Available Grants for Start-Ups and Small Businesses

Business Grants for Small Businesses
When you are starting your own small business, you will need to have a solid understanding of your upfront costs and regular outgoings. A business plan and financial forecast will help you to identify your financial costs.

Finance and Support for Your Business

Take into account the cost of stock, operating costs and staff. See our article ‘What You Need to Start a Small Business’ for more information on business plans and other things you need to consider when starting a business. Once you have identified your start-up fees and ongoing operating costs you will have insight into how much capital you will need to start and sustain your business. There are several ways of financing your business, you could introduce capital of your own from personal savings, look for investors, apply for a business loan and apply for business and government grants.

There are many ways you can access a business loan or grant for starting your business but first you need to define the difference between the two and conclude which will be most suited to you as a start-up.

Business Grants and Government Grants

A grant is a sum of money given to an individual or business for a specific project or purpose. A grant may cover the entire cost or cover only part of the total costs involved, for example match funding. The main benefit of a grant is that you do not need to repay the amount received, however there are often limits placed on how you can spend the grant, and as it will only usually cover part of the total cost involved it can’t be relied on to fully cover the cost of beginning your business.

In the UK there are hundreds of grants available for start-ups and small businesses. Many are aimed at specific industries and business so take a look through the list below to see if any are suitable for you and your business:

Innovation Grants

Innovation grants are available from a number of funded bodies and are delivered to help and support new, innovative ideas and growth. Take a look at Innovate UK for example.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund

The National Lottery Heritage fund is a grant provided to specific enterprises that help to sustain and transform UK’s heritage. For example, parks, the arts, historical locations/properties, museums, cultural traditions. Find out more about The National Lottery Heritage Fund here.

R&D Tax Credits

R&D tax credits are offered by the government to encourage companies and businesses to carry our research and development that are under the science or technology umbrella. Find out about R&D Tax Credits here.

The Prince's Trust

The Prince’s Trust provides funding, resources, training and access to mentors for young people between the ages of 18 and 30 who are planning to start their own business. Find out about The Prince’s Trust here.

Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs)

LEPs are partnerships between local councils and authorities and businesses that provide business funding in local areas. There are 38 LEPs in England, search for your local LEP for more information on what funding is available for you. For West Yorkshire, see the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership website here.

More on Government Grants

If you’re looking for a government grant in particular, one of the best and safest places to find the right government grant for your business is through the GOV.UK website, visit their website to see their full list of grants.

Business Loans

A business loan is an agreed amount of money borrowed by a business to raise finance. You need to repay the loan with interest, over an agreed period. The main benefit of a loan is that there are no restrictions on how you spend the money across the business. However, if the business cannot for whatever reason repay the loan, the provider can take legal action in order to reclaim the value of the loan, outstanding interest, fees, and costs. A business must also be able to demonstrate that they can repay the loan, which can prove to be an obstacle for businesses starting from the ground up. We recommend visiting the British Business Bank website for more information and details.

A loan can be a risk, it is a big commitment to make. It is important to think carefully about accessing a loan and always make sure you have shopped around to find the best loans to suit your needs, consider all of your options before proceeding with a loan, and always consider whether you are able to repay the amount.

Making the Right Choice for Your Business

For a business building from the ground up, with no prior experience or fundamentals, it may be more beneficial to determine your goals and find a grant that can cover the cost of those goals. Bear in mind that this grant may not completely cover the cost of your plans, however it means you don’t have to worry about repaying the money. There are all kinds of different grants to cover different kinds of business projects and purposes.

For a more established business that has begun trading and is looking to grow the business, a loan can be beneficial though there are grants and funding available to non-start ups and businesses with years of trading.

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