Frequently asked questions

Who is the programme for?

The programme has been set up to help small and medium sized businesses in London access the funding they need to realise their potential.  This means you must have fewer than 250 employees and less than £40 million in annual sales to be eligible.  Qualifying businesses must also be located within the London boroughs - you can check this using the following postcode checker.

London businesses can find out about further support available to them through the London Development Agency www.lda.gov.uk and Business Link in London www.bllondon.com.

Companies from outside of London should contact Business Link for guidance on support available in their area: www.businesslink.gov.uk/london.

Alternatively companies can get in touch with their local Economic Development Agency for further information:

South East England: www.seeda.co.uk

South West England: www.southwestrda.org.uk

East of England: www.eeda.co.uk

East Midlands: www.emda.org.uk

West Midlands: www.advantagewm.co.uk

Yorkshire & Humber: www.yorkshire-forward.com

North West England: www.nwda.co.uk

North East England: www.onenortheast.co.uk

For Healthcare Technology companies in the Yorkshire and Humber region, you should visit www.investinginhealth.co.uk.

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How do I apply for the programme?

The first step is to register your company details here. 

Once you have registered you will be contacted by a member of the team to discuss your next steps. 

  • These could include attending an Information Seminar to find out more about what financing options are available to you, beginning the Gateway2Finance stream of support to help you access bank or other debt funding, or beginning the Gateway2Investment stream of support which assists you in raising equity from business angels or venture capitalists. 
  • There are a limited number of places on the programme, and if you the programme is not suitable for you, we will help direct you to alternative support which better meets your needs.

 

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Does the programme provide funding?

No, the programme does not invest in the companies which engage in it. 

The programme's aim is to maximise companies' chances of raising funding through finance and investment readiness training. We work closely with the companies on the programme to help them test and refine their business proposition.

You may like to view our case studies to see how other companies have benefited from previous programmes.

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How long will it take to get funding?

There is no guarantee that any company participating in the programme will secure investment, however you will have better chances of success.

The length of time it takes to secure funding varies greatly by company, however we recommend that you allow 3 months when seeking bank funding and 6-9 months when seeking equity investment.

Once you have applied for the programme, we will discuss specific issues which may affect this timing with you.

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If my company is not yet ready for this programme, what other support can I get?

There are a number of support agencies that can assist businesses at their earliest stages of development.  Business Link London (www.bllondon.co.uk) and the British Library Business & IP Centre (www.bl.uk/bipc) are both useful sources of information for early stage businesses. 

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I don't yet have a prototype. How do I fund this?

There are public funds such as the Grant for Research and Development that may be able to part-fund prototype development, if you have an office with a Greater London postcode visit Business Link website for more information

In addition, several of London's Higher Education Institutions offer "proof of concept" grant funding of £5,000 - £25,000 to help entrepreneurs undertake market assessment and test the viability of their business concept.  To enquire about proof of concept funds, please contact the University directly.

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How do I know if my company is ready for investment?

Typically, to be considered "investment ready" your company should have developed its product, process or service to at least a prototype stage, however there are a number of other areas that need to be addressed when looking at securing investment.  These include the innovation, your team, the market potential and business model, and investor returns. 

You can take a free assessment to gauge your potential by going to http://www.venturenavigator.co.uk/ and completing the investment readiness assessment.

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How much does it cost to go through the programme?

Participation in the programme at each stage is by invitation only, and the relevant costs will be payable prior to commencing each stage.

 

Gateway2Finance

The first 2-hour one-to-one support is free.

The programme is heavily subsidised, however a contribution fee of £200 is required once you decide to move forward.

 

Gateway2Investment

Stage 1 is free for all participants

Stage 2 requires a one-off payment of £200 + VAT per business

Stage 3 requires a one-off payment of £300 + VAT

Stage 4 requires a one-off payment of £300 + VAT

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