Did you know you can reduce the cost of ISO 9001 or even get it fully paid for?
There are many funding opportunities out there. This article details who is eligible and what you can do to gain financial assistance with achieving the standard.
Despite ISO 9001 being proven to save businesses money in the long term, there is no doubt that, for smaller business especially, the initial cost can be daunting when there are a variety of projects the company would like to implement.
To help with the issues of cost, it’s possible to gain access to grants to assist with the implementation of ISO 9001. This could be through award schemes from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) down to local council grants. Eligibility can be down to your location, business size and industry. Certainly, grants and award schemes are more common for SMEs, as they focus on business growth.
Types of grants
Depending on your location, Business Link may offer subsided assistance for achieving ISO 9001 certification. Using Business Link’s Business Support Finder, you can quickly see if available schemes would fit under your requirements by leaving the ‘Search by scheme title’ blank and instead filling out he other elements of the form.
Before applying for a grant, it’s important to get an all-inclusive fee from a certification body such as us. If you can’t find any applicable grants, its worth signing up to Business Link’s Email Alerts service as grants can be added at any time.
If you’re seeking to use a consultant to prepare for ISO 9001 certification, there is sometimes funding available through Business Link. This can be either free or subsidised, and Business Link can provide names for approved consultants. Different areas have different grants, which depend on local conditions. A typical grant may cover 50% of the cost of a consultant.
Business Link often run free trainings events for ISO 9001 and other management standards, sometimes as part of a bigger subject (tendering, the Olympics etc.) within a workshop or seminar. Their ‘business support finder’ tool also reveals information on available grants for existing training courses.
Best Practice Transfer
Not a grant as such, but still highly successful, are Best Practice Transfers. This is where the transfer of best practice procedures from one organisation to another can often be achieved to the benefit of the recipient organisation and, for that reason, is encouraged by business support networks. With ISO 9001 not being industry or size specific, it means a lot of knowledge can be gained from visiting various businesses who have already implemented the standard successfully.
Outside of Business Link, there are a number of awarding bodies who are nationally based. Amongst the most important of these are;
- Department of Trade & Industry
- Department for Education & Employment
- Department of Environment, Transport & the Regions
- Industrial Development Board (Northern Ireland)
- Scottish Executive
- Welsh Development Agency
- Countryside Agency
- Enterprise Ireland
- Industrial Research & Technology Unit, etc
In addition to the several hundred local government authorities, any of which are potential grant providers, there are a number of locally based agencies and organisations which have been established specifically to provide support for enterprise at local level. These include:
- Small Business Service
- Enterprise Agencies
- Business Connect
- Enterprise Trusts
- County Enterprise Boards
- Scottish Enterprise
- Highlands & Islands Enterprise
- Business Connect
Please note, with the Government’s focus on cost cutting in the public sector, some of these agencies may now be merged, or may not operate altogether (specifically, Regional Development Agencies). Some of the organisations above cater for non profit organisations only.
Applying for a grant
It’s not quite as simple as just asking for a grant! In order to stand a chance, you must have thought through all implications of your project and identified the potential benefits. The best start is to get in touch with the body awarding the grant. They will be able to provide time saving advice, and the development of a personal relationship may help your cause.
It is key to not start the process of gaining ISO 9001 before applying for a grant. The awarding body may simply think you must have enough funds to finish the project if you were willing to start it!
When it comes to applying for the grant, ensure your application explains how the project will meet the objectives of the awarding body. A plan should include a cost breakdown of the project and your business’ track record. After all, you are applying for public funds and those responsible for making the decision need assurance you will spend it wisely and ensure the project finishes successfully.
It’s recommended to have matched funds to meet any grant you may receive and have a tailored written Business Plan that matches the award scheme’s purpose. You must clearly demonstrate that you need the grant to achieve the completion of the project. Fortunately, ISO 9001 has many benefits, so justifying a grant shouldn’t be too hard. These benefits could include:
- Mandatory for a tender you are applying for
- Mandatory client or supply chain requirements
- Will help gain future business
- Will help retain current clients
- Improve efficiency and save money