In the early days of the web there were a number of funding initiatives to get businesses on the web. These were traditionally administered by local providers through the TEC and Business Link organisations. Later, ecommerce and international online trade attracted more funding, but times have changed. Nowadays a website is considered as much of a business essential as a phone or a desk. Websites or online shops don’t warrant any special treatment as far as innovation funding is concerned.
However…there are still ways to get your website (or at least part of it) funded. Your first stop should be the LEP website. This is the central site of the Local Enterprise Partnership where you can find out about the 38 local Growth Hubs which now deal with funding. Just find the Hub for your region and see what’s on offer.
Most of the local sites have some version of a “Funding Finder” (for example, our local Sheffield one is here), but we’d recommend also calling them and talking it through because the advisors often have first-hand experience in what applications get approved or new funding that might be coming up soon.
Straight websites, ecommerce or general marketing are not usually eligible for funding. However, if your project results in one or more of these…
- Increased productivity
…then there could be funding available. How you word your application can make a big difference to how successful it is. However worthy your project is, it generally won’t attract funding if it doesn’t cover at least one of those three points.
If your website is more of a social or community project (or part of one), there might be different avenues to take. There are a number of funding bodies who are more interested in social enterprises than pure business development. These organisations will usually look at helping community and arts projects and charities. Often set up by entrepreneurs wanting to “give a bit back”, government or charities (or a mix of all three) these bodies are sometimes harder to find because they are not always solely focussed on funding websites, but projects as a whole. An example of one of the organisations we have worked with before is The Key Fund in Sheffield. And don’t forget the good old Lottery either – plenty of our clients have been funded by the Lottery Good Causes Fund via its network of local distributors.
If you’re thinking of a new project or a refresh to your existing website, ecommerce or backend systems there could be funding available. Even if you’re embarking on larger digital transformation process it could meet the criteria. Feel free to contact us for a chat about how it could work.