It’s an increasingly difficult task prising cash away from banks. Only 43 per cent of business loan applications were approved in the first quarter of 2022 – an all-time low. In volatile times such as these, it is worth swotting up again on grants UK start ups and growth businesses of any description could be entitled to.
And it is worth a refresh. According to the FSB, one in five businesses lack awareness of growth funding options they can apply for. In February, the government even had to urge businesses to apply for the £850m still available in Covid-19 grants.
Whether your business is in the biotech, environmental or in the realm of exporting, here is a list of 10 business grants ready to lend a helping hand to growing businesses.
List of business grants for start ups and growth businesses
- Apprenticeship scheme
- Innovate UK Smart grants scheme
- Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)
- Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)
- Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme
- UK Tradeshow programme
- Plug-in grant for low-emission vehicles
- Grow It Award
- Wrap grant schemes
- Innovative Medicines Initiative
Apprentices are aged 16 and over, combining working with studying to gain experience and knowledge of a job or industry.
As an employer, you will need to search for an apprenticeship programme and find an approved training provider. You can receive funding from the government to help pay for the apprenticeship training and assessment.
R&D start-ups and SMEs can be eligible to apply for a slice of Innovate UK’s £25m fund for innovation that has the potential to significantly impact the UK economy.
To qualify, all R&D activity must be carried out in the UK and the business must have a vision to commercialise project results from the UK.
The SEIS scheme attracts funding of up to £150,000 into a knowledge-based company by offering its shareholders tax relief on their investment.
To be eligible, the business must not have gross assets totalling over £200,000 or have more than 25 full-time employees at the time the shares are issued.
Similar to SEIS, however the EIS investment cap is £5m over any 12-month period, the business must not have gross assets totalling more than £15m and have less than 250 full-time employees at the time the shares are issued.
As part of the effort to deliver faster broadband speeds across the UK, the government is subsidising the cost of installing gigabit broadband on the doorstep of a business.
SMEs in rural locations can get up to £3,500 funding and must be experiencing broadband speeds less than 100Mbps in an area where it is unlikely a gigabit capable network will be built in the near future.
For businesses exporting and looking to showcase their brand at trade shows internationally, the UK Tradeshow programme can help subsidise the cost of exhibiting effectively.
All successful applicants receive training in how to exhibit effectively at trade shows in general and the specific show they’re attending. Some businesses are granted £2,000 or £4,000 to cover exhibition space costs, stand costs, exhibition material and conference fees.
To be eligible, the business must be exhibiting for the first time or venturing into new markets and be turning over £250,000 to £5m a year.
To help lower emissions, vehicle manufacturers and dealerships have been given grants on some low-emissions vehicles, which can then be passed on for a business’s benefit. No applications are needed to receive the grant as the dealership will deduct this automatically upon purchase.
Visit the gov.uk website for a list of approved vehicles.
For social start-ups looking to scale, the Grow It Award provides tailored support, access to workshops and networks, and up to £15,000 in funding.
This is for businesses tackling a social issue and is already achieving “compelling performance” with a growth plan to scale nationally or internationally.
Wrap encourages the wider use of recycled materials through grants, loans and investments.
The organisation partners with The Royal Foundation to run the Earthshot Prize, awarding five one-million-pound prizes annually for the next 10 years to businesses which provide innovative solutions to environmental issues.
The aim of the Innovative Medicines Initiative is to speed up the development the next generation of vaccines, medicines and treatments – and improve patient access to them.
For SMEs in the biotechnology field, the organisation provides funding through peer-reviewed funding opportunities.