As a business owner, understanding the types of grant and other financial support that is available for both business growth and sustainability is an important, but daunting and time-consuming task. It can be difficult to know where to find grants, whether or not your business is eligible, and where to start in terms of a potential application.

In this guide, we’ll start to explore this topic further, but before we get into that, it’s important to understand the difference between a grant and a loan. Put simply, a loan needs to be repaid, but a grant does not. When it’s awarded, it’s all yours to use for whatever purpose you stated in your application!

Types of grant

What then, are the key types of grant that might be available to support you and your business? In this guide, we’ll delve into five of the major categories further.

1. Start-Up Grants:

For budding entrepreneurs, a lack of funding can sometimes be a barrier to getting started in the first place, or cause your business to grow more slowly than perhaps it has the potential to do. Local authorities and enterprise agencies, like Local Enterprise Partnerships and Growth Hubs sometimes provide grants tailored to specific sectors or regions, facilitating economic growth and job creation. The Prince’s Trust also offers start-up grants in certain circumstances. If these options aren’t suitable for you though, the Start Up Loans Company offer loans of up to £25,000, along with mentoring support, to help new businesses get off the ground.

2. Innovation Grants:

The idea of ‘innovation’ lies at the heart of change, growth and progress, and businesses that Innovation lies at the heart of progress, and businesses that prioritise research and development (R&D) often thrive. In recognition of this, a range of grants are available to support innovative projects, whether it’s developing new products, processes, or services. As an example, the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, which is part of UKRI (UK Research and Innovation), offers regular funding competitions across different industries, encouraging businesses to push boundaries and drive technological advancements. Smart awards are a popular choice for those with innovative, disruptive ideas.

3. Sustainability Grants:

With the environment increasingly, and rightly, taking centre-stage, businesses are under pressure to be more sustainable. Fortunately, there are grants available to support initiatives aimed at reducing carbon footprints, improving energy efficiency, and promoting eco-friendly innovations. There’s a very helpful overview of some of the key options here.

4. Training and Development Grants:

Investing in your workforce is crucial for enhancing productivity and staying ahead in a rapidly evolving marketplace. Training and development grants can provide financial assistance for upskilling employees, whether through formal education, apprenticeships, or vocational training programs. Initiatives like the Apprenticeship Levy and the Skills Support for the Workforce scheme offer support to businesses looking to invest in talent development.

5. Regional Grants:

Beyond the national types of grant like those outlined above, businesses may also benefit from schemes tailored to specific regions or industries. Bodies like Growth Hubs, for example, play a crucial role in supporting economic growth at the regional level, with many offering grants, loans, and other forms of support to businesses within their areas. Additionally, sector-specific organizations and business networks may provide grants and resources tailored to the needs of particular industries.

Next steps

In conclusion, taking some time to explore and understand the range of types of grant that are available to support your business can be hugely beneficial. Whether you’re a start-up seeking initial funding or an established company aiming to innovate and expand, exploring the diverse range of grants available can unlock a world of possibilities for growth.

Remember though, that thoroughly researching eligibility criteria, application processes, and deadlines is crucial if you want to make the most of these valuable opportunities. As an expert in this field, I can help you both navigate it and to apply for an appropriate resources. Read more about my grant writing experience and then get in touch to discuss your grant writing project further.