Grow your business by making use of the various grants available to you and your company.
Utilising available grants is a powerful way to help your business to grow. We’ve put this guide together to give you an overview of the options available to you, as well as how you can access them to help move your business forward.
All of the business grants outlined throughout this blog post are only suitable for SMEs, meaning that large businesses will not be eligible. In addition to this, none of the mentioned grants can support work which has already started, and all of the grants have a max rate.
Accessing Grant Finance to Support Businesses
In this case, the grants that are available to you will either be capital grants or revenue grants – what each grant can be used for is shown below:
- Paying for Specialist Consultancy Services – helping with business development
- Marketing activity
- Digital/Web design
- Cyber Security
- Expenditure on Premises
- Introduction of new technologies or operational processes
All grants operate in the same way in the sense that all businesses complete an application form (requiring 3 comparable quotes from suppliers).
This is then appraised by the Funder/Panel, and if they are successful, then the business will receive an Award of Grant Letter, which will outline terms and deadlines, amongst other things.
The chosen supplier will then be commissioned the work by the business, and once it has been completed and payment has been made, the business needs to make sure they have evidence of the transaction. The reason for this is because the business then needs to submit an invoice/claim to the Funder based on the agreed amount of the grant. This is so that the money can be reimbursed into their Bank account.
Grant Support Programmes
There are a number of grant support programmes designed to help you and your business. Each programme has a designated support person, so there’s someone to guide you through each step of their programme.
Programmes offering both Capital & Revenue Grants
Grant Funding – Business Lincolnshire Growth Grant
Gives you the choice of 3 programmes, so that you can find the one that’s right for you. It is important to note that businesses can only access 1 out of the 3 options.
- Digital Grant – Projects of £2,000 or more
- (Grant Contribution: £1,000)
- Aimed at businesses with ICT needs
- Available to implement internal ICT solutions – i.e. e-commerce platforms; websites; use of cloud data storage solutions; digital management systems.
- Revenue (consultancy support)
- (Grant Contribution: £10,000)
- Grant Contribution: £2,000 on a project worth £4,000
- 50% support on a project
- Capital (equipment support)
- Example Project Total: £25,000 (Grant Contribution: £10,000)
- Example Project Total: £6000 (Grant Contribution: £2,400)
- 40% support on a project
Innovate UK Funding
This programme is for large innovation projects and supports a versatile range of Research & Development projects, including Fundamental research; Feasibility studies; Industrial Research and Experimental Development.
The NBV Grant for Enterprise
Example Project Total: £10,000 (Grant Contribution: £2,500)
(Grant Contribution: £1,000 on a project of £4,000)
This programme is suited for businesses based in:
- Greater Lincolnshire
If you operate a trading business, then you can use this fund to get revenue and capital grants for specific projects or investments.
There is a range of projects which could be classed as eligible, and some examples include:
- Purchasing capital equipment that supports business expansion or diversification.
- Consultancy services that support business diversification or growth.
In this case, the grants that are available to you, range between £1000 (minimum) and £2500 (maximum) are available up to a maximum of 25% of eligible costs (whichever is lesser) – so the project must be a minimum of £4000.
Innovation Lincolnshire Programme, delivered by the Lincoln University
This is something which could benefit your business if you are looking to grow their businesses by creating or diversifying product lines, or streamlining processes that are already in place, as this is a productivity programme which offers business support.
This programme offers you the opportunity to have a discussion about your ideas, before putting a plan of action into place, in order to make sure that your business is effectively supported by the programme.
Examples of Available Support
- Productivity Vouchers
SMEs gain access to the University’s expertise, technical support, specialist equipment and facilities, in addition to academic knowledge. This is fully funded by the programme, and there is the chance for your business to receive up to 16 days of support from academics, in the form of advice about: product development, feasibility studies, product/market testing or the designing and development of a concept.
- Productivity Grants
Example Project Total: £20,000 (Grant Contribution: £10,000)
Example Project Total: £2,000 (Grant Contribution: £1,000)
It is asked that the business matches the grants by 50% – this can be used for buying third-party specialist services to help with capability/capacity gaps. This funding could also be used to purchase small capital equipment, including, but not limited to: tools or systems to support business productivity improvements, development of new systems, such as modelling software as well as the costs associated with the development of a product or service – design review, focus groups, market surveying or testing, prototypes, etc.
