Business Grants & Covid-19 Support

We list 91 different business grants available to UK businesses of all types, sizes and ages. Updated March 24th to include government support for businesses affected by COVID-19.

This comprehensive guide has now been updated to represent the extraordinary government measures introduced on March 24th to help businesses effected by Covid-19. For many businesses that are struggling, these new measures should be the first port of call rather than the 91 grants listed below that were available before this crisis.  

COVID-19 Support For Small Businesses

See further details, eligibility and how to apply here

(updated March 24th)

In order to try and reduce the devastating effect the coronavirus is having on many businesses in the UK, the government is offering the following support:

Employee Retention

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme that enables employers with PAYE scheme to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been been made unemployed due to the Covid-19.

Deferrals & Repayments

  • VAT and Income Tax payment deferrals
  • SME statutory sick pay relief package allowing small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
  • One year business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • A time to pay services whereby HMRC assesses on a case by case basis whether any businesses or self-employed person in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs.

Grants

  • £10,000 grant funding for all business that receive small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • £25,000 grant funding for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000

Loans

  • Loans of up to £5 million for SMEs via the British Business Bank (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme)
  • Introduction of a new lending facility from the BOE for larger firms to  to help support liquidity.

There are many forms of help out there for businesses – a cash injection could come from a bank loan, equity share or other alternative financing option. But, ideally, funding would come without the need to repay, induce debt or lose shares.

In this guide, we review the 90+ best business grants in the UK. Grants are essentially funding support from a third party, typically (but not exclusively) a not-for-profit organisation or government initiative. 

That being said, this list will also touch on a couple of schemes that have the same framework as a grant, but instead of offering cash, they provide something along the lines of free equipment, subsidy or dedicated mentorship.

If your business would benefit from grant funding, or support to scale with new resources and know-how, then take a look below and find your best fit.

UK Business Grants Comparison

Grant name From To
Accelerated Growth Programme Not stated
Adur and Worthing Small business grant £2,500
Agri-tech Cornwall £2,500
Architectural Heritage Fund £350,000
Arts Council England Funding £250 £250,000
Arun Valley Business grant £2,000
BG Effect Business Fund £2,000
Brexit Readiness Vouchers £10,000
Broadland District Enterprise grant £750
Bucks Business First Grants and Vouchers £1,000 £5,000
Built Environment Climate Change Innovations (BECCI) Not stated
Business Energy Efficiency £20,000
Business Energy Efficiency Programme £20,000
Business Growth and Digital Growth Grants (GLLEP) £1,000 £10,000
Business Investment for Growth Grant (BIG) £10,000
Business startup grant / Growing business grant £1,000
Business Support Programme Not stated
Business West Scale Up Coaching Grants £2,500 £5,000
By Design Grant £6,000
Caerphilly Business Startup Grant £500
Caerphilly Enterprise Fund £10,000
Carmarthenshire Rural Enterprise Fund £128,000
Chichester District Council grant programme £1,000
Chorley Shop Front Improvement Grant £10,000
Civic Improvement Fund (ECIF) £500 £15,000
Culture & Business Fund £1,000 £40,000
DAERA forestry grants £500 £90,000
Develop & Fund your Creative Practice Not stated
Digital Skills for Growth (DSG) £4,000
East Sussex Invest 4 (ESI5) £15,000 £40,000
Elmbridge Startup Fund £1,000
Energy Efficiency Grants in Warwickshire £1,000 £50,000
Energy Entrepreneurs Fund Not stated
Energy Entrepreneurs Fund £1,000,000
Energy for Business £8,000
Enterprise Investment Scheme N/a
Eureka Eurostars EUR 360,000
FIFE Investment Fund £5,000
Fit For Nuclear Not stated
Gigabit broadband vouchers £2,500
Grant for Business Investment (GBI) £10,000 Not stated
Grants for Growth £10,000 £160,000
Grants for improving lives N/a
Grants for the Arts £1,000 £100,000
Greater Lincolnshire Growth Fund £150,000 £500,000
Green Port Hull Grant £10,000 Not stated
Grow It Awards £15,000
Growing Graduate Enterprise £2,500
Hartlepool Business Grants Not stated
Healthcare & Medical Technology Business Vouchers £7,000
HS2 Supply Chain Programme Not stated
Innovate Your Business £15,000
Innovation Programme for Greater Lincolnshire £1,000 £10,000
Innovative Medicines Initiative Not stated
Innovative UK Smart Grants programme £25,000 £250,000
Investment Fund in Warwickshire £1,000 £50,000
Lincolnshire Grants4Growth £1,000 £25,000
Low Carbon Innovation Grants in Warwickshire £1,000 £50,000
Make it to Market Grant £2,000 £5,000
Malvern Hills Business Startup Grant £750
Mansfield Business Startup Grant £1,000
Mansfield Market grant N/a
Manufacturing Growth Programme Not stated
NBV Grant for New Businesses £1,000 £2,500
Nesta Collective Intelligence Grants £30,000
Nestrans Sustainable Travel Grant Scheme £10,000
New Anglia Growing Business Fund £5,000 £500,000
OBS Elevate Grant in Oxfordshire £1,000 £8,000
Patent Box Relief N/a
Pendle grants for growing and developing your business £2,000 £10,000
Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme N/a
Proof of Concept Techstart NI
Property Enhancement Funding £250,000
R&D Tax Credits N/a
ReAct for Businesses £2,080
Regional Selective Assistance Typically £250,000
Reigate & Banstead Business Support Grant £1,000
Relocation Grant £25,000
Rural Business Investment Scheme £2,000
Scarborough Business Expansion Grants £5,000
Scottish EDGE £150,000
Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme £150,000
Skills Advancement £35,000
Small Business Rates Relief N/a
SMART: Scotland £100,000
Startup Business Grants £1,500
Startup grant from Broadland District £750
The Prince’s Countryside Fund £50,000
Trusthouse Charitable Foundation £6,000 £45,000
Vacant Commercial Floor Space Grant £6,000
VisitScotland Growth Fund grants £10,000 £40,000
Note: Whilst these are some of the best business grants within the UK, it’s worth checking your own local council website. New grants may crop up, and it is often the regional grants that you stand a better chance of obtaining. So keep your eyes peeled! Best of luck.

