Grants & Funding Programmes
“Financing is tough, and you really have to work hard in the businesses you invest in.” – Greg Brenneman
They can give a growing business a helping hand at a crucial time in their growth and the best part about grants: you don’t have to pay them back!
Selecting a grant to apply for
This is great, but how do you find them, and how do you know which grant scheme is right for your business?
With hundreds of schemes currently active in the UK, covering a range of sectors and geographies and each with its own application process and rules, finding the right one for you can seem as daunting as hunting your very own needle in a haystack!
To help you on your journey to grant success, this section will give you an overview of the types of products available and advice on how to access them.
Grants are available from a range of sources, varying from larger European and UK grants available nationally to grants up for grabs through to regional schemes, often available through your Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) or local authorities and organisations such as the Chambers of Commerce. You can find details of your local LEP here.
Seeing your finances planned out will help.
Researching Grants that apply to you
A good starting point for some desk research is to see what’s available in your area is the Gov.UK website, who have a list of programmes detailing where they cover, and what you can use the grant funding for.
It’s important to remember that grants will usually be focussed on sector development, or regional growth, so it’s essential that you are clear exactly what you need the grant for before you begin any application. If your needs don’t match up with the purpose of the grant scheme, it’s unlikely you’ll be successful.
To help you with the basics, we’ve created a dedicated article based on the commonly asked Q&A’s on grants – click here to view this.
Before you start, think very carefully about the WHY & WHAT.
- What do you need the funding for?
- Why do you want the funding? If you can afford to pay for it anyway then you’re unlikely to succeed.
- What impact will it have on your business? Think job creation, job safeguarding, sales & profit increase.
Regional Grant Support
In the Yorkshire region, the following agencies provide local support:
Leeds City Region LEP – http://www.the-lep.com/
York, North Yorkshire and Est Riding LEP https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/about-the-lep/
Sheffield LEP – https://sheffieldcityregion.org.uk/
Humber LEP – http://www.humberlep.org/
Regional LEP Coverage Map – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-enterprise-partnerships-map
Current Grant Schemes in the region
1. Let’s Grow North & East Yorkshire – Capital Assets – http://bit.ly/2tihzj4
- Grants from £10K to £1M contributing 10-20% of total costs
- Minimum project spend £33K
- Can include new premises, refurb, machinery, equipment
- Trading address in York, North Yorkshire or East Yorkshire
2. Business Growth Programme – Capital Assets – http://bit.ly/1JYNkzI
- Grants from £10K to £250K contributing 20% of total costs
- Minimum project spend £50K
- Cannot include property purchase but can include refurbishment / fitout costs plus other capital purchases
- Trading address in Leeds City Region (includes York)
3. Product & Process Improvement – Capital Assets – http://www.papi.org.uk/
- Grants up to £20K contributing 40% of total costs
- To be used to help purchase equipment that enables innovation within the business and improves on the existing processes and/or products
- Trading address in York, North Yorkshire or East Yorkshire
4. Resource Efficiency Fund – Capital Assets & Advice – http://bit.ly/2tIweY4
- Grants up to £10K contributing 50% of total costs
- The maximum intervention rate for lighting is 25% towards the project cost
- To be used to help lower the cost of energy, water and waste by providing financial support to help purchase new equipment
- Includes a free efficiency assessment
- Trading address in Leeds City Region
5. Rural Development Programme for England – Capital Assets – http://bit.ly/2kVXtsz
- Grants typically from £35K to £170K for a commercial project contributing 40% of total costs
- Minimum project spend £87,500
- Can be used for constructing or improving buildings and buying new equipment & machinery
- The grant can only be used by businesses based in rural areas of Leeds City Region (for definition contact Make It York)
- The project has to be aimed at developing tourism in rural areas, helping to attract more tourists to stay longer and spend more
6. Skills Support for the Workforce – External Training – http://bit.ly/2sQbmwp
- Grants provide 100% support to cover the cost of using an external training provider to develop the skills of your staff e.g. marketing, social media, Microsoft, construction such as AutoCAD and many others
