Finance, Get Funded, Grants

A Guide to Government Grants for Small Businesses

Business Advice | 2 June 2023 | 12 months ago

There is nothing easy about starting a business, especially if you have a great idea, but you are lacking funding. This is especially troubling for small businesses, which are often started with a limited budget and without a lot of investor backing. Luckily, there are a range of small business grants available. Government grants for small businesses are there to help businesses evolve, grow and succeed, without the risk of being held back by money. So, what is a government business grant?

What is a Government Business Grant?

A government business grant refers to financial assistance provided by the government to support businesses and to stimulate economic growth. They are usually aimed at small businesses, but there are also government grants for new businesses available. These grants don’t usually have to be repaid, and the funds are awarded to eligible businesses or individuals to help them in a number of ways. This could be to start or expand their operations, to conduct research and development, to promote innovation, or to address specific industry needs.

Government business grants are aimed at fostering entrepreneurship, job creation and economic development. With government grants available, more people are able to start a new business and succeed, which boosts the economy as a whole. These grants can be offered at a local or national level, and they are often provided by government agencies, economic development organisations, or specialised grant programs.

The specific criteria and requirements for government business grants vary depending on the granting agency and the purpose of the grant. Eligibility criteria takes into account a lot of different things and various factors are considered before grants are awarded to business. This could include the type of business, industry, location, size, growth potential and alignment with government priorities or specific sectors.

There is a lot of competition in securing a business grant and the application process can be complex. Businesses usually have to outline their plans, goals and expected outcomes, and ‘prove’ themselves to be a worthy recipient of the grant. Once the grant has been awarded, the business can continue to further development and innovation plans using the funding, resources and guidance that has been provided.

What Small Business Grants Are Available?

There are a range of small business grants available, many of which are only available to specific industries or business types. There are also some that are aimed at those under a certain age or businesses located in a specific area. Below, we have listed some of the top small business grants that are currently available.

  • Innovate UK – Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and it’s a grant focused on helping UK businesses with innovation. This could be innovation related to products, services and processes, or anything that helps the business to grow, develop and scale up. Innovate UK provides tailored support, grants and loans to various businesses. The criteria for an Innovate UK grant varies depending on the exact grant being applied for, but the focus is always on developing new ideas.
 

  • Research and Development (R&D) – R&D is a form of tax relief aimed at supporting businesses engaged in innovative research, technological advancements or product development. These grants aim to encourage innovation and enhance competitiveness within the industry, and they are available to small businesses that are hoping to research or develop something new. Even if the project is unsuccessful, you can claim R&D tax relief as long as your business has fewer than 500 staff and your turnover is less than €100 million.
 

  • The National Lottery Heritage Fund – The National Lottery Heritage Fund provides grants to small businesses as a way to help them sustain and transform the UK’s heritage. This could include businesses related to museums, parks, cultural traditions and historical places. The grants fund projects of all sizes that connect people and communities to the UK’s heritage.
 

  • The Prince’s Trust – The Prince’s Trust supports individuals aged between 18 and 30 who want to start their own business. A lot of what The Prince’s Trust does is centred around providing funding and resources to help people get started, but training and mentoring help is also available.
 

  • Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) – There are close to 40 LEPs across England, and these work to form voluntary partnerships between businesses and local authorities. These partnerships provide businesses with funding, support and guidance for the work they are doing in the local area. LEPs have a variety of grants available and they must be given to businesses in the local area, so they are worth looking into for small businesses who need funding, training and opportunities.
 

  • New Enterprise Allowance – New Enterprise Allowance provides funding and support to individuals who are looking to start a new business. These grants are slightly different, as they are aimed at those who are in receipt of various state benefits. You or your partner must be receiving Job Seeker’s Allowance, Universal Credit and Support Allowance, or you must receive Income Support and be a lone parent, disabled or sick. New Enterprise Allowance is only available to those aged 18 years of age and older.
As you can see, there are a lot of government grants for small businesses available in the UK, all of which are aimed at helping small businesses to succeed, and to minimise the chances of being held back by limited funds. Whereas some grants are aimed at a specific industry or only to new businesses, others are much broader and are available to a wide range of people. A lot of government business grants are tailored to businesses pursuing innovation or development in one way or another.

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