UK-Wide R&D Grants

Research and development is at the core of innovation and economic potential. Problem is, it sometimes takes a while to see a return on your efforts. The following grants are designed to help you through the R&D stage of your business.

Eureka Eurostars is an EU funding project, although it is actually led by Innovate UK. The programme is designed to help fund research and development for any kind of innovative service or product. There is €360,000 available in funding, representing a lucrative opportunity for a broad spectrum of companies.

Being an EU programme though, eligibility requirements demand that you intend on collaborating with other European companies. You must also be an SME in the tech industry, based in the UK.

The Innovative Medicines Initiative is a fund to support the development of innovative medicines. Provided by the EU and the European pharmaceutical industry, the budget is huge. €3.276 billion is up for grabs between 2014 and 2020.

The grants aim to help SMEs, universities and such and can be in the form of one-off support, or even providing personnel. Once you build a relationship here, and are a beneficiary of the programme, the potential is huge.

UK Smart Grants are aimed at supporting startups that are research-heavy, whether it is within science or technology. This is a programme offered by HMRC, so it is tax-funded. Grant amounts range from £25,000 to £250,000, which is a substantial amount compared to many other available schemes. 

To qualify, you must be an early-stage, small or medium-sized business that has the potential to achieve high growth. As mentioned, only businesses working within science, engineering or technology are eligible.

This grant is collectively funded by Nesta, Cloudera Foundation, Omidyar Network and the Wellcome Trust. Up to £30,000 is on offer for companies that have the potential for advancing intelligence to solve social problems.

The line-up of supporters is nothing short of impressive – with Nesta being one of the most exciting UK innovation funders, with a vast portfolio of success stories. 

At the time of writing, the 7th January 2020 deadline for applications has passed. Hopefully a new round of grants will be opened soon.

The R&D Tax Relief scheme, as you may have guessed, isn’t straight up grant money. Instead, it is aimed at incentivising research and development by allowing businesses to claim a lot of the costs back each year. Unsurprisingly – given the format – this scheme is created by HMRC.

The relief is quantified in many different ways but, to give an idea, SMEs can have tax credits of £24 for each £100 spent on R&D.

UK-Wide Grants to Help with Overheads

Being able to meet overhead payments is at the core of business survival. Here is a list of nationwide grants that take the pressure off balancing your outgoings.

The Patent Box scheme is an HMRC tax relief scheme that could see corporate tax bills slashed almost by half in some instances. Of course, this is aimed at small companies and startups, and will only be beneficial if they are already turning a profit.

It’s worth nothing, though, that the scheme is aimed at those with a patentable product. If you’re successful in your application, the corporation tax you pay will drop to 10%.

Companies that pay business rates (a council payment regarding your commercial property) may be entitled to a discount. To be eligible, your property’s rateable value must be below £15,000, and it must be thisproperty alone that your business uses.

Relief amounts range between 0% and 100%, e.g. if your rateable value is £13,500, the discount will be 50%. If your rateable value is £14,000, the discount will be 33%.

This is only one of many forms of business rates relief available. There is also rural rate relief, hardship relief, retail discount and so on – head over to the website to learn more.

Britain currently lags behind other countries when it comes to broadband connectivity, so there are many initiatives working to advance the rate of fibre broadband reaching all corners of the country. 

With the Better Broadband Subsidy scheme no longer existing, Gigabit broadband vouchers is now your best bet at speeding up your connection, whilst lowering the cost to your business.

Thanks to this scheme, businesses can receive up to £2,500 to cover the costs of Gigabit connection being installed locally.

Of course, if you’re in a rural or an awkward place then this might not be enough, so additional funding is possible. A 6-step explanation of the process is explained on the government website linked above.

UK-Wide Grants for Social, Environmental and Wellbeing Businesses

Aligning profitability and sustainability is the gold-standard for many businesses today. Indeed, plenty of entrepreneurs would argue that the future of society and the environment relies on it.

To help, there are a number of grants available which incentivise being socially and environmentally responsible.

Up to £50,000 can be received for projects which deliver a positive, long-term impact on the communities that they serve. This is predominantly aimed at rural communities that are facing an imminent issue, such as the decline of the local farming industry. 

The Prince’s Countryside Fund gives up to £1 million away each year. In one case, the same grant funding has been awarded several years running – the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust has used this money to increase apprenticeships for young people who are interested in conservation.

Having been established almost 40 years ago, AHF is one of the longest serving UK grants (which is fitting, given that it concerns itself with architectural heritage). The AHF supports the re-use and preservation of historical buildings for the benefit of the community.

There are many grants on offer, meaning the net is cast wide. You could access £15,000 to fund viability work, or receive £350,000 for transformational projects. 

What is set in stone, however, is that all applicants must be a not-for-profit organisation in order to be eligible. At most, it would take 3 months to find out your decision, but it can be as little as a month.

