UPDATED: Securing grants for your small business or start-up is a constant challenge – but there is help available. Here, we have rounded up a comprehensive list of grants from all over the UK.
These funds are available to SME businesses either within a specified local authority, defined as having fewer than 250 employees or with a turnover of less than £45,000 and a balance sheet totalling less than £39,000.
You will see that many of the funding opportunities are often based on a specific location or sector, or ring-fenced for a certain part of a business, like job creation or making eco-friendly changes. But we explain each grant with the information needed to see if it can apply to your project.
Grants can sometimes be combined with other forms of funding, such as banks, grant makers, crowdfunding platforms and other lenders. In fact, we have teamed up with FundingOptions.com to help you find the right finance for your business. You can find their page here.
Under the Youth Can Do It scheme, The Prince’s Trust is working with 18-30-year-olds to help them develop their businesses. The programme is divided into four sections: Info session, Workshop, Build your business, Launch. There is no ‘business grant’ as such available, but you can secure funding through the programme.
Innovate UK Smart Grants help deliver ambitious R&D innovations with significant potential for impact on the UK economy.
The current round of funding is open until May 26 2021.
Gigabit vouchers can be used by small businesses to go towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband connections. SMEs can claim £3,500 against the cost of connection. Find out if you’re eligible by using the postcode checker on the website.
Innovate UK runs a host of other competitions in more niche areas. These include:
- SBRI competition – Improving Hip Fracture Outcomes Using Data, phase 1
- Commercialising Quantum Technologies: feasibility studies round 2
- ISCF TFI: large collaborative R&D projects
- SBRI: Improving Multimorbidity Acute Care Using Data Analytics, phase 1
- Eureka Eurostars 2: round 15
- ATF: moving the UK automotive sector to zero emissions
- Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): 2020 to 2021, round 5
- African agriculture knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): 2020 to 2021, round 5
You’ll have heard of this scheme. It helps start-ups to raise money for their business. You get a maximum of £150,000 including state aid awarded in the three years running up to the date of investment.
Make sure you meet the conditions so investors can claim and keep SEIS tax reliefs relating to their shares. Said tax reliefs will be withheld or withdrawn if you don’t meet these conditions for three years after the investment. The money must be spent within three years of the share issue.
Like the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, except for established businesses.
This is a joint programme co-funded from national budgets of 36 Eurostars. The grant will help you turn your idea into a product and commercialise it. It works in a series of registration cut-offs throughout the year.
The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:
- 100 per cent of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of six months
- Associated employer National Insurance contributions
- Employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions
Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021.
10. R&D Tax Credits
R&D Tax Credits are for innovative projects in science and technology. They can be claimed by firms who want to research or develop an advance in their field. You can even claim it on unsuccessful projects.
You can apply if you have fewer than 500 staff and a turnover of under €100m or balance sheet total under €86m.
British Council Grants fund research, travel and workshops. Have a look at their website for current opportunities.
With the Patent Box, you can lower the rate of corporation tax (to 10 per cent) on profits earned from patented inventions and certain other innovations.
The Countryside Stewardship has 244 grants in total depending on what improvements you want to make to your business and the options can be filtered to your needs.
Receive a maximum of £30,000 per project for creating multi-purpose woodland.
15. Grow It Award
This is one for entrepreneurs who aim to solve a social issue.
You can apply for up to £15,000 to help you grow along with a support package of one-to-one coaching, training, mentoring and access to networks. They’re focusing their funds on building access to employment, developing resilient communities and finding solutions for an ageing society.
This one’s for unemployed people who want to start their own businesses. Talk to your Jobcentre Work Coach and if you’re eligible and you may get a weekly allowance worth up to £1,274 over 26 weeks as well as a mentor. You can also get it if you’re self-employed and on Universal Credit but you won’t be entitled to the weekly allowance.
This fund is for restoring neglected historic buildings and sites. Community organisations can get a grant between £250,000 and £5,000,000.
The Architectural Heritage Fund aims to transform high streets and town centres.
Grants vary in different parts of the country, so check what’s available before you apply. Grant totals vary as well, but can be up to £350,000.
Fit For Nuclear helps manufacturing companies get ready to bid for work in the nuclear supply chain. It offers free advice and training – applicants needn’t even have experience with nuclear. F4N Connect is designed for businesses with ten or more employees or who have a turnover of at least £1.6m.
It’s not a formal qualification and takes 12-18 months to complete.
This firm provides funding for health research and innovation, with opportunities in advanced therapies, voice in cancer clinical trials and more.
Home services franchisor, Fantastic Services, has a programme offering up to £1m worth of cash grants to enable 200 people to start up their own business within the domestic service industry.
The scheme is open to applicants in all parts of the UK, with more expected to be issued in London and the south east where demand for these services has grown over the pandemic.
Each grant is worth up to £5,000 and will go towards initial business start-up costs in addition to the training programme to help grant recipients with the skills they need to successfully run their own franchise.
22. Do It Award
Administered by UnLtd, who also give out the Grow It Award above, Do It will help you start your social enterprise. Alongside giving you £5,000 to build your social venture, they’ll give you access to training and events, and assign you a dedicated award manager (an expert in helping social entrepreneurs to start and grow). The award manager will be there to coach you and support you to achieve your goals.
A challenge-led competition that funds collaborations between industry, academics and SMEs to solve business and scientific challenges which will deliver scientific benefits, either by improving business processes or developing a commercial product. Depending on the challenge, contracts of up to £1m for up to three years are available.
To be eligible the grant you must be a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership. You cannot claim the grant if you trade through a limited company or a trust.
You must have traded in both tax years:
- 2018 to 2019 and submitted your Self Assessment tax return on or before April 23 2020 for that year
- 2019 to 2020
You must either:
- Be currently trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus
- Have been trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus
You must also declare that:
- You intend to continue to trade
- You reasonably believe there will be a significant reduction in your trading profits
>For more, read: Small business national lockdown – what support is available?
Business Grants England
A £10.05m Heavy Duty Vehicle (HDV) Fund has been established to support SMEs get ready for Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone.
To be eligible for the funding, your business must be an SME which has been actively trading for more than 12 months and comply with the following criteria:
- Own or lease Heavy Duty Vehicle(s) that do not meet the Clean Air Zone emission standards
- Eligible non-compliant Heavy Duty Vehicles (N2, N3 and M3 only) must be either:
– Registered and located within Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone or
– Registered and located within the Birmingham City area and conducting commercial operations within Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone or
– Registered and located within the West Midlands area and conducting commercial operations within Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone.
