Did you know that the private sector in the UK makes up more than 99% of all businesses in the country?
In 2022, according to the Bank of England, UK banks extended £65.1 billion in gross lending (excluding overdrafts) to SMEs.
A significant portion of these businesses, approximately 69%, sought credit primarily to address their cash flow needs.
You may have heard about grants if you also find yourself in need of a financial boost.
But where do you start your research?
We have curated a comprehensive list of small business grants across the UK to help you navigate the available options.
If you want to see if they fit your company's objectives, keep reading!
Business grants are non-repayable funds that governments, organizations, or institutions provide to support small businesses.
Here is how they can help your small business:
Grants for small businesses can be crucial in providing the necessary funding to cover startup costs such as equipment, inventory, marketing, and other important investments.
Thus, it can help you reduce financial stress and launch a business more confidently.
Grants can also support existing businesses looking to expand their operations or enter new markets.
You can use the additional funding for activities like research and development, hiring new staff, product diversification, or market expansion, allowing you to pursue growth strategies that may otherwise be challenging due to limited resources.
Many grants focus on promoting innovation and technological advancements.
These grants encourage small businesses to invest in research and development, helping them stay competitive by fostering creativity and adopting new technologies.
Specific grants provide funding for training programs and skill development initiatives.
By investing in their workforce, small businesses can train their employees to improve their skills and capabilities, increasing productivity and contributing to the business's overall growth.
Various grants focus on promoting sustainable practices and environmental stewardship.
Small businesses that share these goals can apply for funding to adopt eco-friendly measures, energy-efficient technologies, or other initiatives that help reduce their environmental impact.
Business grants can offer crucial financial assistance during tough times like economic downturns or unexpected events.
They aid small businesses in bouncing back from setbacks, sustaining their operations, and preserving jobs, all while bolstering the local economy.
If you're an aspiring entrepreneur or small business owner, you can consider the following grant options:
Innovate UK and other funding bodies offer innovation grants to promote business growth and encourage groundbreaking ideas, focusing on harnessing the UK's exceptional research capabilities.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund offers grants to preserve and transform the country's heritage, including investments in museums, parks, historic sites, and cultural traditions.
The government offers cash payments via R&D tax credits to companies involved in such projects to support scientific and technological research and development.
36 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across England comprise voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses. These partnerships offer region-specific business funding, support, and guidance.
To find the nearest LEP growth hub, use the postcode finder tool provided on the website.
The Prince's Trust focuses on helping individuals between 18 to 30 start and manage their businesses by providing financial support, resources, training, and mentorship.
Small businesses can leverage gigabit vouchers to partially cover the expenses of installing gigabit-capable broadband connections.
You can claim up to £4,500 for connection costs.
Take advantage of this opportunity to enhance your business's connectivity and efficiency.
However, ensuring that you meet the necessary conditions so investors can claim and maintain SEIS tax reliefs is vital.
Additionally, it's important to note that you must use the funds within three years of the share issue.
Suppose you fail to meet these conditions for three years after the investment. In that case, it may result in withholding or withdrawing tax reliefs.
The Countryside Stewardship offers 259 different grants to help improve your business. You can filter the options to find the best fit for your needs.
This grant is designed for entrepreneurs who want to address a social problem.
You can request up to £18,000 to support your growth and receive one-on-one coaching, training, mentoring, and network access.
The grant aims to improve access to significant employment opportunities or promote healthy aging solutions.
They act as a catalyst to encourage other funders to invest and offer grant opportunities throughout the year.
Startup grants are designed for newly established businesses and those operating for less than 18 months, employing at most ten individuals.
These grants assist with essential equipment and machinery (excluding vehicles and consumables like stationery) and facility expansion, adaptation, or improvement within the premises.
Additionally, business expansion grants can cover marketing expenses that contribute to a promotional program expected to create new job opportunities.
The maximum grant amount available to a single startup business in a given financial year is £1,000, and up to £5,000 for the established one.
