UPDATED: Some of these funds may have been put on hold due to COVID-19 (we’ve marked the ones that are paused) so check back on the respective websites below for updates on funding.
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, broken down by region.
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.
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the event of a no-deal Brexit
Many of the grants mentioned below are financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
In 2016 the Chancellor announced that the Government would guarantee certain EU projects that are agreed before we leave the European Union. It covers all ERDF projects. In July 2018 the Government extended the guarantee so that it covers all projects that would’ve been funded under the 2014-2020 programme.
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 November 25th 2020.
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 – Modernising Energy Data Applications phase 1
- SBRI – AI supporting early detection and diagnosis in heart failure management
- Robotics for a more resilient future R&D strand
- Robotics for a more resilient future feasibility strand
- ATI Programme strategic batch: expression of interest October 2020
- Innovation continuity loans: Strand 2 October 2020 follow-on competition
- Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): 2020 to 2021, round 4
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 and by the EU through Horizon 2020 (more on that in a minute). 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.
Groups applying for this award must include a university, college or other academic institution. It’s open to everyone and has an emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges.
Horizon 2020 grants are normally made available as part of a specific call out for a particular business sector and partners from other EU countries are required.
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 (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.
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.
As an SME you can get business rate relief if your property’s rateable value is less than £15,000 or your business only uses one property (though you may still be eligible if you use more). You’ll need to contact your local council to apply for business rates relief.
Administered by Nesta (formerly the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts), this programme offers grants of up to £30,000 for experiments that “generate new knowledge about combining AI and collective intelligence to contribute to the UK’s COVID-19 recovery.”
Expression of interest are being accepted until November 4th.
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.
The National Lottery Community Fund has launched a £100m climate fund that lets people and communities take the lead in tackling climate change. Applications are expected to open in autumn 2019.
Business Grants England
The Youth Investment Fund works with young people who can receive grants to develop practical, meaningful and relevant measurement approaches for open access youth services. It’s led by NPC and the Centre for Youth Impact.
The areas targeted through the YIF are:
- Bristol and Somerset
- East London
- Eastern regions
- Liverpool City region
- Tees Valley and Sunderland
- West Midlands
Adur and Worthing councils offer 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 50pc 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.
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 20pc of your total project costs.
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.
The funding provided by Chichester District Council is aimed at projects or services prioritising economy, improving places and spaces. It’s also interested in targeted projects where the primary benefit is to residents in the greatest need.
You can apply for a grant of less than £1,000 at any time under the fast track process. Those who want over £1,000 will have to apply for a quarterly grant. Check the website for cut-off dates.
Accelerate Cheshire and Warrington is a £30m programme that has been designed to support businesses to reskill and upskill their current workforce.
To receive 100pc 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 40pc 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 40pc, 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 40pc 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 40pc 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 60pc.
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 programme helps more than companies and sole traders with business support or grants up until December 2020. Grants are normally between £1,000 and £3,000 but can be up to £20,000 if the business case is strong enough. The Sussex Council of Training Providers (SCTP) will cover up to 35pc of individual project costs.
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 90pc 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 up to £1,000 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 90pc 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 70pc and 80pc 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 40pc and 50pc 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 50pc.
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
The programme is part-funded by Warwickshire Council, helping you access grants and to small business loans. It’s open to start-ups and established businesses with growth potential.
At present, there’s only one grant available through Pendle Borough Council: Premises Improvement Grants.
These grants provide assistance of up to 50pc 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 two sets of grants for community businesses: one for starting out and one for growing companies.
Examples of community grants include saving a local space from closing or tackling local problems. Check the site for more specific funding opportunities.
The funding is suspended right now due to COVID-19 but keep checking Power to Change for regular updates.
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 50pc.
The maximum grant available is £4,000 and it’s available until the pot has run out.
A one-off grant of up to £1,000, this is intended to go towards start-up costs such as marketing, buying equipment or anything that helps an Elmbridge-based business to start up. It’s open to those looking to set up in Elmbridge or have done so in the previous six months. You need three quotes per project you’re seeking a grant for plus a business plan or proposal.
This offering from University of Lincoln is a whole package including a grant of £2,500 along with mentoring and support. It’s targeted at graduates or those who have graduated in the past three years and are at pre-trading stage. You really have to work for it – you’ll get the grant in one instalment of £1,000 and one of £1,500 on the condition that you carry out tasks and complete applications forms.
The Business Start Up Grant Scheme aims to support new local businesses. If you’re a new business, you can apply for a grant of up to £500 or up to £750 if you’re moving somewhere that is liable for business rates. The grant must be match-funded, pound for pound (at least), from the business’s own resources. The scheme is open to new businesses that have started trading within 12 months of the date the application is received by Malvern Hills District Council.
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 Leicestershire Business Recovery Fund provides support for rural businesses (including tourism, agriculture and creative industries) and independent retail businesses, to enable them to overcome the impacts they may have faced or are still facing, as a result of COVID-19.
