Posted: Tue 22nd Nov 2022
Business grants are one of the most sought-after finance options for any business looking for funding.
Usually awarded by the government or a private organisation, grants are essentially free money and, unlike loans or other forms of finance, do not need to be repaid. Their aim is to give small businesses a helping hand.
Here are grants that you could be eligible for.
10 grants and tax relief available to small businesses right now
Innovate UK supports innovative UK businesses to realise the potential of new technologies, develop ideas and make them a commercial success. It runs several grant and loan schemes throughout the year.
While not technically a grant, research and development (R&D) relief can provide free funding if your business is trying to innovate in the science and technology sector.
You can claim this money if you want to research or develop an advance in your field, including for projects that weren't successful.
The government is providing up to £210m worth of voucher funding as immediate help for people experiencing slow broadband speeds in rural areas.
Small businesses can claim £4,500 against the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband connections.
Local people can apply for up to £2m to save pubs, community halls, gardens, sports clubs and other venues that are at risk of closure.
The Prince's Trust offers development awards to help younger people kickstart their business or access training courses.
SEIS is designed to help small companies under two years old and with less than 25 staff to raise money from investors. It does this by offering tax relief to individual investors who purchase shares in the business.
SEIS applies to investments of up to £250,000 in a tax year.
The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is designed to help more established businesses raise money to help them grow. It offers tax relief on investments of up to £1m in a tax year. That increases to £2m if the investment is in a knowledge-intensive company.
The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a voucher-based scheme that provides eligible businesses with support towards the upfront costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints.
All businesses can use it to help provision chargepoints for their staff or fleets. Charities and small accommodation businesses can further use it to provision chargepoints for their guests or visitors.
Some types of low-emission vehicles are eligible for a grant from the government, so that you can buy them at a reduced cost.
You do not apply for the grant. The seller includes it as a discount in the purchase price.
The Community Fund aims to bring a positive impact to local communities by building strong relationships, bringing people together, improving spaces in the local area, and supporting people as they reach their potential.
It contains many types of funds, from smaller grants between £300 and £10,000, to larger funding up to £500,000.
UnLtd finds, funds and supports social entrepreneurs - enterprising people with solutions that change our society for the better.
Depending on the stage of your business' development, UnLtd offers funding of up to £18,000.
Other sources of small business grants
There are many grant options available for small businesses, some of which are dependent on where you live in the UK.
Stay up-to-date on available grants by joining the Enterprise Nation small business grants group.
England: There are 38 regional Growth Hubs (led by the Local Enterprise Partnerships) that offer funding and grant support in your local area. The Department for Business and Trade also promotes available business grants on the GOV.UK website.
Scotland: Find Business Support gives business owners an overview of all funding and services offered by public-sector organisations across Scotland, conveniently in one place.
Wales: The finance locator on the Business Wales website allows you to search for funding and create alerts for finance and support for your business. It also provides helpful tips on the grant application process.
Northern Ireland: The Northern Ireland business support finder is a searchable database that can help you find local publicly-funded and not-for-profit sources of assistance you may be eligible for.
It's also a good idea to look at your local council's website – or simply speak to other business owners in your area who might be aware of available grants. Join an Enterprise Nation local meet-up to connect with them.