Does your small business need funding? There are many small business grants available in the UK, designed to give entrepreneurs a boost when trying to realise their dreams. Securing a grant for your business can be tricky, so to help you out, we’ve highlighted five routes to achieve this for you below.
The Department for International Trade defines SMEs as businesses with less than 250 employees and an annual turnover under €50million. The grants below are available to these businesses. Unlike with loans, small businesses do not have to repay grants, which is what makes them so popular amongst startups and entrepreneurs alike.
Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs)
Many funding opportunities are dependent on your business’s location and therefore provide their own specific eligibility criteria. You can search for grants and financial support specific to your local area using LEPs map functionality. This will point you towards the website of your nearest growth hub. These are local public/private sector partnerships led by the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), designed to provide business support and guidance.
Innovate UK Grants
A variety of grants are available depending on your business purpose or sector. You can search for funding competitions on the gov.uk website, or alternatively, visit the funding finder on the UK Research and Innovation website. They offer funding and support across all academic disciplines and industrial areas from the medical and biological sciences to astronomy, physics, chemistry and engineering, social sciences, economics, environmental sciences, and the arts and humanities.
The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme
Working with 18 to 30 year olds living in the UK, The Prince’s Trust has helped over 86,000 young people start their own businesses. Whether it’s funding, resources or simply training and support, they can set you off in the right direction. To find out more about how to get a kick start to your business, visit The Prince’s Trust support for starting a business page.
Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) / Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)
SEIS is designed to help your company raise capital from the outset. It offers tax relief to individual investors buying new shares in your company. With up to £150,000 available through SEIS investments, it is definitely worth considering. However, the money you raise from the investment must be spent within 3 years of the share issue. To read more on how the scheme works, companies that can use the scheme and how to apply, visit the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme page on the gov.uk website.
Similarly to SEIS, EIS also offers tax relief to individual investors in your business. However, EIS is not solely for startups. EIS can be used by more established companies, which is reflected in the fact you can raise up to £5 million each year, and a maximum of £12 million in your company’s lifetime. Read more about the Enterprise Investment Scheme here.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund
The National Lottery helps to fund heritage projects, with different levels of funding ranging from £3,000 to millions of pounds. Heritage projects connect people and communities regionally and nationally, and can cover projects from landscapes, archaeology and historic buildings to acquiring new objects or industrial, maritime and transport. To see more detail on what the money can or can’t be spent on, visit the Heritage Fund ‘What we fund’ page.
Before you apply for funding, it’s important you have a solid business plan that is thoroughly thought out and will instil confidence in any potential investors. It’s no secret that the most important part of a business plan is the financials - if these don’t stack up, it will put off any investor, lender and could also stop you from obtaining a grant. If you need help or advice writing a business plan or creating accurate financial projections, please get in touch via our contact form, or call us on 01604 420 420.