UK Small Business Grants and Funding Programs

There are various grants and funding programs available to support small businesses. These programs are designed to provide financial assistance, promote growth, and stimulate innovation.

Small Business Grants and Funding Programs in the UK:

Start Up Loans:

  • Start Up Loans is a government-backed program that provides loans and mentoring support to individuals looking to start a new business.
  • Loans of up to £25,000 are available, with a fixed interest rate and a repayment period of 1 to 5 years.
  • The program also offers access to free business resources and mentoring to help entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses.

Innovate UK:

  • Innovate UK is a government agency that offers funding and support for innovation-driven businesses.
  • They provide funding through various programs, including grants, loans, and competitions, to help businesses develop and commercialize innovative products, services, or processes.
  • Funding is available for businesses across different sectors, including technology, healthcare, and sustainability.

Regional Growth Fund (RGF):

  • The Regional Growth Fund is a government initiative that aims to support economic growth and job creation in specific regions of the UK.
  • The fund provides financial assistance, typically in the form of grants or loans, to eligible businesses looking to expand, invest, or create new jobs in designated areas.
  • The RGF is administered by local or regional authorities, and eligibility criteria and application processes may vary across different regions.

Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS):

  • EIS and SEIS are government-backed schemes that offer tax incentives to investors who invest in qualifying small and high-risk businesses.
  • Under these schemes, eligible businesses can raise funds through the issuance of shares, and investors can benefit from income tax relief, capital gains tax relief, and other tax advantages.
  • EIS is targeted at larger funding rounds, while SEIS is specifically designed for early-stage startups.

Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits:

  • R&D Tax Credits are a government incentive designed to encourage and support research and development activities undertaken by businesses.
  • Eligible businesses can claim tax relief on qualifying R&D expenditure, either as an enhanced deduction or as a cash repayment.
  • R&D Tax Credits can provide valuable financial support to small businesses engaged in innovative projects or seeking to improve existing products or processes.

Local Authority Grants:

  • Local authorities in the UK often provide grants and funding programs to support small businesses within their jurisdiction.
  • These grants may target specific sectors, such as tourism, retail, or technology, or focus on initiatives like business expansion, job creation, or sustainability.
  • The availability and criteria for local authority grants can vary, so it’s advisable to check with the relevant local authority or economic development agency.

Industry-Specific Grants and Programs:

  • Various industry-specific grants and funding programs are available to support businesses in specific sectors.
  • Examples include the Creative Industries Fund, Digital Innovation Fund, Exporting for Growth, and Energy Innovation Programmes.
  • These programs provide financial assistance, expertise, and networking opportunities tailored to businesses operating in sectors like creative industries, technology, international trade, and clean energy.

The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme:

  • The Prince’s Trust is a charity that offers support to young people aged 18 to 30 who want to start their own business.
  • The Enterprise Programme provides financial support in the form of low-interest loans, as well as business mentoring and training to help young entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses.

Social Enterprise Grants:

  • Social enterprises, which are businesses that aim to create social or environmental impact, can access specific funding programs tailored to their needs.
  • The Social Enterprise Support Fund, for example, provides grants and support to help social enterprises respond to the challenges posed by COVID-19.
  • Additionally, there are regional and sector-specific funds that support social enterprise development and growth.

Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI):

  • The SBRI program encourages small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop innovative solutions to specific public sector challenges.
  • Public sector organizations, such as government departments and agencies, issue competitive tenders for innovative products or services.
  • SMEs that successfully secure a contract receive funding to develop and deliver their solutions.

EU Funding (prior to Brexit):

  • Prior to the UK’s exit from the European Union, businesses could access various EU funding programs, grants, and loans to support their growth and development.
  • These funding opportunities covered a wide range of sectors and initiatives, including research and innovation, regional development, and environmental projects.
  • However, post-Brexit, the availability and eligibility criteria for EU funding programs may have changed, and businesses should explore alternative funding options within the UK.


  • Crowdfunding platforms provide a way for businesses to raise funds from a large number of individuals (the “crowd”) who believe in their products, services, or mission.
  • Through crowdfunding, businesses can offer rewards, equity, or debt in exchange for financial contributions from backers.
  • Crowdfunding platforms in the UK include Kickstarter, Crowdfunder, and Seedrs.

Angel Investors and Venture Capital:

  • Angel investors and venture capital firms provide funding to startups and growing businesses in exchange for equity or other forms of financial return.
  • These investors often seek high-growth potential and may offer additional expertise and guidance to support business growth.
  • Connecting with angel investor networks or venture capital firms can help businesses access funding and valuable support.

Grants for Training and Skills Development:

  • Businesses looking to invest in staff training and development may be eligible for grants and funding to support these initiatives.
  • The government and various organizations offer grants and incentives to help businesses improve the skills and capabilities of their workforce.
  • Examples include the Apprenticeship Levy, which supports the funding of apprenticeship training, and the Skills Support for the Workforce program, which provides grants for training in specific regions and sectors.
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