Are you a SME in need of a cash injection?

How could Grants and R & D Tax Credits help grow your business?

With the uncertainty of the Country’s economic position, businesses are looking for help to remain strong in order to come out the other end in good shape. With more blue chip companies moving production to overseas and/or closing production in the UK for whatever reason, the SME business community are looking for help and support to get through the tough times. With money hard to come by via the traditional methods (banks etc), there are other creative ways to fund growth and development.

Small business grants are good sources of funding available to all types of SME’s. The majority of business grants are funded by national, local and European government to support deprived areas, to stimulate technological advance through research and development and to make the economy (local and national level) more competitive in a specific sector. These grant schemes look to empower SME’s to grow the economy and at the same time create jobs.
Grant funding/awards usually range from £500 to £500,000, a wide range I know. The criteria for each grant scheme varies greatly but if you think along the lines of: the more substantial the grant funding award, the more complex the conditions and the process of applying, then you are along the right lines. Many grants are also match funded, meaning that to be eligible for a grant award the applying business must be able to raise internally or externally finance to provide between 10% and 70% of the overall project cost (the grant providing the rest). Still a great boost when you need it.
So bare with me whilst I try to cover some of the many grants available below. Some will be right for your business, some won’t. The list covers private and government business grants with details on each including eligibility, funding amounts and other useful information.
Access to Work Funding
Coverage: National
Age: Over 16
Grant: up to £10,000 approx
The Access to Work Funding scheme provides financial support to disabled persons who have a paid job, are about to return to a paid position or start a business. With starting a business in mind, if reasonable employer adjustments have been made by your employer and you have further needs, then the fund can support you in financing special equipment for work or transport in getting to and from a work location.
To be eligible you must have a health condition or disability that makes it difficult for you to carry out or travel to or from your job, you must be over 16 years of age and live in the UK (Northern Ireland has a different scheme). No limit specified for funding (assumed maximum below £10,000).
Apprenticeship Grant
Coverage: National
Age: 16 – 18 year olds for the apprenticeship
Apprenticeship grants support work and training designed to meet the needs of employers. They take 1-4 years to complete and bring together practical training with job-based learning. The quantity of funding depends on your business area/criteria met, with funding for 16-18 years in some cases beginning at 100%. Generally, under the current scheme if you do not pay the apprenticeship levy (you’d only pay this if your payroll is over £3 million) then your eligible to cover 95% of the cost of training and assessing apprentices via government funding.
Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF)
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: from £0 to £5,000+
The AHF established in 1986 is dedicated to promoting and supporting the conservation and re-use of historic buildings to the advantage of local communities across the UK. With this overall objective in mind, AHF is one of the UK’s leading social investors offering a range of grants, loans, advice and much more.
For a project to be eligible for a grant, it must have the potential to create significant economic and social benefits for a deprived or in need community. You must be able to demonstrate the social and heritage impact of your project also be registered as a charity or social enterprise with a limited liability structure. You also need to prove that you have a clear and attainable roadmap to project competition, its advisable to speak to an AHF grants officer before making an application online. Grant funding is available between £0 – 5,000 and £5,000+ (the smaller grant takes six weeks to get a decision with larger applications being decided on quarterly by the board. Applications that are already matched funded to 50% or above are given priority).
Arts Council England Funding
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: between £1,000 and £100,000
The Arts Council run a rolling grants program to support cultural, art, theatre, event and other creative initiatives, it is reasonably substantial and is open for application by both organisations and individuals (there is no limitation on for-profit companies).
The Art Council grant scheme is perfect for organisations who are undertaking creative projects as part of their primary activity for instance theatre companies, art galleries and more. To apply, you will need to create an account with the Arts Council website, create your profile, after this you will have to wait for your account to verify, then take an eligibility questionnaire and start your application. It is not a quick grant program with answers beyond application taking 6 – 12 weeks, and it is complicated.