The Trusthouse Charitable Foundation is for organisations who endeavour to solve issues in places suffering either urban deprivation or enduring rural issues.

Grants are usually between £6,000 and £45,000, but will not be available without some substantial investment of your own. This makes the grant more suitable for larger organisations as opposed to startups. It’s also worth noting that the Foundation only provides support to not-for-profits and charities. 

The Grow It Awards is far more general than others in this line-up, as it aims to support social entrepreneurs who are looking for bespoke support and expertise

Funding is also on offer here (up to £15,000), but arguably the most valuable opportunity might just be the 12 months mentoring from an award manager who will aid in your growth strategies.

Free workshops are also on offer here, as well as networking with investors and other entrepreneurs. This grant is for those that want more than just capital – to get stuck in, network and accept help in many different forms.

The Energy Enterprise Fund is funded by the UK government and is aimed at funding SMEs seeking to develop boundary-pushing innovations within the electricity, power and energy industries. 

The funding pool is millions, and whilst the amount given to each company isn’t specified, it is likely going to be a significant amount. Being accepted will require presenting a very strong business case, backed up by substantial evidence.

Fit For Nuclear is a manufacturing grant, as much as it is an environmental one. Companies eligible are not just restricted to mechanical engineering, applicants could also supply electricals, control, and various other components, to nuclear plant operation and composition. 

There are a few limitations, however. For one, whilst the funding amount isn’t explicitly stated, the programme will take over a year to complete. On top of this, only companies with 10+ employees or £16,000 in annual turnover may apply.

UK-Wide Grants for Manufacturing

If you’re in the manufacturing industry and have a project in mind, there are many grants open to you. Here are two of the best…

The GBI scheme provides capital to business in order to expand, modernise or diversify. These are usually intended for high-budget projects, hence a minimum financing amount of £10,000

Whilst this grant isn’t designed for manufacturers alone, wind manufacturing projects get special attention with the GBI.

Whilst this programme isn’t quite nationwide, it covers the West Midlands, most of the East Midlands and East of England. If you want to grow your manufacturing operations, but aren’t sure how, this scheme partners you with a dedicated manufacturing growth manager.

Ultimately, MGP has helped deliver over 4,000 improvement projects, as well as create almost 4,000 jobs.

UK-Wide Grants for the Creative Industries

The creative industry isn’t always the most lucrative, but is no less important for the good of society. For this reason, there are many generous grants that can help support organisations within the Arts, as shown below.

The Arts Council, who are heralded for their significant support of the Arts, through £1.5+ billion in funding, have several funding options available currently.

For example, the Arts Council Fund (also known as the V&A Purchase Grant Fund) is £724,000 this year – open to museums, galleries and other collectors who need support to purchase artefacts. To be eligible, you’ll need to be in England or Wales, and not have any other national funding.

The Arts Council has another scheme, titled ‘Grants for the Arts’. This funding programme funds individuals, organisations and those that use art in their work. The amounts awarded range between £1,000 and £100,000

The type of art this includes is far-reaching, from dance to music and theatre. This is truly for starters with little money, as they usually only require you to put forward a minimum of 10% of your own capital for the project costs.

Another Arts Council grant here – which really helps illustrate how influential an organisation it is within this industry!

Develop & Fund your Creative Practice is a grant that gave away over £1.3 million this year to 147 out of the 557 eligible applicants. This is promising for those independent practitioners that want to thrive and develop their creative work.

UK-Wide Youth Business Grants

Some of the most exciting new businesses are led by young entrepreneurs. As you’d expect, many UK youth grants not only offer funding, but also a full menu of mentoring, training, networking and development opportunities. The following are some of the best UK grants aimed at the 16-30 demographic.

The £40m Youth Investment Fund (YIF), by the Community Fund, offered grants between £100,000 and £750,000 for community-centric projects . This nationwide grant could be used to fund community organisations and social enterprises – anything that goes towards local youth provision. Whilst it’s considered to be national, it does target to six specific areas:

  • Bristol and Somerset.
  • East London.
  • Eastern regions.
  • Liverpool City region.
  • Tees Valley and Sunderland.
  • West Midlands.

The YIF was started in 2016 and after making 91 funding awards is now closed to new applications. It is not clear if there are plans to reopen it.

Backing Youth Ambition aims to support the youth in society, but even more directly than the aforementioned investment fund. This money is aimed at going straight into the pockets of youngsters who aspire to start their own business. Funding from this grant stems from The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme (see below) and Lloyd’s Development Capital.

The exact funding amounts are not explicit. But what is a guarantee, is that over 1,200 young people will benefit from this 3-year programme. Applications are open year-round, so there’s never a bad time to get in touch.

The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme is a part of the Youth Can Do It scheme, supporting 18 to 30 year olds who want to start a business. Full disclosure: it isn’t a grant per se. Whilst the programme does provide special rate loans, it’s more focused on offering free help in other forms.

The programme is split into four: information sessions in the local area, workshops, building the business (this stage you can apply for funding), and finally launching the business.

UK-Wide Seed Investment

Companies looking for early-stage funding can benefit from the selection of seed investment schemes in the UK.

Funded by the state, the seed enterprise investment scheme allows investors to support startups and receive generous tax relief in return. Startups can get up to £150,000 seed capital through the SEIS, but they must be willing to give up share of equity to investors. Then, investors get up to 50% tax relief (subject to certain conditions). 

There is no minimum investment limit, so anyone can invest in the scheme and benefit from it. Most of the startups under this scheme are from the tech sector, though there’s no such limitations in place.