You must also be able to evidence:
- The frequency of entry to the Clean Air Zone based on current operations.
- The current emissions standard of eligible, non-compliant Heavy Duty Vehicle(s).
- The size of the business
- The base location of the non-compliant vehicle(s) for the last 12 months.
Adur council is offering a growth grant and an apprenticeship grant. The Small Business Growth Grant is open to micro businesses with up to ten employees to encourage growth and expansion of the local economy. There’s a grant of up to £2,500 available, with a 50 per cent match funding contribution required.
The Apprenticeship Grants are available to individual businesses of up to 50 employees and pays out £1,000 per apprentice. Each individual business can apply for up to two grants.
The Worthing grant fund is now fully committed and not accepting new applications.
These grants are ideal if you’re based in the west of England and need of a business coach. Grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 are available to businesses to help with cost of coaching in the following areas:
- Business/Executive coaching
- Upskilling management staff
- Bid writing
- Financial forecasting/management
- Business planning
- Lean manufacturing
- Consultancy based non-executive directorship
And to help businesses with COVID-19 recovery, they’ve expanded their scope to the following areas:
- Resilience planning
- Leadership in adversity
- Planning for recovery
- Repurposing manufacturing capacity
Grants are available to businesses looking to invest between £4,000 and £20,000 (excluding VAT) in one of the above areas over a course of ten months maximum. Your company must have between seven and 250 employees and have had at least two years of sustained growth.
The Local Enterprise & Apprenticeship Platform (LEAP) is offering £1,500 to private and voluntary organisations who are looking to hire an apprentice.
On top of that you can apply for a grant of up to £2,000 but be aware that grants are limited.
The New Anglia LEP is awarding grants between £1,000 and £25,000 to entrepreneurs who want to grow their business.
Meanwhile, the New Anglia LEP has a Growing Business Fund giving up to £500,000 to local businesses who are keen to grow and create new jobs. It can cover up to 20 per cent of your total project costs.
The City of London Corporation has launched the Covid Business Recovery Fund, worth up to £50m. The fund will focus on support SMEs which contribute to the Square Mile’s vibrancy at street level and directly provide services to returning City workers, visitors and residents. It aims to support those businesses that can show, through the grant application process, a likelihood that with support they have a reasonable chance to survive beyond the short-term.
Applicants will need to demonstrate that they provide an in-person service to the general public in either the retail, hospitality, medical or leisure sectors. Other requirements will include that the business: has had its trading premises in the City of London since at least March 20 2020, with businesses that have signed leases prior to this date being eligible; has taken steps to reduce its costs as far as practical and has taken up all available grants/loans; has actively engaged with its landlord and agreed a rent-free period or a reduction in rent; and pays the Living Wage.
Grants will be based on individual requirements after a financial evaluation but will not exceed £100,000 per business. Applications will be accepted between April 12 and June 11 2021. Funds will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. If the level of grants awarded exceeds the allocated funding, then the scheme will be closed with immediate effect.
Businesses can find further information on the fund and apply from Monday on the online portal. The City Business Library will provide support to any applicants unsure how to use the portal.
This one is open to small businesses trading in the Broadland district with fewer than ten employees who can apply for a grant of up to £750. The only condition is that you’re expanding and developing opportunities.
You can also get a start-up grant of £750 if you’re starting up a new business but you must apply before you start trading. The grant is payable once you start trading.
Broadland District Council will need to see business accounts and quotes for the work or equipment that the grant will be covering.
TALE is a targeted business support programme, run by Haven Gateway Partnership, focuses on improving efficiency and productivity in logistics and supply chain operations for SMEs across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent and East Sussex.
The TALE programme is designed to demonstrate how, through data analytic tools and techniques, business can gain insights to improve their competitiveness through a reduction of costs, introduction of new services, enhancement of customer service and acquisition of new customers, as well as ensuring businesses are protected from risks of cyber-attacks.
Grants up to £10,000 are available and all grants are up to 40 per cent of eligible project costs. The scheme ends on April 30.
Haven Gateway Partnership also runs I-Construct (Innovation in Construction). This ERDF-funded grant is for SMEs who are looking for opportunities in the construction market. It aims to help them develop new products and services which offer benefits the sector such as improving productivity and sustainability.
The free network membership give you access to a member network, a webinar and events programme, business opportunities and access to the Innovation Hub, which is worth up to £800 per year.
On top of that, you get either:
- Nine hours of free 1:1 business mentoring and advice from I-Construct’s industry experts (worth up to £1,200 per year)
- Grant funding between £1,000 and £20,000 to fund 30% of the development and launch of a new product or service (does not have to be repaid)
Accelerate Cheshire and Warrington is a £30m programme that has been designed to support businesses to reskill and upskill their current workforce.
To receive 100 per cent funding: this funding is available for employees who live or work in Cheshire and Warrington for a company with under 50 members of staff.
To receive 40 per cent funding: there is no restriction on the size of your business, but your employees must live or work within the Cheshire and Warrington area.
Please see below a list of some of the current training courses on offer:
- Project Management courses
- Mental Health Awareness courses
- Management and Leadership courses
- ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) courses
- Digital Marketing courses
- IOSH (Institution of Occupational Health and Safety) and Health and Safety Training courses
- CAD and SolidWorks courses
Go-Create Grants are offered as part of the Innovation Support for Business (ISfB) Phase 2 programme. Go-Create Grants are available on a competitive basis from £1,000 to £50,000 and are available to eligible small and medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
Examples of innovation projects might include:
- Investment in product and service development
- Technological and applied research
- Developing pilot lines
- Early product validation actions
- Supporting advance manufacturing capabilities
- First production
Applications are submitted all year round with regular deadlines throughout the year.
The purpose of these grants is to invest in equipment that cuts down on carbon emissions within your business. Warwickshire District Council will fund up to 40 per cent, providing grants between £1,000 and £50,000. The grants are for installing energy efficient equipment like LED controls and renewable technologies.
Low Carbon Innovation Grants helps companies to develop a low carbon product or invest in low carbon technology. Again, the council will cover 40 per cent of improvements, providing funding between £1,000 and £50,000. It’s intended for energy efficient upgrades and putting eco-friendly waste management systems in place.
These grants aim to commercialise low carbon products either new to the company or to the general market. Once again, it’s 40 per cent cover but with a maximum £6,000 funding. It covers things like market research, software and manufacturing consultancy as well as intellectual property protection and certifications.