The Arts Council England Funding programme offer between £1,000 and £100,000 (Grant requests of £15,000 or below take six weeks or less to get a decision, grants over £15,000 take 12 weeks or more to get a decision).
Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme
Coverage: National
With a focus on the digital economy to current and future growth, the British Government are trying to increase the number of businesses who can access high-speed broadband and internet. The Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme is part of that initiative and as such offers subsidies to business for installation of broadband if they cannot get access to affordable internet providing a minimum speed of 2mb. This grant is most useful for companies in remote areas who do not have to access to standard broadband or fibreoptic, allowing you to avoid paying for expensive and comparatively slow satellite internet. You can get up to £350 in funding towards broadband infrastructure.
Biffa Award
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: up to £199,000
Biffa Award gives grants to community projects near landfill sites. They build communities and transform lives. The eligibility varies based on the area your project is in, check the website for more specific details. Up to £199,000 in total project cost (typical grant sizes are not exampled but assume some level of match funding is required above small grants levels).
Biomedical & Energy Catalysts
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: from £150K to £10 million, 60% matched funding
The Catalyst grant programme is designed to fund initiatives invested in creating new knowledge or developing groundbreaking/innovative products, services or processes. Innovate UK runs two different Catalyst Programs for UK businesses involved in Biomedical and Energy.
To be eligible for a grant you must be a UK business, thinking of starting a UK business, working in one of the two Catalyst areas and be working with a fellow business or research partner on the project. There are four core stages of funding, including feasibility award, Primer Award (prototype), Early-Stage Award (Testing) and Late-Stage Award (More advanced testing).
The Catalyst programme can fund up to 60% of total costs with an overall grant award of between £150,000 and £10,000,000. The funding levels vary on the stage of your business and project. Awards typically run three times a year and are open to application at varying times of the year.
British Council Grants
Coverage: National
Age: Various
Grant: Various
The British Council issue grants on a rolling basis through the Newton Fund. The Newton Fund fosters innovation and research partnerships between players in different by providing grant funding for research, workshops and travel. In this pursuit, the fund issues funding calls/programmes on a rolling basis, these programmes have different criteria and focus on various countries/endeavours. You will find a list of the latest Newton Fund programmes here,
Funding amounts given to grant recipients vary depending on the individual grant.
Business Growth Grant
Coverage: Mansfield District, Nottinghamshire, England
Age: N/A
Grant: up to £2,500
This Business Growth Grant is for slightly more established businesses who can produce a solid business plan and create at least one full-time job as a result of the project and grant. The grant can be used to pay for:
 • land and building refurbishment
 • buying machinery and equipment
 • for research and development work
 • training staff to implement the growth plan
 Up to £2,500 in funding is available.
Business Rates Relief
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: 0 – 100% rate relief
Many businesses pay business rates to their local council, and many are eligible for discounts in the form of business rates relief. Despite the fact, many discounting schemes are often unknown and vary council to council how you claim. There are several core types of business rates relief which can reduce or even exempt your business from paying business rates including small business rates relief, hardship relief, enterprise zone relief, charitable relief and rural rate relief. 0 – 100% reduction in business rates payable possible. Check with your local council.
Collaborative Research and Development
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: from £25,000 to £5m
The Collaborative grants scheme endeavours to push forward the boundaries of technology by providing significant grant funding to fund/accelerate research and development programmes of UK organisations developing new products, services or processes.
To qualify for collaborative R&D grants, you must be a UK research organisation or business, be working in science, technology or engineering industries and be collaborating with a fellow research partner or company.
Collaborative Research and Development grants can cover up to 60% of total cost and be between £25,000 and £5,000,000 in amount.
CRACK IT Challenges
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: up to £1m over 3 years
The CRACK IT Challenges are a series of grants in the form of challenges supporting a partnership between educational organisations and SME’s in solving business and scientific challenges while delivering economic benefit (the rapid researching and commercialisation of new technologies in effect).
