What is a business grant?
A business grant is a sum of money awarded to a business to help it grow and develop – the money could be invested in training, equipment or reaching new markets, for example. Business grants are usually awarded by the government or other companies and, unlike a business loan, business grants do not need to be repaid.
What grants are available for start-ups and small businesses in the UK?
There are hundreds of business grants available in the UK, with many aimed at specific industries, community groups or types of business. If you’re a start-up or small business you’ll be able to choose from the following:
- Innovation grants: these are provided by a variety of funding bodied such as Innovate UK to support innovative ideas and business growth, including those from the UK’s world-class research base.
- The National Lottery Heritage Fund provides grants to sustain and transform the UK’s heritage. This can include investment in museums, parks, historic places and cultural traditions.
- R&D Tax Credits: these are cash payments from the government to encourage companies to carry out research and development projects that relate to science or technology.
- Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs): there are 38 LEPs across England. These are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses that provide business funding, support and guidance in their local areas.
- New Enterprise Allowance: provides funding and support to those looking to start or develop a business. You need to be aged 18 or over and either you or your partner must receive Universal Credit, Job Seeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance, or you must get Income Support and be a lone parent, sick or disabled.
- The Prince’s Trust: supports young people aged 18 to 30 who want to start and run their own business. As well as providing funding and resources, the Trust also provides training and mentoring.
Where can you find small business grants in the UK?
There’s a range of funding and grant options available for small businesses, depending on where you live in the UK.
- Small business grants in England - There are 38 regional Growth Hubs to be found on the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) Network website and these can provide funding and advice to help boost your business in your local economy.
- Small business grants in Scotland - Depending on where you live in Scotland, you may be able to apply for a business grant from Scottish Enterprise, or you could be eligible for a grant from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise or local councils. Take a look at the Scottish Government’s funding advice page for more information.
- Small business grants in Wales - The finance locator on the Business Wales website can help you look for grants your business may be able to apply for and it also provides information on the application process. You may be able to get funding from the Welsh government, the UK government, local authorities and charitable organisations.
- Small business grants in Northern Ireland - If your business is based in Northern Ireland, nibusinessinfo.co.uk provides a number of resources to help you understand your grant options. This includes government support, as well as innovation, and research and development grants including Invest NI Innovation Vouchers, which provide access to a public sector knowledge provider e.g. University, College or Institute of Technology to work with you on an innovation project.
How do I write a business grant proposal?
When writing a business grant proposal, it’s worth keeping the following points in mind:
- Write in plain English and avoid jargon
- Be specific about what you plan to do
- Show how your business meets the grant qualifying criteria
- Be clear about what success looks like as a result of taking on a grant
- Create specific aims and well-defined criteria to quantify success
- Provide evidence that your team is capable of delivering the work, as well as a return on the grant funder’s investment
- Make your budget as specific as possible
Writing a successful grant application is no easy task and it’s well worth your while engaging the services of a professional grant writer. Speak to Grant experts who can help maximise your chances of receiving a grant.
How do I apply for a small business grant?
Orchard House has a list of accessible grants you can apply for, whether you’re an established business or a start-up. Email Sales to discuss the many options available to you.
Today there’s a wide range of grants available across several sectors including grants for manufacturing, tech businesses, transport, energy, information and communication technologies, security, climate, aerospace, food, health, environment, and more.
Alternatives to grant funding
If you’re not sure whether grant funding is right for you and your business, there are alternatives to consider, including business loans and equity finance.
With a business loan, you simply borrow a lump sum of money and then repay this sum with added interest. You can typically borrow up to 25% of your annual turnover or £10,000 to £50 million. Lenders include high-street banks, challenger banks, online lenders and small local specialists.
Equity FInance is a way of raising capital by selling shares of your company in return for a share of the profits, usually a share in the ownership (equity) of the business and/or a share in the running of the business. It can be a good option for new or small businesses finding it hard to get a loan.
Frequently asked questions"
What is a restart grant?
The Government Restart Grant will soon be available to businesses in England that have been most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The scheme provides funds to help retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care, and gym businesses relaunch their operations. As the nation re-opens after lockdown, Restart Grants are available to give hard-hit businesses a healthy running start. Read on to find out more about the scheme and if your business qualifies.
In the March 2021 Budget, a £5 billion Restart Grant was unveiled to offer up to £6,000 per premises for non-essential retail businesses and up to £18,000 per premises for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses.
The scheme aims to give businesses the financial certainty required to plan ahead and relaunch trading in the coming months. Support is likely to be provided until 21 June 2021, when it’s hoped that all coronavirus restrictions will be lifted.