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The best UK small business grants

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Last editedMay 20212 min read

Big dreams without funding to match? Don’t worry, there are plenty of grants out there for entrepreneurs to realise their dreams – here are just a few.

What is a small business grant?

A small business grant is different from a loan, because you don’t have to pay it back. That’s a pretty important detail to a small company that can do without another bill hanging over their heads. Some grants will ask for something in return, like having you match the offer like-for-like, but there are many grant options available, so you’ll likely be able to find something that suits your circumstances.

Are there restrictions on small business grant funding?

There are different requirements for each type of grant, depending on which one you apply for. Some, for example, are designed to encourage young people to get into business, so they are not open to anyone over 30 years old. Other small business grant funding schemes specifically cater to people who are on financial support such as Universal Credit or Job Seeker’s Allowance.

Precisely how to apply for a small business grant will be decided by whoever is providing the grant, so you should first decide what it is you want funding for. Some grants may need proof that it will be used towards a very particular business goal, like creating and marketing a new product.

2021’s best business grants UK

New small business grants are being offered all the time, but here are some of the best ones you might want to consider.

1.  Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme

Offering government grants for startup businesses, the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, or SEIS, can offer a maximum of £150,000. You must have less than 25 full-time employees and not be part of a partnership.

2.  The National Lottery Heritage Fund

One of the UK’s widest-reaching funders, the National Lottery will give priority to projects that support the local community. You can be funded for anything from £3,000 to £5 million. There are a range of categories you can also apply for if your business works to improve nature and woodland.

3.  Innovate UK

Another option for government grants for small business, UK companies can apply to Innovate UK. This funding for small business grants UK entrepreneurs with the means to pursue testing and development of new services and products. The application process is relatively detailed, so you will need more than a vague idea of a new product before you apply for a small business grant.

4.  Arts Council England

It’s not all about corporate business, Arts Council England supports businesses with creative endeavours. You can secure between £1,000 and £100,000 to help fund creative projects and cultural initiatives such as art galleries or theatres.

Other government grants for small business UK

You don’t have to be at the start of your journey or specifically looking to reach a business target in order to secure a grant from the government. For example, you can receive grant money by bringing in an apprentice to your company and providing training. Not only can this help you get some young, fresh ideas into your team, as well as lend a helping hand to young people wanting to learn, it’s also a great way to boost your overall company culture by doing more for the community around you.

Other options for funding

If you find that no grant suits your needs, then you can consider a loan. Start Up Loans is a great alternative to government grants for startup businesses. You have to pay your loan back, but the interest rate is fixed at 6%, with a generous payment term and 12 months of free mentoring. Government-backed, you borrow up to £25,000 and there are also added discounts for loan customers with brand partners.

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