The principal funder of the grants scheme is the NC3R’s (National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research), the challenges are developed by NC3R’s and programme sponsors. You can apply for a single phase challenge, a double stage challenge or even submit a challenge idea. Depending on the challenge contract, the funding award can be up to £1,000,000 over three years.
Energy Entrepreneurs Fund
Coverage: National
The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund is a grant funding programme to support the advancement and presentation of cutting-edge technologies, processes and products in the core sectors of power production, electricity and heat storage and energy efficient.
The scheme overall seeks the advancement of energy technology by assisting SME’s monetarily as well as with other benefits, including incubation space and expert support. Phase 6 of the fund has recently been launched and is over £10,000,000.
To be successful, applicants will need to present hard evidence to support their case for funding. This will include but not be limited to the likely impact of their project on 2050 low carbon targets, the scope and precise nature of the business opportunity, the value for money and further cost reduction and the overall technical viability of the project as well as a detailed roadmap for development — up to £1,000,000 in funding available.
Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)
Coverage: National
Age: Mid to later stage companies
Grant: No limit
EIS is a tax relief scheme investment that is focused on supporting mid to later stage companies. Approved businesses can get their investors back a hefty amount of funding in tax benefits. You can apply for the Enterprise Investment Scheme here.  Investors can claim up to 30% back in tax on investments (up to £1million per person/investor in one tax year). Investors can also defer capital gains tax on such shares.
Enterprising North West Leicestershire
Coverage: NWL District
Age: N/A
Grant: £1,000 to £75,000
In June 2019, North West Leicestershire District Council launched a new round of grant funding to support the growth of small and medium sized businesses across the District and within our towns and local centres.
Funding will be available through two funds from June 2019 until March 2020.
EUREKA Eurostars
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: up to 360,000 Euros, 60% matched funded
The EUREKA Eurostars programme is a European Union funding project led locally by Innovate UK. Eurostars grants provide funding for the development and research of innovative services, products or processes. You can work with partners in other European projects to collaborate on funding proposals.
To be eligible for a Eurostars grant, you must be a SME in the UK, be working in the tech industry and have the intention of collaborating with other European companies. The Eurostars programme can 60% match-funded grants with up to 360,000 Euros in funding available.
Feasibility Studies
Coverage: National
Age: New ideas
Grant: 75% grant funded
Feasibility studies grants will support you in testing a new business idea to see if it will work; this includes new product development, new process development or business model development and service development. To qualify, you must be a United Kingdom-based research organisation or business and be able to showcase your final project at a national collaboration event.
Fit For Nuclear
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: unknown
Developed by Nuclear AMRC, Fit For Nuclear is a programme that works with manufacturing firms to be ready for bidding to carry out work in the civilian nuclear supply chain in the UK. The overall plan culminates in making a funding application for a grant.
The scheme is aimed at Companies with no atomic experience and that are involved in high-level precision mechanical engineering, supply instrumentation and control, electrical components or production of other manufactured devices for nuclear plant operation, construction or decommission.
The programme is eligible for businesses that have ten employees or more than £16,000.000 in turnover annually. The overall programme will take 12 – 18 months to complete. The funding amount is not stipulated.
Forestry Commission
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: from £1,000 to £9m
The Forest Commission runs a range of funding and grant schemes designed to expand, protect and promote the sustainable management of woodlands in British society. These grants are highly focused on businesses and organisation involved in land management, and woodland, details of open funding schemes can be found below.
Forestry Innovation Fund (DEFRA) – The Forestry Innovation Fund is a public fund put together by DEFRA with more than £1,000,000 to fund projects that promote the growth of the forestry industry within applicant organisations local region.
Country Stewardship – As part of the RDPE program, the Countryside Stewardship Scheme comprises nearly £900,000,000 in grants and funding opportunities that will be made available to UK woodland managers and farmers for the foreseeable future. This fund is to support farmers and woodland managers to look after the environment including in areas such creating new woodland, solving tree health issues, act in support of management plans for the government and improve existing woodlands.
Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG) – WCPG provides contributions in the form of grants to land managers collecting and analysing information for productive multi-purpose woodland proposals including any impacts on water, biodiversity, historic environment and more. To be eligible the applicant business or individual will need at least 10 hectares of land, for 70% or more of species in the proposed area to be productive and for at least one woodland block on the land to be more than 10 ha with any further blocks being a minimum of 5 hectares. The land applied for must also be in the England. The Woodland Creation Planning Grant can offer £1,000 for initial land assessment and data collection. With a further £150 per hectare (the initial £1000 is incorporated into the overall payment).
Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: up to £2,500
With the government committing in recent years to turn Britain into an entirely fibre based country, the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme was launched to support that objective. The scheme can be used by local businesses (small in size) or local communities to partially and in some cases completely offset the cost of installing a gigabit-capable internet line/connection.
Small businesses can get up to £2,500 in funding to cover the cost of having a Gigabit connection installed locally (you can apply as an individual business or part of a group). Residents can also apply for up to £500 for the same purpose. Additional funding is available for premises in particularly hard to reach places. You can view the full criteria and terms for the Grant here.
Grow It Awards
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: up to £15,000
The Grow It Awards are for social entrepreneurs who are focused on growing their venture and are seeking tailored support, expertise and further funding (this award replaces the Unltd previous program of Fast Growth and Build It Awards).
To be eligible, you will need to meet the Unltd criteria as an entrepreneur and as a venture, as well as a monetary award if successful you will get expert advice, access to investors, corporations and other entrepreneurs coupled with 12 months free coaching. The Grow It awards offer to fund up to £15,000.
Growth Vouchers Programme
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: various
The Cabinet Office Behavioural Insights Team in collaboration with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) run the Growth Vouchers programme. The programme offers to cover the costs of expert advice needed by a business from individual and group consultancies in the private sector. The advice areas covered under the program including digital technology, attracting customers, marketing, recruiting, empowering staff, enhancing leadership skills, management training, raising external finance and managing company finances.
Most small businesses are eligible for the Growth Vouchers Programme; you will need to fill out paperwork in advance and afterwards to claim back money spent on consultancy. The Growth Vouchers Programme offers varying amounts of funding from year to year.
Heritage Lottery Fund Start-up Grants
Coverage: National
Age: New Business
Grant: varies
Heritage Lottery grants are only offered to individuals running a non-profit organisation or entrepreneurs who are going to start a new business. They can also help entrepreneurs with introducing new setups for their businesses. The Heritage Lottery Fund also takes the outcomes of your business endeavours into consideration when assessing applications. The applications remain open for the whole year so you can apply at any time. It takes eight months to process the application. Heritage Lottery Fund Startup-up Grants have no amount of funding specified (you’ll have to apply or enquire to find out).
Horizon 2020
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: from £100K to £10 million plus
This award will be closing in 2020.
Horizon 2020 is a large EU fund (79 billion euros) designed to support SME’s all across Europe. You can access funding calls through some UK government agencies and organisations. The funding can be used to:
 • Create something too enormous to build alone
 • Work with companies throughout a value chain
 • Create access to technology and science
 • Find and draw on the skills and expertise you need
 • Investigate opportunities to test innovative ideas and solutions
You can find out more about Horizon 2020 and the latest grant calls here. Horizon 2020 bids can range from £100K to £10 million plus. Horizon 2020 has a complicated bidding process with several different grant calls going out at any one time, as well as various delivery agencies. The grant is focused on EU inclusion, so you will likely have to bid with at least one other company from another member country of the European Union, all pending Brexit of course!
Industrial Partnership Awards (IPA)
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: varies – 10% contribution applies
The IPA’s promote collaboration between industry and academically inclined research organisations with all projects being academically led. There is a detailed eligibility page click here, you should read before considering applying. The funding potential is significant, but you or a partner must contribute at least 10% of the overall project cost, the grant can cover the rest.
Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: project dependent
The IMI’s primary objective is to increase the development speed of innovative medicines and patient access to these medicines, particularly in areas where social or medical needs are currently not met.