This funding scheme is to ensure business recovery, through mitigation measures, including supporting businesses to diversify and increase their digital skills.
Grants are available between £2,000 and £10,000 (excluding VAT). The scheme will provide 50pc grant support with the applicant providing the other 50pc as match funding.
Businesses must be located within, or locating to, the administrative area of Leicestershire (businesses within the Leicester City boundary are ineligible).
The closing dates for applications is 1st June 2021 (subject to available funding).
Aimed at businesses operating from home, business start-up and growing businesses. There are individual grants pages on the site depending on if you’re a start-up, growth business or working from home.
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 50pc 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 aim of the funding is to help your business to continue to deliver business activity, make productivity improvements or diversify via funding to access specialist advice or to purchase equipment. The fund is for SMEs based within Lancashire. Accommodation, food and drink and tourism businesses will be prioritised.
100pc grants of between £1,000 and £3,000 are available, going up to £5,000 in appropriate circumstances.
The aim of the Boost your Recovery Grants is to help your business by enabling you to access specialist support or advice or to purchase equipment that will enable your business to move forward.
Your business must be based within Lancashire but some sectors are exempt – see the website for more.
100pc grants of between £1,000 and £3,000 are available, going up to £5000 in exceptional circumstances.
Open to businesses across the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, the grant ranges from a minimum of £1,000 to a maximum of £1,300. The programme can cover 30pc 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. Eligibility for businesses in the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber and parts of the East Midlands and the South East.
Grants of up to £20,000 are up for grabs from BEE Anglia with a typical intervention rate of 30pc, but it can be up to 40pc.
The scheme helps businesses in Anglia to cut their carbon emissions. Improvements can include lighting and heating upgrades, electric vehicles and new machinery.
Funding support of £2.25m has been approved by the Norfolk Strategic Fund to provide a Tourism Sector Support Package. The project, which is led by Norfolk County Council in partnership with all seven district councils, Visit East of England and local DMOs, will help to support the tourism and hospitality sector through 3 key areas of focus:
Safe reopening of the vitally important tourism sector this year: immediate funding to purchase PPE & other equipment to enable business to welcome customers in a safe environment. Safe for residents – safe for visitors.
Improve presentation: cleanliness and hygiene of public space in key tourism locations; communication with visitors – know before you go; and increased staff presence relating to cleaning, marshalling and delivery of the tourism offer.
Recovery initiatives into 2021: longer term funding to support the extended season this year into early next year and support the strategic recovery plans for the destination.
Grant funds are available for eligible businesses and the following districts have funds which are open for applications:
Breckland District Council
Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk
North Norfolk District Council
There are tens of schemes available through Boost Business Lancashire. Get access to business mentoring, assistance developing new products or reaching out to international markets.
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 10pc and 30pc.
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.
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.
Whether you are considering investing in a project to increase sales, productivity or profitability, or improve business processes, this match-funded grant can potentially fund up to a third of the total cost of the project. The minimum project cost is £3,000.
The Growth Grants are part of the Growth Programme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and therefore eligibility criteria apply.
These grants are designed for eligible SMEs who have significant growth plans, a turnover of £100,000 or more and a minimum of two people in the business.
New applications aren’t being accepted right now, but they’ll open again later in Autumn 2020.
Creative England has a fair range of grants and programmes. Their new ideas fund offers investments between £1,00 and £25,000 to support the development of new and innovative ideas. If you are applying for £10,000-£25,000 you must be a registered limited company.
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.
The Countryside Productivity Small Grant Scheme aims to support farmers with funding to purchase equipment to improve on-farm productivity.
A total of £25 million has been set aside for Round three (the final round), which is now inviting applications. Farmers can request a grant between £3,000 and £12,000 towards the costs of new and innovative equipment – from livestock monitoring cameras to precision farming technology – which helps businesses save time and money and improve productivity.
Farmers (including livestock, dairy, arable and horticultural sectors) in England can apply. The deadline for applications is 4th November 2020 (12:00 GMT).
Low Carbon Workspaces is supplying funds up to £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 and Berkshire.
The North East Business Support Fund is tailored to small businesses in County Durham, Northumberland, Tees Valley and Tyne and Wear.
It’s made up of three different programmes:
- North East Business Fund – grant funding and masterclasses
- Tees Valley Business – L&M – funding for management improvements in Tees Valley businesses
- Enterprise Support Northumberland – meetings with a business adviser and monthly group meetings
The Creative Enterprise Business Planning Support will pay grants of up to £5,000 to support companies who work in moving image for storytelling, spanning film television, games and immersive, to build meaningful connections and create opportunities for business growth.
The fund will stay open until March 2021 or until the funding runs out.
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 36pc 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 larger RDI projects over £50,000 as well as innovation grants for projects from £2,500 to go towards feasibility studies.
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 Wednesday 28th October 2020. Round five opens Monday 2nd November 2020.
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 35pc 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 30-75pc range but with this scheme you may be funded 100pc 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 40pc, 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 40pc of the total project costs.
