Grant Watch: A guide to small business funding

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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 [email protected]

About Dan Martin

About Dan Martin

Dan Martin has 10 years experience as a journalist writing about entrepreneurs and the issues that affect them.

After three years working as a researcher for Sky News, he joined as a reporter. This was followed by two years working as news editor for during which time Dan also contributed to Growing Business magazine. In 2006, he joined Sift Media as business editor before being promoted to editor of He also has responsibility for UK Business Forums, the UK’s most active online forums for small business entrepreneurs. In addition, Dan founded The Pitch,'s nationwide competition for small business owners. He host the grand finals in 2009 and 2010 in front of an audience of 300. 

As well as interviewing many entrepreneurs, Dan has written content for leading business organisations such as the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, British Chambers of Commerce, Forum of Private Business, Investors in People and Business Link for London. Among the publications that have quoted Dan are The Times, Mail On Sunday, Financial Times, Personnel Today and Bristol Evening Post. His articles have also been published by publications including eGov Monitor, Virgin Express in-flight magazine and Personal Success.

Dan regularly speaks at events about small business and social media issues. Among the events he has presented at are the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies' annual conference, Learning Technologies, Publishing Expo and World of Learning. He has also chaired high profile debates featuring senior representatives from Business Link and the Federation of Small Businesses and Dragons' Den judge James Caan.

Dan was named the 10th most influential political blogger on Twitter by the Independent and won the public award for best B2B tweeter at the Golden Twits 2010. He also organised the Bristol Twestival, part of a global Twitter driven charity initiative, in February 2009 and March 2010. Volunteers from 175 cities around the world organised events using the social network. In total, $350,000 was raised for charity: water in 2009 and $500,000 for Concern in 2010. In Bristol, £1,500 and £5,600 was raised.


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