To find the best large or small business grants in the UK you will need to do your research as each one will depend on a whole range of factors. There are small business grants available which mean you don’t have to pay back what you are given.
To help take some of the research out, in this article, we take a look at some of the best business grants that are available in the UK, including ones available to help improve disabled access.
What is a business grant?
Before we start talking about the business grants in the UK which you can take advantage of, we first need to look at what a business grant is.
A grant is a payment provided by a private organisation or the government for a specific purpose and unlike other forms of finance, you don’t have to pay it back. Many grants also mean that you don’t have to give away shares of your business.
Business grants in the UK
From grants to aid employees who are disabled or suffer from mobility problems so you can get a disabled lift installed to small business grants for startups, there are lots of options and choices for business owners. Below, we take you through some of the best business grants in the UK.
- Access to Work
- Innovate UK grants
- The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme
- Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme
- Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) & Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)
- The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Access to Work
The Access to Work grant can help both an employee and employer. The scheme was initially created to help employees who are disabled or have a physical or mental health condition.
Disability Grants told us a little bit about the grant: “Access to Work is a government initiative that provides advice and practical support to the disabled who are employed, self-employed or unemployed and about to start a job or work scheme.
“The scheme has recently been extended to include disabled people on traineeships, supported internships, work trials and work academies.”
If the help you need at work is not covered by your employer making reasonable adjustments, you might be able to get help from the grant. Here are some of the things it can pay for:
- Special equipment, adaptations or support worker services to help you do things like answer the phone or go to meetings
- Help to get to and from work
The money you get through Access to Work does not have to be paid back and will not affect other benefits.
Innovate UK grants
Innovate UK helps businesses in the UK to develop new products, services and processes they need to grow through innovation. They provide small business grants and other government grants so businesses can develop and realise their new ideas.
Innovate UK talk a little more about the process for businesses to get grants and funding for new ideas: “Organisations can apply for a funding opportunity. Each opportunity has its own eligibility criteria and scope. Opportunities are available through the Innovation Funding Service, where you can find out more about funding opportunities and which ones may be right for you.”
Find out more about the different Innovate UK grants available by clicking here.
The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme
The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme is another great source of funding for younger people to kickstart their business or access a training course. To date, they have helped more than 86,000 young people living in the UK to turn their big ideas into a reality.
The trust is open to young people aged 16 to 30 from all over the UK and through their partnerships, they offer hundreds of free courses, grants and mentoring opportunities to inspire young people. Currently, the trust offers development awards between £175-£250 for people who are looking for funds to help with training.
So, what’s involved in the enterprise programme? Here are the three stages entrepreneurs will need to go through.
- Stage 1: A free information session in your local area where the trust will tell you how they can support your business.
- Stage 2: An interactive workshop where you’ll meet like-minded people and be able to speak to a business adviser about a range of topics, including business planning, marketing, sales and budgeting.
- Stage 3: You’ll be provided with a mentor to help support you as you plan and test your business idea. You will also get help if you need to apply for any personal loans for your business.
- Stage 4: Before launching your business plan, you’ll present it to the Princes Trust’s Business Launch Group. They will share their feedback on whether it is viable and sustainable.
Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme
The government is aiming to deliver reliable and fast gigabit-capable broadband to everyone in the UK and is working with broadband providers to accelerate this process.
If your business is located in an area that is not included in any commercial rollout plans, you can apply for UK Gigabit Vouchers through this scheme.
The voucher can be used by small businesses to go towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband connections and SMEs can claim £3,500 against the cost of connection.
To apply, you will need to go through a registered supplier and by clicking on this page, you can check to see if you can apply and will be directed to suppliers that you can speak to about making an application.
READ MORE: How to keep your employees motivated
Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) & Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)
The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) helps start-up businesses to raise money and you can get up to £150,000 worth of investment. It does this by offering tax reliefs to individual investors who buy new shares in your company.
Businesses must ensure that they meet the conditions so investors are able to claim and keep SEIS tax reliefs relating to their shares. The money must be spent within three years of the share issue.
The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is the same as the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, but it is for established businesses.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund
The National Lottery Heritage Fund provide different levels of funding with grants ranging from £3,000 to £1 million. The fund supports heritage projects that vary from designed landscapes to cultural traditions.
This year’s focus will be prioritising projects that boost the local economy, encourage skills, create jobs and support wellbeing.
If you are approved for the grant you have to spend the money on certain things and these include:
- Activities – this can include guided heritage walks, workshops and more
- Repairs and conservation
- Digital outputs – this could be a website with heritage material on it, an app or a film made using digital technology
- New staff – the grant even covers a current employees’ role if they are spending a certain amount of time on a heritage project
- Paid training placements
- Professional fees – this ranges from architects and heritage professionals to teaching staff
You can find out more about the different types of National Lottery Heritage Funds here.
These are just some of the best business grants that you can take advantage of in the UK and there are lots more available so make sure you do your research. These featured schemes aim to help you start a business or grow an existing one and can help you with anything from hiring new staff to installing a new goods lift for your premises.
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