Grant Watch: A guide to small business funding

Former editor, BusinessZone
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Looking for new business finance? Well, did you know that there's lots of free money out there! A range of small business grant schemes, awards and other initiatives are available to entrepreneurs looking to run a successful company. Read our latest guide to what's on offer.

To keep up-to-date with the latest grants and awards for small business owners, follow BusinessZone Grant Watch on Twitter
  • Grants of between £25,000 and £150,000 are available to businesses in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset as part of the Plymouth University and Western Morning News Growth Fund. To qualify, small and medium-sized businesses need to credibly demonstrate how investment will lead to rapid job creation. More details.
  • North East Finance is offering £5m in micro-loans to companies in the North East. Unsecured loans of between £1,000 and £25,000 will be made to start-up and existing businesses finding it difficult to secure mainstream finance. Deadline: December 2014. More details.
  • The Technology Strategy Board is offering R&D grants of up to £250,000 for small companies to research and develop new products, processes and services that could stimulate economic growth. More details.
  • Shell LiveWIRE gives away up to to 6 x £1,000 prizes every month to the most innovative or unusual ideas submitted by new businesses in their first 12 months of trading. The competition is open to UK-based entrepreneurs aged 16-30. More details.
  • Two programmes, Gateway2Investment and Gateway2Finance, will help over 4,500 of London's small and medium sized businesses raise more than £64m. The programme is delivered by a consortium of private sector experts led by Grant Thornton UK LLP and including; Pembridge Partners, E-Synergy Ltd, Quotec Ltd and East London Small Business Centre Ltd. More details.
  • The Royal British Legion, funded by the government, is offering loans of up to £30,000 and grants of up to £7,500 to ex-service personnel, discharged after 1 October 2001, to start their own business as part of the £5m 'Be the Boss' campaign. More details.
  • Small businesses in disadvantaged areas of Wales are being offered funding of between £10,000 and £90,000 by the Welsh Assembly Government. The grants are aimed at helping with the cost of capital investments and supporting them in productivity and job creation. More details
  • UK social enterprises are among those eligible to apply for finance through a new $400m (£252m) social investment fund launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The scheme will provide loan financing, underwriting and equity investments. More details.
Planning on applying for a grant or award scheme? Read our top tips:

How to get a business grant
How to win an award

Do you know of any other business grants, training schemes or awards on offer to UK entrepreneurs? Let us know by emailing



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