Business GrantsThe following is a summary of the current position of business grants funding available that I am aware of for clients.

It is difficult to keep up to date with all the business grants and funding options available as many are short term or only available to specific areas or sectors. My main sources of information are, daily news updates, liaising with local business bank managers and business advisors, news feeds from business groups such as the FSB or IOD.

As a business owner you can ensure that your business network is aware that you would be interested in business grants or funding opportunities so that you can receive regular updates as well.

There isn’t one easy central collation of schemes. Partly due to different short termism of many funds and because they vary across the country and sectors. The best one I’ve found so far is the government’s one.

Finance and support for your business – GOV.UK

I would group funding available into three categories:

  1. Business Grants – These are subject to application and approval and do not need to be repaid.
  2. Funds/Loans – Often money available sounds like a grant but in reality has to be paid back, as it is essentially a loan. Sometimes they can be partially non-repayable.
  3. Tax breaks – These may be short term lower tax rates or specific rebates.

The following is not a definitive listing of all current funding available, however, it includes the funds that I am aware of and that could be applicable to your business at a summary level at the time of writing.

Business Grants

Most business grants come from the government, EU, NGOs or local councils.

GrowthAccelerator Fund

This is partial funding for fast growth businesses. The funds are to be used for training and development of senior management. This has to be applied for and is usually best to apply in tandem with the training provider that you are going to use.

GrowthAccelerator

Regional Growth Fund

This has been a really good fund in this region, as it has been available for businesses who are buying large capital purchases, and pays for part of it. However, the funds are leaked out gradually to regions in small pots, so often by the time we know there is a new pot available it has already gone. This is often distributed via the banks and their leasing arms so we usually hear about the latest pots for this. If you do need any large capital items, this is a great fund to tap into, however, may not be available at the point you need the equipment.

Regional Growth Fund – Detailed guidance – GOV.UK

Sustainable Development Business Grants

There are often sustainable development business grants available, as they are popular for European Regional Development funding. Here is one that I’m aware that offers a grant of £1,000 to help businesses cut travel:

Sustainable Routes

Apprenticeships

If you take on an apprentice you could potential be eligible for a £1,500 grant and their training will be paid for. Apprenticeships can help businesses across all sectors by offering a route to harness fresh new talent. Apprentices learn on the job, building up knowledge and skills, gaining qualifications and earning money all at the same time.

Apprenticeships

Loans

Local Economic Partnerships (LEPSs)

LEPS often loan at fairly low rates.

Greater London Authority – LEP

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP: Economic Growth and Enterprise

Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG)

EFG is the current government guaranteed loan. Banks are supposed to promote this but often don’t as they don’t like the extra paperwork. The upside of this loan that it is largely guaranteed by the government, but it can be a little more expensive.

Enterprise Finance Guarantee – GOV.UK

Tax breaks

Some particularly attractive ones are as follows for growing businesses.

Employer’s NI

£2,000 Employer NI funding for 2014/15.

Research & Development Tax Credits

If you are doing anything innovative you should at look at whether you could qualify for these.

Annual investment allowance

At the moment you can get 100% capital allowances on plant & machinery up to £250,000.

Enterprise Investment Scheme / Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS / SEIS)

If you are looking for funding for your business your investors could potentially benefit from the attractive tax rebates via EIS/SEIS.

HM Revenue & Customs: Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)

Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPPs)

SIPPs are very popular at the moment.

Financial Portfolio: Know Your Limits

Summary

Keep abreast of the latest schemes by keeping in touch with your accountant, bank manager and business advisor. Some of the above could save your business huge amounts of money and help you to grow your business.