Also funded by the state, the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is aimed at startups or young companies that would otherwise be deemed as a risky investment. Under this scheme companies can raise up to £5 million annually – and a maximum £12 million during the whole lifetime of the company. This is not a grant per se, but HMRC offers tax relief up to £150,000 in the first year.

One of the primary aims of EIS is to stimulate investment in ‘risky’ companies, and it’s for this reason that the government offers tax incentives to potential investors. The laws and regulations governing EIS are quite complex as they are aimed at providing maximum security to the investors, whilst giving financial support to deserving and eligible companies.

Grants for Businesses in East England

The above grants are (mostly) accessible all around the UK. The rest on this list are divided into grants that are specific to regions. Here are some options for those based in the East of England.

Funded by the government, the growing business fund targets small and medium-sized enterprises across Norfolk and Suffolk. Businesses eligible for the fund can get access to £5,000 – £500,000, or up to 20% of the total project cost. One key eligibility criteria is that the businesses should have the potential to create at least one job for every £10,000 of investment received.

Business Energy Efficiency (BEE) is co-financed by the European Union European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and aimed at small and medium enterprises in the Norfolk and Suffolk area that are looking to become energy efficient. 

There are certain eligibility requirements, e.g. the business must employ fewer than 250 full time staff and have an annual turnover of less than €50million ( or an annual balance sheet of less than €43million). In addition to this, this fund does not cover every sector – there are certain sectors that are excluded for the purpose of this grant and their details can be found on the fund website. The maximum grant available is up to £20,000.

The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund is a government backed, competitive funding scheme with the aim of supporting the development of cutting edge technologies, products and processes. In particular – as the name suggests – those aimed at energy conservation, power generation, heat energy and electricity storage. 

The fund seeks innovative ideas from the public and private sectors and is designed to assist small and medium enterprises in particular, though this is not strict criteria. The selected companies will be eligible for up to £10 million – with up to £1 million available for projects costing up to £250,000. What’s more, additional incubation support is available for startups.

The Broadland District council are offering a startup grant of £750 for entrepreneurs starting a full time business after a period of unemployment. In order to be eligible, the application for the grant must be made before trading and the business must be the only full time occupation of the entrepreneur. 

The council can be contacted to further discuss the criteria and requirements.

The enterprise grant is also funded by the Broadland District council. This grant is aimed at small businesses with fewer than 10 staff members. 

Businesses looking to grow and expand their base of operations can be eligible for a grant of up to £750, subject to preconditions set by the council which differ from the startup grant. The grant is subject to availability of funds with the council. 

Part funded by the European Regional Fund, the Greater Lincolnshire Growth Fund is aimed at supporting private sector businesses working in LEP’s priority sectors: Agri-food, Manufacturing, Health and Care, Ports and Logistics, Visitor Economy, Low Carbon and Digital.

Starting from £150,000 to £500,000, funding is available for both SMEs and bigger businesses in the greater Lincolnshire area. The grant is designed for businesses with transformative ideas, in line with strategic economic plans, who are able to create jobs and sustainable growth.

Funded by European Regional Development Fund, the Business Growth and Digital Growth Grants is aimed at businesses who can clearly demonstrate how the funding will be used to create jobs or boost turnover. 

Businesses can receive from £1,000 up to £10,000 (or between 40% and 50% of overall costs). Eligibility criteria for the grant includes that the business must be located in the Greater Lincolnshire area.

Also funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Lincolnshire Grants4Growth is a competitive grant aimed at businesses who can demonstrate real growth potential through documented plans and strategies. 

Specifically, the financial support is intended for businesses who can invest £1,000 to £25,000 in assets and/or job creation.

Another one from the European Regional Development Fund, this time delivered by the University of Lincoln student enterprise service. This fund is aimed at graduates who have been living in Lincolnshire for at least three years. 

Applicants can receive up to £2500 to start and grow their business, and the award also includes 24 hours of free support. There are additional eligibility requirements which can be seen on the official website.

The European Regional Development Fund also backs another scheme which the University of Lincoln delivers. This program enables micro, small and medium enterprises with ideas, concepts and passion.

Funding of £1000 to £10,000 is available for research and development purposes, and if businesses employ university graduates on 3-6 months contracts then they will get up to £3000 against the costs. The grant also provides up to 12 hours specialist advisor support and access to business angel networks to help businesses secure funding and grow. 

Funded by the Essex employment and skills board, the DSG grant is aimed at businesses in Essex. The grant is aimed at businesses for training young people between the ages of 19 and 24 in digital technology and its applications.

An amount totaling up to £4,000 is available for each grant. For eligibility criteria, visit the official page or contact the local council.

Grants for Businesses in North England

Businesses up north are not forgotten about either, as they too benefit from some incredibly helpful schemes. 

Funded by the state and managed by the Chorley Council, the Chorley Shop Front Improvement grant is intended as financial support for shop owners and leaseholders running a small and medium enterprise. Specifically, this funding is to help with improving the visual appearance of shop fronts – something which benefits the business, as well as the general public. 

The grant is applicable for all eligible businesses operating within the jurisdiction of Chorley Council. If successful, applicants may receive a maximum grant of up to £10,000 covering as much as 75% of project costs. Please note, though, that grants can only be claimed once the expenditure has been incurred.

Managed by Chorley Borough Council, the Business Investment for Growth Grant (BIG) is aimed at small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) for investment in the construction, refurbishment and renovation of property, plant, equipment and landscaping. The businesses can secure funding up to £10,000 under this grant, which can be used to cover up to 50% of eligible project costs. 

The detailed eligibility criteria of this grant can be seen on the official page. One notable prerequisite is that the business should create at least one job for every £2,000 of the grant received.