This grant is funded by the East Sussex County Council and Regional Growth Fund. Grants range from £10,000 to £25,000 but you’ll need minimum match funding of 60 per cent.
There’s also a £1,500 grant for a newly accredited apprentice position. It’s a one-off payment with no match or evidence of spend necessary.
The Top Up grant is ideal for projects of £3,000 and £6,000, where South East Creatives could fund 35 per cent of your costs. The minimum grant that can be awarded is £1,000. The rest of the costs have to be paid from private funds and spent within one month of the grant being awarded.
If you are sole trader or company trading in the creative, cultural or digital sector this could be a great boost to your business; perhaps bringing forward plans for some new equipment that you couldn’t quite afford or buying in expertise to help increase your customer base.
Locate East Sussex provides support and access to funding for local businesses to promote growth, including grants between £10,000 and £25,000.
Grants of up to 90 per cent are available from the Civic Improvement Fund. Like many others, grants will be awarded to small businesses taking up improvements such as training initiatives, marketing initiatives and improving shop fronts.
You’ll need quotes from traders, consent from your landlord and other supporting documents to apply.
This is a one-off grant to go towards start-up costs, such as marketing or buying equipment. You’ll need quotes from traders and a business plan which includes a sustainability section.
The Elmbridge Digital High Street Fund (EDHSF) offers grants to help independent high street retailers to establish or upgrade e-commerce websites.
Funding of up to 90 per cent of eligible costs, up to a maximum of £2,000, is available to independent high street retailers located within the defined primary or secondary frontage of Elmbridge town centres and high streets.
Worcestershire County are providing free energy and resource efficiency reviews as well as grants up to £20,000. They’re available to SMEs throughout Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire. You must have a minimum energy spend of £2,000 to apply.
Greater Lincolnshire LEP can offer between £150,000 and £500,000 in capital grant funding with the provision of between 70 per cent and 80 per cent match funding from you. Projects must be able to start within 12 months of the funding award.
The priority sectors are agri-food, manufacturing, health and care, ports and logistics, visitor economy, low carbon and digital.
Successful applicants will need to pay a due diligence fee of up to £10,000 if they wish to proceed with the funding process.
Business Lincolnshire is awarding grants to SMEs looking to increase turnover or create jobs. It can contribute between 40 per cent and 50 per cent of your overall costs, ranging from £1,000 to £5,000. Your firm must be based in the Greater Lincolnshire area and your grant activity proposal must be agreed with a Business Lincolnshire adviser.
Applications can be for a capital or revenue grant.
They’re available through:
Lincolnshire Growth Hub Business Growth Grant (Enterprise)
For purchasing equipment, software and specialist consultancy support.
Lincolnshire Growth Hub SME Digital Growth Grant (DGG)
For funding the implementation of internal ICT solutions like cloud data storage or ecommerce platforms as well as digital systems. It’s a fixed grant of £1,000 with an intervention rate of 50 per cent.
The Business Innovation Fund supports businesses from a wide range of sectors to help develop innovative projects and products that not only fulfil market demand, but also deliver industrial growth.
- Grants of £20,000 or £50,000 to invest in innovation
- Support and guidance to move from concept to commercialisation
- Collaborate with our region’s leading research institutions
- Advice on intellectual property, testing and research and development roadmaps
- Development of a bespoke research, development and innovation action plan for your business
You can apply if:
- Your business is based in the West of England – Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset or South Gloucestershire
- You are able to match fund the cost of your project
- You’re a small or medium sized enterprise with a staff headcount lower than 250
Warwickshire County Council is offering grants to small businesses who have growth plans. Grants of £5,000 to £35,000 are available to small and micro businesses for capital projects.
At present, there’s only one grant available through Pendle Borough Council: Premises Improvement Grants.
These grants provide assistance of up to 50 per cent of eligible costs, up to a maximum of £3,000 (or £1,500 maximum in West Craven). It applies to eligible buildings which are occupied by commercial users and are located within Pendle and town centre boundaries. It also covers redundant commercial properties within and immediately adjacent to the town centre planning boundaries.
Business start-up grants are on offer for start-ups and business less than 18 months old with no more than ten employees. The grant can go towards the cost of necessary equipment and machinery, extension, adaptation of facilities and marketing. Up to £1,000 can be awarded on one project per year.
Expansion grants are open to established businesses in the area looking to grow as well as new businesses who are attracted to working in the Borough area. The fund is primarily targeted at revenue schemes rather than capital projects. Up to £5,000 can be provided for a project in one financial year.
You can’t apply for both grants.
Power to Change has set out a new fund for businesses. The Community Shares ReBoost Fund helps community businesses to raise community shares capital that can support their recovery, pivot or expand the business in response to Covid-19.
Apply for between £3,000 and £5,000 in development grants or match equity investment which is typically matched pound for pound up to £25,000 from the ReBoost fund.
It’s open for applications until April 2021.
Provided by Test Valley Borough Council, the Independent Retailer Grant supplies £1,000 to encourage independently owned retailers to take up vacant space in Romsey and Andover.
It’s open to new or existing businesses moving into ground floor premises which have been vacant for at least one month in the primary and secondary shopping areas of Andover and Romsey. They must be class A1 or A3 buildings.
Grants under this scheme are intended to reduce the risk faced by some of the most historic sites within England, according to the Heritage at Risk Register. You can apply for a grant at any time during the year and Historic England will aim to get you a response within six months.
Available to Crawley-based businesses in need of start-up funds or existing businesses looking to grow. You must be based in Crawley and have fewer than 50 employees. On top of that, you’ll need to match fund by at least 50 per cent.
The maximum grant available is £4,000 and it’s available until the pot has run out.
The Food & Drink Forum, in partnership with The Mallows Company, has secured ERDF funding to offer a range of useful services to food and drink manufacturers until September 2021.
Grant funding is available to eligible businesses looking to purchase production equipment to help increase their growth, productivity and create jobs. The FEAST2 project can offer businesses up to 25 per cent of grant funding to support these purchases, though certain conditions apply.
Businesses will be required to complete and submit a grant application form together with three quotes for each piece of equipment.
The NBV Grant for Enterprise supports the growth or diversification of existing micro, small and medium sized businesses based in Greater Lincolnshire. The fund can provide capital and revenue grants to trading businesses for a specific project or investment.
You will be required to pay the supplier for the full cost of the project before claiming the grant element and therefore it is imperative that funds are in place to cover these costs prior to submitting the application. No retrospective applications will be considered.
