Access to the right funding is crucial to the success of your business. With so many options available, the world of start-up business funding can seem complicated and difficult to navigate. Here we give you, as a Gloucestershire business, guidance on finding the right start-up business funding for you – helping you to take your next steps, turn your plans into reality, and grow your business.
Where do I start with business funding?
A good place to start is finding an independent specialist to help improve your funding pitch and position yourself in the right way to be seen as competitive by the funder. Take a look at Boardroom Advisors – funding options for help. You can also access a free Finance Diagnostic to receive a personalised report which covers these three key areas:
- Financial Reporting
- Profit improvement
- Liquidity & Funding.
What type of funding do I need?
As a start-up or early-stage business, your options range from traditional sources such as loans and equity finance to newer forms such as accelerators and crowdfunding.
There are a variety of funding options that are suitable for mature and established businesses, but these are probably not the right fit for an ambitious start-up. These funding options include Trade Finance, Peer-to-Peer Lending, Invoice Finance, Secured or Unsecured Loans, Venture Capital, and Mezzanine Debt.
This article helps you navigate your way through the maze of finance options and focuses on how to apply for small business grants in Gloucestershire.
Why is a small business grant useful?
A business grant is a sum of money awarded to a business to help it grow and develop, and can be spent on a wide variety of things, such as equipment, premises, marketing, and more. You can expect funders to provide certain eligibility criteria to be able to apply, and the funder will also outline their objectives for the funding stream.
Business grants remain a crucial source of government funding for many UK businesses. They are often essential in getting a new capital development off the ground, or for exploring new innovative models to solve some of society’s toughest social problems. The best thing about a grant is that the business doesn’t have to pay it back.
You can find a list of business grants available on the Swoop Funding website.
What grants are available for start-ups and small businesses in the UK?
There are hundreds of business grants available in the UK, with many aimed at specific industries, community groups or types of business. If you’re a start-up or small business you’ll be able to choose from the following:
Innovation grants: these are provided by a variety of funding bodies such as Innovate UK to support innovative ideas and business growth, including those from the UK’s world-class research base.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund: provides grants to sustain and transform the UK’s heritage. This can include investment in museums, parks, historic places, and cultural traditions.
R&D tax credits: these are cash payments from the government to encourage companies to carry out research and development projects that relate to science or technology.
Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs): there are 38 LEPs across England. These are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses that provide business funding, support, and guidance in their local areas.
New Enterprise Allowance: provides funding and support to those looking to start or develop a business. You need to be aged 18 or over and either you or your partner must receive Universal Credit, Job Seeker’s Allowance, or Employment and Support Allowance, or you must get Income Support and be a lone parent, sick or disabled.
The Prince’s Trust: supports young people aged 18 to 30 who want to start and run their own businesses. As well as providing funding and resources, the Trust also provides training and mentoring.
Other sources of help include Granted, which is another business partner that sees positive change as driven through new ideas and innovation. Innovation is complex, and sometimes projects need to be connected with the opportunity. This is where Granted can help.
What are the Pros and Cons of seeking out grant funding?
- It’s a grant so usually no interest payments
- And no repayments unless conditions are not satisfied.
- There are conditions to meet
- You must be undertaking the right kind of work.
What alternative small business funding options are available?
Alternative funding options include access to dedicated loan funds. Support is available in the South West or West Midlands. There isn’t support dedicated to Gloucestershire at present, but keep an eye on these Gfirst Local Enterprise Partnership projects:
- SWIG Finance in the South West
- BCRS Business Loans in the West Midlands
What are the Pros and Cons of seeking out guaranteed loans?
- A source of lending if you have tried other routes and been turned down.
- Repayments may be lower if the scheme is subsidised.
- There are strict conditions to meet in order to qualify.
What other support is out there to help my business?
Accelerator Hubs and business support are also available through:
- The Growth Hub network in Gloucestershire which gives free help and advice.
- Set Squared which is an incubation centre in Bristol for tech businesses.
- Start and Grow Enterprise which provides support for early stage start-ups in Gloucestershire.
- University of Gloucestershire which provides incubation space in Gloucester for businesses.
This article is written by Denise Finch. Denise is the Regional Director of Boardroom Advisors and has many years of experience helping businesses access the right funding at the right time in their business cycle. You can contact Denise at firstname.lastname@example.org or find Denise on LinkedIn.