You may be starting a new UK business, or you may be looking to expand your operations. Either way, you need reliable sources of business funding.
Securing business investments and funding in London is a constant challenge. We have therefore listed funds available for SMEs in London and parts of the UK.
Some of these funds are for specific locations and sectors. You shall find all the relevant details in this short guide for funding for businesses.
1. Prince’s Trust Grants
The Prince’s Trust grants have been around since 1976. It has been helping budding entrepreneurs secure mentorship and funding.
To apply for the grant you will have to fill out an application form.
- You need to be a resident of the UK.
- You are between 18 and 30 years old.
- You have a business in the UK or you are looking to start one.
It is ideal for aspiring and new entrepreneurs who need training, mentorship, funding and resources. The free Enterprise program of the Prince’s Trust Grant takes place in numerous locations across London and the UK. It consists of three stages – Info Session, Workshop and Building your Business.
Earlier they offered grants between £1,500 and £3,000. However, their updated website doesn’t mention the available funding amounts right now.
2. The UK Government’s Start-Up Loan Scheme
The Start Up Loan scheme began in 2012. It aims to fund anyone aspiring to launch or expand their SME. Unlike other business funding and loans on this list, the Start Up Loan is an unsecured personal loan.
- You must be a resident of the UK.
- You must be 18 years or older.
The Start Up Loan scheme is a government-backed funding program available for small and medium business owners in the UK.
To qualify for this loan, your business must be up and running in the UK for less than 36 months.
You can receive between £500 and £25,000. Start Up Loans charge a fixed rate of 6% per year. You do not need to pay an application fee or early repayment fee to register for funding.
3. The London SME Fund
The London SME Fund is a £28 million venture capital fund for small and medium-sized businesses in London. Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise, Kit Malthouse launched the MMC London Fund in 2013. MMC Ventures and Funding London operate these funds.
It provides equity-based funding for small businesses operating in and out of London. It is a co-investment system. The London ERDF programme provides £9 million, and the rest comes from investment returns of the previous SME investments and private investors.
Who can benefit from the London SME fund?
Businesses in the early stages of rapid growth can benefit from this SME fund.
The business fund targets promising small businesses in sectors that are priorities for the Mayor of London, including:
- Digital and e-commerce
- Software and IT
- Financial Services
- Creative and Media
Since its launch, the London SME fund has invested a whopping £16.6 million in 19 SMEs across the city.
4. Energy Entrepreneurs Fund
The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund is the funding program that aims to support the advancement of businesses working towards developing cutting-edge technologies, products and processes in the core sectors of electricity, heat storage, power production and energy efficiency.
If your business deals with the development of state-of-the-art tech or processes that can conserve energy or maximize the output based on minimal energy usage, you may qualify for this fund.
The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund is currently in its ninth phase with over £10 million available for funding small and medium enterprises. It is a competitive funding scheme. The applications for the ninth phase have closed. We are currently in wait for the announcement of the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund: Phase 10.
- Your project must be at TRL 3 – 8.
- More than 50% of your project activities must be in the UK.
- BIES couldn’t fund the retrospective work on your projects
The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund provides detailed timelines and eligibility criteria for every phase. Keep an eye on their website for the announcement of the next phase of funding.
5. Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme
You can utilize the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) for raising money for your company. It is not a traditional business funding scheme. It provides tax relief to investors who buy new shares in your business.
It is one of the four most popular, helpful, and reliable venture capital schemes for business owners.
- Your company carries out a new qualifying trade
- Your business is established in the UK
- You are not trading on a recognized stock exchange
- Your company doesn’t control any other company. If it does have another company, it should be a qualifying subsidiary.
- Your company is not controlled by any other company since the day of its incorporation.
SEIS helps entrepreneurs raise money when their business is still in the nascent phase. You can receive up to £150,000 through SEIS.
For more details on the qualifying criteria and SEIS tax reliefs, you should check this out.
6. Women in Engineering Grant 2022
Are you a woman leading a business within UK engineering? Then this is the funding scheme for you!
The Women in Engineering Grant is a new funding source launched by Get It Made. You can receive up to £10,000 to expand your business and move forward.
- The leader of the organization must be female.
- The organization should be a part of UK engineering.
- Proof of Concept – what’s the ultimate goal, and how it will assist in the development/welfare of human society. How you intend to use the grant.
You will have to fill out an application form available on https://get-it-made.co.uk/grants/women-in-engineering/.
7. Business Development Grants, Scarborough
The Business Development Grant Scheme aims to empower new entrepreneurs in the Scarborough area. The grant application is considered every quarter. The upcoming dates include –
- Friday 26 August 2022
- Friday 25 November 2022
- Friday 24 February 2023
The Borough Council assess the applications around 14-days after the closing date.
The Business Development Grants Scheme includes the Business Start-up Grants and Business Expansion Grants. Consider the fine lines before deciding which one is applicable for your UK-based business.
- You can either apply for the Business Start-up or Business Expansion scheme.
- You should not have any outstanding liabilities to the Scarborough Borough Council.
- Your business should create new job opportunities for the locals.
- Your company should enhance the economy of the area without causing environmental harm.
- It should improve connectivity or create technologically smart towns.
- It should help with the skill development and educational attainment of the residents.
You can download the application form directly from the official website. You shall find more detail on the list of conditions and eligibility criteria on the Business Development Grants scheme application form.
Now you should be well prepared to secure at least your initial business funding by applying to the most suitable business grants listed here. If in doubt, you can always contact each organization or provider before submitting your application to ensure it’s right for your business. Alternatively, you can consult a trusted London accountant or finance advisor for more information.