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Startup Grants and Loans for 2024: Your Best Options

By June 5, 2024No Comments

You’ve had a great idea for a product or service, thought of a great business name and brand, and worked out how you can take it to market—but now you need to source some funding.

Starting a new business is exciting, hard work, sometimes a bit scary, and always expensive, but fortunately there are a wide range of startup grants and loans available to help you get started.


What is a ‘startup grant’?

Startup grants are sums of money provided by the government or private investment schemes to support new businesses. These grants are typically given to fund specific projects, for example training, investing in new employees and equipment, or for property improvements.

Not all small businesses will be eligible for every type of grant or loan, and there are guidelines and eligibility criteria that need to be met first. Each scheme also only makes a finite amount of money made available each year, which means competition for these grants can also be quite tough, and there’s often lengthy application processes.


What options are available to you?

Let’s take a look at seven of the most popular startup grants and loans available to UK businesses.

Innovate UK Grants

Known as the UK’s ‘innovation agency’, Innovate UK (part of UK Research and Innovation) provides government funding and support for researchers and businesses. The organisation’s mission is to ‘help companies grow through their development and commercialisation of new products, processes and services’.

Their work is predominantly focused on technology, engineering, sciences and medical research, and one of Innovate UK’s most sought-after schemes is their Smart Grants programme. Smart Grants offers up to £2 million for new ideas that develop disruptive technology, but the selection process is very competitive.

Start Up Loans

The Start Up Loans Company is part of the British Business Bank and is responsible for delivering the government’s Start Up Loans programme. This offers new businesses the chance to borrow up to £25,000 at low interest rates, while they also offer 12 months of  free mentoring, a variety of business templates and how-to guides, as well as exclusive discounts on business-related products.

The eligibility criteria for a Start Up Loan is relatively straightforward, and over 100,000 British businesses have benefited from over £1 billion in loans since it was established in 2012.

Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

If your business is located in the north of England (note that Scottish businesses are not eligible) you could benefit from a range of grants and loans offered by the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF). The original NPIF was a scheme run by the British Business Bank and ten Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across the North West, Yorkshire, the Humber and Tees Valley, with £540 million invested in SME growth.

The second iteration of the NPIF was launched in March and will offer £660 million of investment, and this time will extend to the whole of the North East.

The funds available in NPIF II include loans of £25k-£100k, debt financing of £100k-£2 million, and equity finance of up to £5 million.

Scottish EDGE Fund

If your business is based in Scotland then you could be eligible for Scottish EDGE, Scotland’s biggest business funding competition.

Scottish EDGE offers grants and loans from £10,000 up to £100,000, and is intended to help startups, social enterprises and charities. There are three stages to the competition (1st Stage, Semi-final and Final), with businesses assessed across each stage by value proposition, impact, customer focus, business growth, how they’ll use the funding and the makeup of the team.

Applications for EDGE24 open on 14th August 2024.

Welsh Government Business Grants

The devolved Welsh government offers a number of grants for businesses based in Wales that are designed to support job creation, growth and innovation.

The majority of these grants don’t have to be repaid, but the application process can be time-consuming and there’s often a high amount of competition.

Invest Northern Ireland

Invest Northern Ireland is the country’s regional business development agency. The agency offers financial support via grants and funding, but they also offer a wide range of other types of support, including business training, HR advice, technical consultancy, supply chain solutions and more.

Power to Change programmes

Designed specifically to support community businesses, social enterprises and charities, Power to Change programmes offer a range of grants up to £25,000. Since its foundation, Power to Change has awarded 2,600 grants worth over £100 million.

R&D tax credits

Although not a grant, businesses can claim tax relief on investments made into research and development projects. Initially you’ll need to fund this R&D yourself, but you can significantly reduce your tax burden and free up funds for future investment.

To be eligible for R&D tax credits the project must make an advancement in science or technology, and cannot be within the arts, humanities or social sciences sectors.


How we can help

There are a huge amount of different grants and loans available to businesses across all sectors, and it can be hard to keep track of everything that’s available to you—but that’s where we come in.

Here at Warr & Co we’ve got decades of experience in supporting our clients apply for, and win, government funding for specific projects and business growth, while our specialist R&D accountants can ensure you claim the maximum amount of relief available to you.

To find out more about how we can help your business secure tax relief, grant funding or loans, no matter what stage your business is at, get in touch with our dedicated accounting team today.

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