This offering from University of Lincoln is made up of a grant between £1,000 and £2,500.
The Enterprise Scheme aims to support new and young businesses. The scheme will encourage the occupation of vacant commercial premises, help regenerate town centres, stimulate entrepreneurship, create new jobs and enhance the sustainability of new businesses.
Pre-start and new businesses trading for less than 36 months can apply for a grant of up to £500 or £1,000 if they meet the following criteria:
- The business is in or moving into premises that are liable to business rates
- The business employs or will employ two or more FTE employees (in addition to the applicant)
- The business operates in the low carbon economy
- The grant will be used towards expenditure that supports the business’ environmental sustainability
Nab an ongoing grant of up to £1,000 from Reigate and Banstead Borough Council with a free year membership of Enterprise Nation thrown in. It’s open to businesses looking to start, develop or grow. You must be based in the borough and have fewer than four employees.
The NBV grant is for businesses based in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Greater Lincolnshire. Grants between £1,000 and £2,500 are available and your project spend must be a minimum of £4,000.
For people starting a business or in their first three years of trading, this programme can include training, help developing your business plan and access to a £2,000 subsidy. You’ll also get free basic membership of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce for one year when you start trading (worth up to £400).
The Department for International Trade has launched a European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) for eligible East Midlands businesses. Match-funded grants of between £1,000 and £9,000 will be available for future activity.
• Your company must be a small or medium sized enterprise (SME) with up to 250 employees
• No more than 25 per cent of the business is owned by an enterprise which is not a SME
• Annual turnover does not exceed €50m or annual balance sheet does not exceed €43m
The funding can be used to support areas including (but not exclusively limited to):
• Market research
• IP advice
• Translation services
• International social media/SEO
• Trade fairs (where no TAP funding is available)
• Independent market visits
• Consultancy and other international commercial services
The CITB has grants and funding schemes available throughout England.
The WLFF helps businesses with professional fees and technical survey work associated with development and growth. It will award grants of up to £5,000 but you’ll need to provide 50 per cent match funding.
You can land a grant between £1,000 and £3,000 which must be match-funded at least pound for pound. So, your project will need to cost a minimum of £2,000. You must have been trading for more than one year.
The grant supports SMEs who create Apprenticeships in sectors facing high demand and growth from employers as identified in the Tees Valley Strategic Economic Plan.
The priority sectors being supported by the grant are:
- Advanced Manufacturing
- Process, Chemicals and Energy
- Health and Biologics
- Digital and Creative
- Business and Professional Services
- Health Care
- Culture and Leisure
Apprenticeship Support Grant is available to SMEs identified by Tees Valley Combined Authority as being in one of the above priority sectors:
- Apprentices Aged 16-18 – grant of £3,000 is available
- Apprentices Aged 19+ – grant of £2,000 is available
For any employers who do not fall into one of the above Priority Sectors, the following Grant is available:
- Apprentices Aged 19+ – grant of £500 is available
The North of Tyne Growth Fund is a £4.6m programme of investment part-funded by ERDF that supports SME growth.
You could be eligible for a grant of up to 30 per cent of expenditure if you are an SME planning capital investment of at least £134,000 and expanding or establishing in Newcastle, Tyneside or Northumberland.
Open to businesses across the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, with firms looking to secure a grant of £1,000-£10,000 on a project costing between £3,334 and £35,000. The programme can cover 30 per cent of the costs of qualifying projects with the remaining amount covered by you.
The Manufacturing Growth Programme supports manufacturing in the UK. It’s part of a whole package – a manufacturing growth manager who will provide on-going support, identify opportunities and plans for growth plans and you’ll work with experts to implement those plans. The grant covers a percentage of the cost, plus connection to wider support. You must be able to demonstrate that you have plans to improve and grow the business.
Grants of up to £10,000 are up for grabs from BEE Anglia with a typical intervention rate of 30 per cent, but it can be up to 40 per cent. Grants over £5,000 will only be given to very strong applications.
The scheme helps businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk to cut their carbon emissions. Improvements can include lighting and heating upgrades, electric vehicles and new machinery.
Grants up to £25,000 to help your business invest in innovation, research and development.
If you have plans to invest in a research and development (R&D) or innovation project, you could benefit from a grant of between £1,000 and £25,000 from New Anglia LEP’s Growth Through Innovation Fund.
The grant can pay up to 50 per cent of the total eligible costs of your projects.
Mansfield Council has a selection of business grant schemes, offering up to £2,500.
NPIF provides funding throughout north of England through microfinance, debt and equity funds.
They’re broken down like so: Microfinance (£25k-£100K) Debt Finance (£100k-£750k) and Equity Finance (£50k-£2m)
These grant funds can be used to expand your premises and buy plant, machinery and equipment. The city council supplies capital grants between £10,000 and £160,000 on a variable intervention rate between 10 per cent and 30 per cent.
To qualify for a £10,000 grant, your project costs must total at least £35,000.
Buckinghamshire have a plethora of options for grants for manufacturing, growth, innovation and other areas. Check Buckinghamshire Business First to see what’s available.
Part of the Growing Places initiative, the Cumbria Infrastructure Fund supports infrastructure projects which unlock development, creating jobs and homes in Cumbria. Contact the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership for more info.
76. PAPI, Yorkshire
Again, this is a whole collection of grants. They help small businesses in York, North Yorkshire, East Riding and Leeds City Region develop new products by supplying funds for equipment. You can find more information by clicking your region on the PAPI website.
Be Inspired is a free resource for start-ups. It includes:
- Eight training workshops over 12 months
- Monthly business and networking events
- Monthly mentoring sessions
- £3000 of financial support
- Bi-monthly business adviser review
Part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and managed by Birmingham City Council (BCC), the Supplier Skills Programme (SSP) is aimed at existing small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) seeking to upskill new and existing employees.
SSP responds directly to the skills and training needs identified by SMEs for their employees, thereby offering SMEs what they want and at the time they need It, in order to implement their skills and growth plans.
Training grants of between £500 to a maximum of £18,000 per SME are available and training will be funded 50 per cent by the SME and 50 per cent by the European Social Fund grant.
SSP operates on a funding round basis, with rounds being held every quarter until programme closure in March 2023 (subject to availability of grant funding).
Boost4Health supports SMEs looking to develop their growth potential. It offers a mix of coaching and vouchers to help health-related businesses reach international markets.
Eden Tourism offers a small tourism marketing grant for tourism related projects in the Eden District. There is a maximum of £500 available per project. Applications can be made at any time throughout the year.
