The ultimate list of UK small business grants and their requirements

Support and funding can help your business get where it needs to be. See if you meet the criteria with our guide to the UK’s best grants below.

17 April 2019

As a small business owner, finance is likely high on your list of priorities. Whether you’re starting a business or you’re in the early days of a new organisation, your business could be entitled to one of the many small business grants available. While it can be a complicated process, there are a vast amount out there – each with their own purposes and different criteria.

Depending on the scheme, these awards can range from hundreds of pounds to hundreds of thousands with some foregoing the need to pay interest, give away equity, or even pay it back at all. Through this, grants can help businesses make an impact on their respective industry, the economy and the availability of jobs. It’s important to remember that grants aren’t just free money; the awarding body will expect a valuable output from your business.

Here, we’ll present an extensive list of the small business grants available to UK organisations, as well as the requirements they need to meet any criteria.

R&D Tax Credits                                                                                                

The research and development tax credits scheme allows businesses to claim back a significant amount of your development costs back in cash each year. If you’re a start-up that primarily focuses on development, hiring new staff and growing, the scheme is well-suited to your business.

Business people discussing funding

Any business that spends money developing new products, processes or services – or enhancing existing ones – are eligible for R&D tax credits, whatever your industry. Providing you’re a limited company in the UK that is subject to Corporation Tax, have carried out qualifying research and development activities, and have spent money doing so, then you’ll be eligible for R&D tax credits.

Prince’s Trust Grants

If you’re a young entrepreneur aged 18-30 years old, then you can strengthen your work with a Prince’s Trust Grant. Since 1976, they have helped young people in work, and now offer an exclusive Enterprise Programme that provides grants and mentors to young people looking to start their own business.

For individual applicants, the grant offered is £1,500 whereas a business group may receive a grant of up to £3,000. A test marketing grant of up to £250 is also provided to individuals to help them evaluate the market value of their product.

Grant for Business Investment

Whether it’s funding a new project or setting up a new company, the Grant for Business Investment offered by the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) can help foster a business’ expansion.

Given to high-budget projects whose outcomes can be evaluated on a long-term basis, they typically fund projects whose aim is to bring prosperity to economically deprived areas.

Business people receiving a grant

Small and medium-sized businesses can apply, though it’s restricted to certain industries such as steel, coal, synthetic fibres, agriculture, fisheries and shipbuilding. Additionally, areas of the UK economy which are already served are restricted, while consumer-type services like retail or restaurants, would be considered ineligible.

Tradeshow Access Programme

If you already have a business, but you’re looking to promote yourself further afield, then the Tradeshow Access Programme can be hugely beneficial. Providing grants to trade shows overseas, assisting businesses to attain foreign exploration, gain market knowledge and access the advice/support of international trade experts, it’s a superb way for businesses looking to expand further afield.

In terms of eligibility, you must be attending and listed on the official TAP Calendar and be a UK SME, be already exploring export opportunities and be a new exporter (export accounts for less than 25% of your business). In addition, you 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 apply for the grant before confirming your attendance.

Aside from the above, 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.

Businessman signing funding doc

Trusthouse Charitable Foundation

For businesses seeking to improve areas of significant urban deprivation or isolated rural communities, the Trusthouse Charitable Foundation supports projects concerning disability and healthcare, community support and art, and heritage and education.

To be eligible, your business and project must be based in the UK, you must also be a community interest company, social enterprise a not-for-profit registered company or charity. The grants are split into three tiers:

  • Up to £6,000
  • £6,001 - £12,000
  • £12,001 - £45,000.

Typically, they require that your business put up at least 50% of the total cost of a project to be considered for the grant.

Access to Work Funding

This grant is for disabled persons who either have a paid job, are returning to a paid position or starting a business. When it comes to the latter, if you have further needs, then the fund can support you in financing special equipment for your workplace or transport in getting to and from a work location.

To be eligible for Access to Work you must have a health condition or disability that makes it difficult to perform your work duties, or travel to your job, and be over 16 years of age and live in the UK (Northern Ireland has a different scheme).

Productive business owner

Business rates relief

Many businesses pay business rates to their local council. The good news is that many of these businesses are eligible for discounts in the form of business rates relief. They vary from council to council, but there are several core types available, including small business rates relief, hardship relief, enterprise zone relief, charitable relief and rural rate relief.

Head here to see if your business is eligible.


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The Carbon Trust Green Business Fund

If you own an SME in the UK, then the Green Business Fund covers a certain amount of capital costs when buying energy reducing equipment.

The grant scheme covers the entirety of the UK (minus Northern Ireland). To be eligible, you’ll need to purchase equipment from a Green Business Directory or BESA, while funding is on a first-come-first-served basis until it runs out.

Gazprom Energy is a leading and award-winning business energy supplier, helping thousands of small businesses manage their gas and electricity contracts. To find out more about what we can offer your business, visit the homepage or call us today on 0161 837 3395.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third-party content providers alone and do not represent those of Gazprom Energy. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. Gazprom Energy accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.


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