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Where to find financial help for Small Businesses?

Published on 7th February 2019 - Last update on 12th June 2019

Eager to reach new heights? Whether you’re a start-up or SME, you’re, no doubt, excited and full of hope about where the future might take you. Yet, although you may have a great idea and a detailed business plan laid out, one crucial element you may be lacking is access to sufficient amounts of capital. Although it can be frustrating, finding a way to break through this barrier is essential. Fortunately, there are plenty of funding opportunities available - it’s just finding them. So where could you find financial help for small businesses?

Well, the answer could lie with a business grant, which is often considered a source of free money (and who doesn’t like free money?) provided either by the Government, local authorities, Growth Hubs, sector-specific associations, corporate entities or private individuals. Unfortunately, acquiring financial help for your small business isn’t that simple, not with so many different types of grants and other funding schemes to choose from.

Direct Grants

Direct Grants are the most common type of business grant available. These schemes are awarded to eligible businesses who made a successful bid for funding, with capital that typically doesn’t need to be repaid. This, in turn, means that grants are highly sought after. However, each scheme works differently and in accordance to the terms and conditions set down by the grant provider. As such, usage restrictions may apply, dictating a spending limit and how the capital is used within your business, e.g. new equipment purchases. Plus, you might also have to match the capital that is on offer with your own funds.

Looking to take your business to the next level? Unsure about where to find financial help for your small business? Apply for Business Finance and learn more about how your business could benefit.

Regional Growth Funds

A regional growth fund is a facility provided by the government to national and local organisations, with the intention of supporting local businesses residing within the catchment area. Organised and managed by these bodies, eligible businesses could be awarded a grant and/or loan of less than £1,000,000 to help reach their goals. For further information, you can read more here.

Resource and training schemes

As a start-up or small business owner, you’re, no doubt, having to manage a tight budget, making it difficult to provide training or offer access to resources that larger, wealthier corporations may have. However, there are schemes available that can help make these resources less expensive for your business. Just some of these include:

  • Growth Voucher Scheme - This is a scheme designed to help business all across the UK, which randomly provides growth vouchers to eligible businesses for a wide range of purposes. So depending on the scheme operating in your area, a growth voucher could be used to gain access to expert support, fund research and development, take a prototype to full-scale, develop and implement key business software or even support a marketing campaign. However, they typically can not be used to support the purchase of equipment, machinery, vehicles or software that can be bought in-store or online. If you’re looking to apply, check with your local authority or any other relevant bodies in your area.

  • Growth Charter Scheme - However, if your business consisting of less than 19 employees, another option to consider is a Growth Charter Scheme. If such a scheme is operating in your area, it could present an invaluable opportunity to gain access to workshops and mentoring from industry experts.

  • Growth Accelerator - Or, you could see how the Government’s Growth Acceleration Scheme could help. This is a specialised program designed to support and encourage small businesses that are experiencing rapid growth, providing networking opportunities, training and workshops to advice on business finance and pitching in front of investors. However, although subsidised, you may still need to pay to access the scheme, which could vary according to how many employees your business has. For example:

1 – 4 employees: £600 + £700 VAT

5- 49 employees: £1,500 + £700 VAT

50 – 249 employees: £3,000 + £700 VAT

  • Traineeship Program - Hiring experienced employees can be difficult and expensive, especially with a limited budget. However, one way of overcoming this issue is through the Traineeship Program (also known as Apprenticeships). A government-backed scheme, it enables you to take on employees who may not possess any prior knowledge and/or skills in your sector or industry, and provide the training they need to develop their career with your business.

Business tax relief schemes

Being a small business owner, staying on top of your tax obligations can sometimes feel like a tall order. However, the government is, again, providing support in this area as well, including Business Rates Relief, Enterprise Zones, and Employment Allowance. For more information and a detailed rundown on the numerous schemes that are available, you can read more on the topic here.

Investor Capital

If you’re unsure about where to find financial help for your small business, another area to explore is Investor Capital. This offers a way of raising money for your business during the early stages of your development by pitching the merits of your business to crowdfunders, angel investors, venture capitalists and anyone else who may be interested in investing. If successful, any of the funding that you may receive can be used to support any aspect of your business and won’t need to be repaid. But, in exchange for their investment, you’re required to give away equity (shares), affecting the control that you have over your own business. Yet, over time, as your business continues to develop, you can decide to eventually buy back these shares. However, the value of each share will have increased as well, making it an expensive goal to achieve.

Peer-to-Peer Loans (P2P)

Alternatively, you could gain access to short-term funds by applying for a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) loan, which also involves you pitching your business to investors across an online platform. If you’re successful in stirring up interest, investors will join a panel, enabling them to pull their capital together and offer you a lump sum. Upon receiving these funds, you’ll then need to begin making Fixed Monthly Repayments (plus interest) over an agreed term that could last up to 3 years. However, some Peer-to-Peer (P2P) platforms could offer agreement of up to 5 years as well.

Need help getting financial support for your business as it develops?

Although it’s important to have a strong vision and a detailed business plan, one of the biggest challenges standing in the way of your success is often acquiring sufficient amounts of capital. Naturally, being a small business owner can make you feel like you’re stuck in a lonely place, unable to gain the support you require from traditional financial institutions. However, there are wide range of funding opportunities available to small businesses. Plus, as your business continues to develop, you’ll also gain access to the Alternative Finance Industry, providing access to a new generation of business finance products and lenders. All you need to do is source a suitable finance agreement from a lender you can trust - which is where we can help.

At Rangewell, we’re an Access to Finance specialist and have mapped over 400 lenders to offer you an comprehensive overview of more than 23,000 business finance products. Our services are completely free to use for business owners and their advisores, and we’ll also guide you through the application process. So if you’re unsure about where to find financial help for your small business and raise capital, apply for Business Finance today or find out more with Rangewell.

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David Harrison

David Harrison

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