Application details are on the Eden Tourism site linked above.
Low Carbon Workspaces is supplying funds between £1,000 and £5,000 for businesses to take on green initiatives like double glazing, LED lighting and smart heating. It’s open to SMEs in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire.
The North East Business Support Fund is tailored to small businesses in County Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.
It’s made up of three different programmes:
- County Durham – grant funding and masterclasses
- Northumberland – project grants and masterclasses
- Tyne and Wear – project grants and masterclasses
Applicants will need to demonstrate that they have traded successfully for at least 12 months and now have plans for a project that will facilitate business growth. The Small Growth Grants scheme is inviting applications for projects of a value from £4,000 upwards and successful grant applications are provided 25 per cent of eligible project costs.
The minimum grant amount is £1,000 and the maximum is £5,000. For example, to receive a grant of £5,000 the total project cost will be at least £20,000. Eligible project costs include capital equipment, new premises works and fitting, new digital capability adoption and outsourcing of expertise.
The Small Growth Grant is currently open with completed applications to be submitted by December 3 2021
If your business innovation aim is to develop a new product or service, access new markets or gain market share, Arrow can provide access to academics, innovators and experts to help you innovate within your business.
Arrow can offer up to £10,000 of match funding. The 50/50 funding partnership with your SME will let you buy services or equipment from third parties for:
- Proof of concept and validation
- Survey and feasibility testing
- Product design, development and prototyping
- Analysis and testing
- Commercial and contract research
The South East Business Hub lists grants and funding opportunities available across the south east.
The Lancashire Manufacturing Growth Fund wants to support ‘relatively significant’ projects with a value of around £15,000, which would warrant a grant of around £5,400. It’ll fund 36 per cent of your project. Again, those projects that lead to job creation and increased productivity are most desirable.
Provided by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, small businesses based in Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire can get £1,000 grants which must be matched by at least £667 of your own funding.
Typical expenditure would include:
- Product design and development
- Specialist consultancy
- Consultancy costs to build or improve a website
Key Fund is one for socially driven businesses with community at their heart. You’ll get support with your application plus flexible grant and loan packages.
Medilink Solstice is aimed at businesses in the life sciences sector who are based in the Leicester LEP area.
You’ve got three grants to choose from:
- Innovation Support Grants (up to £20,000)
- Med Tech Trials Grants (up to £50,000)
- Specialist Networking Grants (up to £3,000)
To be eligible for an AD:VENTURE grant, your business must be a pre-start, start-up or SME under three years old and looking to grow and create jobs. AD:VENTURE offers business and digital support too. It’s open to businesses in Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York (within the Leeds City Region).
For Cornish SMEs looking to work on innovations to improve efficiency, profitability and resilience in the agricultural sector.
Agri-tech Cornwall provides funding to go towards RDI and starts from £2,500.
Preferable research areas include:
- Animal health and welfare in dairy cattle
- Maximising soil, water and nutrient use efficiency for sustainable crop and livestock production
- Improving the productivity of speciality crop production
- Utilising technology to drive Agri-tech productivity and innovation
This programme covers SMEs in Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Telford and Wrekin who could get a grant up to £20,000. You’ll bag a free energy efficiency assessment too.
The current iteration of the Business Growth Programme, this round is open until February 17 2021.
This grant’s purpose is to strengthen supply chains, stimulate innovation and help businesses grow. Applicants can secure a grant between £2,500 and £1,000,000.
This grant project supports small and medium-sized enterprises that have been trading business-to-business for at least 24 months in Leicester and Leicestershire who are looking to grow or develop their business. Grants from £2,000 up to £25,000 are available providing 35 per cent towards the cost of capital projects (e.g. new machinery, tools, premises improvement or expansion). A business adviser is provided to support applicants throughout the process.
This one is a Yorkshire-based grant for community infrastructure projects and countryside conservation work in the Howardian Hills Area of Natural Beauty (AONB).
Assistance normally sits in the 30-75 per cent range but with this scheme you may be funded 100 per cent of your project.
Energy for Business has grants up to £8,000. They’re aimed at businesses in Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire who improve energy, reduce emissions or are introducing sustainable technologies. The organisation will fund 40 per cent, up to £8,000.
You’ve got a few conditions to bear in mind. The minimum project cost must be £2,500 and the maximum £20,000 – you’ll be given the grant once the work is completed.
LCR is offering grants of up to £7,500 for SMEs in the Liverpool City Region to enter or grow in the renewable energy supply chain.
Worcestershire ‘Proof of Concept’ is designed to support local businesses to develop innovative new products and processes. If you want to investigate, advance, protect and commercialise early stage business ideas which are new to your company or new to market, it’s a good one to apply for.
You can get a grant up to £30,000 representing 40 per cent of the total project costs.
99. Wenta grants
Social enterprise, Wenta, provides access to grants for businesses in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Enfield. It can offer up to £3,000 via business support programmes. Find out more through its website.
The Growth Deal aims to drive business growth, give people new skills, test new innovations, invest in transport infrastructure and regenerate key sites for employment in the Black Country. It wants to maximise the economic impact of growth opportunities from the automotive, aerospace and construction sectors which prominent manufacturing areas in the Black Country. Funding is awarded on a case-by-case basis.
The only grant available is the Site Investigation Fund, aimed at private sector landowners seeking to de-risk and address uncertainty on their sites.
SMEs in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire can apply for Elevator grants to support business growth. They must be in creative or digital industries (CDI), though.
They’ll put 30 per cent towards the project spend, between £1,050 and £2,250. You must be able to stump up the cash for your side of the deal and you can’t use any additional loans or grants to pay for your project.
Businesses in Lincolnshire can bag between £15,000 and £250,000 for developments that enable the delivery of new jobs and commercial space. It’s a rolling fund that can be applied to at any time.
Growing Hull and East Yorkshire is a £1.5m business investment scheme aiming to provide capital grants to SME businesses in Hull and East Yorkshire to support and incentivise business growth, investment and job creation.
The programme builds on the success and momentum of the successful Growing the Humber business grant programme. The scheme should be considered alongside other finance options such as bank loans or asset finance.
Grants of between £5,000 and £250,000 are available to SME businesses that are able to demonstrate viability and will contribute to the wider growth of Hull and East Yorkshire. Grants below the minimum threshold may be considered as an exceptional case.
Another Proof of Concept grant, this fund gives up to £16,500 at an intervention rate of up to 55 per cent to fund an approved development project. It’s expected to close early 2023. You must be based in the Black Country, The Marches or Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire.