This scheme is suited to businesses who employ someone who has graduated in the last 3 years, the minimum contract length is 3-months; by doing this, the business is eligible for £1,500 towards the intern’s costs.
- Growing Graduate Enterprise
This supports recent graduates and postgraduates looking to start working in business, helping them to develop their creative, entrepreneurial ideas into a profitable business – this can be achieved through workshops, in addition to grant funding.
- Business Support
Businesses are offered 12 hours of free advice and support from specialist advisors – this will cover business planning, marketing, financial readiness, in addition to access to Business Angel support.
This programme could be perfect for you and your business, if you’re looking to maximise productivity while working collaboratively with other organisations, enabling not only your business to develop but your networking abilities too.
Smart Energy Greater Lincolnshire
Example Project Total: £2,632 (Grant Contribution: £1,000)
Suited to small and medium-sized businesses, this programme can provide your business with free support in order to help you boost your energy efficiency while helping to make you aware of the renewable resources that are available to you.
This programme would be perfect for businesses looking to become more environmentally-friendly – there is a 12-hour energy education and training course, which, upon completion, will mean your business receives £500 worth of energy-saving products.
There is the option for businesses to apply for a grant of up to 38% when they plan to invest it on energy-saving measures, including:
- Installation of a new boiler
- Ultra-low energy lighting
Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF)
This form of funding is suited to businesses that require additional capital, and are located within the region. If your business falls into this category, then MEIF can provide you with advice relating to opportunities which could benefit your operations.
This programme contains government-backed loan/equity investment packages, they are designed to help businesses like yours get the support you need in terms of commercial finance routes. This can be broken down even further into four sub-funds:
- Equity Funding
- Small Business Loans
- Early Stage and Proof-of-Concept Funding
This programme is tailored so it suits employers that have 5 or more employees, and is looking into growing their business. It is important to note that to be eligible for this programme, businesses need to have a minimum turnover of £250,000.
Example Project Total: £11,667 (Grant Contribution up to 60%: £7,000)
The grant covers 60% of the total project cost.
This is managed by the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce and offers you the opportunity to access 12 hours free access to advice, mentoring and workshops.
To be eligible, your business needs to be based in either: North Kesteven / West Lindsey / City of Lincoln.
The Manufacturing Growth Programme
(Max Grant Contribution: £4300)
Example Project Total: £2326 (Grant Contribution: £1000)
This programme can help you to identify opportunities and create growth and improvement plans to benefit your business.
You can plan out how to improve your business by implementing a detailed action plan, and if needed, you can access consultancy/coaching services tailored to suit your needs, and provided by industry experts.
If you choose this programme, then you will be able to connect to wider support systems, and by doing so, giving your business the opportunity to grow.
This programme covers 43% of the project costs of implementing the plans, with a minimum grant value of £1000 and an anticipated maximum project value of £10000 (i.e. maximum grant of £4300).
In the past, this programme has been used to provide grants to a number of areas of industry, including:
- Improving sales and marketing systems/processes
- Developing a strategy
- Building leadership skills
- Implementing lean or continuous improvement systems
- Preparing for external accreditation such as ISO 9000/14001, SALSA, BRC etc.
It is important to note that the actual certification costs will not be funded by the available grants.
The Promote Lincolnshire website
This programme will benefit businesses that are looking to promote everything great about living, working, investing and experiencing things in Lincolnshire.
There are a vast array of resources available which can be used to promote everything great about Lincolnshire and are usable for a number of different marketing methods, including:
- Social media
- Printing & Digital
- Presentations in brochures
- Social Media campaigns
There is also the opportunity for your business to use the pin-board feature as well as the downloadable resource tool.
For those interested, it is important to note, that there is a chance to become an Ambassador for “Team Lincolnshire” – by doing so, it can help to enhance the region’s reputation as a place to work, meet, visit and invest. Businesses that utilise this resource will be able to gain access to a number of networking opportunities, marketing and events.
Fully Funded Training
If you’re a business that is looking to help its employees to advance their skill set, then this training opportunity would allow you to help them upskill while having it paid for by funding from Hull College.