If your business has been actively trading for less than a year, AD:VENTURE has a program to help you reach your goals.
They offer mentoring, one-on-one support, webinars, workshops, events, and development opportunities.
Additionally, they will provide access to various exclusive webinars to assist you on your journey further.
The Business Growth Grant assists B2B companies that want to expand their business by hiring a team.
This grant supports capital growth expenses; you are expected to contribute at least 50% of eligible costs.
You must demonstrate a potential to grow and create job opportunities.
💡 Note that these are just mere suggestions of the many small business grant options available.
Here's where you can find grants in different parts of the UK:
Visit the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) Network website to explore 36 regional Growth Hubs. They offer funding and advisory services to support your business and boost the local economy.
Consider applying for business grants from Scottish Enterprise, depending on your location in Scotland.
Use the finance locator on the Business Wales website to search for grants suitable for your business.
Various funding sources are available, including options from the Welsh government, the UK government, local authorities, and charitable organizations.
If you're a business operating in Northern Ireland, you can access helpful resources on nibusinessinfo.co.uk to explore grant opportunities.
These resources cover government support and innovation, research, and development grants.
One of these grants is the Invest NI Innovation Voucher, which allows you to collaborate on innovation projects with public sector knowledge providers like universities or colleges.
When applying for a business grant, it's crucial to ensure you meet all the eligibility criteria. Here are some helpful tips to improve your chances of success:
If you face any difficulties while applying, reaching out to the awarding body and sharing more information about your company might be helpful.
It will allow you to establish a contact person who is familiar with your business and can provide guidance and advice on the next steps.
Grant programs often receive a high volume of applications. Submit your application as soon as possible to stand out from the competition.
Be proactive and keep searching for grant opportunities that match your needs.
If you're pressed for time and need help keeping track of grant opportunities, it might be helpful to hire a grant consultant.
These professionals specialize in grant applications, deadlines, and even communication with awarding bodies.
Although their services come with a cost, their expertise can significantly boost your chances of securing funding.
Remember, though, that some awarding bodies may not accept applications submitted through consultants.
To increase your chances of receiving grant funding for your business, it's essential to carefully review the grant's goals and make sure your business aligns with them.
You should also provide evidence that your business meets the grant's requirements and explain why you need the funding and how you plan to use it effectively.
When preparing a business grant proposal, consider the following points to increase your chances of success:
1. Use clear and simple language
Write your proposal in plain English, avoiding unnecessary jargon or technical terms. Ensure that it is easily understandable to reviewers who may not be familiar with your industry.
2. Provide specific details
Clearly outline your proposed activities and plans. Specify how you will use the grant and how it aligns with its objectives and criteria.
Avoid vague statements and, instead, provide precise and measurable goals.
3. Demonstrate eligibility
Provide evidence or examples demonstrating your business's qualifications and eligibility for the grant.
4. Define success
Clearly articulate the anticipated outcomes and impact of receiving the grant. Explain how the funding will contribute to the success and growth of your business.
5. Showcase your capabilities
Present evidence that your team has the expertise and capacity to execute the proposed project successfully. Highlight past achievements, relevant experience, and any partnerships or collaborations that support your ability to deliver results.
6. Develop a detailed budget
Create a comprehensive and specific budget outlining how to allocate the grant funds. Be transparent about the expenses involved and provide justifications for each item in your budget.
If your business grant application is unsuccessful, there are several other avenues you can explore to secure funding:
1. Crowdfunding can be a viable option for businesses with a compelling story or unique value proposition. Present your business idea or project and encourage individuals to contribute financially.
2. Explore peer-to-peer lending platforms that connect borrowers with individual lenders. These platforms provide an alternative to traditional banks and can offer more flexible borrowing options, often with competitive interest rates.
3. Seek out angel investors interested in investing in promising startups or small businesses. These individuals provide capital, valuable expertise, and connections in exchange for equity or a stake in the company.
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