What Small Business Grants Are Available in the UK?

There are many small business grants available from both the UK government and other organisations. Whether you’re looking for small business start-up grants or grants for established businesses, the business finance support finder is a great resource.

Read on to find out more about the types of small business grants (UK) and the process of applying for small business grant funding.

Types of Small Business Grants (UK)

There are many types of small business grants available to UK businesses. Both the UK government and other UK organisations provide grants for many different types of business.

Grants range from widely accessible to very niche, and the number of grants that are available for your business in particular will depend on factors such as the number of people your business employs and the sector you are in. A full list of business grants in the UK can be found on the government website. Below are some of the more widely known types of small business grants.

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)

SEIS is designed to help small businesses raise capital by offering tax relief to investors who buy shares in the company. Businesses can receive up to £150,000 through the scheme, but need to follow rules set out by the scheme.

SEIS can be used by businesses established in the UK that are not trading on a stock exchange, carry out a new qualifying trade and that are not being controlled by another company. The business must have less than 25 full-time employees (or equivalent) in order to be eligible for the scheme.

Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)

EIS is similar to SEIS but is for established businesses. In a similar way, investors are offered tax reliefs when they purchase shares in your company. A business can raise up to £5 million per year, and a maximum of £12 million throughout the lifetime of the company.

Grow It

The Grow It award is a grant for up to £15,000 for social enterprises across the UK. Businesses must have a proven social business model and have a realistic growth plan for the business. Successful applications will have tailored support and access to mentoring and workshops.

The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme

The Prince’s Trust offers UK residents between the ages of 16 and 30 the chance to start their business and gives access to a variety of workshops and training courses. To be eligible, you need to be unemployed or working less than 16 hours a week, or studying for less than 14 hours a week.

Grants of between £175 and £250 are available to support accredited courses up to A Level, and for financing the purchase of tools, equipment or uniforms or transport to a new job.

The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme

Th Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is designed to help small businesses with the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband connections. Businesses in rural locations with existing speeds of less than 100Mbps, where a gigabit network is unlikely to be built are eligible to apply for the voucher. Businesses that apply must have no more than 249 employees and a turnover of less than £36 million.

Other Small Business Grants (UK)

Other small business grants that are available in the UK include:

How to Apply for Small Business Grants

With so many grants available, it can be difficult to determine which one is right for you and your business. Some grants provide relief for business rates, others will help with the cost of your business’ equipment.

Follow this step-by-step guide for more information about applying for small business grants and boost your chances of securing funding.

1. Search for relevant small business grant funding

The first step in securing start-up funding for your small business is to research grants that may be available using the UK government business finance support finder. Here, you can browse the 150+ schemes, and filter by funding type (for example equities, grants, loans or expertise), business stage, industry and number of employees. You can also search for grants specific to your local area by using the ‘region’ filter.

The Welsh government has a similar list, as does Enterprise Ireland and the Scottish government.

2. Research the types of small business start-up grants available

Once you are familiar with the grants available for your business, carry out some research on the types of grants that might be suitable for you. Direct grants are those where money is given directly to the business, unlike equity finance where you sell a share of the business in return for the finance.

3. Research the grant body and objectives

Having identified a list of suitable grants, you can now begin to think about applying. Talking to the grant body and becoming familiar with their objectives, terms and criteria is crucial to your success.

Learn what will be expected of you if you are successful, and what the grant aims to achieve. When you begin to write your application, you can do so with the knowledge of the grant objectives at the forefront of your mind to give you the best chance of succeeding.

4. Write a great business plan

Most grant bodies will want to see a business plan, including a cash flow forecast or evidence of the business’ financial position if it is already established. Some awarding bodies, such as the Princes’ Trust, offer workshops, mentorship and templates for writing a business plan.

5. Determine what you will use the grant for

Its important to show the grant body how you intend to spend the money, how it will benefit the business in the long term, and how it will benefit stakeholders. This might be by creating job opportunities or investing in new equipment. Whatever it is, the grant body will want to know the details of how the money will be spent.

6. Apply!

Get in contact with the grant body for specific details of how to apply for the scheme. Applying as soon as the scheme opens gives you the best chance of receiving the funding as awarding bodies often have limited money to invest.

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