Applying for Small Business Grants Across the UK
You may need some help getting started with your new business venture, and often this will involve looking and applying for small business grants. Here, we’ve provided some advice on the grants that you can apply for here in the UK that could soon see your business ideas made into a reality.
What is a Small Business Grant?
A grant is a sum of money given to a business by the government, another business, an organisation or charity, or a philanthropist for a particular purpose (e.g. research funding). In most cases, the money is non-repayable and given without any expectation that it should be returned further down the line. A small business grant, therefore, is grant funding given with the intention of helping a company to grow and become more successful.
When you secure a small business grant, you’ll be in a position where you won’t have to give away any equity in your company, which is often a condition of acquiring investment in your firm. This makes grants that are designed for small businesses an attractive alternative form of financing.
Different types of grant funding may be available to you, depending on a number of different factors. Often, financial support will be aimed at specific regions, certain industry sectors or types of businesses, or particular community groups. Just as an example, you may find that some small business grants are only available to women, to those of a certain age group, or to those looking to set up environmentally friendly initiatives.
Some small business grants may only be available to you if you are willing to invest an equal amount in your firm as well. These conditions are all reasons you should conduct careful research and know exactly what you’re looking for, and what you’re likely to get, before you apply.
Types of Grants to Help Your New Business
There are a number of different grants and support schemes available all year round for companies that are just starting out, with new grants being offered by different businesses and organisations on separate occasions. Generally, these start-up grant types can be broken down into different categories:
These are, more often than not, what people are imagining when they hear the phrase “small business grant”. These are given over to a new business directly, with the intention of covering the cost of a specific project.
Resources and training grants
These are grants specifically given to cover the cost of growth and development, as many firms just starting out won’t have the resources or funding available to develop projects by themselves.
The UK Government offers a number of different tax relief schemes for small businesses, in order to reduce the cost of paying while you are still getting started.
While these aren’t technically small business loans (as they will eventually need to be paid back), they can offer their own advantages as they usually come with more generous repayment terms and lower interest rates than regular loans from banks or building societies.
Finding Small Business Grants in the UK
Whenever you’re looking for grant funding, it may benefit you to start by looking locally. The UK Government website can offer you an online tool that helps you to find new grants. These can then be filtered through until you find the ones you are looking for. There is even an option to pick through these grants based on your region.
If you’d like to learn more about this method of choosing grants to make applications for, take a look at the government page on finding finance and support for your local business.
You can also find out more about getting small business grants in each of the UK nations by going to these websites:
- Business Wales Finance Locator (run by the Welsh Government)
Getting Government Grants for a Small Business
The UK Government has a number of grants, schemes, and loans available to support businesses across the country. The first of these that you may try applying for will be the Start-Up Loan. This unsecured personal loan will range in size from £500 to £25,000, but you will need to meet certain criteria to apply:
- You must be over the age of 18
- You must live in the UK
- You either have or you are planning on starting a UK-based business. If your business is already running, it should have been trading for under 2 years (less than 24 months)
Start-Up Loans have a fixed interest rate of 6% per year, and this may be paid back over a period of one to five years, with no application fee and no early repayment fee. To find out how to apply for this or any other new grants which may have recently been introduced, please see the UK Government website.
Small Business Grants if You are Unemployed
There are government grants available for those who are unemployed through the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA). If you’re eligible for this, you’ll receive mentoring and an allowance that could soon see you becoming self-employed.
To be eligible, you must:
- Be over the age of 18
- A lone parent, or sick or disabled and on Income Support
- Receiving Universal Credit, Job Seeker’s Allowance, or Employment and Support Allowance (or have a partner who does)
To apply for this grant, you will need to have a business plan that’s been approved by a mentor. If successful, you may be given a grant of up to £1,274 over 26 weeks.
Taking on an Apprentice
If you’re planning on taking an apprentice for your business, you may be able to get a grant fund from the government to train them. You won’t pay the apprenticeship levy if your pay bill is less than £3m. This means that you will get 5% towards the costs involved with training a new apprentice for your firm.
The government will then pay its 95% share directly to the training organisation. You’ll then have to pay your own share directly, according to the schedule you’ll have previously agreed with the training organisation. It’s possible to apply for this funding on the government website.
Businesses that create jobs for 16-24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of becoming unemployed also have a chance of being granted funding through the government’s Kickstart Scheme.
Getting Grants from Large Organisations
There are also a large number of businesses and organisations which may be able to get involved and supply the grant fund you’ve been looking for. The success of your application may depend on the sector you’re going into, however.
Some of the large businesses and organisations you will find that are prepared to help small businesses in their development include:
- Facebook offers its own support programme for businesses based around the world
- Innovate UK can help by providing government grants, which allow new business owners and others making application to “develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base”
- The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Getting Small Business Grant Funding from Trusts
You will find a number of trusts available across the country that can offer financial support that can help you grow your business.
If you are aged between 18 and 30, you may find a grant fund is available if you make an application to the Prince’s Trust. Founded in 1976 by the Prince of Wales, this trust is dedicated to helping young people from all walks of life and they could help you by providing the funding and resources needed to get your business off the ground. They can also provide training and mentoring where needed.
To find out how to apply, please visit the trust’s website.
How to Apply for Small Business Grants Successfully
There’s never any guarantee that you will get the grant funding you want exactly when you want it, as there are thousands of applications being sent out at any one time in the UK. However, there are a few things you can do to maximise your chances of success:
- Narrow down your options, and find the grants you know you’ll be eligible for
- Research the chosen grant, assess your chances, read up on any possible objectives of the grant and check that the time frame of the grant would meet your needs
- Ensure you have the necessary funds in place if the grant requires you to match the money provided
- Make your application with a thorough, well-thought-out business plan, a clear work plan, and an outline of your business history
When making applications, you should always ensure that you’re addressing the objectives of the grant and explaining how the awarding body will be meeting its own goals by supporting your business.
Will You Need Premises for Your New Business?
If you’re just getting off the ground with your new business and you’d like the money you’re making to go that little bit further, you might find that you can save on costs by renting an office space instead of buying. This is because any extra fees involved should be taken care of on your behalf, whether you’re looking at building maintenance fees or the cost of setting up phone lines.
By renting office space through us, you’ll not only be receiving this service ‒ you’ll also be guaranteeing partnership with a firm that wants to help you invest in your company’s future. We’re committed to providing a personalised service that supports new business developments and growing firms who are looking to reach new heights of success. With us at your side, you’ll be setting yourself up in a space that reflects your company’s ethos and personality in no time at all.
If you’re only in the earliest stages of putting your business plan together and you need a meeting room to host and impress any potential investors, we’ll be happy to lend you the space you need. Contact us today and we can discuss any details with you in plenty of time before the date of your meeting.
*Reminder: At Halkin, we’re ready and fully prepared to provide clients with virtual office spaces in the time of the pandemic, offering a working solution on their ideal platform so their businesses can continue to run as they need. To find out more about what we’re doing to handle COVID-19, please get in touch with our team.