Grants for small business owners are not always easy to come by, however, there is grant money available to those in the know. It is very difficult to judge at any given time what grants are available and this can vary depending upon postcode, age of business, nature of business and lots of other factors. After the recent government spending review, the national delivery of schemes and services can be wound down within a matter of weeks.
Realistically, there are few opportunities for grants for small business start-ups and the government has a policy of wanting to assist small businesses with a subsidised Start-Up Loan scheme rather than grants.
Often delivered via Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), this type of grant money is all about job creation and growth. Each ‘call for applications’ will specify if there are minimum and maximum grant limits. Eligibility does vary regionally but previous uses have been capital investment in land, buildings, plant machinery, equipment and also some R&D activity.
Local examples of this type of scheme are the Let’s Grow grant currently available via the York & North Yorkshire LEP or the Business Growth Programme delivered by the Leeds City LEP (which also covers West Yorks and large parts of North Yorks).
You can take a look at the different grant schemes and loans available to growing businesses here.
Assisted Asset Purchase Scheme
Businesses which lack a sufficient deposit to meet normal lending requirements could be eligible for a grant through participating bank’s Assisted Asset Purchase Scheme. The scheme is supported by the government’s Regional Growth Fund, operating across England. It supports projects and programmes that are using private investment to boost the economy and sustain employment.
‘SMART’ grants are available via Innovate UK to provide assistance to SME’s with various R&D projects including: Proof of Market, Proof of Concept and Development of a Prototype at intervention rates of between 45% and 60% and varying maximums depending on the type of grant.
Innovation Vouchers are designed to encourage businesses to look outside their current network for new knowledge which can help them to grow and develop. SMEs (including Start-ups) from across the UK can apply for an innovation Vouchers, which are also provided by Innovate UK.
There are often localised grants for small business owners that provide assistance for improvement to the environment, increased productivity of farming and forestry and growth of the rural economy. You may be able to apply for funding if you’re a farmer, managing land or woodland or a business owner in a rural area in such sectors as, for example, tourism or food.
Training and Development
Grant money can be found for employee training. Under initiatives provided by the Skills Funding Agency/BIS, training can be fully or partially covered (depending upon employee age and other circumstances). Continuously developing your staff can be great for business, and we have tips on how you can achieve it here.
The Apprenticeship Grant is managed locally and eligibility criteria can vary. The aim is to support employers who create new jobs and recruit 16-24 year olds living in England. The Grant has already helped thousands of employers to grow their business by employing an apprentice. You can find out more about using apprentices in your business here.
The government has developed and designed green funding programmes such as green grants and loans, to help and assist various eco-friendly projects and programmes. CO2Sense provide grant money for renewable energy projects, and this also includes energy efficiency, energy storage and waste recycling. The fund was established by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills who continue to oversee activity.