The UK government has pledged to continue promoting the growth of small businesses and start-ups. From cash grants to tax reliefs and resource discounts, there are a number of small grants available.
As well as being your biggest concern, financial support is essential to the growth and the time it takes to grow your business. Government grants for small businesses and start-ups are therefore extremely sought after but can actually be hard to get.
Read on to find out more about government support for businesses in the UK and first-time business grants.
Business grants defined
If you’re the owner of a startup or small business owner, luckily for you there are a number of business grants available. Grants are schemes which are funded with public funds and offer entrepreneurs and small business owners cash rewards, equipment, and tools or a reduction in costs for using certain resources central to the development and running of your business.
Whilst it’s tempting to regard grants as free financial help, you should consider the added pressure of having the awarding body wanting a valuable output from your business, although this should be no different from your own goals.
Types of business start-up grants in the UK
Cash grants to complete a project
Also known as direct grants, this is the most well-known form of grant finance and is normally awarded to a business so it can carry out a specific project. Direct grants require you to match 50% of the cost of the project and there are normally regulations and agreements involved as to how you can spend the grant money.
Start-up resource and training grants
Start-up businesses often find themselves in a difficult situation, with the costs associated with paying for resources, expertise or facilities when they need to develop or grow a project.
In the UK there are a number of initiatives available including:
- Innovation vouchers from Innovate UK provide up to £5,000 to hire external help, which can be extremely valuable, especially if it is in a specific field such as product design or tech innovation.
- UK local councils offer a number of support grants and advisory services as well as access to grant money.
- Government help for entrepreneurs is also provided through business support and knowledge sharing initiatives, with the aim to bridge the gap and delay for technological advances and best practice initiatives to filter down to start-ups and small businesses.
- Regional business support helplines and social media channels can be used to receive free and personal business advice.
UK government tax relief schemes
Tax reliefs and tax benefits can be a huge helping hand for small businesses and start-ups. Examples of some schemes aimed at relieving the strains of tax payments include business rates relief, employment allowance, and corporation tax relief. You can also look for Enterprise tax relief zones in the UK, which support eligible business launching there.
Soft financial loans
This type of grant provides more generous repayment terms and conditions and may include lower interest rates or no interest at all and could extend the repayment schedule for a longer period of time. They are often backed by the government, although they aren’t actually classed as a grant scheme, so you’ll need to pay it back.
However, we’ve included it in this list as through a soft loan the government will also provide support in other aspects of your business too. The UK government funded Start-Up Loans Company provide softer loans offering up to £25,000 with 6% interest rates, a 12-month repayment holiday as well as mentoring for your business.
Specific entrepreneurial loans
There are also a number of grants for entrepreneurs and not just businesses. Examples of these include business grants for female entrepreneurs, grants for entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 30, start-up grants for entrepreneurs over 30 and social entrepreneurs.
Many small business and start-up entrepreneurs often do not know that they may be eligible to apply for a government grant or may simply be unsure of which of the many grants available is right for them and their business.
At Alexander & Co. our expert growth business accountants in Salford (Media City) and Manchester City Centre can provide you with a fresh perspective on your finances. Contact us today for advice on the many ways you can grow your new business or to find out which is the right small business or start-up loan for you.