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Finance | Feb 28

Unlocking growth with R&D grants and tax relief

Finance | Feb 28

Innovation driven by research and development can help businesses grow or pivot

Reading Time 2 minutes

Grants can be a game-changer for businesses looking to innovate and thrive. They ensure that businesses reach new markets and adopt more efficient, greener technologies, enriching local economies.

Research and Development (R&D) grants are awarded based on merit and, unlike a business loan, they don’t usually have to be repaid. Although grants are not intended to support businesses facing financial hardship, they can help companies by enabling growth during these challenging times.

Talk the talk

If your business is eligible for a grant, bear in mind that the application process takes time, and grants shouldn’t be considered as a ‘quick fix’ to pressing cash-flow issues. If the business is facing financial hardship, it’s best to talk to your bank or a qualified financial adviser.

Some organisations that offer support for research and development include:

Know your grants

There are many different grants awarded by local and national government departments and independent funding organisations to businesses in nearly every sector. Some types of research and development grants and incentives include:

  • R&D tax credits
  • Green projects
  • Local or regional grants
  • Revenue-based grants
  • Capital investment grant

Tax relief for R&D

There is a dedicated government page for R&D tax relief, supporting companies that work on innovative projects in science and technology.

The site specifies that ‘the work that qualifies for R&D tax relief must be part of a specific project to make an advance in science or technology’ and can’t be made for arts, humanities, and social science projects.

To apply for relief companies must demonstrate:

  • how the business might bring about advances in the field.
  • that there was a scientific or technological uncertainty.
  • how they could overcome the scientific or technological uncertainty.
  • that a professional in the field could not work this out.

For more information including the types of relief and how to claim visit the guidance page

Regional options

A good starting point for businesses seeking grant funding is also one of the 38 regional Growth Hubs set up to boost local economies in England. Links to these can be found on the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) Network website.

In Scotland, grants are available from local councils, Scottish Enterprise, and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Check the Scottish Government’s funding advice page for more information.

In Wales, the Business Wales Finance Locator can help you look for grant options and offers help with the application process.

And in Northern Ireland, Invest NI has a number of different options, including R&D grants of up to £50,000, innovation vouchers worth £5,000, and its technical development incentive (TDI) of up to £10,000 per application. Invest NI is also partnered with Innovate UK and that body’s grants and loans are open to applicants in Northern Ireland as well as those in England, Scotland and Wales.

This article was originally published on the NatWest Business Insights website here

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