- Trading address in York, North Yorkshire or East Yorkshire
- Sector specific but only if you have more than 10 staff – includes visitor economy, food & drink manufacture, voluntary and others
7. Manufacturing Growth Programme – Advice – http://bit.ly/2lKNo2P
- Grants to provide access to expert advice to help you grow your manufacturing business
- Access equates to 8 days across 4 months
- Topics cover a wide range including producing growth plans, accessing finance, marketing and many more. Includes help to acquire SALSA accreditation (Safe & Local Supplier Approval)
8. Stimulating Innovation in the Agri Food Sector – Advice & Research – http://bit.ly/2kMZNj1
- Grants provide access to FERA Science Ltd to enable applicants to test food products to ensure compliance with food safety laws
- Workshops & networking events also available to help with subjects such as product development, technology & logistics
- Available to businesses based in West, North & East Yorkshire
9. Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund – Loans & Equity – https://www.npif.co.uk/
- Debt & equity based funds available to businesses across Yorkshire
- Micro Finance fund with loans from £25K to £100K delivered by Business Enterprise Fund (https://www.befund.org/npif) York contact is Andy Clough 07891 427956
- Debt Finance fund with loans from £100K to £750K delivered by Enterprise Ventures (http://bit.ly/2sj6JYS) York based contact is Ian Atkinson 07540 014911
- Equity Finance from £100K to £2M delivered by Enterprise Ventures (http://bit.ly/2uC9mpe)
10. Ad:Venture – Advice & Grants – http://ad-venture.org.uk/
- Programme specifically aimed at high growth pre-start or early stage businesses up to 3 years old
- Expert advice to help with planning, coaching and growth advice
- Must trade B2B
- Grants available from £500 to £2500 for start ups to assist with set up costs (excluding working capital)
- Grants available from £2.5K to £25K for businesses that have been trading from 1 year up to 3 years to help with capital purchases
- Start up loans available through Business Enterprise Fund from £500 – £25K (www.befund.org)
- There are a range of niche programmes linked for Creative/Digital, Music Industry, Med Tech and Professional services, as well as support via Leeds Beckett University, Leeds Trinity University and University of Bradford (Innovation, Sector Specialisms, R&D etc)
11. Access Innovation – Advice & Grants – http://bit.ly/2tiBpe3
- Package of support available to help business access research based expertise to develop existing processes and products
- There are two grants available under this programmes:
- Equipment grants (which don’t have to be linked to collaboration grants) – for purchase of equipment as part of innovation project: grant of between £5,000 and £20,000 typically covering 20% of project costs (up to a maximum of £100,000 of project costs). Intervention rate is 10% for SMEs with 50 employees or more.
- Funding to access innovation expertise – Collaboration grants typically 50% funding towards the costs of accessing expertise, equipment, or facilities available through a research organisation*. Typically, the maximum grant is £100,000 and can fund eligible projects between £10,000 and £200,000. Examples of types of projects SMEs could work with research organisations include prototyping/ testing, specialist research, demonstrating effectiveness, determining best materials to use, supply chain opportunities.
- Specialist workshops will also be available.
12. Biorenewables Development Centre – Advice & Research – http://www.biorenewables.org/services/
- Range of grant based support available for businesses operating in the bioeconomy
- Support focusses on looking at ways to commercialise products & processes through a mix of testing & research
- Trading address in Leeds City Region or North & East Yorkshire
13. Spark Fund – http://www.spark-fund.co.uk/
- Available across York & North Yorkshire LEP area
- Up to £20K of innovation grants to help you change your business, not necessarily the world
- Up to £50K for R&D funding
- Up to £50K for Low Carbon R&D funding
14. Exporting – https://www.great.gov.uk/uk/
- Up to £5K grant available to cover 50% of cost when looking to attend trade shows including flights & accommodation or legal & professional fees relating to international T&C’s / contracts plus more.
- Plus, Enterprise Europe Network can help you find local partners & distributors in your chosen country, https://www.enterprise-europe.co.uk/services/Move-new-markets
15. Digital Enterprise Grant – https://www.digitalenterprise.co.uk/
- Available across Leeds City Region LEP area
- Up to £10K available to cover 50% of the cost of improving your use of digital technology where you can evidence the economic impact e.g. new website that incorporates e-commerce or smartphone app that allows sales agents to reduce use of paper.
