Small Business Grants Guide

small business grants
In this guide on grants for small business UK, we look at different options available such as apprenticeships and tax relief

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Did you know that many small businesses in the UK can gain financial support in the form of small business grants? Unlike loans, small business grants typically do not require repayment. The money is essentially a gift to help you grow your business and is a good alternative to using credit cards or business loans to raise finance.

However, there are typically caveats to the grants. For example, you may have to use the money for a specific purpose or you may have to be a certain type of business to be eligible for the grant. As a small business owner, it is important that you explore different financial outlets like this. You could be eligible for a grant that could give your business a boost!

In this guide to small business grants, we have found a range of different grants available from the government and other organisations. We have also provided some useful advice on how to find grants relative to your company.

Government Business Growth Grant Scheme

The government supports thousands of businesses throughout the UK with the aim to improve employment opportunities. One such way they do this is via the Government Business Growth Grant Scheme. This scheme is available for established businesses that can provide a plan that shows how they can grow and create new jobs.

This grant is operated by individual local councils and currently not all regional councils offer it. However, you can use the government business finance website to check to see if the grant is offered by your local council. 

The Growth Grant provides funds of up to £2,500. The caveat is that this money must be used to develop your outlined growth plan that will contribute towards new job opportunities. For example, the grant could be used to buy new land, machinery, or even R&D.

Tax Relief for R&D Projects

There are certain grants available for specific types of business. Also, these are not always cash lump sums. Some grants come in the form of tax rebates or discounts.

One such project is tax relief for R&D projects. Research and development is important aspect of the development of economies and the progression of technology. As a result, the HMRC provides tax relief to small businesses that specifically take part in research projects. Depending on the circumstance, this can result in a corporation tax relief of up to 230%.

To be eligible, your research project must show that it is making a valid contribution to the development or solving of some type of technology or scientific issue. To be eligible for this tax relief, your business must also have fewer than 500 staff and have a turnover of less than £100 million.

Apprenticeship Grants

The UK government wholeheartedly supports the development and employment of apprentices for small businesses. This is because apprenticeships teach the younger generation valuable skills and help them find long-term career paths.

As a result, if you employ an apprentice for your small business you can benefit from a grant, The current apprenticeship incentive scheme provides SMEs with support for payments relating to apprenticeship training and assessments.

You can also apply for a £3,000 incentive payment if you have hired an apprentice in the previous tax year. This incentive scheme ends on 15/05/2022. Full details and information relating to apprenticeships can be found on the official government website.

An apprentice could be an excellent team member to have in your small business. They could make a valid contribution but also potentially become an integral part of your team for the long term.

Gigabit Voucher Scheme for Broadband Grants

The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is an interesting grant that is based on the broadband connection of your business. This is an official government-funded scheme that aims to provide funding to small businesses that are located in rural areas and are suffering from poor internet speeds.

The government has teamed up with a range of broadband suppliers including Virgin Media, TalkTalk, and Sky. Many of these businesses are signed up to the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to help businesses in rural areas.

This is essentially a grant that is used to upgrade your broadband connection to a gigabit-capable line. Small businesses can receive a grant for up to £3,500 which contributes towards the upgrade process and line rental costs etc.

To be eligible for this grant, your business must have a broadband connection with speeds less than 100Mbps, there must also be no immediate plans for a gigabit network to be installed in the area. You will also be asked to provide evidence that you are an active SME business.

Low Carbon Workspaces Grants

Today, there is a real push in the UK for businesses to operate sustainably and to reduce their carbon footprint. As a result, there is a range of business grants available to help SMEs to transform into a low carbon workspace.

The Low Carbon Workspaces Grant specifically offers grants to businesses to introduce energy-efficient operations. The grant value is between £1,000 to £5,000. It is currently a regional grant that is available for SMEs in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

The caveat for this grant is that you must have a valid plan that shows how you intend to reduce your business’s carbon footprint. This grant provides financial relief, but it also has the benefit that you are doing something good for our environment too. 

Innovate UK Small Business Grants

The UK government has a range of grants that are aimed at businesses that are pushing the boundaries of new technologies. These are the Innovate UK Grants. These grants aim to support small UK businesses that are attempting to develop new technologies and ideas in a range of industries.

The grants vary from industry to industry but are typically available for values between £25,000 to £10 million. There are also available for anything from small businesses through to fully-fledged enterprises.

The caveat is that the grants are generally themed to fit in the industry-specific challenge. For example, this could include the development of AI and data management, challenges with an ageing society, and the future of mobility. You can find out more about the Innovate UK scheme on the official government website.


FEAST 2 is a scheme aimed at supporting businesses that operate within the food and drink manufacturing industry.

Currently, this is a specific grant for businesses in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and the South East Midlands. The grant is given in a myriad of ways including potential funding for up to 25% of equipment costs, technical support, and access to industry events and workshops

This partnership is formed with the Food & Drink Forum and you can find out more details via the Food & Drink Forum website. There are also other similar industry-specific and location-specific grants that you can find via the government website.

Official UK Government Grants Website – A Great Source of Information

To find out about different small business grants related to your industry or region, we advise checking the official UK government business finance support page. This is an excellent repository filled with a searchable database of available grants and information websites.

The database has a range of filters to help find grants relative to your business. These include the type of support (finance, equity, grant, loan etc.), business stage, industry, number of employees, and region. There is also a wealth of information available relating to things like Coronavirus business support, small business loans and startup loans

Small Business Grants – Summary

We understand that it can be difficult to secure funding as a small business in the UK. Initial cash flow and investments can often determine the success of your business and how quickly you can grow.

Hopefully, from this article, you can see that it is possible to get some financial relief in certain circumstances. There are many different grants available – you just have to spend a little time researching them. Admittedly some grants are industry or regional-specific, but many are generic and available for many small businesses.

You may also want to check out this guide to the Government’s help to grow digital scheme.

Checkout our guide to starting a new business and starting an online business for more information.

If this guide to small business grants helped you, please recommend DigitalSupermarket.

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