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 30pc 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 £500,000 and £2.5 million 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 the Humber supports the expansion and modernisation of businesses in the Humber while encouraging inward investment in the area. You must be a ‘financially viable’ business that has been trading for at least 12 months and have a customer base outside the Humber.
The minimum grant is £5,000 and the maximum is £500,000. Your project must create at least one full-time employment position for every £15,000 grant awarded and be created within one year of the investment being made. You must commit to sustaining the additional employment for three years.
Expressions of interest are welcome and they’ll be considered for future funding. Keep an eye on the website for further updates.
Another Proof of Concept grant, this fund gives up to £16,500 at an intervention rate of up to 55pc 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 50pc 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 50pc 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.
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 50pc 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 40pc 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 45pc and medium businesses 35pc. 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 20pc 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.
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 50pc 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 50pc 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.
Businesses of any size are eligible to apply for the Non-Household Municipal Waste Business Grant. It’s part of a £18m Resource Action Fund set up by the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to support resource efficiency projects and to reduce and divert waste.
The aim of this programme is to improve recycling in England through capital infrastructure. A budget of £1m is available to fund grants between £25,000 to £170,000. The outcome of the assessment for stage 1 will be announced October 21st 2020.
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 100pc 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
Who can apply?
Limited companies, sole traders or partnerships
- Activity to take place within an assisted area in Scotland
- Should directly create or safeguard jobs within your business
- Should not be offset by job losses elsewhere
- Should involve an element of capital investment
- Be mainly funded from the private sector, including the company’s own cash resources
- Be financially viable, make commercial sense and contribute to Scotland’s economy.
Who can apply?
Any businesses based in Scotland or planning to establish a business in Scotland
- Dependent on the nature of the R&D
- The creation or safeguarding of R&D jobs
- Links into other local companies, perhaps for materials or specialist knowledge
- Global market opportunity
- The wider impact for society, including factors such as environmental impact, sustainability and health and safety. SE will not support projects which will have a known adverse effect on the environment and/or society.
Who can apply?
Small and medium-sized businesses, university spin-outs or individuals that are based, or planning to be based in Scotland
- SMART:Scotland grants can help support projects that aim to develop a pre-production prototype of a new product or process:
- Support is available at up to 35pc of the eligible project costs
- Projects must last between 6 and 36 months, and the maximum grant is £600,000
- The grant is paid quarterly in arrears and minimum total project cost is £75,000
- Feasibility studies are also included under the following guidelines:
- Support is available up to 70pc of the eligible costs for a small enterprise and up to 60pc of the eligible costs for a medium enterprise
- Studies must last between six and 18 months, and the maximum grant is £100,000
Who can apply?
By Design Grant has been paused until the new financial year.
Your company must be based in Scotland, be VAT-registered, be developing or adapting a product or service, be able to finance at least 30pc of the cost, pay the project costs in full up front and demonstrate the benefits of the project. You must not have commissioned any work or have spent any money of the project activities that the grant would fund
What can it be used for?:
- The grant is focused on companies that need help with branding, design and packaging. Specifically:- Sampling or minimal viable product design
- Service design or manufacture-ready design
- Formulation trials and focus groups
- Recipe development
- Packaging, prototyping or tooling
- General branding can be covered by the grant but if so it must be part of a bigger innovation project with other design costs in the application.
- The grant goes up to a £5,000 maximum in total value.
Who can apply?
The Make it to Market grant is also paused until the new financial year.
It’s for companies based in Scotland, who are VAT-registered, who are developing or adapting a product or service and are able to finance at least 30pc of the cost, pay the project costs in full up front and demonstrate the benefits of the project. Companies must NOT have commissioned any work or spent any money on project activities that the grant would fund.
What can it be used for?:
- New projects when product is beyond research and close to market
- Adapting an existing product to meet overseas regulations for a new international market
- External expert advice on technical feasibility or product modification
- Product-based market research, including development of samples
- Intellectual property (IP), licensing and brand protection (excluding registration fees) – provided IP-related costs have an international focus, and make up no more than 50% of the total eligible project costs
- Professional guidance on overseas contracts with suppliers, intermediaries or manufacturers
- Translation costs relating to product adaptation and launch
- Overseas travel costs, provided they do not make up more than 20 per cent of the total eligible project costs.
Who can apply?
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.
Who can apply?
Scottish-based businesses who wish to do a collaborative tourism marketing campaign. 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
Who can apply?
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.
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. As well as providing free business support services, the agency can offer grants of up to £15,000 for projects ‘that aim to turn new ideas into commercial opportunities’.
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 70pc 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 100pc 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 25pc 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 50pc 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 £30 million loan fund designed to support export-focused Northern Ireland SMEs demonstrating growth or strong growth potential.
Growth Finance Fund
A £30 million loan fund designed to support export-focused NI SMEs demonstrating growth or strong growth potential.
The Co-Fund NI is a £50 million equity fund for early-stage start-ups that will co-invest alongside business angels or private investors.
Clarendon Fund Managers (CFM) manages the £17.7 million 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.