The programme develops medicines, vaccines and treatments such as next-generation antibiotics. The grants aspects of the programme support third-party organisations including SME’s, universities and patent organisations in participating in its projects. The grant can take the form of providing personnel, covering other direct costs, a one-off financial contribution and free subcontracting. They operate a series of different calls for funding applications at any one time.
Given the highly detailed nature of the programme, you will need to check out the more advanced IMI2 rules before making an application. Funding is dependent on the project and the organisation.
Innovation Vouchers
Coverage: National
Age: New ideas
Grant: up to £5,000
Innovation Vouchers provide a relatively small but useful government grant to develop an innovative idea or new product by giving you expert know-how. Innovate the UK will help you source the right expert for your business from one of the following:
 • Universities & FE Colleges
 • Technology and Research institutions
 • Consultancies and Catapult centres
 • Advisers on design
 • IP Advisers
You can apply and get more information on Innovate UK here. Innovation Vouchers cover up to £5,000 to pay for externally-based experts and consultants to grow your business.
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP)
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: up to 67%
KTP grants are awarded to businesses who employ recent graduates working on innovation projects; graduates must be working in coordination with and supervised by a research partner. The grant is open to businesses large and small, but the % of funding varies depending on size and project. Other than that, to be applicable for a KTP award you must be a UK business, charity, educational institution or private/public sector research organisation.
Knowledge Transfer Partnership Grants offer up to 67% of project costs.
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: up to £100,000
The Launchpads grant funding competitions are for companies looking to turn new, innovative and exciting ideas into viable commercial projects. The grants are primarily for businesses in specific areas of the country and are allocated three times a year (these change intermittently, check the site).
To be eligible for a Launchpads grant you need to be a small or medium-sized business in the early stages of development, working in the technology industry, be in an applicable geographical cluster or be planning to move there and have ambitions to grow your company. Launchpad funding competitions typically run three times a year and offer up to £100,000; you must be able to match the grant amount with the same of private or self-funding.
Low-emission vehicles grant
Coverage: National
Age: Low emissions
Grant: 35% of the purchase price up to a maximum of £3,500
The plug-in grant allows auto manufacturers and dealers can apply to get grant funding to reduce the price a business/individual will pay for any given car that meets government emission/electric conditions. Thus, reducing the overall price to the customer and generating more sales for dealerships and manufactures on car models.
To be eligible you will need to be a car dealership or manufacturer, and you will have to apply on behalf of the customer, vehicles available for a grant include select category 1,2 and three cars as well as motorcycles, mopeds, hybrids and vans (a plugin in van grant may be better). The scheme offers 35% of the purchase price up to a maximum of £3,500 on eligible vehicles.
Mansfield Market Grant
Coverage: Mansfield District, Nottinghamshire, England
Age: New market traders
Grant: 12 months rent free
The Mansfield Market grant provides up to 12 months market stall rent for free; the program aims to support new market traders and provide representation at the market of underrepresented products. A non-monetary grant is available for up to 12 months free rent at the market.
NBV Grant for New Businesses
Coverage: Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Greater Lincolnshire, England
Age: New business
Grant: from £1,000 to £2,500
The NBV business grant is for businesses based in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Greater Lincolnshire. Your business needs to be B2B and ready to start trading. It also has to be already registered with HMRC or Companies House. It would help if you started by expressing your interest on their website here. The grant amount can be anywhere from £1,000 to £2,500, depending on the project spend.
New Enterprise Allowance
Coverage: National
Age: benefits (JSA, UC or SA)
Grant: up to £1,274 over 26 weeks
The New Enterprise Allowance is a grants fund dedicated to supporting unemployed persons with becoming self-employed and running their own business. The scheme provides a grant in the form of a weekly allowance over 26 weeks; you are likely eligible if your or your partner are receiving any benefits (JSA, UC or SA).
