Across the UK, over 200 government grants are available for small businesses, and while there are lots of grants available, getting a small business grant can be challenging. There are often many processes and stages involved in government grants, and each grant has its own requirements and criteria. Understanding what grants you qualify for and how to apply is important for the success of your company.

What kind of new business grants exists?

Direct Grants

Government grants will usually be direct grants. This means that the awarding body will support the start-up of your new business by helping you to pay for training, equipment investment, or reaching new markets as overseas exports open in a new window. Most grants will expect your business to provide 50% of the value of the grant, but funds of up to £500,000 are available depending on your business sector.


If you seek equity financing, you sell shares in your company to existing shareholders or a new investor, without giving up control as the investor would usually take a minority stake in your company. There are equity finance schemes, such as the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, that offer the possibility of a 50% deduction of income tax for investments made in new businesses up to £100,000 under these schemes.

Soft loan

Instead of grants, some awarding bodies will offer loans with lower interest rates and more generous terms than can be found through other lending channels. For example, The Start Up Loans scheme, supported by the government, provides a 6% interest rate on personal loans of up to £25,000, as well as free mentoring and support for businesses.

What Small Business Grants Can I Apply To?

According to, these are some that you can apply to.

Grants for taking on an apprentice

When you train an apprentice for your small business, you can receive government financial assistance. With a bill of less than £3 million a year, you won't have to pay the apprenticeship levy, which means you get 5% towards training and assessment of the apprenticeship begins on or after 1 April 2019. Additionally, 95% of the government's share is paid directly to the training organization, and you pay your share directly as part of a payment schedule.

Use the government’s enquiry form to ask the National Apprenticeship Service about the funding available.

Grants to help you start or grow your business

In addition to supporting small businesses to start and grow their businesses, Simply Business runs an annual competition, Business Boost, which awards a cash grant to the winning business that captures the judges' imagination. In 2021, they awarded £25,000 to our Brighton diversity and inclusion business.

You can register your interest now and be the first to know about how you can win funding for your business

Other Useful Small Business Grants

Better Business Finance

  • Business support for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise
  • Up to £20,000,000 in funding

BCRS Business Loans

Your business must be located in the West Midlands, including Gloucestershire. You must be able to show you’ve been unable to get funding from banks.

  • No Employees: 250
  • Between £10,000 and £150,000 in funding

Low Carbon Innovation Fund

Low Carbon Innovation Fund 2 (LCIF2) is seeking to invest £11m to help close funding rounds worth at least £30m. The Low Carbon Innovation Fund offers investment:

  • to help develop innovative products or services in a low-carbon, environmentally sensitive way
  • on either an equity or convertible loan basis
  • that must be matched by private sources of funding - you can get help with this on a case-by-case basis
  • Between £25,000 to £1 million in funding


Tips to successfully apply for grants

  • Have a great business plan – as with other types of funding, the awards body for the grant will expect to see a professional business plan and, if you’ve started trading, examples of your business position and balance sheet.
  • Focus on the grant use – grants are usually awarded for a specific project, such as buying IT equipment or funding broadband installation. Use the application to show how this will help grow your business and benefit others, rather than on the (in this case) IT equipment itself.
  • Check your funding – most grants will look to match the amount you’re willing to invest, so if you’re seeking a grant of £10,000 then make sure you’ve got a matching amount available.
  • Start applying early – you have a better chance of receiving a grant if you apply when a scheme first launches. Grants may have a limited pot of money to invest – early on, there’s more funding available and less competition to get it.


Get in touch!

Phone: 01908 366633

Email: [email protected]



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