Where to find small business grants

It would be nearly impossible to list every grant scheme across the UK, let alone worldwide, but knowing where to look is half the battle. Read on for examples of existing schemes and potential avenues for your business.

Government grants

The British government has a wealth of support and finance available for homegrown businesses, and it’s possible that more initiatives will crop up in light of Brexit.

Innovate UK, for example, constantly puts out calls for new technologies. Its funding opportunities currently include detecting illicit substances in the post, crowdsourcing maps and automating Citizens Advice. Other government bodies to consider include:

  • Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
  • Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
  • Department for Education
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Department for International Trade

If you’re outside England, you might also want to try:

  • Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment – Northern Ireland
  • Business Scotland
  • Welsh Government
  • Enterprise Ireland

Local authority grants

Local authorities, agencies and organisations are a great place to look next. Many parts of the country have area-specific funds for the purpose of bolstering the local economy and creating jobs.

Local Enterprise Partnerships are boards made up of local authorities, businesses, educational institutions and the public sector. They work together in order to drive growth and job creation. There are 38 covering every part of England, including the Isle of Wight.

Scottish Enterprise lists a range of grants for Scottish businesses, while Wales has a plethora of grants specific to towns and cities.

To find schemes local to you, try the government’s official finance finder.

University business grants

Many universities offer funding to graduates; others offer services such as product testing. Brunel University, for example,offers Innovation Vouchers worth between £1,000 and £5,000 in product development for any business.

Loughborough University’s startup fund offers up to £5,000 to students and recent graduates, while the bank Santander holds annual Universities Entrepreneurship Awards across its university partners.

Industry grants

Industry-specific funding bodies are a great way to go, as they often offer perfectly-tailored mentorship and a huge network of businesses and customers. Three examples:

The UK Games Fund is a new initiative that funds indie game developers and also helps new devs to build their networks. Grants go up to £25,000.

WeWork’s Creator Awards offer up to $360,000 USD in funding for businesses, performers and charities – and its regions include the UK, Germany, China and Brazil.

The Hospital Club runs an annual Emerging Creatives programme. It includes funding, free club membership and mentorship for people in the arts.

Online business grants

A small but growing number of online-only entities are offering grants to startups. British Small Business Grants offers a monthly cash competition, while the Girlboss Foundation offers funding for female entrepreneurs.

Grants for women and young people

Finally, many organisations are working to make business a more representative place. We’ve already compiled lists of business grants for women and funding for young entrepreneurs to get you started.

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