Aside from a financial grant, you will also receive a mentor to provide guidance and support through planning, setting up and running your new business. If you have been out of work for a while, this scheme is perfect for helping you in setting up a new business. You can find out more about the programme by going to your local Jobcentre Plus and speaking to a work coach or click here. The New Enterprise Allowance scheme can offer a weekly allowance worth up to £1,274 over 26 weeks.
Patent Box Relief
Coverage: National
Age: Startups and small companies
Grant: up to 50% off corporation tax
The Patent Box scheme is a tax relief scheme, but it allows profitable startup and small companies to almost halve their corporation tax bill in some cases. You will need to have a patentable product to be eligible, as a tax relief it is aimed at fostering innovative companies in the UK. You can find a detailed guide on Patent Box relief and information on how to apply here. Through Patent Box, you can claim up to 50% off your corporation tax bill. In practice, though, it is closer to just under 40% for most.
Power to Change community business fund
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: from £50,000 to £300,000
The Power to Change Fund is designed purely to support community-based businesses in the UK; this means businesses run by local people for local people in the process of protecting local services and meeting local needs. Aside from social entities, community interest companies and charities, they do fund limited companies but are very strict on the community criteria.
To apply aside from the above, you will need to propose a project beyond your usual line of business, provide a year’s full accounting information and be able to fund part of your project from another source. Power to Change funding runs from £50,000 to £300,000 (they will not fund projects to 100%, you will require some other source of internal or external finance to put towards the project proposed).
Princes Trust Grants
Coverage: National
Age: 18-30 year olds
Grant: Up to £3,000 approx – check latest figures
The Prince’s Trust Grants have been dedicated to giving financial assistance to young entrepreneurs since 1976. They offer an exclusive Enterprise Programme that provides funding and mentors to young individuals to help them start their own business. Grant amounts vary from £1,500 to £3,000. To apply for funding and support, you are required to fill in an online application here.
To be eligible for any support/funding, you must be 18-30 years old.
R&D Tax Credits
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: varies
The research and development tax credits scheme allows you to claim back a significant amount of your development costs back in cash each year!
If you are a startup heavily focused on development or an established business investing into a custom CRM or custom built technology then this scheme is well worth checking out. The paperwork could benefit from an expert agency completing it so that you maximise the claim, such as The Growth Enterprise. Companies such as TGE do not charge any up-front fee and only charge a % of the claim once they know you have a claim to have.
SME R&D relief allows companies to:
 • deduct an extra 130% of their qualifying costs from their yearly profit, as well as the normal 100% deduction, to make a total 230% deduction
 • claim a tax credit if the company is loss making, worth up to 14.5% of the surrenderable loss.
Check out the HMRC guidance here.
This can be a very good way to re-invest into your company and create some funds into cash flow.
Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)
Coverage: National
Age: newly traded or wanting to trade
Grant: varies
SEIS is a tax relief designed to encourage investors to invest in UK companies. Investors can claim eligible investment against their tax bill, significantly reducing capital risk. Many professional investors and business angels now require SEIS at Angel Stage before they even look at a company. You can apply for SEIS status with HMRC here and HMRC will be able to advise your eligibility
For investors the SEIS relief allows them to claim back up to 78% of their investment through tax in the first year (up to £150K currently). Once companies are approved for SEIS status, there’s an advanced assurance you must go through with HMRC to claim SEIS on behalf of your investor.
Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI)
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: £50,000 to £1m
The SBRI initiative provides contracts and funding for businesses to carry out research or carry out the development of new products or services for the public sector.
The programme aims to fund innovative ideas that can enhance public services or solve a specific public-sector problem. Any business is eligible to apply for an SBRI contract or grant. SBRI Initial funding is between £50,000 and £100,000 with further funding of to £1,000,000 to develop your project or idea further.
Small Capital Grants and Large Capital Grants
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: between £100,000 – £499,999
A funding programme from Arts Council England enabling organisations to acquire the right equipment and infrastructure to deliver their work and in doing so become more productive and resilient. The grant also aims to increase innovation, sustainability, and environmental friendliness for the companies it funds.
