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Business Grants and Funding

Information about organisations providing grants. finance and funding support to businesses

Major Funding Schemes for Growing Businesses

South West Growth Fund - SWGF Grants of £15,000 to £1m are available to support:

  • Capital Expenditure - investment in new equipment, technology and processes to realise enhanced adaptability, improved productivity and environmental performance
  • Training - skills for your workforce to embed new technologies and processes, alongside strategic skills for management to explore new business models and opportunities. 

Microloans and Small to Medium Sized (SME) Enterprise Loans and Grants

LEADER is a community-led European funding programme that offers rural grants aimed at improving farming and forestry productivity, developing small and micro-enterprises, supporting rural tourism, as well as cultural and heritage activity. LEADER is supported by Local Actions Groups (LAGs) across the country.

Fredericks Foundation Fredericks Foundation is a unique charity which helps people unable to raise finance for their business through conventional sources. Providing microloans from £500 to £10,000, with additional pre-investment support and mentoring for small businesses.

New Enterprise Allowance is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and is designed to help long term unemployed people start up in business. It provides access to a mentor and financial support. Participants may also apply for a loan of up to £1000 to help towards the costs of starting a business.

The Princes Trust offers small grants, loans and support to young people aged 16-30 who want to start their own business; support is also available through the Prince's Initiative for Mature Enterprise Prince's Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME) for people over 50 who are starting a business.

SWIG Finance is a not for profit company supporting start up and growing businesses across the South West region which cannot access sufficient bank finance. Funding available from £500 to £100,000..

The Start Up Loans Company was established in September 2012, with a mission to help new and early stage UK businesses access affordable finance and mentoring support. They're a subsidiary of the British Business Bank and deliver the Government's Start Up Loans programme providing finance and support for businesses who struggle to access other forms of finance. As well as finance information, their website also features lots of free advice on setting up a business. Loans range from £500 to £25,000.

General Financial Advice

Better Business Finance provides impartial information and support to business customers looking to raise finance, and is supported by the British Banker's Association.

Business Support Finder  is a searchable database showing publicly-funded sources of assistance which businesses can apply for.

Business Finance for You brings into one place a wide range of finance providers across Britain - including business angels, regional funds, government schemes and banks - enabling businesses to more easily seek the finance they require. Its free and easy-to-use search engine allows businesses to refine searches according to their geographic location, the industry in which they operate, the amount of finance they require, and the life stage of their business

Investment and Equity Funding

For businesses seeking equity finance Crowdfunding is a fast-growing alternative source of investment finance using web platforms to connect investors with ambitious start-ups and growth businesses.  Business angels are a more established way of raising investment finance.

Crowdcube is the next generation of business investment. It is a new way to fund start-ups and business expansion by crowdfunding for equity, giving entrepreneurs a platform to connect with people and raise venture capital.  By attracting lots of investors who invest smaller amounts of money into a person, company, product or idea you can bypass the traditional ways of raising venture finance.

Funding Circle launched in 2010 because of two key problems: businesses were being starved of finance by the big banks, while people were getting a poor return on their money.  The answer seemed simple: why not make it possible for people to earn a better return on their money by lending it to businesses looking for funding?

Seedrs A vast number of entrepreneurs need £150,000 or less to take their "first step" before launching or seeking later-stage capital. For most entrepreneurs - including highly-talented ones - this is the toughest capital to access. Seedrs helps to find investors seeking small investments in growing businesses.

Kickstarter is the world's largest platform for creative projects ranging from film, games and music to art, design and technology.  Project creators set a funding goal and deadline. If people like a project, they can pledge money to make it happen. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing - projects must reach their funding goals to receive any money.

Business Angels

SWAIN - South West Angel Investors Network is an independent not-for-profit company which specifically addresses the shortage of risk capital available to small and medium sized companies. SWAIN is focussed on deal sizes ranging from £50,000 to £750,000, which are typically too small to be considered by the majority of venture capital institutions. By connecting private investors, or 'Business Angels', with companies looking for investment. SWAIN specialises in helping small and medium sized companies to find equity finance, and assists private investors in the South West to search for investment opportunities in businesses with growth potential.

Last modified: 25 February 2019