4.2 National and regional initiatives

Schemes for businesses that are not yet trading, or are in the start-up stage, can be found on the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ’s website. The Entrepreneur Handbook showcases a list of funding opportunities especially for small businesses.

If your business is located in Northern Ireland, you can have a look at the Northern Ireland Business Support Finder, a database that you can search for opportunities for publicly funded support. Also look at Invest NI, the regional business development agency.

Grants are available for diverse types of business, such as:

The grants address various purposes, among them cultural and social issues. See, for example:

  • Heritage Enterprise (HE) – UK – a scheme dedicated to helping community organisations across the UK restore neglected historic buildings and sites and unlock their economic potential.

  • Key Fund – Midlands and the North of England – a scheme aiming to provide grants and loans to social enterprises in the specified region to increase their community and economic and environmental impact.

A large number of grants represent regional initiatives. Examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Grants for business growth – Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire – aims to support small- to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in this region that have been trading for more than twelve months and have a project costing at least £40,000.

  • Future Focus and the Isles of Scilly provides small grants of up to £2,500 to purchase equipment and resources, access research and knowledge, and subsidise salary costs for new employees or support innovation projects started by existing employees.
  • South East Midlands Start-up Programme (part-funded by the European Development Fund) – offers access to free business start-up support to residents in Aylesbury Vale, Bedfordshire, Central Bedfordshire, Cherwell, Corby, Daventry, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Thrapston and Wellingborough.

Other grants are national initiatives:

  • Innovate UK is a case in point. It aims to nurture the establishment of technology start-ups and helps them apply their innovative ideas to commercial ends.

  • The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) – UK provides grants for SMEs in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that aim to upgrade business broadband to a high-speed capable connection.

  • CRACK IT Challenges targets industry, academics and SMEs in the UK that are interested in taking part in a challenge-led competition and in working together to solve business and scientific challenges, such as the development of new technologies and their application to commercial ends and the use of animals for scientific purposes.

  • The Prince’s Trust grants are suitable for young entrepreneurs (aged 18–30 years) who are seeking advice, mentorship and small amounts of money (individual grants: £1,500; business groups: up to £3,000) to start a business.

Activity 5 Searching for a grant

Timing: Allow approximately 30 minutes to do this activity
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