If you have a passion for doing something that could be lucrative, you owe it to yourself to take action, and make something of it.
Or if you’ve cleverly identified a great way to make money and be profitable, here’s your chance to make it a reality.
To get things off the ground, you will need to have certain things in place. For example, all the paperwork, the VAT registration, the insurance, and if necessary suitable premises and equipment.
However, these things often come at a cost. And for many people, there’s only so far that their personal financing can stretch. Which is why it’s so valuable to look into getting a small business grant.
In this article, we’re going to outline 10 great places to find small business grants in the UK to help you find funding for your business.
1. UK Government Finance and Support
Website for more info: Finance And Support For Your Business From UK Government
This website will likely be your first port of call when looking for business financing in the UK.
It comes from the government’s department for business, energy and industrial strategy, and it lists a whopping 150 different business finance and support schemes.
They are listed in alphabetical order, but rather than scroll through, it’s easier to use the filters provided. For example, you can filter for the type of support (grants are just one type).
You can filter for industry, and there are several listed. You can filter for region, you can filter for business stage, specifically not yet trading, 1-2 years of trading, and established.
And if you’re specifically looking for small business funding, be sure to select the correct category for the number of employees.
2. Swoop Funding Innovation Grants
Website for more info: Swoop Funding Innovation Grants
Swoop Funding is an excellent place to find grants, especially business with a focus on innovation. Some of these grants have a maximum as high as a whopping £500,000. Imagine your business with that level of support behind it!
What’s more, the website lays out all of these grants, and lets you check your eligibility. And Swoop Funding can also match your business project to the most suitable grant funds, and even match you with a grant writer to help you apply for funding. Such a time saver!
And that’s not all – Swoop Funding will provide you with continued support and guidance to ensure you get the maximum value out of your grant once it’s secured.
And since grant funding is so competitive, Swoop can set you up with an innovation grants expert to give you the best chance of success.
3. Local Enterprise Partnerships Network
Website for more info: Local Enterprise Partnerships Network
There are 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) covering the whole of England. They are basically business led partnerships between local authorities and local private sector businesses.
It is the job of these LEPs to determine the local economic priorities and drive job creation, economic growth and raise workforce skills within the local area.
If you believe that your small business has a product or service that may be of interest to them, you can use their website to take you through to your particular LEP home page, where you will find the contact details to begin enquiries about getting some funding for your small business.
On the LEP Network web page you will find a map detailing the 38 LEPs, and where applicable, any overlaps of areas. One you’ve determined where you are on the map, there’s a key that provides you the name of the applicable LEP, and the link to it.
4. Startups of London
Website for more info: Startups Of London
If, as many UK small business are, you are based in London, and you are looking for a grant specifically to start the business up, rather than for a particular project, then here is the place to look.
This website has curated a comprehensive list of business startup grants from all over the UK.
It’s important to note at this point that these business startup grants often have strict criteria that need to be met.
There are 15 business startup grants listed there in total, and in addition to the links to the relevant websites, there’s also a brief rundown on each of them, and an explanation of the eligibility criteria.
If successful at applying for one of these grants, you could raise up to £250,000 for your small business startup.
Website for more info: SmallBusiness.co.uk
This web page lists a over 150 different grant schemes for small businesses available across the UK.
It’s not possible to filter these 150 sources to meet your particular criteria that you’re looking for however, unlike the government’s website, this web page provides a little detail on each of the funding sources, so you can glean whether they may apply to your circumstances at a glance without having to click the link to every site.
To access this funding, your business will have to meet certain criteria. It must have fewer than 250 employees, or a turnover of less than £45,000, and a balance sheet totalling less than £39,000.
6. Grant Finder
Website for more info: Grant Finder
Grant Finder is the leading funding database in the UK, covering not only local and national sources of funding, but also international sources as well.
It has the most expansive database of its kind in the whole of Europe, and it provides a simple synopsis of every funding opportunity.
I would argue that its real strength lies in the search functionality of the database. It’s very user-friendly and intuitive, and all you have to do is add a keyword or two into the search bar, and you will be presented with an array of relevant funding opportunities.
You can also use Grant Finder for training, tools, and expertise to support grant applications, and to receive real times and alerts that may be related to your small business venture. And it can provide insights into funding policies and funding trends.
7. Nerd Wallet
Website for more info: Nerd Wallet
This webpage will provide you with a long list of small business grant opportunities available in the UK. And within this list are a few details, such as the sector and the maximum amount available, along with a few sentences describing each funding opportunity.
There is a particular emphasis on business grant opportunities in England, but if you are based in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland, you will find links there to get more information on opportunities in those localities.
The small business and start up grant opportunities listed for England are split into 5 main groups, namely start up business grants in England, creative and cultural grants in England, business energy grants in England, science and research grants in England, and general business growth and expansion grants.
Website for more info: Unbiased
Unbiased is basically an organisation devoted to providing unbiased (as the name suggests) financial advice. And they have curated a list of some of the best small business and start-up grants and loans in the UK.
It lists and summarises the best grants (and loans) available, narrowing the best small business grants down to a list of 6, and narrowing the best startup grants down to a list of just four.
There’s also a section on how consulting a financial specialist can help you.
It’s worth noting at this point that some of the grants and loans mentioned on this site are no longer available, such as the ones pertaining to the Covid-19 pandemic. But you will still glean valuable information there.
9. The Prince’s Trust
Website for more info: The Prince’s Trust
The Prince’s Trust is arguably one of the most well known providers of funding for businesses, having been around for over 45 years, and having transformed the lives of thousands of young people across Great Britain.
Its primary focus is to support young people moving into jobs, education, or training. Their core programs include employability and building confidence, but the most relevant one here is for starting a business.
In addition to accessing funding for your small business venture, you can also receive training and mentoring to boot.
The only drawback to this support is that it’s limited to those aged between 11 and 30, so if you’ve already hit the big 30, then you will no longer be eligible for funding.
10. Grants Online
Grants Online is the UK’s most comprehensive and up-to-date UK grant funding information service, and it gets updated on a daily basis.
It has an advanced grant finder search function, which allows you to filter by region, category, funding agency or organisation and funding type to find grant funding.
They have a comprehensive list of funding categories, and a free monthly e-newsletter to keep you bang up to date on funding trends.
What’s more, Grants Online proactively alerts you of relevant new funding opportunities as and when they arise.
If you are looking for finance to help start, grow and support your small business, there are hundreds of different opportunities where you can apply for a grant across the UK. Each type of grant normally has its own requirements – sometimes limiting the type of business, size of business or sector you operate in. However, it’s a very valuable source of funding that could help your business and well worth spending time researching and applying.