Grants? They don’t exist.

The view of one ex-prisoner

The problem with grants is that they don’t exist!

‘Getting a grant’ is an off-the-cuff statement that people throw about (even by staff in prison), but I’ve have yet to meet anyone who has received anything substantial. I’ve heard of a few people getting grants towards websites, but this from companies set up via government funding.

Often people looking for grants just want a bag of cash, a free shot at making loads of money. And if it doesn’t work out, well it doesn’t matter, as it’s not their money.

The difference between the above and a guy starting with nothing, is that he will be hungry to succeed, as he has nothing and will do whatever it takes to make it work. I think the two different approaches will show in the business… one that gives a f@ck and one that doesn’t.

My personal experience of local, government backed business support is at [Organisation’s name omitted]. They say they’re here to ‘help people start businesses’.

Ex-prisoner Jake visited them four times over three months, and got a poorly written business plan and no funding whatsoever. They got paid to give him advice, and are accountable to no one.

The grants they first talked about never materialised once he had signed up to them. Their adverts say that they can discuss grants and funding. But in reality they just introduce you to a bank, who will not be interested in funding a small business with no collateral.

I was told in gaol by my business tutor that I could get grants on release to start my own business and I should speak to probation. On release I spoke to probation and they knew nothing about any grants whatsoever.

And if I can quote the prat of an ‘advisor’ that I had at the Job Centre.. “We’re here to get you into work, not to help you fund your business”, he said, as he chuckled and snorted.

– Gareth Thomas (KT8990)

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