Are you an entrepreneur? Some tips to get started
Innovative ideas are vital for the evolution of a country’s economy. These ideas are also essential for start-ups’ growth, but obtaining money to develop them is not always easy for entrepreneurs. That is why we give you three tips to get started.
When we think of setting up a business, the first thing we think about is that we have to ask for money from a financial institution. Even so, obtaining the initial financing to start up a business from scratch can be a real hassle. They may tell us that we lack guarantees to repay the loan or credit we have requested and, in addition, they are going to demand a very elaborated project and a market study that defends our viability.
If we are talking about financing for companies, we may think of the ICO lines, promoted by the State, but applied by financial institutions, which have a limit on the funds to be granted. Once the money allocated to us for a specific period runs out, they cannot give us any more loans. Furthermore, this type of aid is not specifically aimed at entrepreneurs.
First tip: look for programmes for entrepreneurship
The public sector, aware of emerging companies’ difficulties, has lately been implementing different aids and programmes for those wanting to start up in the business world. These aids emphasize groups that are more vulnerable or have more obstacles to achieving their objectives, such as women and young people.
As with any procedure involving the public administration, it turns long and complicated to try to apply for these programmes that help us to start up our business. But, if we are very clear about the project, we must seek the funding we need by all available means. Nowadays, there are grants of all kinds. So we will only have to look for one that fits us like a glove.
Second tip: separate the wheat from the chaff and ask for help
However, separating the wheat from the chaff in these grants can be a complex exercise, because our ideas cannot always be categorized in the pre-established classifications. But surely some programme will be close enough to what we hope for, and we will be able to present our project. In any case, in the administrations there are advisory services, such as Barcelona Activa or Creacció, which have a specific programme for entrepreneurship, although it is only a support.
We must bear in mind that there are programmes that select projects on a competitive basis, such as the INNOTEC programme, which co-finances research and development (R&D) projects up to 70%. There are others that simply help us with tax issues, to reduce costs. They can be very useful, even though paying less tax probably is not going to help us get the project we have in mind off the ground. The important thing is that there is a wide range of options, especially if our fields are innovation and environmental improvement.
On the other hand, the European Union has also developed programmes such as the EU Recovery Plan, within which we find the European funds for digital and ecological transformation, and, more specifically, an exceptional instrument to finance European reactivation after the pandemic. It is the so-called Next Generation EU, endowed with 750,000 million euros, and divided into different calls that include more specific objectives, such as female entrepreneurship.
Because women undertake almost 50% of the initiatives in Spain, according to the GEM Spain 2018-2019 report, which shows that the rate of female entrepreneurial activity has not stopped growing, thus narrowing the gender gap. For this reason, we can find aid and incentive plans exclusively for women, such as Emprenedores Digitals.
Third tip: the key is perseverance
Within this complex world of financing for start-ups, there are initiatives such as the Esmorzars de Finançament, promoted by the Agència per la Competitivitat de l’Empresa (ACCIÓ), which aim to put entrepreneurs in contact with potential investors, the so-called “angel investors”.
To start up a business, a revolutionary idea, it has always been necessary to have a patron who believes in the project, as much or more than we do ourselves. But if it has not yet appeared, we cannot give up. Remember: if the best-known inventors in human history had not persevered, we would not have achieved the breakthroughs and milestones we have collectively achieved. As the famous illustrator Walt Disney said: “All dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them“.
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