Have you taken advantage of the grant and funding opportunities available in the South East?
"Funding, whether it’s for start-up, innovation or growth, is a hot topic amongst businesses. It’s a question I’m asked almost every day, so I thought I would share with you ten business funding, investment and grant opportunities available now in the South East".
Whether you are looking for investment in the form of seed capital for a new business venture, specific funding opportunities, Peer-to-Peer lending and the excellent bonus programme MGP for manufacturers, there is certainly something for every business owner to explore when seeking new growth and opportunity. I have collated a selection of grants and funding schemes I reference regularly. They all require further due diligence and consideration...
Anglia Capital Group
Available Investment: Undisclosed
Anglia Capital Group (ACG) is a collection of Angel Investors based in Norfolk and Suffolk, looking to invest in promising ventures across Norfolk and Suffolk. The group is only five years old and has already invested more than £1.4m.
ACG is particularly on the lookout for innovative businesses based on disruptive technology, and some of the group’s Angels even offer sector-based expertise.
Find out more at https://angliacapitalgroup.co.uk/ (see more in Funds: New Anglia Capital)
Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme
Available Investment: Up to £150,000
The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) was introduced by then-Chancellor George Osborne in his 2011 Autumn Statement. SEIS was designed to boost enterprise growth across the UK by offering tax incentives for investors in return for investment in UK start-ups and SMEs.
SEIS is self-described as “an ideal route to sourcing vital early-stage funding” in exchange for equity in your business. If that situation sounds familiar, SEIS could be a great way for you to access new funding.
Find out more at https://www.seis.co.uk/
New Anglia Capital
Available Investment: Up to £250,000 (but New Anglia LEP has provided £2 million)
If you like the look of Anglia Capital Group, it’s worth finding out more about a co-investment fund called New Anglia Capital. Run by New Anglia LEP, which has selected Anglia Capital Group as the fund’s investment facilitation partner, the fund’s aim is to stimulate entrepreneurship across Norfolk and Suffolk. 50% of investment comes from Anglia Capital Group’s angel investors, while 50% is provided by the New Anglia Capital fund, thanks to £2 million of funding from New Anglia LEP.
Focusses on businesses that can stimulate job creation and economic growth in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Find out more at https://newanglia.co.uk/new-anglia-capital/
Low Carbon Innovation Fund
Available Investment: £25,000 to £75,000
Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF) is operated by the Adapt Low Carbon Group at the University of East Anglia and was originally funded by £20.5 million of EU monies matched by almost £50 million of private investment.
Currently operating in its second cycle, LCIF is not for every business, as there must be some correlation between the investment and reducing carbon emissions. Obviously, products and services that actively reduce emissions or improve energy efficiency are preferred, but there is a loophole into the fund for “Reducing carbon emissions through improvements to operational activities.” This opens the doors for sectors such as manufacturing.
You must also be at least partially based within the region, or in the process of relocating here, and the economic impact of any investment you receive should be felt within the region too.
Find out more at https://www.lowcarbonfund.co.uk/
Available Investment: Up to £2,500,000
Due to finish in, you’ve guessed it, 2020, the EU’s biggest ever R&D fund is coming to the end of its cycle. Close to €80 billion of funding was available between 2014 and 2020, with a focus on driving growth and creating jobs by getting great ideas from the lab to the marketplace faster.
To apply for funding your venture must fall under one of the programme’s ‘Calls’ and then ‘Topics’ – there are a series of SME instrument topics which are open to proposals at any time. Horizon 2020 is also a great opportunity to find partners to cooperatively develop new products or technologies.
Find out more at https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/
New Anglia Growing Business Fund
Available Investment: £5,000 to £500,000 (up to 20% of project cost)
Delivered by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and Finance East, the New Anglia Growing Business Fund was launched in 2013 to provide grant funding to SMEs in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Funded by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, to qualify for finance from this fund a business must be able to create a job for every £10,000 provided by the Fund.
Find out more at http://www.thefsegroup.com/new-anglia-growing-business-fund/
Loans and Peer to Peer Lending
Start Up Loans (Government-backed)
Available Investment: Up to £25,000 per person or £100,000 per business
You can borrow up to £25,000 at a fixed rate of 6% p.a. to be paid back over an agreed term of one to five years. However, more than one person within a business can apply, with a maximum of £100,000 to be lent to any one business in its lifetime.
A Start Up Loan is actually a personal loan taken out in your name, rather than in the name of your business. The reason for this is to ensure borrowers are personally invested in the success of their business.
It is worth considering that there is no early repayment fee, while successful applicants can access twelve months of free mentoring and if you, or an immediate family member, has ever worked for the British Armed Forces or Emergency Services, you can also gain specialised support.
Find out more at https://www.startuploans.co.uk/
East of England Regional Growth Loan Scheme
Available Investment: £50,000 to £250,000
Supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, The East of England Regional Growth Loan Scheme is an opportunity for companies turning over £100k or more to access up to a quarter of a million pounds of funding.
As the money comes from the government to support regional growth, you would need to show you can credibly deliver significant growth to gain funding from the scheme.
East of England Regional Trade Finance Loan Scheme
Available Investment: £50,000 to £250,000
A short-term funding option for SMEs in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk or Suffolk.
The scheme has been put in place to provide working capital to enable established SMEs to fulfil orders or contracts which would be affected by ‘such things as’ irregular invoicing patterns or up-front tooling requirements.
Available Investment: £10,000 to £500,000
I’ve included Funding Circle as a prime example of peer-to-peer lending, Funding Circle being one of the leading peer-to-peer lending marketplaces (also check out RateSetter but Funding Circle was the first in the UK).
This concept allows investors to lend money directly to small and medium-sized businesses. With SMEs able to borrow as much as £500k or as little £10k over six months to five years, and receive a decision in just five hours, this is a flexible and funding option.
In addition, in 2018 the British Business Bank up £150m for small business lending through Funding Circle.
Find out more at https://www.fundingcircle.com/uk/
PLUS a bonus Programme
The Manufacturing Growth Programme
Available in the South East including Essex
The Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) is a support scheme I have been accredited to since 2015. Delivered by Economic Growth Solutions, MGP provides SME manufacturers with access to ongoing tailored support from an experienced Manufacturing Growth Manager, access to a comprehensive manufacturing-specific business diagnostic tool to identify opportunities for your business to grow, and the chance to work with sector experts to implement those. MGP can even cover a percentage of the cost of implementing an improvement project.
The Manufacturing Growth Programme is open to SME manufacturers with 250 employees or less, and a turnover of up to €50 million or a balance sheet of up to €43 million. However just as most important for the programme is that you have the intention to grow and can demonstrate that.
Find out more at https://www.manufacturinggrowthprogramme.co.uk/
With many opportunities available for businesses in the region, getting advice and help is key before making a commitment. If you need help, please do get it touch!