Here are some examples of Level 2 qualifications which are available under this training programme – designed to help an array of businesses develop their employees’ abilities.
Manage Personal Development
- Leadership & Management Styles
- Education & Training L3
- Introduction to Training your Staff
- Project Management
- Chair & Lead Meetings
- Manage Individuals Performance
- Excel (Intermediate)
- Delegation Skills
- Email Marketing
- World Host
- Food and Beverage service, housekeeping, food production and cooking
- Diploma in Team Leading L2, Hospitality supervision and leadership, food safety in catering,
- Diploma in Business Administration L2
- Diploma in Customer Service L2
- L2 Dealing with Difficult Customers & Situations
- Health & Safety/Fire Marshal/First Responder
- Accounting and Bookkeeping
Fully funded Specialist Support Programmes
This programme is suited to businesses that want to grow, and plan to do so by altering its operations, additional funded support is available under the Growth Lincolnshire programme to help them do this.
This programme focuses on:
- Resource Efficiency
Helping your business to reduce its use of resources, while becoming more efficient. Experts will be on hand to audit your business and work with you to help reduce costs and build resilience against rising prices. Not only that, they can help you to elevate your level of networking by helping you to achieve environmental standards – a desirable quality in the eyes of larger businesses.
- Supply Chain
This programme can help you to find new suppliers, so that you can improve your gross margin, and gain new customers, helping to increase your turnover.
Through the development of policies and procedures, your business will be more attractive to your target audience, in addition to that, they’ll help you to achieve standards businesses want their suppliers to have.
Businesses looking to improve their productivity could also utilise this programme, as they will be offered expert reviews on quality control, logistics, stock management and procurement.
- Finance for Growth
If you’re looking to fund your growth plan, and need advice on the options open to you, then this programme can help you select the best type of funding for you.
Specialist advisers will be on hand so that you can present the best funding application possible to improve your chances of success.
- Financial Management
Perfect for businesses who are looking to improve their financial management – the specialist service that is available includes financial software advice, in addition, to help with business planning, forecasting and cash flow management.
Digital Development Options
Digital Diagnostic Review – 3 hours
If you operate a small or micro business that uses digital technologies, then this review could be a great way for you to find out how you could improve in terms of your business processes and efficiency.
This review was designed to give businesses a detailed analysis of their current digital technologies usage, which could then help them proceed to reduce costs through digital adoption.
This review gives businesses the option to discuss their issues with a consultant, by doing so, they are able to then work on finding solutions which could aid them in improving their digital technology usage; furthermore, the business will also be provided with a summary report based on the findings.
Business Systems & Digital Integration – 6 hours
Tailored to suit businesses with high growth potential, this process is suited to those who use digital technology and need it in order to achieve further growth.
A portfolio will be constructed, which will outline all of your business’s functions and activities – this can then be utilised to create a digital strategy, allowing effective planning ahead for the future to ensure success.
Sales & Marketing Specialist
This support package is aimed at businesses that need help increasing sales or finding new customers – this is something which can be achieved through:
- Brand development
- Raising awareness.
- Campaigns (both on and off-line)
- Improve sales approaches
- General marketing planning
Business Growth Coach
Suited to businesses with growth ambitions – could help you to develop your business through the implementation of a growth plan, as well as the available specialist growth coaching.
Business Lincolnshire – website
This has an events programme that covers marketing, leadership and management, and can be available to your business in the form of free bite-size courses, as well as a webinar.
Grants for Growth (Equipment Costs Only)
Capital grants are available up to a maximum of 28% of the eligible capital spent on methods used to promote business growth, help create jobs and improve operational efficiency.
If your business has real growth potential, then you have the opportunity of accessing capital grants ranging between £1,000 and £25,000.
The funding that is provided can be used as technology or process investments, as long as it can benefit the growth of the business, i.e. through increasing resilience or creating jobs.
This funding could also be utilised in the form of efficiency initiatives, including waste, water or energy efficiency. So if you are looking into a method which can help to reduce the environmental impact of your business, then this grant would allow you to introduce newer, more efficient machinery, helping you to reduce not only wastage but energy costs.
Finding the grant and programme that is right for you is important and we hope this blog has helped you to gain some insight into the options available to you.
Then get in contact today to discuss your choices, we’d be more than happy to help.