Another managed by Chorley Borough Council, the Relocation Grant (up to £25,000) is aimed at businesses looking to relocate to Chorley and create sustainable local employment – improving the value chains present in Chorley Borough as a result. 

The grant is open to existing businesses capable of creating a minimum of 5 jobs within the first 2 years of relocation to Chorley. This could be exceptionally useful for those that are already nearby with an existing business, for whom relocating wouldn’t be too disruptive a process.

A range of business grants are available to small, medium and startup businesses in Hartlepool Council. This funding is designed to support or aid:

  • Expenditure on capital equipment. 
  • Business rates.
  • The creation of employment. 
  • Security works. 
  • Building and environmental improvements.
  • Setting up & developing a business. 
  • Introduction and development of IT.
  • Accessing new national and international markets.

Unfortunately, detailed information about grants, grant size and eligibility criteria are not available online. To find out if you could benefit, you’ll have to get in touch.

The Pendle Borough Premises Improvement Grant can be used to improve a commercial property’s appearance, help fill empty premises, and/or create new jobs in the local area by expanding an existing business.

In most cases, the grant offers up to £3,000 (limited to £1,500 in West Craven) which can be used to cover up to 50% of eligible costs. To be eligible, the project must be concerned with property and premises development — this grant cannot be used on the day-to-day running of your business.

Managed by the Scarborough Council, the business expansion grants are aimed at local enterprises planning to strengthen market position or explore new markets. Unlike other grants, this can also include new businesses, too.

The grant is aimed at revenue streams and thus is not for capital expenditure. Nevertheless, funds up to £5,000 can be received in one year.

Managed by FIFE, the FIFE Investment Fund is aimed at businesses employing up to 50 people in the manufacturing and services sector. Within this, though, some sectors are excluded in the grant’s terms – head over to the website for detailed eligibility information.

Under this fund, grants up to £5,000 are available for projects that would otherwise not be possible without financial aid and support.

Grants for Businesses in the South, West & East Midlands

Businesses in the Midlands have arguably the broadest range of grant options, compared to anywhere else in the UK. As you’ll see from this list, there’s a great range of regional grants – and of course, the national funds are up for grabs too.

Coventry and Warwickshire County provides the Business Support Program (also known as the Investment Fund), which is aimed at small and medium enterprises. Eligible businesses must show the potential to create jobs in order to secure funding from £1,000 to £50,000. Plus, to better your chances of gaining funds, you should be willing to invest the grant into capital assets, as roughly 30% of the grant is intended to cover the cost of investment.

Preference will be given to businesses that have not previously received any funding from Coventry and Warwickshire County.

Funded by the state and managed by Warwickshire County, the Energy Efficiency Grants are to be used for purchasing energy efficient equipment. Eligible businesses can access between £1,000 and £50,000 to fund up to 40% of the cost of installing energy efficiency measures, in order to reduce outgoings and lower carbon footprint.  

The Low Carbon Innovation Grant is designed to support businesses looking to develop low-carbon products or technology. 

Grants are available for eligible businesses, ranging from £1,000 and £50,000,  to fund up to 40% of development related capital costs. Warwickshire Council also offers a third and final ‘eco grant’, the Low Carbon Revenue Grant, which has a maximum funding of £6,000.

Supervised by the European Regional Fund, BECCI provides free assistance to small and medium enterprises in Black Country and Marches LEP areas of the West Midlands.

This grant is a prime example of non-monetary grants being just as useful, if not more than their counterparts. BECCI assistance is aimed at SMEs intending to develop products and services with a low carbon footprint. Under this initiative, practical and technical support is provided to SMEs, including help with insulation, building fabric, ventilation, heating and cooling controls, battery storage and smart grid. 

The Business Energy Efficiency Programme (BEEP) sets out to help businesses lower their energy bills and cut overhead costs. The program is funded by ERDF and is for eligible businesses in Worcestershire. 

The program offers two fold support. Firstly, the premises, products and processes are assessed to determine the size and scale of the environmentally friendly improvements that are needed. Secondly, the program provides grants of up to £20,000 (up to 40% of the total cost of the project). This money can be used to implement assessment recommendations and make the business more energy efficient. 

Due to the construction of Phase one of HS2 between London and the West Midlands, the state has created two separate funds for the businesses and communities that will inevitably face disruption caused by the project.

Firstly, the Community and Environment Fund (CEF) has two elements. One: “CEF Local”, focusing on the quality of life and environment in individual communities. Two: “CEF Strategic”, designed with large strategic projects in mind. More details can be obtained from the official HS2 CEF website . 

The second fund is called “BLEF: positive impact on local economies”. Through this fund, the local public can inject cash into local initiatives and programmes, to attract tourism and increase overall prosperity. Projects under BLEF include things such as improved cycling and pedestrian access, promotional activities to boost economic activity and events that generally attract tourism and footfall in the area.

This is a non-monetary grant for traders who are new to the Mansfield Market – successful applicants can get up to 12 months of free rent for their premises. It’s worth noting that the initiative is meant to encourage new traders with underrepresented products. As such, the eligibility criteria is reasonably strict. Click through to the council’s website for application details. 

Aimed at young companies, the Mansfield Business Startup Grant is open to businesses situated in Ashfield and Mansfield districts. The grants specifically look to inspire the growth of a vibrant entrepreneurial sector, as well as increase the number of startups in the two districts.

Individuals looking to start a business in either of these regions are eligible for funding up to £1,000, covering up to 50% of the total eligible cost of the project (excluding VAT).

Partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (so it may not be available for very much longer), with support from Warwickshire County Council and Coventry City Council, the Business Support Program delivers support activities to new startups and established businesses with growth potential. 

Support is provided by experienced specialists and includes assistance in starting a business, as well growing established businesses. Specific resources include: specialist sector support, workshops and events, support and advice for access to finance, referrals and networking. 

This Malvern Hills Business Startup Grant is all about putting startups on the right track for sustainable growth. Eligible businesses can get a grant of up to £500 or up to £750, if they are moving into business premises that are liable to business rates. The grant is expected to boost business growth in the area, creating local job opportunities and regenerating town centres by occupying vacant commercial premises.

Note: this grant requires matching funds from the business owners and it is applicable only on capital expenditure. 

Applicable for businesses based in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Greater Lincolnshire. The NBV Grant for New Businesses is for registered businesses engaged in B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Consumer) trading. 

The grant can be used for capital expenditure such as new equipment and offers an amount between £1000 and £2500, covering up to 25% of eligible costs. As such, the project must have a minimum spend of £4000 to be eligible for the grant. Note: this Grant is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and so is also likely to stop or change once the UK leaves the EU.

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Grants for Growth are delivered by the city council and provide gap funding to companies across Staffordshire.

The aim of the grant is to allow young businesses to grow and create employment opportunities and foster healthy business growth. To do so, the grant can be used to expand premises, buy machinery and equipment, etc.. Funding can be obtained for amounts between £10,000 to £160,000 on a variable intervention rate of 10-30%. The overall project cost must be at least £35,000 in order to qualify for the grant. 

Bucks Business First Growth Grant can provide businesses with funding of £1,000 to £5,000, to be used in projects with a minimum total spend of £3,000. The funding is available to assist business growth, increase sales, productivity and profitability. 

If you’re local to Buckinghamshire, it’s also worth looking at other nearby funds,such as the Low Carbon Workspaces grant and the Manufacturing Growth Fund which can be found on the council’s website.

Businesses in Staffordshire can receive funding of up to £7,000 in the form of vouchers, to be exchanged for expert advice in the healthcare and medical markets. Vouchers can also be exchanged for specialist support for market access, product design and testing, and other marketing advice.

As the name suggests, this grant is ideally aimed at businesses operating in the healthcare or medical tech sector. Little surprise then that the money is funded through a partnership between Keele University and University hospitals of North Midlands NHS trust. 

This grant is available for businesses looking to cut down their carbon footprint by adopting environmentally friendly and sustainable energy technology. Funding up to £8000 can be obtained under this program, capped at 40% of the project cost. 

In order to be eligible the overall project cost must be between £2,500 and £20,000. This grant is available for SMEs in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire

Grants for Businesses in South England

If you’re situated in the South of England – that is anywhere from Sussex to Oxfordshire, or Surrey to Cornwall (for the purpose of this roundup!) – then you could make use of the following business grants…

East Sussex Invest 4 (ESI5) has a number of grants available, with funding figures spanning from £15,000 to £40,000. As these figures are generous for a regional grant, the total funding is capped at 60% of project costs. Additionally, loans are available from £10,000 to £200,000 – but these require minimum matching by the business for 50% of project costs.

The program also has an apprenticeship grant for £1,500 for an accredited apprenticeship position, which can be claimed after the role has been filled up for 6 months. No financial matching is required for the apprenticeship grant.

This is a grant for businesses who have lots of growth ideas, but are struggling to find the funds to support them. Businesses based in the Arun District Council can secure funding of up to £2,000 to make their ideas a reality. SMEs with under 250 employees can also apply for the Apprenticeship Grant under the same council.

The Scale Up Coaching Grant is available for high growth potential businesses, with sustained growth over at least the preceding 2 years. Criteria also includes employing between 7 and 250 employees and a willingness to work with external coaches or trainers to accelerate business growth.

Funding is available between £2,500 and £5,000 for businesses investing between £10,000 and £20,000. This money should be used toward the cost of business, executive and leadership coaching and training courses.

Funded by ECIF to support the local Elmbridge economy, the Civic Improvement Fund is for businesses that can show the potential to enrich and support the local economy.

Funding under this grant is available from £500 up to £15000, covering up to a staggering 90% of the project cost. The funds from the grant can be used to improve shop fronts and uplift streets and other similar works – any project that helps attract new business to local amenities and services.

Available for micro businesses employing up to 10 employees, the Small Business Grant can fund up to £2,500 with a requirement of 50% matching by the business. Potential businesses should be able to demonstrate the ability of the business to grow, create a difference and have lasting impact in the community. 

Successful applicants will also need to submit monthly paid invoices as proof.

Businesses looking to boost the local economy, or roll-out projects for local residents who are in need, can both apply for the Chichester District Council grant. Here, funding of up to £1,000 is available at any time under the fast track process. 

Businesses with funding needs above £1,000 will have to apply for a quarterly grant. Please visit the official website for further details about eligibility requirements and cut off rates for different grant levels.

Startups in Elmbridge can get funding of up to £1,000 to cover capital expenditure at the startup phase. This is a precarious stage of a business, so this fund does require a solid business plan/proposal as evidence. A sustainability plan must be included too.

Aimed at fresh entrepreneurs and startups, this support grant is for increasing economic activity in the area as well as creating jobs for the local community. Funding is available for up to £1,000 for businesses with fewer than 4 employees.

Startups in Tewkesbury can benefit from the Startup Grant which is designed to encourage new enterprises to occupy vacant commercial property – helping foster local economic activity and stimulate the job market. 

