What grants are available for small businesses in the UK?

What grants are available for small businesses in the UK?

Getting any small business off the ground is hard work. From start-up costs to additional funding for growth, every penny counts. The good news is that there are a variety of different grants available across the UK.

Grants are different from business loans in that they don’t have to be paid back. They are usually offered either nationally or through a local authority or business hub for a specific purpose.

For example, grant funding might focus on start-ups, young entrepreneurs, or specific industries that the government is trying to encourage more. On top of grants, SMEs can access benefits such as tax relief and allowances, for instance, if they take on an apprentice.

To apply for a small business grant, you will need to approach the awarding body and provide them with a business plan and explain how you intend to use the money being offered. There can often be strict criteria depending on the type of grant being offered.

It’s important to apply as early as possible as there may be limited funds available with a particular offer, especially when they are run by local organisations.

Types of small business grants

In the UK, there are various types of grants available to support budding entrepreneurs and UK businesses of all sizes.

Startup grants

These are specifically designed to support new businesses in their early stages. They often provide funding for initial expenses, such as equipment, marketing, or research and development.

For example, the Prince’s Trust provides grants for individuals between 18 and 30 who want to start their own businesses. The Welsh government operates the Development Bank of Wales, which also provides business funding if you have a good idea.

Growth grants

These small business grants aim to assist established businesses that are looking to expand their operations and perhaps create more job opportunities. They can provide funding for activities that create jobs, help you break into new markets or invest in the latest technologies.

Innovation grants

Innovation grants are available for entrepreneurs developing new products, services or processes. They encourage research and development activities and can help you bring innovative ideas to the market by providing financial support.

Social enterprise grants

If you combine business objectives with social or environmental goals, you may be eligible for grants specifically designed to support your unique business model. These awards can include financial support for product or service-based enterprises as well as cooperatives.

Local area-based grants

In addition to grants offered by the national governments in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, individual counties and regions will often have their own support available.

Business grants available in Hampshire

There are often grants available for SMEs in the Hampshire area, and it’s important to keep your eyes open for them. They tend to have a relatively short release and limited funding and operate on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Here are a few areas to bookmark and keep track of if you want to catch when business grants are available:

  • Hampshire County Council Grants: Hampshire County Council sometimes offers grants for small businesses, including for start-ups, growth and creating new jobs.
  • Solent LEP Grants: The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) also offers a variety of grants for small businesses in the Solent region, including grants for businesses that are developing new products or services, expanding into new markets or are potentially creating new jobs.
  • UK Government Grants: The UK government often posts grants for small businesses, particularly if they are developing new technologies. With Brexit, there have been a few grants for those exporting abroad as well.

In addition to these grants, there are several organisations that offer support for SMEs which can include grants:

  • The British Business Bank: This is a government-owned bank that provides finance and support to small enterprises. The Bank offers a variety of products, including loans, grants, and equity investments.
  • Innovate: This is another government-backed service that provides information, advice, and support to small businesses looking to create something new in almost all industries and sectors.
  • Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme: This encourages investors to put money into your project by offering them, for example, corporation tax relief. It can be a great option if you are unable to find funding through grants either locally or nationally.

How do you get a small business grant?

There are different types of grants available for small enterprises, and they can come and go quite regularly. It is important to do your research and identify the ones that are a good fit for you. You can generally find information about them online, in business publications or by contacting your local council.

Each grant has its own eligibility requirements, so make sure you read the details and application carefully to make sure that your business qualifies. For example, some common requirements include being a for-profit business or specifying that you are located in a certain area or that you have been operating for a certain period.

The grant application process will vary depending on the grantor, but most will require you to provide information about your business, your goals and how the grant will help you achieve success or growth.

Tips for the application process

Before you apply for any grants, do your research, including making sure that you are eligible. When you are writing your grant proposal, be clear and concise. You should highlight the quality of your business and how the grant will help you to achieve your goals and, for example, benefit the local area.

After you have submitted your grant proposal, follow up with the grantor after a suitable period. This will show that you are interested in the award and that you are committed to your business. It can also give you a chance to fill in any gaps in information if there are some.

Do you pay back a government grant?

The short answer is no. A government or local council grant may come with certain stipulations, but as long as you use it for the purpose intended, then you will not have to pay back the grant.

Contact VW Taxation for small business accounting today

Financial help can be critical if you are a start-up or you now want to grow your business. Working with an experienced team that can help you find the right funding opportunities and apply for them is vital.

At VW Taxation, our experienced accountants got a lot of experience helping to access grants and other funding available in the Hampshire area. Contact us today to find small business grants that will make a difference.


Small businesses make a huge contribution to the local economy. Finding funding to get off the ground or expand your enterprise is not easy, however. The good news is that various grants are available in the UK that can help with a variety of different business setups.

To learn more about running a successful business, check out our tips and tricks here:

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Picture of Gary Ellis | Director | VW Taxation
Gary Ellis | Director | VW Taxation

VW Taxation are self employment tax specialists based in Portsmouth. We specialise in tax accounting for contractors, limited companies and the self-employed.

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