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Grants for business


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South East Creative, Cultural and Digital Support programme (SECCADS)

Grants of between £1,000 – £20,000 are available to businesses in the creative sector.

Grants will be available for a range of projects with both revenue and capital spend. Grants for ‘capital’ (buildings/equipment) spend of over £5,000 should be shared by two or more businesses. Grants will be for up to 35% of overall costs and are paid retrospectively.

For further information about the grants available please view the website or contact our local co-ordinator, the deadline is December 2020:

Low Carbon Across the South East

The Low Carbon Across the South East (LoCASE) grant has reopened. As this is an extension of the first programme this means that anyone who has already received a grant cannot receive one in this round of funding, they would need to wait until the second LoCASE programme kicks off. The application process remains the same. Deadline is end September 2020 so be quick.

The High Weald unit

The High Weald organisation often has grants available to small local firms which are looking to improve the natural environment.  Contact them with project ideas if there are no relevant grants on their website.

Transport and Logistics Efficiencies grant (TALE)

Open to SMEs with a logistics function including freight transport, manufacturing, food processing and distribution. It will also help you to understand cyber security and the implications on your data.  Specialist expertise is provided by the University of Essex and University of Kent.

Make your data work harder for you

  • free support and funding contributions for your logistics business
  • safeguard your data - improve cyber security and comply with GDPR
  • improve customer insight - market intelligence to reduce costs and grow sales
  • use data strategically - launch new products and implement innovation
  • book a 1-2-1 free data assessment to get a diagnostic support plan to identify opportunities on better data use opportunities
  • attend free workshops on topics in the field of data exploitation

Grants of up to £10,000 (40% of total project cost, non-repayable grant) and one called the TALE LITE of up to £2k towards a maximum £5k project can be spent to implement your company's growth plans, for example starting a new service, buying software or employing a data specialist! Eligibility and application details are on the TALE website.

Kent Life Sciences Fund

This is a venture capital fund from NCL Technology Ventures, backed by Kent County Council, to invest in small high growth companies in the life science sector. Equity investments can be applied for projects such as scaling up the manufacture of new medical devices, taking a new therapy to clinical trial or a software / service company who supply this market. Apply via KCC.

Manufacturing Growth Programme

Small manufacturers can apply for a grant to support their business growth in a sustainable and competitive way. These funding opportunities are available from the European Regional Development Fund. Visit Manufacturing Growth Programme for more details.

Our local manufacturing growth manager is

Funding for innovation projects

All kinds of companies can apply for various funding schemes (grants and loans) from Innovate UK which is a central government department, including pre-startups.

See Innovate UK's innovation funding service for lots of details about the many different opportunities to gain funding for your business.

EIRA research and development grant

For research and development activity for artificial intelligence, biotechnology and digital creative sectors. £20,000 - £50,000 available as 75/25 match funded grants which can help towards feasibility testing, development of a product or service, de-risking a complex innovation, diversifying product range, enhancing products from prototypes and more. See funding opportunities on the EIRA site.

EIRA innovation vouchers

Worth up to £6,000 for the artificial intelligence, biotechnology and digital creative sectors again. 80/20 match funded for academic experts to provide a business with support for scoping or developing new products, solving problems, carrying out a feasibility study, scoping a new business idea and more. See funding opportunities on the EIRA site.

Research and development tax relief for small businesses

This government scheme rewards businesses by providing research and development tax relief. Business owners that develop new innovations, such as software, products and processes may be eligible to make claims. More details are on the government website.

Kent and Medway Business Fund loan (KMBF)

The Kent and Medway Business Fund loan has re-opened for new pre-applications.  Apply for 0% loans from £50,000 up to £500,000 if you are a small or medium sized business looking to launch new or improve existing products, services or processes that will create new jobs, business growth or improve productivity in Tunbridge Wells borough. This will close when funds are exhausted.

Start up loans

Pre-start up and new businesses trading for less than 2 years can receive up to £25,000 at 6% p.a. fixed for up to 5 years. Free mentoring, support with your business plan and cash flow is also part of the scheme.

More details are on the Start Up website.

Fredericks Foundation

Charity organisation that provides loan finance for those who have been turned down by mainstream banks.

Fredericks Foundation offer repayable business loans, generally over 2-3 years (depending on circumstances), it is cheaper than borrowing from banks.  Your business can be at any stage to apply. For start-up businesses, it offers up to £10,000, but the average loan is usually less than £5,000.

There is an upfront fee of £250. Fredericks Foundation is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The British Business Bank

This is a government owned business development bank which aims to make the financial market accessible to small businesses. It assists with start-ups, scale ups and helping businesses grow or giving day to day advice. Just because an SME doesn't fit a risk profile of one of the large banks doesn't mean that they won't succeed.

Business Rate Relief

A number of schemes exist to support local business with paying business rates. To find out more go to the Business Rates team web pages.

Please also visit West Kent Partnership and the Kent & Medway Growth Hub for further ideas and support.