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Where to Look for Grants for a Small Business Startup

Grants are a very important part of launching a successful business startup. Here’s how to get started.

Where and How to Find Grants for a Small Business Startup

Many small business owners struggle to get the startup capital they need to launch their businesses effectively. Some opt for high-interest loans or ineffective minor investments that don’t really cut it. Naturally, some small business owners and entrepreneurs are looking for alternatives for their startup capital.

This is where grants come in. Grants for small business startup are a great way to invest in the growth of your startup. Loans and credit cards just add on to the debt, while angel investors tend to take a pretty big chunk of your company’s equity. Small business grants don’t need to be paid back and are an excellent option for startups in virtually all industries.

In this guide, we’ll break down the best grants that you can apply for today as a U.K. business owner. You might be surprised by all of the options that are available.


If you’re in need of grants for small business startup, you’re in luck. There are many options out there for small business startups in the United Kingdom.

Where to Find Government-Issued Grants for Small Businesses

If your startup is relatively new and low on resources, there are quite a few government grant options available in the United Kingdom. There are a few different places where you can find and apply for such loans.

Through the U.K. government’s business finance support page, you can apply for a variety of different loans and grants. Using the left sidebar, you can sort your results by funding type. Select “Grant” and browse through the available organizations, businesses, programs, and schools that offer grants to small businesses in a variety of industries.

If your small business or startup has suffered throughout the pandemic, you might have some special options for grant funding. The Additional Restrictions Grant is a type of grant that most local governments can give to small local businesses if they are currently ineligible for other grants. Typically, startups in the retail and hospitality industries are eligible for this grant, as well as small businesses involved in live events. To see if your local council can help you with this grant, speak to a representative in your area.

How to Apply for Government-Issued Grants for Small Businesses

Applying for a government-issued business grant is quite easy. While each grant is different, many will have similar terms and eligibility requirements. A majority of government-sanctioned grants for small businesses are very niche and involve building or supporting very specific types of companies.

If you’re overwhelmed, we recommend taking these steps to apply for a government grant:

  • Take the time to talk to the grant awards body to get a clearer idea of what your chances of success are. Nobody wants to waste their time on a grant that is a poor fit or doesn’t align with their business.
  • Thoroughly read through the objectives of the grant. If you have a good idea of why the grant exists in the first place, you can reference this goal in your application to boost your chances of success.
  • Know your business plan well. Grants are typically given to businesses that have a solid business plan and model in place. Include examples of your balances and overall company position.
  • Really focus on how you will use the grant. Grants from the government are usually awarded for very specific things within a project, such as buying certain software, installing a network, or establishing a physical office span. In the application, note how you plan to use your grant in accordance with the grant’s use case.
  • Check your funding to ensure that your investment matches your grant amount, as most grant offers are only willing to match what you already are willing to invest.
  • Start applying for grants as early as possible. Your chances of getting a grant at launch will be higher.
Types of Grants for U.K. Businesses

If you’re not interested in searching for grants through the government’s search tool, give one of these grant programs and funding sources a try.

Accountancy Cloud

For those who need grants for small business startup, Accountancy Cloud can help. While Accountancy Cloud’s main service offering involves bookkeeping and financial advisory for startups, the platform also works closely with partners to provide grants, equities, and research and development tax credits. Many of the grant programs we’ll mention in this list require extensive application processes and other headaches. With Accountancy Cloud, the burden of finding the right grants for your startup will rest on the AC team. Just as well, this platform was founded by entrepreneurs that understand the startup world very well and can pair your company with the best possible and most relevant grant option.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund provides a wide range of funding levels to startups of all types, including very small businesses. Grants typically range from a few thousand pounds to several million pounds.

This is a very valuable resource because it isn’t simply one program. Rather, the National Lottery Heritage Fund curates a wide range of programmes for different niches. Specifically, this fund curates programmes in the realm of landscaping to culture. In the next year and a half, this fund will put more of a priority on projects that improve and boost the U.K. economy, as well as businesses that help improve the development of skills and create jobs.

