I’m a web developer, in the North East, my customers (rightly) want to pay as little as possible, so funding and grants is a popular question. ‘Can I get funding towards my website’, and the answer is, am not allowed to talk about it. It’s like Fight Club, ‘The First rule of Website Funding is …’
Ok slight distortion of the truth, but today have been threatened with suspension from the North East England Service Providers Register (NEESPR – You all know what that is right?) because I used the word ‘funding’ on our website. Apparently it was against the rules and not allowed, ok, it’s been removed, but after much discussion as to why, and what the alternative information we could offer was (there isn’t any) it’s just not allowed. We basically cannot even say that if you are interested in funding we’ll direct you to the correct people, at least not on our website – And there’s no route to feedback how unhelpful this is to the end client, it’s the rules, do it.
Most people have heard of Business Link, and the key phrase is ‘Business Link Funding’, and to be a provider for a project that is funded by Business Link (the funding isn’t actually from Business Link, it’s from a range of fund sources co-ordinated by the Investment Centre) the provider must be listed on the NEESPR (I have been in it’s various guises for about 10 years now), you get vetted, show references, and obey the rules etc (which is why we removed the word funding). The rules state that all we can say is ‘As listed on the North East England Service Providers Register (NEESPR) so I asked if we could link to their site if visitors wanted information on funding, we can, but because the NEESPR don’t provide funding, there is actually no mention of funding their either.
So, what to do? I get that they have to monitor the unscrupulous, but we’ve never even bent the rules on this topic, it’s always frustrated me that I can’t offer clients any real information on web site funding, I can but guess at the eligibility criteria, the funding rates available, all from feedback from previous clients, I’m not really allowed to even guess in a face to face, just direct them to Business Link. This doesn’t help me as if not careful it looks like I’m being dis-interested or not trying to help my clients, when in reality I want to help, I want to make the funding process as informed and as simple as possible, but I can’t. ‘Go talk to Business Link’ as good as it gets, and that’s face to face. Now, I can’t even offer a link to Business Link on our website because we’re honestly not allowed to use the word funding, cannot even allude to whether funding is even available.
There will be no funding on our website. I cannot help but think this is not useful to Joe Public, this is not in their best interest, and it certainly doesn’t help me help my clients 🙁
As of writing a Google UK search for website funding north east returns 466,000 results, mostly my competition. Let’s see if the rules are evenly applied
Andy Flisher is a Software Developer based in the North East of England specialising in cross platform development. Mobile Development experience includes Windows Phone, Android, and iPhone Apps. Desktop Software Development includes bespoke Windows, Linux, and Mac Applications. Web Development Skills include PHP, Perl, Python, ASP (Classic and .NET) – Andy Flisher on Google+