Startups can apply for a one time grant with amaximum amount of £1000. Please note: funds are available for up to 50% of the project costs, of which the remaining 50% has to be matched by the business.

The Elevate Programme is intended for startups and SMEs in Oxfordshire. 

For startups, anywhere between £1,000 and £3,000 is available to access. As you’d expect, the pot is slightly larger for SMEs, who can get up to £8,000 instead. Both grants are designed to cover up to 33% of total project costs, the remainder will need to be matched by the businesses. 

Managed and administered by Cornwall Development Company, the Agri-tech Development Grants are available for small and medium enterprises based in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 

The grants are specifically for use in agricultural technology – funding research, development and innovation – with grants starting at £2,5000. For detailed eligibility requirements and application procedures, visit the official website.

Grants for Businesses in Wales

Businesses in Wales who are looking for some financial support also have some multiple sources of grants available.

The BG Effect Business Fund is designed to help startups in Blaenau Gwent achieve their growth aspirations. Support is offered in various forms. For one, companies can get up to £2,000 (80% of the funding for a given project), as well as access to a network of advice. What’s more, equipment can often be provided too if it’s essential to the project, as well as repairs to the company’s premise.

The Caerphilly Enterprise Fund aids SMEs and startups with fewer than 250 employees. This is predominantly intended for projects such as website building, business planning, one-off marketing, capital equipment and IT infrastructure. 

Up to £2,000 can be receivedfor revenue costs, at an intervention rate of 45%. Up to £10,000 can however be received for capital costs, such as property enhancements. 

The Caerphilly Startup Grant is designed specifically for startups, and all business sectors are included. The grant must be for a specific cost, such as IT equipment, marketing, building works and capital equipment. Up to 50% of the cost can be funded, up to a maximum of £500. This grant is smaller than the previous Caerphilly one, but startups stand a greater chance if it’s this one they apply to. Despite the council website hosting the online application process, this grant is actually funded by UK Steel Enterprise.

ReAct for business is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government. There are two types of grants here: one for individuals and one for businesses.

Individuals can receive grant money towards paying for vocational training courses to help find a job. This scheme for businesses however is also split into two. Employer Recruitment Support is a grant of up to £2080, in four installments, to contribute towards paying staff. The Employer Training Support is a grant up to £1000 that contributes towards training employees.

The Vacant Commercial Floor Space Grant is slightly more substantial grant of up to £6,000 (50% matched funding). This is targeted to businesses who rent new commercial property in Newport city centre.

To be eligible, other than needing to be based in the city, you must have a business plan including a profit and loss and a cashflow forecast. Of course, you will also need to match their funding. So if you apply for £5,000, you or the business must be prepared to put that forward too.

Newport City Council is also offering a grant specifically for startups. This is a grant of up to £1,500, but again, is also being funded by UK Steel Enterprise. 

The business must be under 12 months old, or yet to launch. The purpose of the grant is either for rent, equipment purchases, IT, or websites/software. Up to 40% of the cost is funded, and is capped at projects costing £3,750.

The last grant on offer from the Newport Council City is the City Centre Property Enhancement Funding. This aims to bring underutilised commercial premises back to life, as well as revamping the space above them for residential purposes. 

These grants are for leaseholders and owners who are looking to breathe life back into their property. There are quite a few terms and conditions, but this is mainly due to the large amount on offer: up to £250,000.

The AGP offers support to SME businesses and high growth pre-revenue enterprises, believing that entrepreneurs can help entrepreneurs. 

Here, assistance comes in the form of digital support, face-to-face coaching, an entrepreneurial culture and a high growth programme. The eligibility requirements are quite stringent and require businesses to have fewer than 250 employees, grow turnover 20% per year (or achieve £2 million in growth over 3 years), generate 10+ jobs within 3 years, plus a couple of other terms as well. Sure, the eligibility rules are a little tight, but this is a great opportunity to network in an extremely positive and intelligent synergistic space.

Green Port Hull are offering grants in support of renewable energy, green technology and low carbon sectors. After proving to fit the bill, and show evidence that you need financial help for a specific project, you can receive a minimum of £10,000 from Hull City Council. This can be for modernising and expanding a current business, or for launching a new one.

The Rural Enterprise Fund gives aid to capital projects in order to develop new and existing commercial premises. This is equally to create new jobs and boost the local economy in rural areas. The maximum grant is £128,000, and is based on £20,000 per job that is created. If you’re a leaseholder, you must have been one for at least 7 years to be eligible. In some instances, this maximum grant can be increased.

Grants for Businesses in Scotland

Scotland is another country with many options for business grants. Here are some of the best funding providers looking to partner with Scottish enterprises…

RSA offers large grants for projects that will protect or create jobs in Scotland. Over 90% of the grants handed out are to SMEs, and they typically range between £100,000 and £250,000 (but grants are not restricted to these amounts). 

If your Scottish SME requires significant capital expenditure, but will still create jobs in the long run, you could be eligible for Aid for Initial Investment, whilst smaller capital spending will be under Aid For Job Creation. 

A word of warning: these projects must not cause unemployment in other areas (i.e. a trade off), and they must make commercial sense.

The National Lottery has a scheme that aims to specifically help people who face challenging circumstances in life. This refers to helping people regain control back in their life, tackle lonliness, discrimination and support children and families. 

Whilst this isn’t directly a business grant, it can be extremely helpful for those that would set up a business if it wasn’t for their challenging circumstances.

SMART: Scotland is a little more unique than most of the other grants available today. Instead of having to prove your project as being exceptionally sound and watertight, this grant actually encourages risk.

