Guest blog: £2000 for five minutes work

By Susan Routledge, business consultant

In the beauty and aesthetic industry, we usually get bypassed when it comes to Government funding, but I am pleased to say that our business sector qualifies for the Government Growth Voucher scheme! But time is running out for this scheme so you must register before midnight on March 31 to qualify. You then have three months to spend your voucher.

What are Growth Vouchers?

A Growth Voucher is a downloadable voucher containing a unique code which can be used to get help from registered professional advisors and service providers in areas such as business consultancy, web design, marketing and PR. Vouchers are restricted to one per business and 80% of applications are successful. The Government will match anything you spend up to a limit of £2000.

Who can I work with?

It’s important to choose an adviser who can help you and is relevant to your business. You can visit the Market Place to view the list of accredited Professional Advisors. All of the advisors are happy to chat with you to see if they can help you or guide you in the right direction. There are five separate sections with many great advisors and service providers. You can search in each section for specific people by name, or use key search terms such as "beauty", "spa" or "aesthetic". There is also a distance calculator so you can search for someone near to your town.

How do I apply?

The process is really simple. Visit the Government’s Growth Voucher website, which will explain all about the scheme. Once you click the green Start Here button, you will be guided through a short questionnaire about your business. At the end you will have been allocated a voucher for help in one of the five areas. It’s very important to check that this area coincides with the section where your chosen advisor is listed. If not then change this in the right side box.

Does everyone qualify?

The Government has set the scheme so that 80% of business owners will succeed through the five-minute online questionnaire process, so it is well worth a try.

What happens if I don’t use the voucher or don’t qualify?

There is no penalty for downloading a voucher and not using it. You have a full three months to use it or it will simply expire.

If your application is unsuccessful, then there is another less generous scheme called the Growth Accelerator. This scheme becomes more advantageous with the number of employees you have.

Download your voucher now before the deadline of midnight March 31