Finding Funding – Seminar Review

Universities Mean Business Event
11th May 2016
Entrepreneurship Seminar – 15 June 2016
12th May 2016
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Finding Funding – Seminar Review

There are numerous options available for SMEs looking for new investment to build their businesses. Our free business event on took a look at where firms from Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire should be looking to finance growth in 2016.

Top Tips

Our series of speakers introduced a range of funding packages from the public and private sectors and their presentations are available here. In addition, here are our own top tips from the seminar which are also available to download:

Getting the bank on side

  • When approaching banks, be aware of what they’ll be looking for – as well as the details of the business they will want to know about you, your track record and your expertise
  • Your bank manager is your friend and advocate. You need to impress him or her – paint a compelling picture and get them to mentally ‘buy in’ to your business
  • Be fully aware of your key financials and be prepared to explain them to the bank
  • But be realistic with your numbers –  don’t exaggerate the figures to demonstrate unachievable profits in the short term
  • Consider cash vs profitability – the former may be more important to the bank to service its loans than your running a hugely profitable business

Build momentum with Velocity

  • The UK Government continues to review its business funding streams, but a number of schemes continue including Start Up Loans, R&D financing through Innovate UK and R&D Tax Credits as well as academic funds through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships
  • Key EU funds include the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF)
  • The Maximum Velocity capital grant is available to June 2018, offering grants of up to £50,000
  • Check out National Growth Hub week from 16 – 20 May at

Innovation Bridge

  • Funded through the ERDF, Innovation Bridge is a fantastic opportunity for businesses under 250 employees, offering free support as well as specialist university expertise and grants. See

EU Funding – Horizion 2020

  • Th €80bn Horizon 2020 fund is focused on businesses looking to commercialise an existing product or prototype. A maximum of 70% of the total project cost is available up to €2.5m
  • But the funding is not for the fainthearted – the rules are tight and funding is provided in increments, dependent on key milestones being met. Specialist advisors can help to guarantee greater success

Be Prepared: top-take homes from the event

  • Look for investment when the business is going well – don’t wait until there is a problem
  • Be disciplined and know your finances inside out. Be ‘money ready’ at all times
  • Demonstrate confidence in your own business – if a lender knows you’re invested yourself they’re more likely to be encouraged too
  • Don’t forget private equity and check out the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) which offers tax breaks for investors into SMEs

About the events
Cranfield University Technology Park’s free business seminars are designed to suit the needs of growing businesses in the Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire, with topics ranging from finance and business development to apprenticeship programmes.

The events which include a networking breakfast are hosted in the Cranfield Innovation Centre offices’ conferencing suite and are open to all.

The events are delivered in partnership with Cranfield University, South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and Central Bedfordshire Council.

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