Coronavirus (COVID-19): The government has introduced a raft of measures to support businesses during the Coronavirus outbreak. For the most up to date details and advice, please refer to the Business Support website or contact our team for further information.
Most current funding schemes are summaried below. However, navigating these with regards to eligibility and knowing whether they are right for your business can be a daunting task. If you require further support, please contact our team who will be happy to help.
Provides support for businesses looking to develop new products and processes. This could include 1:1 advice, funding and specialist workshops after the business’s needs have been established. You will be teamed up with a relevant research organisation (for example, a university, other businesses), and receive specialist support and coaching to help them tackle identified barriers and develop their approach to innovation.
Eligible businesses have access to two funding options: a start-up grant of between £500 – £2,500, designed to cover start-up costs but is not available for running costs, or building up working capital; or a growth grant of between £2,500 – £25,000 for businesses aged between 12 and 36 months, which is for capital investment that will support growth and job creation. Ad:Venture also provide workshops, 1:1s and light touch guidance.
Architectural Heritage Fund Grants
This programme supports projects that will contribute to the transformation of high streets and town centres in England helping them become thriving places, strengthening local communities and encouraging local economies to prosper. It is part of a wider initiative to revive heritage high streets in England, alongside Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zones.
Biorenewables Development Scheme
Designed for businesses in or expanding into the bioeconomy, this consultancy programme delivers 1-2 days of specialised advice and testing to help companies develop new and innovative products.
Businesses can also access the region’s BioVale innovation cluster which offers support to build partnerships or collaborations in the bioeconomy; or to access overseas markets for your products and services.
British Business Bank Finance Hub
British Business Bank is a Government-owned, independently-run bank that helps businesses find the right finance options. The Finance Hub has been built to help businesses understand and discover finance options. There are various options on equity funding and loans, as well as articles and resources to help you make the right choice.
Business Enterprise Fund
This government-backed scheme offers a range of flexible loan solutions. They are the delivery partners for the Start-up Loan Company and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, but also offer a growth loan.
Countryside Productivity Scheme
Grants towards specific items of equipment in the agricultural sector; this grant is available to all farming types, including livestock, horticulture and arable farms. This equipment is intended to help improve: animal health and welfare; resource efficiency; technical efficiency; or nutrient management.
Creative Growth Finance
Loan-funding scheme offering investment to businesses in the creative industries. They are suitable for companies looking to scale-up or, through the development of existing or new technology, develop new products and services which will meet emerging client demand, provide a significantly better service and enhance the company’s competitive edge.
Enterprise Europe Network
Fully funded service with a range of support opportunities targeted at making the most of international markets. For example: international connections; tailored support; innovation management; access to funding and finance; intellectual property rights; advice on regulations and standards; and tender alert services.
Federation of Small Businesses
Provides non-profit supporting small businesses across the UK. A business will need to pay for membership fee, but in return they can access a wide range of benefits including: legal advice; advocacy; funding; networking and events; and specialist advice.
Finpoint is a platform that supports businesses to secure the funding they need to grow. It can help businesses to navigate the complex funding market to find the right lender. The business will need to prepare one funding application that can be shared anonymously with over 120 lenders, including banks, specialist finance houses and alternative finance providers.
Forward Enterprise Fund
This national funding organisation, run by The Forward Trust, aims to help ex-offenders and people in treatment from addiction get into work. Businesses can access loan funding to assist with developments that will allow them to recruit from these groups and provide opportunities for people to engage with work.
The UK’s largest example of a peer-to-peer lending platform, which will connect businesses who want to grow with investors who want to lend. Peer-to-peer lending is simply when businesses able to borrow funding directly from other organisations and individuals or ‘peers’. Businesses can apply online and get a dedicated account manager for an unsecured loan.
Gigabit Voucher Scheme
Offers a grant which can contribute towards the cost of installing a gigabit capable connection. Businesses can claim up to £2,500 against the cost of connection, either individually or as part of a group project.
Government-supported database of competitions for grant funding and innovation vouchers. There are a range of schemes available across sectors and the support can help to: research and develop a process, product or service; test an innovative idea; and collaborate with other organisations.
John Cracknell Youth Bank
Only available for young people aged up to 21 and living in certain areas. Provides grants of £1,000 for individuals or groups of young people who need finance to help make their idea happen. The project should benefit other people, or help the applicant develop an enterprising idea. It can also offer practical help with developing business ideas.
