Government grants for small business: an overview

Government grants for small business: an overview

Small businesses are the backbone of many local economies. They often provide essential goods and services to their communities, create jobs, and stimulate economic growth. Small businesses also tend to be more responsive to local customer needs and more involved in the community. They must be supported to ensure their continued impact and success.

Small businesses are the backbone of many local economies. They often provide essential goods and services to their communities, create jobs, and stimulate economic growth. Small businesses also tend to be more responsive to local customer needs and more involved in the community. They must be supported to ensure their continued impact and success.

Grants can help small businesses stay afloat during difficult times. However, in the UK it is possible that this will be a much more challenging process since it requires investigation, with eligibility dependent on a whole range of factors. For example, businesses may need to show that their operations have been impacted by the pandemic or demonstrate that they are unable to access other forms of finance. Furthermore, the availability and amounts of grants may depend on the region or the size and type of business. 

However, it is not an impossible task. The following is a guide that provides an overview of a wide variety of small business grants that can be obtained both from the government and other organisations across the UK.

Innovate UK grants

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), is focused on helping UK businesses develop through innovation, the new products, services, and processes they need to grow and scale up. They support innovative ideas and business growth. Read about it here.

Small and medium-sized enterprise R&D tax reliefs

Research and Development (R&D) tax relief supports companies that work on innovative projects in science and technology.

You may be able to claim Corporation Tax relief if your project meets the standard definition of R&D and if you’re an SME with both of the following:

  • less than 500 staff
  • a turnover of under 100 million euros or a balance sheet total under 86 million euros

 Read about it here. 

Grants to take on an apprentice

You can get financial help from the government to train an apprentice in your small business.

If your pay bill is less than £3 million a year, you won’t pay the apprenticeship levy. This means you get five per cent towards the cost of training and assessment for your apprentice, if the apprenticeship started on or after 1 April 2019.

The government pays their 95 per cent share directly to the training organisation. You also pay your share directly, according to a payment schedule you agree with the training organisation.

Use the government’s enquiry form to find out more.

Grants for installing high-speed broadband

The Government is providing up to vouchers worth up to £4,500 for SMEs in rural locations to  help to cover the costs of installing gigabit broadband to people’s doorsteps. Find out more 

The National Lottery Heritage Fund

This fund supports heritage projects ranging from designed landscapes to cultural traditions. Heritage can be anything from the past that you value and want to pass on to future generations. They provide funding for heritage projects from £3,000 up to millions of pounds. 

Learn more.

Awards for social entrepreneurs/ventures 

You have an idea or are already making a difference and are looking for support to develop your social venture, UnLtd could help you start out. They offer awards from £500 to £15,000 across two separate startup packages. Find out more.

Female entrepreneurs

Here are some grants and awards aimed at female business owners: 

Women in Innovation Award

Abie Awards

Hatch Enterprise

More options

To look for more options you can use the government’s Finance and support for your business online tools.

Also, you can head to The Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) Network website which lists the 38 regional Growth Hubs, set up to provide business funding, support and guidance in their local areas.