As a small business owner, or if you are considering starting your own business in the UK, you may curious about small business grants in the UK for 2021.
Finding the small business grants in the UK, can be a real big challenge, nearly requiring you to be a private investigator in order to dig through the good and the bad, in order to find the wide range of factors that determine eligibility. While it’s extremely hard to find these small business grants, it’s not impossible.
If you are looking for small business funding that your business doesn’t have to pay back, it’s worth taking the time.
Before we get into the few sources of where you can actually find these small business grants in the UK for 2021, let’s discuss a few critical points.
The difference between small business grants and small business loans
In a general sense, a small business loan that can be provided by the government is simply money that your business can use (borrow), but will have to pay back within an agreed upon time frame; with interest and with certain conditions. While there are many different types of government loans for small businesses in 2021; some may be a great way to start your small business; and these can include:
- Low interest or no interest loans
- Conditionally repayable loans
- Government guaranteed loans
As for the small business grants, in most cases they are considered “free money”, which you do not need to repay.
In some cases, there are different government grant types as well, which can include:
- One time and renewable grants
- Partial contributions
- Non-repayable government grants
To get a better idea of what small business grants or government loans you may be eligible for, the Funding Calculator Tool is great start.
Keep in mind that while the small business grants are always the preferred funding method, certain grants may require a partial contribution requiring you to put money upfront, to match the government funding. For example, if you are given a £5,000 grant, you may need to have £5,000 of your own to invest into the business as well (non-borrowed funds).
Small Business Startup Grants
While there are a number of small business startup grants across the UK, not everyone is eligible. It is important to take into consideration that grants are given for specific purposes, to specific businesses within specific locations and industries. To support the greater good.
With a range of startup business grants being available, it really does depend on the sector of business that you are in. No better way to determine your eligibility then to speak to a funding expert.
A few of the popular options small business startups consider, include The Lottery Heritage Fund, Innovate UK and Research and Development Tax Reliefs.
Keep in mind that each region with the UkK may have grants available to fund specific businesses and different industries.
To help you locate some of the small business startup grants and government loan programmes locally and within your region.
The Government Funding Guide For Small Business will tell you about the various sources of funding in your region, to see how the funds are provided, who is eligible and the critical components you need within your own business in order to increase your chances of getting funding for your small business.
The guides are divided by the region your small business is in, so be sure to click on the one that best suits your needs:
- Yorkshire and the Humber Government Funding Guide
- Wales Government Funding Guide
- Northern Ireland Government Funding Guide
- Scotland Government Funding Guide
- West Midlands Government Funding Guide
- Greater London Government Funding Guide
- East of England Government Funding Guide
- South East England Government Funding Guide
- North West Government Funding Guide
- North East Government Funding Guide
- East Midlands Government Funding Guide
- South West England Government Funding Guide
Small Business Grants For Young Entrepreneurs
If you are aged 18 to 30 within the UK and are considering starting or expanding your small business, there are small business grants that you may be able to benefit from as a young entrepreneur.
Many of the government agencies that provide grants to young startups, provide not only funding and resources, but also provide training and mentoring services.
While not everyone will be eligible, those that are, often get the small business grants to help fund initial startup costs, wages, training..etc
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of the available grant programmes across the UK are going above and beyond to help support not only young business owners, but small business owners in general. Some programmes such as the Entreprise Relief Fund, will offer grants to self employed people and business owners aged between 18 and 30, in the UK – from the £5 million fund.
The key points to consider is to have a dedicated business plan, that is well put together and clearly breaks down the funding needs you have, with supporting evidence.
If you require assistance and step bys tep guidance to develop your plan, the Business Plan Builder Tool is a great option for you.
Where can I find small business grants in the UK?
To start the funding search, it’s not an easy task.
Each government agency in the UK (and there are MANY), has it’s own source, directory, database, or whatever you want to call it, of government funding options, including government grants, government loans, tax breaks, tax credits, bursaries..etc
To find these options, you have to dedicated some serious time and get to research.
The government and the various agencies, while they make it all publicly available, it can take days, if not weeks to find the info.
To speed up the process, you can use the UK Startups Funding Database.
Not only does it have all of the small business grants in the UK listed, all in one place, but it has all of the other options as well.
Simply sit back, click on your location, select your industry, the type business you’re in, your specific funding needs and click go!
While you can do your own search, if you are a member of the UK Startups Platform, an expert can do the search for you, and locate any and all options you can apply for.
There’s also more information on the grants available in the different nations of the UK on the following portals.
Small Business Grants in England
As a small business startup in England, you may be entitled to a number of different government grants, government loans and tax programmes.
In most cases, the funds that are available help with a number of things, however most specifically with:
- Research and Development
- Improve cash flow
- Business set up costs (business plan, feasibility study, market research…etc)
- Consultation and business advice
- Developing a new product or service
- Purchase and improve equipment/tools and supplies
- Purchase land and leasehold improvements
- Hiring and training of staff
- Energy efficiency and the environment
- Start or to expand export capabilities
These funds while not always available for every business, are often allowed in such industries as:
- Agriculture and Fishing
- Energy and Water
- Manufacturing and Engineering
- Transport, Warehousing and Distribution
- Construction and Property Services
- Biotechnology, Medical and Chemical
- Creative Services and Media
- Professional and Other Business Services
- Consumer Products, Personal Services, Retail and Wholesale
- Recreation, Culture and Tourism
- Hotels and Restaurants
- Information Technology and Telecom
If you are unsure if your business fits into any of these industries, or if you’re not understanding if you can get funded- try the funding calculator tool to determine if there are options for your business specifically.
Ideally you want to ensure that you understand the various funding factors as well before you apply.
When considering funding options for your business it is important to note that each government funding agency has it’s own funding factors. These factors used in determining eligibility depend on the programme, however generally the ones that may be considered include:
- Your business model
- The industry you are in
- The location of the business
- The specific funding needs you have
- The amount of funding needed
- Your age, gender, partners
- Credit score, investment level, available cash on hand
- Time of the year applications are done
- The details of the business plan
If the above sounds like you or something you are confident in being able to provide and consider, government funding may be right for you.
Small business grants in Scotland
No matter is you have a small business in England, or Scotland, government funding – and more specifically small business grants, are available.
The Scottish Entreprise, has helpful funding options.
These funds for example;
must be tied to a specific goal or project and can only be used for this purpose
can only be used to fund a percentage of a project, not the entire project
doesn’t need to be paid back
you pay your costs upfront, and then claim the grant money back later, which is much like a tax credit.
If you are unsure if your business is eligible, our experts can help. Contact an expert now.
Small business grants in Northern Ireland
Much like the small business grant options in Scotland and England, Norther Ireland has it’s own options.
Certain options are available via Enterprise Ireland, which will list a number of ways to get you as the business owner financial assistance.
Keep in mind that most funding agencies will ask to see a business plan; 3 years of financial figures or forecast/projections as well as to ensure you have a clear understanding of your funding needs and how the funds would be used for.
Small business grants in Wales
If your small business is located in Wales, you can find options via the Welsh government’s Funding Locator to find and apply for various grants.
These funds in Wales can be provided by the Welsh government directly, the UK government sources, form local authorities and even charitable organizations.
When looking at any small business grants in Wales, the same idea applies – consider the funding terms, the funding criteria and get help!