Hobnobbing with Mark Clayton from Tatton Consulting

posted by 6 years ago in Hobnobbing
Mark Clayton

We help innovative and ambitious SMEs identify and apply for UK and EU grant funding. Each year the government gives away over £650m in grant funding to help companies develop new, innovative technology or invest in new capital equipment and create jobs. Grant funding is attractive because it requires no repayment, no interest is payable upon it and no equity is required to be released for it – this does however mean it is very competitive, with only the best projects funded. This is where we come in; we help companies identify what funding is available to them and then work with them to put in the strongest application possible.

How did the idea for business come about?

I have worked in funding all my professional life, initially for a large European grants consultancy company, then for a niche private funding company connecting investors with UK start-ups. Latterly I worked for an international landmine charity, representing them at the United Nations and helping them raise money from various governments for their valuable de-mining activities. I had an amazing time at the charity however I have always been enthusiastic about innovation and helping regional SMEs so when an opportunity arose to move back into the industry I decided to take it.

When was the company first established?

The company was established in June 2014.

How is the business doing?

Very well thank you. In the last 12 months we have secured over £1.5m in grant funding for a number of SMEs across a variety of sectors to help them innovate and grow, with a success rate of 80%. We now have a couple of staff and are looking to expand.

Since the company began, what has been the biggest challenge?

To an extent, we are at the behest of UK government policy on small business. At the beginning of the year, budget cuts and restructuring of government departments resulted in the closure of one of the main SME innovation schemes for 6 months. Additionally, after the Brexit vote there is still a lot of uncertainty about the impact that this will have on funding and regional investment. However, the early signs are that the UK Government has recognised this and redoubled it efforts to support SMEs with a range of new R&D and capital investment schemes.

What makes you stand out from your competitors?

Good question. I would say being proactive and having a genuine interest in helping businesses. I’ve raised over £25m in public funding over my career for 150 or so projects and they are never the same. I love hearing about new technology being developed or plans to expand and grow; helping these projects come to fruition and seeing the impact of them is the most rewarding part of the job. It also helps that we’ve so far had a very good success rate.

What’s been your best business decision?

To be flexible – with regards to how we work, when we work and where we work.  Each SME is different and each MD/CEO has a different style of working. We aim to tailor our support to best suit the needs of each client, fitting around their business – whether that be the hours we work, how we collect information and the location we work from where we work.

What is next for Tatton Consulting?

We are still looking to grow as a company and are always looking to improve our network. On a personal level, I would like to increase awareness of grants across the board because so many SMEs are missing out on valuable opportunities to expand, undertake a risky project or boost their exports. People can follow me on twitter @UKgrantfunding where I regularly post updates on new funding schemes.

If you could help one business now with a single piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t give up. Whether it be in pursuing long-term ambitions or just dealing with bump in the road such as a rejected grant application, keep at it! With helpfulness and persistence, you can’t go far wrong.

Finally, what is your favourite biscuit?

I know it’s not strictly a biscuit but I am partial to a jaffa cake.