16 Small Business Startup Grants to Know About
You want to grow your small business, right? Scale it up, expand and build something greater than it currently is. There’s no better way to grow than with small business startup grants.
They’re a brilliant opportunity to earn a little extra to reinvest back into your business. Or in some cases, purchase a necessary piece of equipment and claim thousands back on tax.
That’s why we’re here to help with a full breakdown of 16 small business startup grants that you should apply for, today.
Different types of startup grants
Not all grants are built the same way. Some are immediate cash payments in reward for innovation. Others offer investor matches provided you provide a certain amount of capital and others still possess even more specific restrictions.
Regardless, small business startup grants tend to be in one of 4 options.
Internal Business Improvements (eg. workforce increase, going eco-friendly etc.)
As always there are some grants that don’t fit into any of
these categories but are nevertheless still wholly beneficial to your
Is my small business eligible for these startup grants?
Each of the following grants is eligible for UK SMEs should
you fulfil their criteria. Region specific grants will obviously only
be eligible for businesses in their current area, and other grants may
have additional criteria for SMEs to qualify.
However, you should be eligible as long as you:
Have fewer than 250 employees
Are geographically suitable for the grant in question
A turnover of less than £50 million
A balance sheet total of less than £43 million.
At least, that is how the UK government defines SMEs. But let’s crack on with your list of grants for SMEs.
16 startup grants for small businesses
General startup grants
#1 business Boost Competition
One lucky entrepreneur can receive a £25,000 grant to grow their business.
There is no niche industry or sector here, just the appeals of small startups. Simply enter the competition and display your business, your dream, and your plan of how to reinvest the grant into your own business.
It could be a game-changer for your startup.
#2 UK Trade Show Programme
Thinking about exporting? This UK SME grant is here to help businesses start exporting through trade show exhibitions.
Be attending first trade show or examining new markets
Turnover between £85,000 and £25,000
Have not committed to attendance before applying for the grant
Be investigating export opportunities
Either £2,000 or £4,000 as a grant to cover:
As well as free training in how to best exhibit your products or services at a trade show.
UK businesses who've already exported and visited trade shows may also apply for similar support, provided they have a turnover of between £250,000 and £1 million.
#3 Birmingham HDV Fund
Birmingham may have a bad reputation as a city, but its air won’t
soon. The Birmingham Clean Air Zone has set aside more than £10 million
in funds to help businesses keep the city centre’s air clean.
Own HDVs that do not comply to the Clean Air Initiative
Are located in the surrounding area and conduct commercial operations within the Clean Air zone
Then you may be eligible for this funding to help adapt, or replace your HDVs with cleaner, newer versions.
#4 Scarborough Business Startup
For startups in sunny(ish) Scarborough, you could be eligible for up to £1,000 for any concern in one financial year.
Business is less than 18 months old
10 employees or fewer
These small business startup grants are available for:
Equipment and machinery costs
Facility adaptation, extension or improvement
Marketing that will lead to the creation of new jobs
A quick fix cash injection to build startups and stir the local economy.
#5 Cumbria Business Startup Programme
For businesses and startups located in Cumbria, startup support could be an easy thing to achieve. You can receive:
Business plan development support
Free membership to Cumbria Chamber of Commerce for 1 year
This programme is only available for Startups or SMEs within their first 3 years of trading.
#6 PAPI Grants
Gain access to grants of between £8,000 - £20,000 if you are a business around the North Yorkshire areas.
They offer collections of 40% grants for businesses looking to innovate. If you’re:
An SME within an eligible area
Launching a new product or service
Creating at least one new job within your business
Have capital expenditure costs of £20,000+
Then you could be eligible for any number of these small business startup grants from PAPI.
#7 Made Smarter
Gain support and up to a £20,000 grant for manufacturing startups in the west of England. This initiative is designed to help manufacturing SMEs adopt Industrial Digital Technologies (IDT) to boost their growth.
The bespoke support packages offered can include:
50% match grant up to £20,000 to implement IDT hardware or software
Digital leadership training to upskill staff
Combine funding with cash analytics to make the most of your business
#8 Low emission Vehicle Grants
Need vehicles for your business? Low emissions could pay more!
The government scheme works directly with vehicle
dealerships and manufacturers. They include this plug in grant within
the price to reduce your costs.
You have the potential to gain up to £1,500 off low-emission vehicles.
#9 Innovative Medicines Initiative
Businesses in the IMI are looking at cutting edge innovation within the field of medical research.
Not only do businesses get reimbursed for any IMI projects, but they can also gain general funding and access to a valuable network of support in the form of knowledge, data and technology within the IMI itself.
#10 Innovation in Construction
Support in the form of grants, training and advice is available to construction startups thanks to the I-Construct programme.
You can receive either:
£1,000-£20,000 grant to fund 30% of the development and launch of a new service or product
9 hours one to one mentoring and advice from leading industry experts
12 hours free support from the Enterprise Readiness programme
Market readiness analysis and wider industry connections to help launch an industry changing product
#11 Innovate UK Funding
Innovate UK hosts a huge range of funding opportunities for
niche businesses or CEOs via competitions. Despite being incredibly
specific categories, there are so many that there is at least one that
you will be eligible for.
Women in Innovation Awards 2022/23
2022 Crack It
£1.2 million funding
Automotive Transformation Fund
A share of £1 billion
Their competitions have huge potential for niche startups in need of a cash injection to grow!
Internal business improvement
#12 Grow It Award
This award focuses on businesses and entrepreneurs who are looking to:
Build access to employment
Develop resilient communities
Find solutions for an ageing society
In return, these social issue entrepreneurs can receive up to £15,000 in grants to help support their goals. This includes a support package of one to one coaching, training, mentoring and access to networks.
#13 WRAP Grants
Try turning your business green while saving some money! The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) manages small business startup grants and funding for companies looking to save the planet.
Increase the use of recycled materials, grow recycling capacities and more with their vast range of grants and funds for SMEs.
#14 Flexible Workforce Development Fund
This programme is only available to Scottish SMEs and UK Apprenticeship Levy paying employers, but it can grow, train and encourage your workforce to deliver better services.
Flexible training for your workforce
Tailored learning to address priority skills gaps
These can be covered by an independent training provider with total available funds up to £2 million, or via a local college / Open University course with funds covered up to £5,000.
#15 The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme
This niche grant is dedicated to encouraging young people to launch their own businesses.
16-30 years old
Studying less than 14 hours a week
Unemployed or working less than 16 hours a week
You receive £175 - £250 to support:
Accredited course fees to A level standard
Tools, equipment or uniform for job or training
Job licence fees.
#16 LSE Generate
If you’ve graduated from LSE, you could be eligible for a share of one of their unique grants. LSE Graduates, regardless of graduation year can gain a share of £20,000 thanks to this competition held twice a year.
You can still be in your pre seed phase as long as you demonstrate a viable product and business model, or in the live phase showing your work with your first customers.
The only invalid applicants to this small business startup grant are those who have already won!
But what else does a startup need?
Grants are a great place to start, but more for long term scalable growth your startup needs great accounting.
Accountancy services for startups that can handle your bookkeeping, payroll and more so that you can focus on your business. A dedicated CFO service that helps with fundraising and an R&D Tax Credit service to gain you maximum tax relief at the end of every financial year.
Our teams of expert professionals and sophisticated accounting software are here to help your startup grow. Just get in touch with one of our specialists to find out more about how you can grow. Don’t forget to check out our School of Startups to find startup specific resources from industry leaders and experts of all kinds.