26 April 2021

Pink piggy bank on a pink background

The seeds of your exciting new small business have sprouted into vibrant green shoots and are now strongly suggesting the potential of maturing into long-living grand oak trees.

That successful business is some way off though and to realise its promise, it will need some financial assistance.

A financial grant is a common route to securing fresh funding, but first-time business owners might not have the foggiest where to begin. However, that’s something we’re going to clear up right now…

Does my small business even need a grant?

Not necessarily. It doesn’t need to be stated that a small business can solely fund its own success over time. However, the funds unlocked by a grant can reduce start-up costs, accelerate growth, and help a business move into a serviced office.

Terms differ in almost every situation, but the beauty of a grant compared to a loan is that you don’t have to pay back the money. That doesn’t mean there are conditions though, with some grants being offered on the basis that a business will match the investment. For example, a business that has secured a £50,000 grant will also need to invest £50,000.

How can I find the right small business grant?

A good place to start is the UK Government, which offers a slew of financial support schemes for businesses.

Which scheme your business can benefit from really depends on its geographical location and industry, but you’ll be able to scope out suitable grants by using the UK Government’s business finance support tool.

Many businesses use these grants to cover the cost of moving into a serviced office, as well as acquiring machinery and equipment, office furniture, shop fittings, security equipment, business stationery, and operating marketing functions.

Where can I find grants for small businesses in England?

Close to 40 regional growth hubs are dotted throughout England, known collectively as the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) Network. These hubs bring together all the available business support to help business owners identify the most suitable support.

These partnerships between local authorities and local private sector businesses are designed to drive economic growth and job creation, improve infrastructure, upgrade into more suitable office space, and boost the workforce skillset within the local area.

To date, the network claims to have supported more than one million businesses, leveraged £15bn of private investment, and created in excess of 180,000 jobs. Find out more on the LEP Network here.

Where can I find grants for small businesses in Scotland?

Scottish small businesses can benefit from the Scottish Government’s Funding Opportunities, which provides access to over 600 funding options and grants.

There are certain conditions though. Grants must be tied to a specific goal or project and can only be used for this purpose. Similarly, funds can only be used to fund a fraction of the project, not the whole thing. Finally, small businesses in Scotland need to pay their costs upfront before claiming the grant money back later on.

Where can I find grants for small businesses in Northern Ireland?

In Northern Ireland, existing small businesses can receive financial help from one of the many schemes listed on Enterprise Ireland’s Established SMEs Funding section.

Pre-launch start-up businesses can also get an initial leg-up, courtesy of the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman’s Proof of Concept grant. Focusing on leading-edge technologies emerging from Northern Ireland’s Research Organisations, funding falls into two categories: a technology group offering up to £86,500 over 18 months, and a commercialisation strand (£26,000 over 24 months).

Where can I find grants for small businesses in Wales?

Small businesses based in Wales can benefit from one of the 1,100+ funds available through the Welsh Government’s funding locator.

Are there any special grants for young entrepreneurs?

You might be thinking about the Prince’s Trust, which had teamed up with NatWest in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis to offer grants of up to £5,0000 to people in the UK aged 18-30 who had started a business. Unfortunately, the scheme has now closed.

I’ve got a great business idea - what kind of grants can help me make it a reality?

The UK Government’s New Enterprise Allowance has helped create thousands of new businesses since its inception in 2013.

Successful applicants gain access to a business mentor, financial support of up to £1,274 (distributed weekly for six months) and may be able to apply for a loan of up to £25,000 to help with start-up costs. Applicants need to be receiving certain benefits, such as Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance, and the business idea will be assessed to ensure its viability.

We feel inclined to highlight that there’s no age restrictions on this one, with over-50s making up a quarter of successful applicants, while two-thirds are aged 25-49. Find out more on the New Enterprise Allowance here.

Here at FigFlex, we’re able to call upon more than 40 years of business development know-how, so we’re well placed to fuel your business’ growth.
Contact your centre manager to find out how we can help.

Image: Pawel Czerwinski/Unsplash

Category: Business Focus

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