The grant covers two aspects of R&D: developing prototypes, and undergoing feasibility tests. The grant can be up to £100,000, accounting for 70% of the eligible costs for small enterprises.

The By Design Grant is designed to support the designing and development of new products and services. This covers the whole process of launching a new product/service: market research, design, developing prototypes and launch. 

The grant isn’t explicit in its maximum amount, but it defines an example on the website in which you can receive £6,000. Friendly reminder: to be eligible, you must be VAT registered.

Another grant by Scottish Enterprise is the Make It To Market Grant, which helps existing businesses expand internationally by penetrating new markets. If it’s your first time looking to enter international markets, then you could be eligible for a grant between £2,000 and £5,000.

Growth Fund grants range between £10,000 and £40,000. These grants, provided by VisitScotland, aim to match 50% of the funding for projects relating to tourism marketing.

More specifically, such marketing activity must encompass the Spirit of Scotland approach, and be designed to bring visitors from the rest of Scotland, the UK or abroad.

This Nestrans scheme is aimed at the development of travel awareness in Aberdeen City and Shire. This might mean developing an effective travel plan, improving sustainable travel and displaying innovation. 

The grant itself is up to £10,000, and doesn’t exclude for-profits or charities. The website generously explains exactly what they’re looking for in applications, too.

Only one application is needed to be in with a chance of gaining up to £150,000 in funding with Scottish EDGE. 

EDGE is openly more competitive than most other grants – seeking to find the most innovative, high-potential entrepreneurs in Scotland. So far, it has supported almost 400 businesses from 3,079 applications, with total awards accumulating over £15 million.

The Innovate Your Business scheme offers help in various forms to businesses based in The Highlands. Up to £15,000 is available, as well as support sessions and expert advice. The scheme is also keen to help with R&D projects too, hoping to “develop a strategy for future innovation”.

The CBFS helps bring creative projects to fruition, both large and small. This is reflected in the range of grant funding available – between £1,000 and £40,000

As you may expect from the name, this fund aims to encourage business sponsorship in The Arts. Whilst it’s only arts or cultural organisations that are eligible, they can apply for more than one grant within the same year.

Grants for Businesses in Northern Ireland

For those who are based in Northern Ireland, we think there are five very worthwhile regional grants to consider…

Two grants are up for grabs under the Invest NI scheme: Concept grants (up to £10,000) and Concept Plus grants (up to £35,000). These funds are aimed to support entrepreneurs who have an innovative vision which is commercially viable. 

Ideas might include concept and prototypes of a new product, business development, domain consultancy, employment costs for a clear output, and so on.

Up to £10,000 can be received through the Skills Advancement Fund by Invest Northern Ireland. However, use is restricted to staff training within manufacturing or internationally tradable services. 

You need to be a growing company in order to be eligible, with annual turnover being equal to or greater than £250,000 and a certain growth plan. The grant will cover up to 50% of external training costs.

Brexit Readiness Vouchers is a scheme by InterTradeIreland that aims to offer financial support and professional advice regarding Brexit matters. The amount available is £2000/€2250, and is only for SMEs with under 250 employees. 

Naturally, the assistance required must be directly relatable to Brexit.

Small, non-agricultural social enterprises in Northern Ireland may be eligible to apply for the Rural Business Investment Scheme. 

The enterprises must be based in rural areas of Strabane District and Derry City, and cannot be agricultural or food businesses. If you fit the bill, then you could access funding between £500 and £90,000 (up to 50% of project costs), as well as marketing grants of between £500 and £5,000. This marketing grant maximum is doubled if it’s an ecommerce project you’re applying with.

The DAERA forestry grants are aimed at rural development and sustainable management of existing forests.

Eligible costs include pre-commercial felling of immature trees, supply of seedlings and a few others that can be found in the booklet. Each project is limited to £10,000 for each application.

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A Complete Guide to UK Business Grants payment types top
  • Startups
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Bank Name Eligibility Free Banking Period
HSBC Up to £2M in turnover 12 months
Santander Up to 2 directors, owners or partners (all UK residents) N/A
NatWest Up to £2M in turnover N/A
Lloyds Bank Turnover less than £3m 6 months
Yorkshire Bank Turnover less than £2m 25 months
Metro Bank Turnover or balance sheet value less than £2m. At least 50% of shares owned by UK residents N/A
Cooperative Bank Over 18 year old and in the UK 30 months
Revolut Company must be registered and physically present in the EEA or Switzerland Free plan available
Starling Bank Fewer than 10 employees and less than £1.7m in annual turnover Free plan available
Anna Over 18 year old and be a UK resident 3 months
Tide Over 18 year old and limited company registered in the UK No monthly or annual fees
Bank NameEligibilityFree Banking Period
HSBCUp to £2M in turnover18 months
SantanderTrading less than 12 months and up to 2 directors, owners or partners (all UK residents)18 months
NatWestTrading less than 12 months with turnover less than £1m18 months
Lloyds BankTurnover less than £3m18 months
Yorkshire BankTrading less than 12 months with turnover less than £2m25 months
Metro BankTurnover or balance sheet value less than £2m. At least 50% of shares owned by UK residentsN/A
HandelsbankenRegistered company or sole trader based in the UKTailored to the business
Cooperative BankOver 18 year old and in the UK30 months
RevolutCompany must be registered and physically present in the EEA or SwitzerlandFree plan available
Starling BankFewer than 10 employees and less than £1.7m in annual turnoverFree plan available
AnnaOver 18 year old and be a UK resident3 months
TideOver 18 year old and limited company registered in the UKNo monthly or annual fees