Are there any grants available for small businesses?

Published: 01/03/2021

Every penny counts for small businesses, we don’t need to tell you that, whether it’s your store that needs a revamp, a project in the pipeline, or let’s face it, you just need a helping hand coming out of the other side of COVID, getting your hands on a cash injection can always come in handy.

Securing funds for your small business can sometimes feel like an uphill challenge, but at takepayments, we’re here to help.

In this article, we’ll break down the A to Z of business grants available from all over the UK, who’s eligible for what, and how you can go about applying. 

It’s worth noting that some of these grants are location-specific and only available to SMEs operating within particular geographies, don’t worry, we’ll make this crystal clear as we go.

AD:VENTURE, City of Leeds

If your business is in the pre-start, start-up, or SME phase and operates within Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, or York, you may be eligible for an AD:VENTURE grant.

As well as finance and funding, the scheme offers mentoring, intensive support and specialist advice, as well as young enterprise support. 

Where to apply: Find out how much you could receive and register your interest here. 

Apprenticeships

Bringing on an apprentice can offer heaps of business benefits like upskilling your workforce, growing your business steadily, and more pertinently here, the government offers funding and financial help to boot.

There are incentive payments up for grabs of up to £2,000 plus if your business qualifies, you’ll get 100% of training costs covered too.

Learn more: You can find out all about apprenticeships including additional funding here.

Accelerate Cheshire & Warrington

Businesses with employees living or working in Cheshire and Warrington have the chance to apply for funding under this scheme. The funding is to be used to upskill or reskill the business’s existing workforce.

Across the programme, there’s £30 million on offer but how much you could get will depend on how many employees are on your books.

  • For businesses with 50 employees or less, 100% funding is available.
  • For businesses with 50 employees or more, 40% funding is on offer.

Where to apply: Learn about the courses currently on offer and how to apply here. 

COVID Business Recovery Fund, City of London

Needless to say, this one’s for businesses operating in London only.

The City of London Council has put aside £50 million to support small businesses that can provide evidence to demonstrate funding support will give them a reasonable chance of surviving long-term post-pandemic. 

Applicants will need to show they provide in-person services to the public in the medical, leisure, retail, and hospitality sectors. Funding will be allocated on a first come first served basis, and applications can be made until June 11th, 2021.

Where to apply: Get your skates on and head to the City of London online portal. The City Business Library has offered support to anyone unsure how to use the portal.

Eureka Eurostars

This one’s a bit more niche, but if your business is in the research and development space, Eureka Eurostars is the largest international funding programme on offer.

The grants and support on offer as part of the programme help businesses take ideas and turn them into a commercially viable product. You’ll get access to public funding, expert support, and heaps of networking opportunities.

Where to apply: There are various application deadlines throughout the year, learn more and apply here. 

Fantastic Services grant programme

This programme was set up off the back of the COVID-19 pandemic and is designed to help get those financially impacted back in employment.

Fantastic Services is an established business that franchises cleaning, gardening, handyman, pest control, and removal services. If you want to start your own business under the umbrella of Fantastic Services, you could access £5,000 to cover the expenses of starting a franchise.

The scheme currently operates in London only. 

Where to apply: Head to the Fantastic Services website to learn more and apply.

Gigabit broadband voucher scheme

Another government-backed scheme, this one’s designed for small businesses based in rural locations who need to bring their IT infrastructure up to speed.

If your business is based rurally, and you’re struggling with sub-par broadband, there’s £210 million on offer to help. You could bag up to £3,500 in funding to help cover the costs of installing gigabit broadband which is likely to work wonders for the smooth-running of your business.

Where to apply: Head here to find out if you’re eligible (all you need to do is enter your postcode) and apply for the scheme.  

Grow It Award

Whether you want to grow a business idea from scratch or grow your existing business, the Grow It Award could help with funding providing your business solves a social issue or makes a social impact.

The scheme aims to improve on the imbalance of equity in business funding and provide resources to marginalised groups in society. There’s between £500 and £15,00 in funding on offer with Grow It, depending on the size of your business. 

