink producers, as it represented the last day of which such a submission could be made, as:

CSP ‘Adding Value to Agri-Food’ closed the next day

Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme had already closed to new applications (effective 31 May 2018)

Yes, there is still the potential for LEADER applications to be made, but this is generally restricted to small businesses based in ‘rural’ areas. There are also some pots of money targeted at Research, Development and Innovation, but essentially the grant schemes with a broader appeal to growing food and drink producers closed at the end of June 2018. We will of course aim to keep you informed of any new schemes that open.

There are other options…

For now, it is maybe an opportune moment to consider other types of funding that a food and drink producer, or even businesses not producing but retailing or wholesaling, may be able to secure. I will acknowledge that most of these are not uniquely available to those engaged in the food and drink sector, but in some cases, the sector itself is a ‘draw’ for the financier.

Debt

There is a plethora of debt funders actively lending at the moment. A presentation at one of our recent ‘Finance in’ events said there were over 360 lenders in the UK alone. My colleagues and I across the firm are becoming more and more familiar with a number of these either through direct contact or via Capitalise, a platform that we are working with that segments and ranks the lenders in terms of fit with the client and their needs.

Equity

From Business Angels to the Crowd, to Venture Capital and Private Equity, there are people/ organisations with a particular interest in and / or specialism in the food and drink sector or in some cases segments of that sector. If you have a profitable, scalable food and drink business then it is likely there would be a route to equity funding. The source of equity will vary depending on a number of factors including age and size of your business as well as funding requirement.

Rewards

There is also potential for the ‘crowd’ to insert money into a business in return for ‘rewards’.

The popularity of the food and drink sector to the ‘crowd’, be it debt, equity or rewards can be gauged by their representation on the sites (I just checked the accuracy of this assertion and saw a number of food and drink businesses / propositions listed on Crowdcube and Crowdfunder websites).

There has long been talk of a move away from grants, and if that time has arrived, there are plenty of other funding options out there to explore.

I am planning an event aimed at the Food and Drink sector on the above theme with external speakers (equity and rewards). I have all but finalised details for the one in Truro (4 September) and details of this will be posted on the events page of our website hopefully in the next week. After the event, I will be speaking to the other PKF Francis Clark offices to see what appetite there is for similar events across the South/ South West. So, watch this space…

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