It’s targeted towards businesses in the following areas:
- Transport technologies (including aerospace and automotive)
- Building technologies/construction
- Advanced manufacturing including advanced engineering
- Environmental technologies
- Applied materials
- Agritech/agriculture, food and drink
- Medical technology
- Energy generation
- Defence and securities
Provided by Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, the Isle of Wight Rural SME Fund supports SMEs with potential for economic growth, leveraging in private sector investment, creating or protecting jobs and helping the rural sector.
Grants are available for capital expenditure between £2,500 and £50,000 but 50 per cent of the costs must be matched by private funds.
The University of Derby supplies loans between £15,000 and £250,000 to support private businesses across the East Midlands to innovate, grow and create jobs. The following objectives will be prioritised:
- It will create new jobs or safeguard existing positions in your company
- It will increase the scope or scale of your company activity
- It will improve the company’s performance
- It has not commenced and will not be achievable in the timescales proposed without Invest to Grow support
You must be able to create jobs that can be sustained for at least three years – businesses that create higher-skilled jobs are preferred. The following sectors are also preferred:
- Manufacturing (e.g. transport equipment and food and drink)
- Life sciences
- Creative industries
- Low carbon
This project provides tailored export support services to SMEs across the North West including specialist advice, events, activities and financial support towards eligible export development activities.
The North West LEPs offer a range of support to help the growth and development of your export business. This includes events to identify potential exporters, pre-export development support, a specialist internationalisation programme for research and development focused companies, sector-specific events and market visits, specialist consultancy support and match funded grants of up to £1,500 for eligible companies to help implement bespoke Export Action Plans.
If your business is based in Maidstone and your apprentice is aged 16-24, you could be entitled to a £1,500 apprenticeship grant.
The amount you get will depend on the apprentice.
- If they’re aged 16-18, you can get all their course costs up to advanced level apprenticeship qualifications
- You can get half course costs if they’re aged 19-23
- You may only receive a contribution if they’re 24-years-old or older
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority have launched these grants for SMEs in Manchester who have a wage bill of less than £3m.
Grants of £3,000 may be offered to businesses that don’t pay the Apprenticeship Levy, are based in Greater Manchester, and who haven’t employed an apprentice in at least two years.
With this new apprenticeship fund, you can get assistance to cover the cost of training for an apprentice role, apprenticeship training for your existing workforce and funding to support employment costs for a new apprentice.
Grants of up to £750 are available to help businesses in the Harborough district take on new apprentices. Your business must have fewer than 150 employees and must not have taken on an apprentice for at least two years, though there could be flexibility on the latter depending on the circumstances.
The RDPE is as it sounds: a programme to develop agricultural and forestry sectors. Within the programme, there are a number of grants for farming ammonia reduction, countryside productivity and rural broadband.
Business Grants Wales
The main providers of grants in Wales are the Welsh Government, the UK Government, the EU, local authorities and charities.
The finance locator on the Business Wales website is a great starting point for looking at the grants and other types of funding available in Wales, allowing you to filter and sort your results by funding type, source, geographic area, application status and so on to see the most relevant options for your business.
The BG Effect Business Fund is a series of tools from BGCBC business development officers. It includes business start-up drop-in sessions, practical help and support from a volunteer team, links to programmes and Government support organisations and a local network of contacts, knowledge and resources.
This business development grant is to help companies to start up a business for the first time. Business start-ups in all business sectors may be considered. The applicant must be setting up the business in the Caerphilly County Borough.
Eligible costs could include:
- Capital equipment
- ICT equipment
- Development of websites
- Building works to business premises
The business must not have started prior to application and approval. It’s a discretionary grant and can provide 50 per cent of eligible project costs to a maximum of £500.
The Caerphilly enterprise fund can support new and established businesses and community enterprises throughout the County Borough.
Eligible project costs can include:
- websites and e-commerce sites
- feasibility studies
- business planning
- one off marketing costs
- capital equipment
- IT hardware and software
- property and infrastructure improvements to commercial, industrial and retail premises
If you are a start up business you will need to submit a business plan together with the application form.
If you are an existing company you will also need to submit trading accounts.
116. ReAct for Businesses
ReAct is a redundancy support which helps businesses connect with people who have lost their jobs. The programme can help you pay their wages and get them into role-specific training.
You’ll receive £3,000 in quarterly instalments for the first 12 months to help cover their wages plus up to £1,000 for any job-related training. The scheme will cover those who are either a formal notice of redundancy or those who have been made redundant in the past three months.
You could nab a payment of £500 for signing up to Gwynedd County’s new Community Toilet Grant Scheme. It aims to expand the choice of toilets that can be used by the general public and you’ll get the cash if you allow your toilet to be used.
Please note that there is a waiting list for the scheme at the moment.
Gwynedd County Council is keen to help SMEs to get ISO accreditation for their business. The funding goes towards the cost of working with a consultant to get necessary certification. Unfortunately, the cost of the certification isn’t included.
The first year in business can be tricky and Newport want to help with your first year’s rent in a commercial space or premises. It’s open to individuals, independent retailers and franchisees.
The grant will cover 50 per cent of your costs up to the value of £6,000. Have a business plan ready with a one-year cash flow forecast with profit and loss projections included. The grant will be paid directly to your landlord.
Grants of up to £1,500 are being made available from Newport City Council and UK Steel Enterprise to pre-start-ups and businesses up to 12 months old.
The grant can be used in a number of areas:
- A first year’s rent on first commercial premises
- Plant and equipment
- ICT equipment
- Software, websites and related training
Newport City Council will put forward up to 40 per cent of ‘eligible and reasonable costs’.
The minimum grant is £250 for a total spend of £625 and the maximum grant is £1,500 for a minimum total spend of £3,750.
Rural businesses will get support from this fund. It will help develop new and existing premises for them with a view to creating new jobs. The grant will either be based on £20,000 per job created or up to the following intervention rates: small businesses 45 per cent and medium businesses 35 per cent. The maximum grant is £128,000 unless it’s an exceptional case where funding may be increased.
The programme offers support to high growth pre-revenue firms and SMEs. You must be able to grow turnover by at least 20 per cent a year, generate at least ten new jobs in three years. Start-ups are also accepted but they must have been trading for 12 months and must be looking to achieve the levels of growth mentioned above.