Where to apply: Find out more about eligibility criteria and what’s on offer here.

Innovate UK Smart Grants

This one’s a government funding competition that gives UK businesses the chance to bag a share of the programme’s £25 million prize pot.

Applications can come from businesses operating within any area of technology, but the focus is on innovative and game-changing concepts that will disrupt the status quo and ‘significantly’ impact the economy. 

The closing date for 2021 has already passed, but keep your eyes peeled for an announcement on the 2022 competition, and if you think you’ve got a top-notch idea, use the time to make it the best it can be!

Where to apply: Brush up on the ins and outs of the competition ahead of 2022 here.

Kickstart Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme was born in an effort from the government to get more youngsters off Universal Credit and into the workforce. Businesses can apply for funding under the scheme to cover 100% of their wages for 25 hours per week for up to six months.

The funding also covers any National Insurance Contributions and pension contributions plus there’s additional funding on offer for training and support to aid in future employment.

There’s also a grant on offer as part of the scheme - you could get £1,500 per job created to spend on set up costs and support in developing skills.

Where to apply: Learn about eligibility and job criteria under the scheme, plus how to apply here. 

New Anglia Small Grants Scheme

This scheme is only available to businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk.

The scheme offers grants between £1,000 and £25,000 to help businesses grow, covering between 20 and 30% of total project costs, depending on factors such as the number of employees and area a business is located in. 

Grants under the scheme are awarded on a discretionary basis and are subject to eligibility checks and approval.

Where to apply: Contact the New Anglia Growth Hub to discuss your plans further.

The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme

The Prince’s Trust is working with 18-30-year-olds under the Youth Can Do It scheme to help them develop their business. 

The programme has supported over 86,000 young entrepreneurs to date, helping them transform ideas into reality, with training, mentoring, and funding resources on offer. 

The Enterprise programme is split into four parts; info session, workshop, build your business, and launch. While there’s no ‘grant’ on offer with the programme per se, you can get help securing funding and even apply for additional start-up financial support.

Where to apply: You can learn more and get the ball rolling here. 

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)

SEIS is one of the more well-known schemes out there, designed to help businesses raise funds when they start out trading by offering tax relief to investors. 

Via SEIS there’s the potential to secure up to £150,000 through investments, but there are multiple rules you must adhere to - failure to do so will result in the withdrawal or withholding of tax reliefs from your investors. 

For more established businesses looking to grow there’s a parallel scheme called the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) which operates in the same format but allows businesses to raise up to £5 million annually.

How to apply: There’s a fair bit to get your head around but it could pay off big time down the road. Learn about the ins and outs of SEIS including how to apply here and EIS here.

Small Growth Grants, Dorset

For businesses operating in the Dorset area, who can demonstrate they’ve successfully traded for 12 months and have project plans to further grow their business, this scheme offers grants between £1,000 and £5,000.

Successful applicants will be provided 25% of their project costs, meaning their value must be £4,000 and upwards to achieve the minimum grant of £1,000.

Where to apply: Applications must be submitted by December 3rd, 2021, and can be made here.

The Supplier Skills Programme (SSP)

The SSP is aimed at small to medium-sized businesses looking to upskill both new and existing employees.

The programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund and managed by Birmingham City Council and responds directly to the training and skills deficits identified by SMEs for their employees. 

Between £500 and £18,000 in grants is available per SME but the training will be funded 50% by the SME and 50% by the European Social Fund.

Where to apply: SSP operates on a funding round basis with rounds being held every quarter until programme closure in March 2023, so apply now to be considered. You can do so here. 

Before we go...

Be aware that local authorities develop new business support grants and schemes regularly, and what’s on offer can change from month to month. 

Keep your finger on the pulse and check in with your local council to find out if there are any upcoming schemes your small business may be eligible for. 

Often budgets only allow for business support on a first come first served basis, so don’t miss out on a potential cash injection for your SME.

Bryony Pearce

Bryony Pearce

Copywriter

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