To be eligible for funding your projects must fit Arts Council criteria (Arts and Culture), your grant request must be for capital expenditure.
Small Business Capital Grants and Large Capital Grants offer up to a maximum of 85% of the total project cost with a grant amount between £100,000 – £499,999 (with large Capital Grants going significantly higher).
Smart Grants
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: £25,000 to £250,000
The Smart Grants scheme provides grants for startups researching and creating significant technological or scientific breakthroughs. Three kinds of smart grant are available:
 1 Proof of Market, 60% match funds, £25,000)
 2 Proof of Concept, 60% match funds, £100,000)
 3 Prototype Development, 45% match funds, £250,000)
The level you apply for depends on the stage of your company, your finances, and what you are looking to develop. You will need to be an early stage business, have serious growth ambitions and work in the technology, science or engineering fields. Smart Grants range between £25,000-250,000.
Sustainable Routes
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: up to £1,000
A government-funded initiative, Sustainable Routes create travel efficiency plans for individuals and businesses, to cut down on travel time, mileage costs and Co2 output. They also offer grants towards the cost of creating and implementing a travel efficiency plan in the workplace. All businesses are eligible, particularly those who interested in reducing their environmental impact while cutting travel costs. Up to £1,000 in travel funding.
The Environment Now
Coverage: National
Age: 17 to 24 years
Grant: up to £10,000
In partnership with O2, the National Youth Agency are running The Environment Now programme provides grants to young people (17 – 24) who have come up or are coming up with innovative ways to use digital technology to provide innovative solutions to environmental issues.
The grant is primarily for young people innovating in improving energy efficiency, recycling, and reducing waste. Aside from a grant, you will receive work experience, mentoring and professional insight into your project area. The Environment now grants scheme from O2 offers up to £10,000.
The Great UK Challenge Fund (UKFC)
Coverage: National
Age: New project
Grant: from £50,000 to £200,000
Run by VisitEngland the Great UK Challenge Fund supports businesses delivering economic benefit and job creation through a new project.  The funding is available to innovative companies operating in the tourism, education, trade and investment sectors across the United Kingdom. The fund is over £2,000,000 and is part of the GREAT campaign. Businesses operating in the tourism sector or bringing in international students for education are particularly attractive to the scheme. The Great UK Challenge fund offers to fund between £50,000 to £200,000.
The National Lottery Community Fund (formerly Big Lottery Fund)
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: from £300 to £500,000
The National Lottery Community Fund provides a range of grants that are mostly focused on delivering community or charity funding to instigate social change. However, some programmes including the ones listed below, are available to for-profits, community interest companies and social businesses. The grants tend to range from £300 to £500,000.
Grants for improving lives – The Improving Lives programme aims to fund socially focused organisations working with people who have overcome some form of difficulties in their lives and built up resilience; the programme area is limited to Scotland. Most relevant to businesses in the education, therapeutic or other industries. The Grants for improving lives schemes offers from £10,000 to £500,000 in total funding. Grants over £150,000 require a two-stage process and a further application form (grants close to £500,000 are not routinely considered and more likely to be accepted if they have some match funding in place).
People and Places: The grant programme is dedicated to providing funding for projects where people and organisations are working together in their local community to bring about change and a positive impact, and it is limited to Wales.
The programme is limited in applicant scope only allowing certain types of businesses to apply including community interest companies (CIC), social enterprises and not for profits. Funding is available from £10,001 to £500,000
The Prince’s Countryside Fund
Coverage: National
Age: family-run farm businesses
Grant: up to £50,000 per project
This fund is to help rural communities in the UK face contemporary challenges. The Prince’s Countryside Fund provides grant funding to projects that have a long-term positive impact assisting entrepreneurs to work and live in the British countryside.
