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Small business grants: what are they and what’s available?

Being a small business owner, managing cash flow, and finding funds to grow can seem like a juggling act.

Small businesses, thankfully, can access funding through grants from the government and other organizations without going further into debt or having to pay a steep interest rate.

  • A small business may have a difficult time finding funding during the first few years of its existence. You will probably need to spend money faster than you can earn it when you try to expand your offerings and reach more customers.

Even though it may seem like an uphill battle, there may be funding available to help you manage your cash flow or take your business to the next level. Such grants are available to support small businesses.

How do small businesses obtain grants?

Grants are lump sums that do not need to be repaid. Grants for small businesses work in many different ways, and this will vary from one provider to another, but most will require the funds to be invested or used in your business, in a certain way.

You may also have to meet certain conditions in order to receive your grant. The amount you are awarded may be determined by how much you have raised from other sources, or you may have to invest as much money as you receive.

Where can you find small business grants?

Organizations such as charities and banks offer Small business grants. Shopping around is the best way to find ones that meet your needs and are available whenever you need them.

You should start by contacting your Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), of which there are 38 around the country. Local authorities and private sector businesses form business-led partnerships, and they provide funding and advice to help businesses improve the economy and infrastructure of the region.

To find out what is available, you can also check out grant providers’ websites, or subscribe to their communications for updates. You can also find a ‘grants’ box on the government’s funding search tool, which is found under the ‘finance and support for your business’ section, which is a good place to start.

A guide to applying for small business grants

Even if you meet the eligibility criteria, there is no guarantee that you will receive a Small business grants. For this reason, you should think carefully about your application, as if you were applying for a loan. For example:

  • Is your plan in line with the grant’s objective?
  • What you will do with the money (which should be aligned with the grant’s purpose) is clear to you.
  • What you will do with the money (which should align with the grant’s purpose) is clear to you.
  • Immediately, you will use the grant money.

The questions and criteria of each grant application are different, but here are some general guidelines for how to approach your application:

  • Make sure you have a good business plan (with cash flow forecasts) and that it is up-to-date
  • Make sure the numbers are in order by seeking financial and/or accounting advice
  • Gather lots of information, carefully write and revise your application, and submit it well before the deadline.
  • Be sure to check the deadline!
  • Your business should demonstrate how it benefits people – unlike bank loans, grants are often used to address challenges in the economy or local community
  • Describe how your business and its plans will accomplish the goal of the grant, such as by investing in new equipment or hiring essential staff members
  • Pay attention to the language the provider uses – mirroring it can demonstrate alignment with the provider’s values

when it comes to small business grants

which are usually designed for businesses facing specific challenges. These categories include:

Grants for self-employed people

Grants are available from time to time to help self-employed people cover for income loss that isn’t their fault.

During Covid-19, the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) acted like a furlough scheme for self-employed people. The application period for this program has ended.

Starting up grants

In order to get your business going, you may be able to access funding to cover the costs of equipment and products. You can earn an income and access to mentoring when you create your own business with the New Enterprise Allowance, for example.

You can also take part in Prince’s Trust programs. Small business grants for young people are designed to help those aged 18 to 30 start a business, and this grant is one of the most notable.

Apprenticeship grants

In order to encourage businesses to train people and give them new skills, the government offers grant schemes that help fund apprenticeships.

A few of these schemes are the National Apprenticeship Service and the Kickstart Scheme. It provides funding to businesses to hire young people aged 16 to 24 on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

Which grants are available to small businesses?

A financial adviser may be able to help you find Small business grants and complete a successful application.

Examples of well-known grant providers include Power to Change and the National Lottery, which target community-led businesses and often provide funding. Innovate the UK is another big name that provides support to businesses bringing new ideas and research to market.

Another grant related to COVI-19 should be mentioned. Organizations in all sectors have been affected by this pandemic.

There have been a number of grants available to support businesses through this challenging period and to keep new businesses coming into the economy. Among the ones that are still open are:

  • ARG (Additional Restrictions Grant) – a support package local authorities can offer to businesses most affected by Covid-19 related restrictions.
  • The hospitality, holiday accommodation, and attractions industries have benefited from a reduction in VAT rates. They can pay a rate of 12.5% until April 2022.

Find out how to get the grant your business needs

You may feel that any funding is good if you are strapped for cash, but this is not always the case. Funding often comes with specific guidelines for how it can be used, so it’s crucial that these also align with your business goals.

Speak to a financial adviser or accountant before applying for any funding, so you can explore all your options and ensure you are on the right path.

There are 27,000 independent financial professionals with Best Bizz nationwide. Find the perfect financial adviser for you today.

You might also find our article on crowdfunding for small businesses useful if you found this article helpful!

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