UAL student or graduate looking to start your own business? Read our overview on funding opportunities and how best to apply.
Careers and Employability
We provide a range of project and business funding opportunities, as well as offering business start-up support, mentoring and legal and IP guidance.
Funding opportunities include:
Public funding usually takes the form of grants that you don’t have to pay back. It comes from the government and other public organisations including:
Many local authorities also offer funding so it's worth checking your local council's website.
There are different types of private funding, including: corporate social responsibility (CSR) and private equity (shareholding). Some investors - such as venture capitalists and angel investors - may take a share in your business and expect to have their money paid back plus a profit (known as return on investment/ROI).
Other sources of funding - such as philanthropic individuals or charitable organisations - won't require you to pay the money back.
Depending on your project type and scale, you could consider the following funding sources:
- Charities, trusts and foundations (e.g. UnLtd, The Rothschild Foundation)
- Individuals (philanthropy)
- Personal contacts
- Fundraising events
- Crowd-funding (e.g. Kickstarter, Crowdfunder)
It’s not all about the money; there are other types of in-kind support that can be just as valuable as cash. Some funding organisations may also be able to provide resources such as:
- Advertising and cross-promotion
Funding applications can be time consuming, but taking the time to prepare your application can pay off.
Each application will ask different questions. So while it's a good idea to have some core material ready, you'll need to tailor your answers to each individual application.
Read the criteria
Read through the application form and guidance to make sure you understand the funding criteria and what they are looking for and to make sure you’re eligible. Tick all the boxes, as your application may not be considered if you don't.
Mirror some of the same language that the funder uses in their guidelines, to show that you are following the criteria. If there is something you’re not clear about contact the funder to check.
Include basic information
- Don’t assume the funder knows who you are or what you do. Give a clear overview of you and your work.
- Check that you’ve included your name, address and contact details.
Use evidence to back up your application
- You should prove the success of a project or business by including statistics or harder evidence. This reassures funders that your claims are valid.
- Provide exact figures for things like how many items you’ve sold, how many people attended your event or which venues you’ve exhibited at.
- It’s worth building in evaluation and evidence collection to your projects as you go.
- This will help you when you need evidence to prove success of your project in the future. Remember to cite your source of evidence.
- Make sure your project costs and activities are within the scope of the funding programme.
- Having clear, calculated costs is an important part of your application.
- Break down all the costs such as: your time, payment for others involved, materials, workspace or venues and marketing costs and evaluation.
Go through the project in detail and think where there could be additional or hidden costs.
Funding bodies may want to know if you have approached any other funders or secured any other funding. Find out whether the funding body you are applying to prefers to be the sole funder or understands that there may be other investors. Give details of any other potential investors.
Give yourself plenty of time
Make sure you leave enough time to add documents (such as budgets) and get material from collaborators (such as letters of support). Factor in that you might have to wait on others to avoid missing the deadline.
Things can go with online applications so allow plenty of time. Set yourself an earlier deadline and submit early rather than taking it right up to the deadline.
Spend some time double-checking your application to make sure all information is accurate and there are no spelling or grammatical errors. Get someone else to read your application as well and feed back so you can make improvements.
Find out how Careers and Employability helps UAL students and graduates to exhibit and sell their work.
Get advice on self promotion and marketing yourself as a creative professional.
Find out more about UAL's mentoring scheme - matching students with professionals for support and guidance.
Read our tips and advice on how best to manage and benefit from the value of your intellectual property (IP).