The grants are provided to businesses or organisations who seek to increase the potential return and longevity of family-run farm businesses, sustain and grow rural economies or provide necessary aid to support areas hit by hardship (for more details on this check out the Grant Eligibility and guidance document). The Prince’s Countryside Fund provides up to £50,000 per project (with more than £1,000,000 in funding being awarded each year).
Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP)
Coverage: National
Age: Exporting for less than 10 years
Grant: between £500 and £2500, matched 100% by the business
TAP has been set up to help UK businesses promote themselves abroad by providing grants for companies to visit trade shows overseas, assisting businesses to attain foreign explore, gain market knowledge and access advice/support of international trade experts.
To be eligible for TAP, you must be attending an event listed on the official TAP Calendar and be a UK SME, be already exploring export opportunities, be a new exporter (export accounts for less than 25% of your business). Your business must also have been exporting for less than ten years, be under the state aid limit, not be receiving any other public funds towards the trade show and not have confirmed attendance to the tradeshow before applying for the grant.
Apart from the core eligibility criteria, you will also have to show you are either selling services/products from the UK or that you are adding a significant amount of value to a product/service not coming from the UK.
The Tradeshow Access Programme offers grants between £500 and £2500 in value. You must 100% match the grant received from Trade Challenge Partner towards the cost of attending/exhibiting at the tradeshow.
Transform Ageing
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: up to £25,000
The Transform Ageing programme aims to drastically improve the approach and services we provide to society when dealing with the elderly from social care, health and wellbeing point of view.
The programme provides support for businesses and organisations who work in several core areas of focus/innovation including developing or delivering solutions to the elderly that create positive experiences, enhance independence through transportation or mobility, support carers, make relevant information more accessible, support people in making life changes or creating opportunities for connection.
Trusthouse Charitable Foundation
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: from £6,000 to £45,000, 50% matched funded
The foundation provides a range of grant funding programmes to support large UK organisations who can solve local issues in areas of significant urban deprivation or isolated and vicarious rural communities. Within these two core areas, the foundation is most interested in projects within disability and healthcare, community support and art, heritage and education.
To be eligible your organisation and project must be based in the UK, you must also be a CICs, social enterprise, a not-for-profit registered companies or charity to be a grant recipient. It is typical for small grants to receive a final decision within six weeks of applying.
Grants are split into three sizes/tiers including up to £6,000, £6,001 to £12,000 and £12,001 to £45,000 (typically they require that you put up at least 50% of the total cost of a project costs to be considered for a grant).
Unltd Social Enterprise Funding
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: varies
Initially based in the UK, Unltd has become a global and influential partner and investor for social entrepreneurs, social businesses and social enterprise across the world. They run a range of grant, support and award programs to support entrepreneurs right through from setting up a new venture to scaling, below are a list of currently active grant programs we have identified as a good for socially minded businesses.
Youth Investment Fund
Coverage: National
Age: N/A
Grant: from £150,000 to £700,000
The Youth Investment Fund provides funding to community organisations, social enterprises and youth groups to deliver a high quality of Youth services in areas across England; successful applicants are funded for several years allowing investment in the future and sustainability. Organisations applying for grants in disadvantaged areas are most likely to receive a grant. The Youth Investment Fund can provide between £150,000 to £700,000.
We hope this list will be helpful to you – it is by no means exhaustive and we will be updating this list from time-to-time with new grant information and expired grants. The local grants are concentrated on the Midlands area and there are details of specific local Leicestershire grants that can be found here.
The Growth Enterprise specialises in helping businesses grow and finding different ways to fund this growth. We have a reputation for quality, integrity and innovation resulting from many years of building relationships with our clients based on trust and mutual respect. Our collaborative, fresh and determined approach enables us to provide valuable strategic insights and direction to find the best solutions to even the most complex problems.
We work with companies to investigate R&D Tax Claims as well as advising on grants suitable for the individual company. All too often companies don’t apply for grants as the paperwork is overwhelming. We complete the paperwork for the grants so that the process actually happens quickly and smoothly.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us on 03333 444903, Email: should you need any help advise or visit: