Grants: your questions answered

Getting your hands on free funding can be a tricky business. Here we answer your most frequently asked questions about accessing grants

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Getting your hands on free funding can be a tricky business. Here we answer your most frequently asked questions about accessing grants

Getting your hands on free funding can be a tricky business. Here we answer your most frequently asked questions about  accessing grants

What types of government grants are available?

There is a range of government support available to people wanting to start their own businesses, not only through grants and other funding but also through numerous advisory, guidance and information services.  

Government grants are almost always awarded for a specific purpose or project and are usually for proposed projects only – not for those that have already started. Most require you to match the funds you are being awarded. In other words, the grant covers a proportion of the money needed, while you supply the rest.

Depending on your location, type of business and what you need the funds for, you may be eligible for a number of grants and support.

Where should apply?

Go to your local Business Link website to access its directory of government grants and support services. It includes potential sources of help with starting up a business and schemes from central and local government as well as private organisations.

Some grants offer financial assistance, while some offer free or subsidised services ranging from advice through to practical involvement with projects. While many schemes are available nationally, some are targeted locally. For more information go to the Business Link in London website.

Are there grants available for training?

Yes, through the government’s Train to Gain programme. Visit the website to find out what’s available to you locally and get put in touch with a local skills broker, who will assess your businesses’ training needs.

You may also be able to offset courses taken against your tax liabilities. The test for whether expenses are allowable as a deduction against income for tax purposes is whether they are ‘wholly and necessarily incurred’ in pursuit of the trade or business. This is a stiff test but there are some grey areas.

Expenditure on ‘training’ is usually allowable but if the expenditure results in a qualification or a new skill for the business owner it may be more difficult to justify. As an example, if you decide to set up a business as a motor mechanic and decide to go to evening classes to pass examinations, the cost of the course would not be allowable as a deduction for calculating your tax liability. If your business employs a trainee mechanic and as a condition of employment pays for them to go to college, the expense would be allowable.

What funding is available for environmental projects?

There may be some grants available to you locally, check your local Business Link website for more information.
If you are looking to cut down on your overheads by using more energy-efficient equipment, you can get zero-interest loans of between £3,000 to £400,000 at 0 per cent with The Carbon Trust. There’s no arrangement fee and loans are repayable over a four-year period. 


Comments (8)


I am in the process of taking my business to market, I need money for marketing to increase awareness of the business and what we do. we offer a free service for individuals and businesses to post jobs they need done and we will provide them with quotes from recommended businesses, whether its a tradesman or web designer and many more. we are available in the Edinburgh area and are looking to reach businesses who may need something done and who would want to feature on our site. would we qualify for any grants to aid in marketing activities?


On the subject of marketing, see how far you can get with Social Media marketing (SMm) we tell people about our new freestyle bike concept using Facebook, Twitter and blog - it costs nothing but your time and now we're desperate for investment for funding stock to supply demand for our second model.


We also have a similar situation to Steven Reid.We have a terrific site called whch gives the tenant a run-down of the probery he/she is renting and lots of legal advice to tenents. It is definately in the public domain so how can we get financing to market the site please.BestGordon


I'm looking to take an apprentise on in plumbing and heating. I'm a 1 man band looking to expand slowly. I was wondering, is there any government funding on helping employers take on apprentises?


Grants are definitely an important process for helping you out financially. But of course like many situations when it comes to asking for financial help it is not always an easy process.For more help on going self employed where i cover tax marketing and awareness please visit my tradesman blog at


I can maybe help you find funding. Grant finding and writing applications to funding bodies is what we do. Check us out, you never know we might just have the answer.


hi there, i was wondering if there was any chance of getting goverment funding im currently trying to open an equine buisness for re-homing abused and neglected horses, i hope you can help thanks nicolle