Whether you need funding for a new office space in London or the money to launch a new marketing campaign, there are a number of resources that provide small businesses with the capital they need to succeed.
Here, The Brew rounds up some of the best grants and funding options that will help your small business to scale up.
While some companies can easily survive with minimal investment when starting out, others need to deal with immediate and necessary expenditures. That’s why The Brew have partnered with smallbusiness.co.uk to offer £5,000 every month to the brightest UK businesses in a free-to-enter competition.
If your business has a turnover between £50,000 and £500,000, then you’re eligible to enter – and the entering is simple and user-friendly, to avoid businesses having to jump through the usual multiple, complex application hoops.
Simply include as much information as possible about your successes so far and why you deserve to win, and your application will be considered by a panel of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders – including The Brew’s very own Andrew Clough.
Replacing the old Smart award programme which was scrapped by the government last year, Innovate UK now runs funding competitions offering grants to businesses working on innovative new technologies.
The programme has competitions open to businesses and organisations of all sizes and from all corners of the technology sector, but some are open exclusively to SMEs. Recipients of Innovate UK grants have seen higher employment and turnover and a better success rate than comparable businesses without the same funding.
The full list of open competitions can be found on the Innovate UK website.
Supporting research and innovation all over Europe, this massive EU fund has a dedicated SME Instrument through which small businesses can receive funding for innovative projects with high potential. Businesses involved in ground-breaking research or new technologies, or responding to challenges such as climate change and food security, can access the €3 million set aside for the SME Instrument over the period 2014-2020.
Applications by UK organisations will be made via a National Contact Point – usually a government agency or organisation. One of Horizon 2020’s aims is to foster links between EU nations, so some funding is conditional on forming partnerships with businesses overseas.
However, you may have a limited window in which to take full advantage of this particular fund – although projects will not be affected until the UK has officially left the EU, the policy after this point remains uncertain.
While money itself is no doubt important, the benefits of having the right knowledge and expertise to hand is an often overlooked part of scaling up a small business. With Innovation Vouchers, £5000 is awarded for an SME to specifically seek out the experts, advisors or consultants they need to take their innovative idea to the next level, build within their industry or protect their intellectual property rights.
One of the common difficulties faced by even the most innovative and forward-thinking start-ups is that their small size and untested business credentials make it difficult to attract investment from high street banks. This government-backed initiative was set up to help get around this problem – if you’re a start-up or very small early stage business that is yet to launch or has been trading for less than 12 months then you could receive mentoring, business planning support and a loan with an average size of £6,000.
Although this funding option will affect your business at a very early stage, it could be what you need to get the right footing for scaling up further down the line.
No matter how dedicated, hard-working and imaginative, sometimes nothing will help your business break through to the next level like a bit of extra money – so it’s worth researching these funding options to see whether they could benefit your business.