123. Green Port Hull
This one’s open to businesses in the green tech, low carbon and renewable energy sectors, with grants starting from £10,000 available. Your aim should be to increase productivity, skills and employment.
You can use the money in the following areas:
- Launch a new business
- Modernise, expand or re-organise an existing business
- Upgrade a business by introducing innovative new technology or processes
- Take a new product from development to production
A joint initiative funded by UK Steel Enterprise and administered by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. The grant is aimed at supporting new businesses trading from six months up to three years old, to develop and expand. The maximum grant award for business is £1,000 and applicants must be able to fund 50 per cent of the total funding required.
Another joint initiative with by UK Steel Enterprise, this is a flexible grant scheme administered by Bridgend County Borough Council providing financial assistance to new or existing micro-businesses (fewer than ten employees and a turnover or balance sheet total of less than €2m) that are located, or are planning to locate, in the Bridgend County Borough.
The Kick Start Grant is a discretionary grant and can provide up to 50 per cent of eligible projects costs. The minimum grant is £250 and the maximum grant available is £4,000.
The WTIF is provided by the Welsh Government in partnership with the Development Bank of Wales, bringing together both grant and commercial funding into one combined package of financial support. Its key objective is to finance capital investment projects in the tourism sector in Wales which will have a positive impact on both the sector and the Welsh economy.
WRAP Cymru have implemented changes to the £6.5m Circular Economy Fund, which are designed to support even more organisations and more quickly.
In addition to funding the use of recycled materials in products, WRAP Cymru is now able to support preparation for re-use, refurbishment and re-manufacturing activities in Wales. These include the production of sustainable goods to aid the global fight against coronavirus.
Eligible projects must:
- Increase the use of recycled plastic, paper / card or textiles in existing or new products (projects seeking to use other recycled materials will be considered on a case-by-case basis); or
- Extend the lifetime of products / materials through preparation for re-use, refurbishment or re-manufacturing activities.
Organisations of any size, which are operating in Wales, may apply for a capital grant to invest in infrastructure and equipment for eligible circular activities. Small Scale grants are now available from £25,000 to €200,000 (the maximum de minimis threshold) and Large Scale grants are available from €200,000 to £750,000.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Welsh Government are offering grants of £10,000–£50,000 (in 2020-21) for capital projects in Wales that will acquire, restore and enhance nature.
They are particularly looking for projects that can be seen “from your doorstep”. This means where people live, work, access public services, travel (including roadside verges and roundabouts) and spend their leisure time (including public open spaces).
The Local Places for Nature scheme will offer:
- Up to one year of grant funding for nature projects worth up to £50,000. In certain circumstances we can fund up to £100,000 (discuss before applying).
- Up to 100 per cent funding
- Decisions within eight weeks of application
The grant programme will remain open until funds are exhausted.
In Scotland there are a few larger organisations who offer a number of different funding opportunities.
Better Business Finance: A portal that provides impartial information and support to businesses and entrepreneurs looking to develop and grow. Use this search to find out exactly what grant funding is available to your business with a complete list of known grants in Scotland.
Scottish Enterprise: A non-departmental public body which encourages economic development, enterprise and innovation in Scotland. For all grants and funding information please click here.
Business Gateway: Offers advice and guidance to start-up companies and established companies across Scotland. See below for specifics on grants and funding.
Scottish government: Search for business funding and advice.
Business Grants Scotland
The Scottish Growth Scheme is a package of financial support of up to £500m for Scottish businesses. It’s backed by the Scottish Government and aims to help businesses grow.
This funding will be provided through a series of initiatives which businesses can access for investment. The level of funding depends on which initiative you choose.
The Scottish Venture Fund invests in companies from start-ups, early-stage to expanding businesses seeking funding to develop products and/or markets.
This fund can invest alongside sophisticated private sector investors on equal terms, up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the total funding package on a commercial basis. This flexible equity gap fund invests alongside private sector investors, offering equity funding from £10,000 up to £2m.
The Open Fund has separate funding strands for individuals and organisations within the creative industries.
- Funding available for between £1,000 and £100,000
- The fund aims to enable individuals and organisations to explore ways of working that will help them to adapt and respond to the current changing circumstances
- The overall budget for the Open Fund for Individuals and the Open Fund for Organisations totals £7.5m of National Lottery money
- The fund is open all year round, with no deadlines and can support activity for up to 12 months.
Funding for individuals
Freelance and self-employed artists and creative practitioners in Scotland can apply for projects supporting the development of their practice. You may apply for funding to work with others if your practice is collaborative. You must have a UK bank account.
Funding for organisations
This fund is for organisations and groups based in Scotland whose work or project involves the arts, screen and creative industries. All applicants must have a UK bank account.
If your business needs to close due to Covid-19, you could be entitled to a Temporary Closure grant every four weeks, of one of the following:
- £2,000 if your business premises has a rateable value of up to and including £51,000
- £3,000 if your business premises has a rateable value of £51,001 or above
- An upper limit of £15,000 in total in any four-week period will apply to any eligible business operating multiple premises
From January 1 2021 there will no longer be an upper limit of £15,000 for any eligible business operating multiple premises.
This new fund aims to provide support to businesses whose main income comes from the wedding and civil partnerships industry, which has been significantly impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s provided by the Scottish Government and administered by Scottish Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
The fund offers a fixed grant amount based on turnover. The funding tiers are:
- A £5,000 grant for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover between £10,000 and £49,999
- A £10,000 grant for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover between £50,000 and £99,999
- A £15,000 grant for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover between £100,000 – £249,999
- A £25,000 grant for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover of more than £250,000
The application form will be available from January 28 2021 at 12pm.
The Workplace Innovation Grant is paused until the new financial year.
Scottish-based businesses who want to introduce innovative practices in their workplace
The fund can contribute up to £5,000 towards activities that will allow a business to introduce new and innovative workplace practices. To get the grant, the project must fulfil at least two of the following three criteria:
– People: To support motivating staff beyond pay. For example, recognising the benefits of diversity, reward and supporting learning and development
– Place: To support improving or maintaining a positive workplace culture, creatively use physical space to improve how employees work together, offer training associated with integrating technology which enables employees to share knowledge
– Practice: To support work practices to become fair, responsible and improve productivity. For example, flexible working practices, creating self-managed teams and a culture of leadership and coaching.
Scottish-based businesses who wish to do a collaborative tourism marketing campaign can apply. VisitScotland wants to ‘work with businesses to help them build digital capability, market and measure outputs and success more effectively. We encourage applications for integrated marketing campaigns that will show visitors, through creation and promotion of inspiring digital content, that ‘Scotland is Now’.’
