Business grants

Funding, usually awarded by governments and organisations, to invest in certain projects or to achieve a specific goal.

Business grants are payments provided by either the Government or a private organisation for a specific purpose.

Where they differ from any other form of finance is that you don’t have to pay it back.

Nor do you have to give away a share of your business in exchange.

There are many business grants available across the UK and some business sectors – such as energy, export and innovation – are particularly active and offer a range of options.

How are business grants paid?

It depends on the specific grant you’re applying for. You might:

  • receive your grant as a single lump sum upfront
  • be reimbursed after spending your own money
  • need to match the value of your grant before you receive it

Business grants usually have very specific eligibility criteria.

These can vary, but often take account of things such as:

  • the size of your business
  • where you're based
  • the sector you're in
  • what you'll use the grant money for

The main benefits of grant finance are as follows:

  • You don’t need to pay the money back
  • You retain control of your business
  • Funding is in good supply, with lots of different options available

Business stage

Any

Annual turnover

Any

Sectors

All

Regions

All

You can search online for grants.

The Government’s business finance finderLink opens in a new window and regional funding portalsLink opens in a new window are good places to look for grant funding that suits your business.

Business grants typically have strict eligibility criteria.

These concern things such as:

  • the region you’re based in
  • the type of business you run
  • whether the provider has an area of focus which your business could help with

Application processes can be long and time-consuming, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

It all depends on the rules and conditions of each individual grant programme.

As a result, it’s always a good idea to speak to the provider to find out what’s involved in the process and whether you’re eligible.

Some business grants are provided in the form of finance, while others offer free equipment or discounts to aid your business’ development.

Whatever form your grant takes, there will be conditions attached.

Help to Grow logo Help to Grow logo

Learn new skills, reach more customers and boost your profits with Help to Grow.

Other finance options

Click here to visit Expansion Capital
Equity
Expansion Capital firms give established businesses money to grow and reach maturity.

Expansion Capital

Expansion Capital - Investors like

Post revenue, profitable and growing businesses with a turnover typically between £5m and £50m. Businesses need to be willing to give up a stake in the business in exchange for finance.

Expansion Capital - You're looking for

Between £2m to £20m, depending on the shareholding you’re offering, to create new products, enter new markets, acquire other businesses or invest in new systems or equipment to drive growth.

Find out more about Expansion Capital
Expansion Capital
Equity
Private Equity firms invest in established businesses in return for a large or controlling stake, to help them grow to the next level.
ABOUT Expansion Capital
Purpose of financessss Create new products, enter new markets, acquire other businesses or invest in new systems and equipment to drive growth
Amount of finance £2m-£20m (depending on % shareholding acquired and value of company)
Duration of finance 3-5 years
Cost of finance Due diligence and legal fees will apply. If you appoint an advisor, they will expect a retainer fee
Time of finance Minimum of 3 months but can be up to a year
About your business
Business stage Post-revenue, profitable and growing
Annual turnover £5m-£100m
Sectors All
Regions All
Click here to visit IPO
Equity
An IPO (or Initial Public Offering) is when a business sells shares via the public markets, such as the Main Market or AIM operated by the London Stock Exchange.

IPO

IPO - Investors like

Established and growing businesses, with predictable revenues and a proven track record. Smaller companies, including those who are pre-revenue, can also be attractive depending on the proposition.

IPO - You're looking for

Unlimited equity capital. Up to £200m on AIM or even larger sums on the Main Market and exposure to a wider pool of investors.

Find out more about IPO
IPO
Equity
Private Equity firms invest in established businesses in return for a large or controlling stake, to help them grow to the next level.
ABOUT IPO
Purpose of financessss Acquisition, product development, new markets
Amount of finance Up to £50m on AIM; unlimited on the Main Market
Duration of finance 10 years +
Cost of finance You will need to appoint an accountant, a law firm and usually a PR firm. Assume this will cost 8% of the amount you hope to raise
Time of finance IPO processes takes 10-12 weeks; but planning and negotiations can take 12-18 months
About your business
Business stage Established and growing
Annual turnover Over £5m; this does not apply to healthcare businesses
Sectors All sectors; healthcare and tech may be able to list earlier in their lifecycle than other sectors
Regions All
Click here to visit Invoice finance
Debt
Businesses sell or borrow against their unpaid invoices, giving them access to the money before the invoices are paid.

Invoice finance

Invoice finance - Providers like

Businesses of all sizes and stage of growth with invoices.

Invoice finance - You're looking to

Capitalise on an untapped asset on your balance sheet to raise finance quickly.

Find out more about Invoice finance
Invoice finance
Equity
Private Equity firms invest in established businesses in return for a large or controlling stake, to help them grow to the next level.
About your business
Business stage Any but must have invoices
Annual turnover Any
Sectors Any
Regions Any

Regional support

Enter your postcode to find business support and case studies from businesses within your region. You'll be taken to our interactive map.