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What Grants Are On Offer For Small Businesses Seeking Funding?

Posted 2 months ago

What Grants Are On Offer For Small Businesses Seeking Funding?
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Author: Sacha Bright & Oliver Murphy

Securing grants for your business or start-up is a challenge - but there is help available. To help you make the best choice, NextFin has compiled a list of all the available grants on offer and how and where to apply.

Funds are available to small- and medium-sized enterprises defined as having fewer than 250 employees or with a turnover of less than £45,000. However, many of the funding opportunities are also based on a specific location or sector.

Grants can also be combined with other forms of funding, such as banks and equity crowdfunding platforms.

Coronavirus-related grants

In response to Covid-19, the government announced there would be support for small businesses, and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors

1. Small Business Grant Fund

There are four schemes available, each for the countries of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The schemes are all based on providing grants to businesses that occupy a premises (owned and rented) and receive a form of rate of relief

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England - Small Business Grant Fund

  • The Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) provides up to £10,000 as a one-off grant to help small business owners meet their operating costs.
  • Businesses can only claim this grant once, even if they have multiple business premises.
  • Businesses that are eligible need also to have been in receipt of small business rate relief (SBRR) or rural rate relief (RRR) on 11 March 2020. Small businesses whose premises have a rateable value between £12,000 and £15,000 and receive tapered relief also qualify.


Scotland - COVID 19 Small Business

  • Businesses in Scotland that claim Small Business Bonus Relief, Rural Relief, Nursery Relief and Disabled Relief can apply for a one-off £10,000 grant from their local authority.
  • Similar to England, businesses can only claim the grant once and self-catering premises are not included in the scheme.
  • Businesses can apply through online forms available on their local authority website.


Northern Ireland - COVID Small Business Grant

  • Grants are managed by the Department for the Economic and Invest Northern Ireland working with the Department of Finances Land and Property Services.
  • Grants will be available to businesses eligible for the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme (those with a Net Annual Value of £15,000)
  • It is believed around 27,000 businesses in Northern Ireland are eligible for the grant and payments will be made automatically to businesses that have supplied banking details for the rates system.


Wales - COVID 19 Grants

  • Businesses in Wales who are eligible for small business rates relief (SBRR) and have a rateable value of £12,000 or less should qualify for a £10,000 grant. In Wales, the multiple property restriction allows the same ratepayer to claim for up to two properties in each local authority area.
  • The scheme in Wales is being administered by individual local authorities. Businesses wanting to enquire about the grant should look at their local authority’s website in the first instance.

2. Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund

  • The Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.
  • Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of £15,000 and under will receive a grant of £10,000.
  • Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
  • You are eligible for the grant if:
    • Your business is based in England
    • Your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector
  • To access the scheme, you do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Employment Retention Scheme (furlough) 

  • If you cannot maintain your current workforce because your operations have been severely affected by coronavirus, you can furlough employees and apply for a grant that covers 80% of their usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions on that subsidised furlough pay.
  • The grant can be backdated to March 1, according to government guidelines.
  • To be eligible, you must have:
    • Created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020
    • Enrolled for PAYE online
    • A UK bank account


Who can you claim for?

  • You can only claim for furloughed employees that were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and which were notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020.This means an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 19 March 2020.


How to apply

  • Any UK employer can apply to the scheme to temporarily cover people’s salaries, including businesses, charities, agencies and public authorities. Employees have to agree to be put on furlough – and an individual can’t apply by themselves.
  • The guidance also states that “if sufficient numbers of staff are involved, it may be necessary to engage collective consultation processes to procure agreement to changes to terms of employment”.
  • There is no requirement for the business to be considered “essential” in order to access the scheme. Nor is it necessary for employers to show that they are suffering any sort of financial hardship.

Self-employed Income Support Scheme

  • This scheme will offer those who are self-employed a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to a maximum £2,500.
  • To be eligible for the grant, those who are self-employed need:
    • to have a trading profit of up to £50,000 per year
    • earn the majority of their income through self-employment
    • Have lost trading profits due to coronavirus
    • to have had a tax return from the 2018/29 year.
  • HMRC will contact you by mid-May 2020 if you’re eligible for the scheme and invite you to claim using the GOV.UK online service.

Some of the top non-coronavirus grants

In this section, we list all of the available grants available to businesses looking to seek funding when not in crisis.


Innovate UK Smart Grants 

Regional Growth Fund

  • If your business is looking for funding of less than £1m, you may be able to apply for the Regional Growth Fund. Programmes are run by national or local organisations and can offer grants to eligible businesses that meet specific criteria.
  • Investing £2.6 billion to help businesses in England to grow, RGF is expected to create or safeguard around 289,000 jobs.
  • Please note each RGF programme will have specific criteria for applications. Contact the respective programme lead directly. They can tell you whether you are eligible and suitable for their programme.

Resource and training grants

There are a number of training grants available to assist small businesses:


Innovation Vouchers

  • Supplied by the government via Innovate Uk, your business may be eligible for claims of up to £5,000 towards the cost of expert advice
  • Whether seeking professional help on your latest idea or tech advice, training grants for small businesses can help your business seek knowledge that can help to develop it further


The National Apprenticeship Service

  • Funding amounts depend on your business industry, with funding for 16-18-year olds beginning at 100%. Your business may also have access to an Apprentice Grant of up to £1,500 (10 employees max) for businesses hiring apprentices aged 16-24.


Grants for unemployed entrepreneurs

The New Enterprise Allowance

  • This is designed to support potential entrepreneurs aged 18 or over in receipt of JobSeekers Allowance, Universal Credit, lone parents and disabled individuals.
  • If you’re successful in receiving the grant you’ll receive a mentor to provide you advice. Once your business plan has been approved, you may get a weekly allowance worth up to £1,274 over 26 weeks.

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)

  • It helps start-ups to raise money for their business. You get a maximum of £150,000 including state aid awarded in the three years running up to the date of investment
  • Make sure you meet the conditions so investors can claim and keep SEIS tax reliefs relating to their shares. Said tax reliefs will be withheld or withdrawn if you don’t meet these conditions for three years after the investment. The money must be spent within three years of the share issue.

Tax relief on grants

In general, cash grants tend to be taxable because they’re a form of income. However, there are a number of schemes available to ease the burden of tax liabilities.


Research and Development Tax Credit

  • This tax relief scheme is designed to encourage small businesses to spend more money and time on researching and creating new products and services or honing existing ones by reimbursing them via a cash payment or corporation tax reduction


Business rates relief

  • If your business occupies one property with a rateable value of less than £15,000, your business could be eligible. 


For information on all the available grants on offer for your business, view our comprehensive list here.



To the best of our knowledge, the information we have provided is correct at the time of publishing. Sacha Bright is not a solicitor or accountant and we recommend that you seek professional advice on any topic discussed.


Tagged: News Covid-19 SEIS Grants

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