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Business Support Funds: What's Available in the UK (2024)

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Business Support Funds: What's Available in the UK (2024)
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Are you looking to take your UK business to the next level in 2024? 

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Don't underestimate the power of financial support. From government grants to industry-specific schemes, there's a wealth of resources available to help your business thrive. 

Let's dive into the exciting world of UK business support funds for 2024.

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What is a business support fund?

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Business support funds are financial resources provided by the government or private organisations to help businesses get started, grow, or weather difficult times. There are three main types:

Business Grants

Business grants are payments provided for a specific purpose, such as training, expansion, or research and development. They are offered by either the government or private organisations.

The best aspect of these grants is that you do not have to pay them back or give away a share of your business in exchange. Numerous business grants are available across the UK, and some business sectors such as energy, export, and innovation are particularly active and offer a range of options.

While grants can be awarded for up to hundreds of thousands of pounds, most are for up to a few thousand pounds. Therefore, in many cases, grants will need to be supplemented by other forms of finance.

Business Loans

Commercial financing is available for eligible businesses through traditional banks, online lenders and credit unions. These funds can be used to cover various costs associated with operating and growing a business, such as working capital, equipment purchases, and even property acquisitions.

Businesses that borrow these funds are required to repay them, usually with interest. However, commercial financing may come with lower interest rates or more favourable terms than a traditional business loan.

Investments

External business investments refer to the funds that a company acquires from outside sources, whereas internal financing relies on the company's own resources, such as profits or selling assets. These external investments can take various forms, each with its distinct advantages and considerations.

Debt Financing

This is the process of borrowing money from a lender, usually a bank. The borrowed amount is then paid back, along with interest, over a pre-determined period of time. This method of financing is suitable for established businesses that require capital for specific projects or short-term needs.

Equity Financing

In equity financing, you offer shares of ownership in your company to potential investors. These investors, in turn, become shareholders and have a vested interest in the success of your company. While equity financing can provide a larger pool of funds than debt financing, it also means relinquishing some control and ownership. There are different types of equity financing available, including:

  • Angel Investors: Wealthy individuals who invest in startups or early-stage businesses.
  • Venture Capital: Businesses that invest in high-growth potential companies.
  • Private Equity: Businesses that invest in mature companies to help them expand or restructure.
  • Initial Public Offering (IPO): Selling shares of your company to the public on a stock exchange.

Choosing the right type of external investment depends on your business's stage, goals, and risk tolerance. 

Finding the Perfect Fit

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Ready to choose the right type of funding for your business? Now that we've explored the various financing options, take a look at our list of resources to assist you in making an informed decision. Take a closer look and find out which solution can best support your business growth.

Startup Loans

Startup Loans, offering up to £25,000, can provide a much-needed boost for those starting out or looking to scale up their business. If you're searching for additional finance options, you can explore the British Business Bank's Finance Hub, which provides various finance options for small businesses.

Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

If you're an entrepreneur or small business operating in the North of England, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund might be a good option for you to consider. This fund can provide the necessary funding to help your business realise its potential.

Innovate UK

Innovate UK is a government-funded organisation that supports businesses in the UK in turning their innovative ideas into reality. They offer a range of funding opportunities and research collaboration programs to help businesses develop and commercialise their ideas. 
 

Knowledge Transfer Network

In addition to funding, Innovate UK's Knowledge Transfer Network is a valuable resource that connects businesses to a network of experts, financiers, and markets. This network provides businesses with the knowledge and resources needed to bring their ideas to market successfully.
 

Venture capital schemes

Venture capital schemes are a great way to secure funding for your company. These government schemes offer tax benefits to investors, which can help your business grow by attracting investment.
 
There are three specific schemes designed to assist small and medium-sized companies in attracting investment. These schemes offer tax advantages to individuals who purchase and hold new shares, bonds, or assets for a set period of time. It is important to note that both the company and the investor must meet the conditions of the scheme you choose.
 

Other available support

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In addition to financial support, there are various other resources available to help your business. Below is a list of organisations and programs that provide their tools, guidance, and expertise to help you manage your operations efficiently and achieve success.

Be the Business

Be the Business is a non-profit organisation that provides an array of practical tools and resources to support small businesses based in the UK. These tools and resources are designed to help small businesses across various sectors improve their productivity, streamline their operations, and drive growth. They offer guidance on finance, marketing, technology, leadership, and more.

Your Local Growth Hub

Your Local Growth Hub is a program that provides guidance and support to businesses of all sizes and industries in England. It connects them with relevant resources and expertise, including funding opportunities, networking events, training programs, and tailored advice on marketing, innovation, and exports. The program's goal is to help businesses reach their full potential and contribute to the economic growth of their local communities.

GREAT

If you are a small business that is interested in exporting products or currently selling overseas, GREAT can provide you with guidance. You can access live export opportunities, find an online marketplace to sell your products overseas, as well as get the right finance and insurance to help you win vital international contracts.

Business Support Helpline

The Business Support Helpline offers free advice and support for businesses at all stages of their journey. Contact details for your area can be found on their website.

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With appropriate financial backing and additional resources, your path to achieving your entrepreneurial goals is clear. Remember that knowledge is power. Make the most of the information and support available, and witness your business flourish.

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