Key Fund are a lender and grant provider with a difference – they support social enterprises, and are a dedicated finance scheme for these businesses. They are the delivery partners on several schemes, and businesses will be directed to the right scheme for them.
Leeds City Region Business Growth Programme
A grant scheme aimed at businesses looking to improve their processes, expand, and create new jobs. Available for the fit-out and refurbishment of buildings, but not the construction of new ones. The scheme can also fund equipment and machinery purchases.
Manufacturing Growth Programme
Grant towards the investment of an external expert. Their specialism could cover a range of topics and there is a lot of flexibility with regards to the projects that it can cover. However, main project areas include: business strategy; finance; leadership and management; customer and supplier relationships; R&D; productivity and capacity; systems and procedures; quality (e.g. accreditation), competitiveness; marketing; continuous improvement; and the implementation of environmental measures.
This scheme offers support for businesses that need to boost their cash flow whilst they’re waiting to receive payment on their goods or services. If the business invoices for goods and services that they’ve delivered and need to wait for them to get paid for, this will provide funds much quicker.
New Enterprise Allowance
A support scheme for those who are unemployed and wanting to start up their own businesses. Successful applications can access mentorship, workshops and, in some cases, a weekly allowance.
Non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive
This scheme offers financial incentives to help businesses invest in renewable heat (biomass, solar, heat pumps etc). Eligible installations receive quarterly payments over 20 years based on the amount of heat generated.
Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund
This regional programme, run by Key Fund, offers blended grant and loan support to businesses in the creative and cultural sector to help them undertake new projects. The programme is looking for businesses who have made a social impact and can demonstrate this. The potential project must also have a benefit to the local community.
Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund
This loan funding scheme is aimed at growing businesses that struggle to obtain finance from primary finance markets (e.g. banks). It’s useful for businesses looking to build working capital to support new investment projects, such as expansions, new premises, machinery and equipment, new employees, export etc.
Plunkett Foundation provides project funding, mentorship, advice and support to established rural businesses looking to preserve themselves, and for new ventures who have seen a gap in their village and want to fill it.
Grant towards the cost of equipment and machinery. The equipment purchased should enable a business to develop new innovative products; it’s not relevant for equipment that’s focused on increasing capacity and stock.
Resource Efficient Business (REBiz)
This programme helps businesses lower their energy usage, reduce their water and waste costs and minimise their impact on the environment. It combines free environmental audit (worth £1200), hands-on business support and a capital grant of up to 40%. Measures that businesses can implement can be low-carbon methods of heating and lighting, making use of their waste in line with the circular economy, or other recommendations made by an efficiency advisor.
This scheme has three grant options available: innovation vouchers; R&D grants; and low-carbon R&D grants. These can be used on projects that include investing in external support – typically this will be consultancy.
Start-up Loan Company
Delivered by the Business Enterprise Fund, this scheme provides loan funding for businesses that have been trading under two years to help them get off the ground. Flexible loans are unsecured and no guarantors are needed, meaning that they are a low-risk method of gaining working capital to help with set-up and initial expansion.
Technology Developer Accelerator Programme (TDAP)
UK-wide competitive programme offering support to SMEs who are developing cutting-edge automotive technology, products and services. The project targets early stage innovations that have the potential to ultimately reduce vehicle emissions and create value for the UK.
Tradeshow Access Programme
This grant scheme helps businesses to identify and access tradeshows abroad. Attending overseas trade shows can help the business to: gain essential market knowledge and make new contacts; gain experience in attending and getting the most from overseas trade shows; get advice and support from trade experts on how to maximise their presence.
UK Business Angels Association
Angel investors are wealthy individuals who invest their funds into a business for a small share of that business. The UK Business Angel Association, can offer guidance and advice on what to look for and how to structure the agreement, as well as put you in touch with potential investors or investment networks.
UnLtd is the support, development and advocacy group for social impact organisations in the UK. They run various social inclusion programmes, some of which have grant, loan, or blended funding attached to them. They also award small amounts of funding to help businesses test and start their ideas through their dedicated start-up programmes.
Virgin Start-up Loans
A delivery partner for the Start-Up Loan Company, with a scheme particularly interested in new brands and products. Businesses must have been trading under two years. There is also a dedicated business support offer with this programme. Alongside the loan, businesses can receive mentoring and business planning advice.
This article runs through the business finance options available once government support comes to an end.
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