- £1K funding to help improve connectivity
- Competitive process
16. Strategic Business Growth Programme – http://www.winning-pitch.co.uk/strategic-business-growth-programme/
- Aimed at businesses over 3 years of age with strong growth plans, targeting creation of 5-10 new jobs over next 3 years
- Programme provides expert advice and 121 coaching to help SME’s realise their potential
- Covers financial management, sales, planning & marketing
Q. What size of businesses are eligible?
A. The majority of these support products are available to SME’s employing less than 250 people and with up to £40M Turnover.
Q. What sort of businesses are eligible?
A. Generally speaking, businesses need to trade B2B to be eligible, i.e. their end client is a business and not a consumer. Sectors such as retail are generally ineligible but please check with your local LEP / Funding provider as there are variations.
Q. Is this the full list of grants and loans available to businesses?
A. No, this information is intended to cover the main options. There are a number of other niche grants available, again please check with your LEP, your business advisor or Growth Manager if you are planning on investing in your business.
For more information, see our full article on common questions asked when seeking grant funding.
National Schemes and Support
Business advice and support
Regional Business Growth Hubs provide support to businesses at all stages across the UK, and offer a range of free or funded advice. Programmes in localised areas will often offer specialist support to develop your growth strategy, offer solutions for market research through BIPC centres and provision of workshops and advice on a range of topics including sales, branding, digital marketing, and social media management or even get advice on how to access funding.
UK regions will usually have a focus on specific business sectors, sizes and locations, and there is often eligibility criteria, which can be quite specific.
Skills and development government grants
The Education and Skills Funding Agency oversees the current apprenticeship scheme whereby your business could access subsidised training and development to upskill existing employees to as high as a Master’s degree level.
Many regional Universities, Colleges and further education organisations offer a multitude of subsidised short courses or funded degree level programmes which will help you develop your existing staff to be the managers and directors of the future.
If your business is within a rural development area and looking to grow, invest in infrastructure / machinery or seek specialist advice to diversify. Or if your business is involved with forestry and land projects the government have a scheme called LEADER managed through Local Action Groups.
Green Business Fund
The Carbon Trust Green Business Fund is an energy efficiency support service for small and medium-sized companies in England, Scotland and Wales – and therefore Yorkshire!
It provides direct funded support through energy assessments, training workshops, equipment procurement support and up to £10,000 capital contribution towards the purchase of energy saving equipment.
Manufacturing is an area which is increasingly supported through grant schemes. Therefore if you manufacture textiles, specialist tooling, operate in the digital market, within the nuclear supply chain or need support for international trade, or manufacture in many other sectors, there is likely to be a grant scheme that your business can access.
Take a look at the government business funding support finder website.
Innovation, Research and Development
Innovate UK, offers support and funding to help businesses develop new products and services and bring them closer to market, this may be to bring people together to share ideas, tackle challenges and make new technological advances.
They targets technologies and areas with the greatest scope to improve business, the economy and society.
Local Enterprise Partnership
For anyone looking for grants at the moment, the go-to people will be their Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). One of the main functions of the LEPS is to generate economic growth and so many have their own grants programmes.
In addition, most provide some form of business support and advice. As part of the business advice service they collate information on local and national grants and will signpost business owners to the relevant organisations.
Another great source of information is the government ‘Business is Great’ website which has a page dedicated to a number of funds to support innovation.
There is also is an EU tool which shows what finance is available across the EU … although is does require some persistence in searching to get to the information.
For companies and individuals with ground breaking research which may require significant funding there is also Horizon 2020.
Grants take a lot of time and effort and usually have preconditions . Don’t spend time on applications where you don’t qualify as you simply won’t get the investment. Speak to your LEP if you think you’ve got a business worthy of a grant.
Grants advice from Yorkshire Powerhouse
Now you’ve read our article on Grants & Funding Programmes – have you any more questions?
Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’re happy to help as much as possible – is there anything else we can do to help you or do you have any further questions – please let us know:
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