Successful applications must demonstrate:-
- A strong digital focus and creation of digital content
- Strong strategic alignment
- An innovative approach
- Effective partnerships and collaboration
- Achievable and measurable growth targets
- A sustainable approach
- Project viability and deliverability
Scottish businesses developing events that will generate significant TV and media coverage and/or create significant economic impact for Scotland. Any events programme that plays an integral role in developing domestic tourism across Scotland. However, there is ‘no specific remit for supporting productions, conferences or exhibitions’
Funding streams are currently being reviewed due to COVID-19 but keep an eye on the website or further details.
Funding is not provided for core costs but rather for ‘additionality’ or supporting new activity specifically designed to grow events
It can also be offered for marketing and PR costs, in order to grow the brand and reach new target audiences as well as enhancing media coverage
Funding may also be offered to improve the visitor experience of the event.
Useful link: – Looking for funding? Find the right finance for your business here
NESTRANS supports development of travel plans in Aberdeen City and Shire. Applicants can bid for up to £10,000 in matched funding to support sustainable transport initiatives.
138. Scottish Edge
Scottish EDGE is ‘a competition aimed at identifying and supporting Scotland’s up-and-coming, innovative, high-growth potential entrepreneurial talent’. Winners can receive up to £100,000 in funding plus a business support package to help them make the most of any grant money.
The main categories within which awards are made are: Science and Tech, Creative, Social Enterprise, and Circular Economy businesses.
This scheme is focused on providing financial support for businesses involved in the creation of either new woodland spaces or the sustainable management of existing woodlands. It is managed by the Scottish Rural Payments and Services agency and Scottish Forestry.
This grant scheme is administered by the Highlands and Islands Enterprise agency, which is based in Inverness. The agency can offer grants of up to £15,000. The award of this funding is discretionary, with priority given to innovation projects that are directly responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
This could be a health-related solution, or something that helps other businesses get back to work –whether through diversification, use of technology, adapting business practices to adjust to the changing economic environment, or developing new products to continue to trade.
The CBFS is managed by Arts & Business Scotland, an independent charity. The fund offers pound for pound match funding for eligible projects of between £1,000 and £40,000 (excluding VAT) and is available across two tiers:
- Smaller funds of between £1,000 and £3,000
- Larger funds of over £3,000 and up to £40,000
Its aims are to encourage businesses to sponsor arts and heritage activity within Scotland while building new business sector partnerships over a minimum two to three-year commitment.
The Fife’s financial support covers businesses in the area looking to invest and grow. The fund amount is up to 70 per cent or £10,000, whichever is the smaller cost. It’s fully repayable and must be paid back over an agreed period except for some small funds which are a mixture of repayable and straight grant funded support.
Funding is intended to be used for measures like product development and property improvements as well as training and market development.
This scheme will give you at grant of up to £2,000 if you’re looking to improve productivity and profitability through staff training.The workforce upskilling grant can be a 100 per cent contribution so if the total cost of the training is £2,000 or less, they’ll cover the full amount.
Orkney Islands Council fund the New Business Start Up Grant and can give you £500-£1,500. The main condition is that applicants must be developing a new start-up business and build a full-time sustainable enterprise.
The council is looking to target tourism, food and drink, renewable energy, lifeline local service providers and community-based social enterprise companies. Franchise businesses are also eligible.
This grant is for people in West Dunbartonshire to get up to £500 support with their business start-up costs. You must put forward a business plan and provide proof of trading such as evidence of a business bank account and identification like a passport or birth certificate.
Northern Ireland Business Grants
This Proof of Concept Grant Fund from Techstart is a pre-commercial grant awarding fund. It supports entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland with grants to explore the viability and commercial potential of an innovative concept.
Techstart gives out concept grants of either up to £10,000 or a concept plus grant of up to £35,000. Concept Grants are awarded on a quarterly basis while Concept Plus Grants are awarded every four months.
Applicants can get up to £10,000 to go towards staff training for firms involved in manufacturing or internationally tradeable services. Just be aware that it’s only open to Invest Northern Ireland customers.
If you’re able to show that you intend to sell outside Northern Ireland, are actively working towards growth plans, and will contribute to increasing productivity and innovation in Northern Ireland, you could become a customer of Invest NI.
You’ll also need to have an actual turnover greater than or equal to £250,000 and external sales greater than or equal to 25 per cent or £250,000.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs is a government department in the Northern Ireland Executive. Its Forestry Grant Scheme for 2014-2020 as four main objectives for businesses involved in: expanding forests, protecting existing forests, woodland management and the ‘agri environment’.
Brexit Readiness Vouchers give you financial support up to £2,000/€2250 towards professional advice relating to Brexit matters like movement of labour, goods, services and currency management.
Your company must be a registered small business in order to be eligible.
The fund supplies capital grants for non-agricultural micro, small and social enterprises in rural parts of Derry City and Strabane Council.
Potential applicants must go to a mandatory pre-funding workshop and be ‘investment ready’ – that means having a business plan, planning permission, match funding and quotations or tenders in place for capital grants before you apply.
The support includes 50 per cent funding and grants between £500 and £90,000 depending on the size or activity of the business and marketing grants from £500-£5,000 (up to £10,000 for e-commerce).
Business Finance in Northern Ireland
In addition to the grants mentioned above, we should also mention that there are a number of government managed SME funding available operated under the aegis of Invest NI, Northern Ireland’s inward investment agency. The agency oversees £186 million worth of debt and equity funding, beginning with seed stage through to Series A and, ultimately, equity funding. The main funds are:
Small Business Loan Fund
The NI Small Business Loan Fund gives loans between £10,000 and £100,000 to small businesses in Northern Ireland.
Growth Loan Fund II (ERDF)
A £30m loan fund designed to support export-focused Northern Ireland SMEs demonstrating growth or strong growth potential.
Growth Finance Fund
A £30m loan fund designed to support export-focused NI SMEs demonstrating growth or strong growth potential.
The Co-Fund NI is a £50m equity fund for early-stage start-ups that will co-invest alongside business angels or private investors.
Clarendon Fund Managers (CFM) manages the £17.7m Co-Fund II on behalf of Invest NI.
Development Funds I & II
Development Funds are usually for established companies and they typically won’t invest in early-stage ventures. If you have previously raised £150-£300,000, then the Development Funds can provide follow-on funding.
For more detail on these funds, head over to our guide to small business funding Northern Ireland.