The Leicestershire Business Growth Grant

This excellent business grant opportunity provides funding between £2,000 and £25,000 for projects. This grant is specifically designed for SMEs that are trading over twelve months and are ready to start scaling. Along with the grant’s funding, you can also enjoy some extra support from a business advisor during and after the application process. This grant can easily cover about 35% of your project’s costs and can be used for new products, services, premises expansion and refurbishment, and capital equipment or machinery. Currently, funds are being reallocated for this grant, but keep an eye on it in case applications open soon.

The ALPHAS Project of South East Midlands

If your startup has just started trading and only has a few employees, this is an excellent grant to seek out. Not only does the ALPHAS Project offer grants, but they also offer workshops and growth opportunities for entrepreneurs.

With this grant, you can enjoy a few thousand dollars in funding in virtually any industry, as long as some of that funding is used to hire a college graduate professional. This could be a great option for tech companies that are trying to grow, as well as charities.

New Enterprise Allowance

The New Enterprise Allowance provides both funding and mentoring for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. This is a great funding source if your startup hasn’t quite manifested yet, but you still need that startup capital to get it going.

In order to be eligible for this allowance, you must be over the age of eighteen. You also must receive or have a partner who receives the Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit, and Job Seeker’s Allowance, OR be disabled or a single parent currently on Income Support. In order to receive this grant, your chosen mentor will have to approve your written business model.

The Business Development Grant Scheme of Scarborough

For startups snd SMEs that have not launched yet, but plan to run in the Borough of Scarborough, this business development grant could be quite helpful. Applicants can receive several thousand pounds in funding for specific sectors. In particular, businesses involved in public services, hotels, estate agencies, property development, and utilities will not be eligible for this grant. If your company doesn’t fall into these sectors, then your application could land you with 50% of all eligible project costs covered by this grant.

Prince’s Trust Enterprise Course

If you’re between the ages of eighteen and thirty, this funding program could be perfect for you. In addition to excellent training and mentorship programs, this trust also provides funding and additional resources. When you apply for this course, you’ll need to engage in workshops and some informative sessions designed to help you start your business. While in this course, you can apply for low-interest business-specific loans through the trust. While grants are not fully available, the trust has noted that small business grants can be given for those in particular circumstances.

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FAQs

How does a startup get funding? Are there alternatives to grants?

The most common ways that a startup can get funding via an investor or a small business grant.

Angel investors are investors who invest in the very early stages of a startup in exchange for equity ownership interest. Angel investing can be difficult to acquire, though they have become more common in the last few years.

A startup grant is often an excellent way to get funding for your startup, as this money does not need to be returned or paid back. Just as well, you won’t be stuck in a loan scenario in which you’ll have to pay additional interest on top of the loan, whether or not your startup has reached excellent monetary potential.

Outside of startups grants, there is also the option of crowdfunding, small business credit cards, and seeking assistance from venture capital firms.

What exactly is a startup grant?

A startup grant refers to funding that can be used for a variety of things to keep a startup running, from business expenses to prototyping and development to marketing. Funds from a startup grant are designed to support scalable startups that have a lot of potential.

Startup grants can have pretty strict eligibility requirements, and the competition to get a grant can be fierce. Still, startup grants are excellent because they don’t have to be paid back and don’t accrue interest. They are essentially free money that you can use to get your business off of the ground and growing. In the U.K., there are hundreds of funding choices available that can range from a few hundred pounds to a few million pounds.

How was our guide on where to find grants for small business startup? Tell us what your experience has been like in the comments below.

Don’t forget to check out other great in-depth guides on startups and financial security for your startup at Accountancy Cloud! We are an agency with a mission to help entrepreneurs who are launching their first startup with R&D tax credits and a variety of financial services. At Accountancy Cloud, we’re proud to have partners available that can help with grants and equities for our clients. Get in touch with Accountancy Cloud today to learn more about how we can help you get your startup off the ground.