Grants and funding

A range of grants and funding options exist to support businesses to grow and prosper within South Cambridgeshire.

You can find information on various initiatives and schemes that support business growth, and which may carry financial support to allow you to undertake them, on our business growth page.

COVID-19 financial support

The government has published announcements about changes to the economic support available for businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Start Up Loans provide Government-backed personal loans for business purposes. They are available to individuals over the age of 18 who are eligible to start a business in the UK. Generally loans of up to £25,000 are available at a fixed rate of interest and are repayable over one to five years.

Delivery partners for the loans in the East of England are listed below. In addition to helping applicants prepare their business plan and cash flow forecast, the delivery partners are responsible for assessing final loan applications and providing ongoing mentoring support to successful applicants.

If you are currently claiming unemployment benefit and would like to set up your own business, talk to your Jobcentre Plus personal advisor about help to become self-employed. For example, the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, can provide money and support to help you start a business. 

The Fredericks Foundation provides start-up loans of up to £15,000 and expert mentors to support start-up businesses. 

The British Business Bank’s Finance Hub is an interactive website that offers independent information on finance options for scale-up, high growth and potential high growth businesses. It also provides information and advice to help companies to get investor ready.

The Regional Growth Loan Scheme provides an alternative source of loan finance to support high growth businesses. The scheme, funded by Government, is managed by Finance East. 

Foundation East is a not for profit organisation, based in the East of England providing growth/expansion loans, small business loans and social purpose loans.   

The Fredericks Foundation provide loans to start up and existing businesses and charities.

Better Business Finance provides impartial information and support to businesses and entrepreneurs looking to develop and grow including a searchable database of business finance providers. 

The Government provides an in-depth online database of information about grants, loans and other financial assistance available to businesses in the UK. 

Rural Gigabit Vouchers are available for new applications until 31 March 2021 (or until funding runs out). Gigabit broadband vouchers help eligible homes and businesses in rural areas install a full fibre connection to their premises as part of a group project.

Gigabit-capable means that the connection can handle speeds of 1,000 megabits per second but users only sign up to speeds they can afford. 

Find out about Rural Gigabit Vouchers and check if you are eligible for a Rural Gigabit Voucher using the postcode checker.

The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative provide grants to support the development of new and innovative ideas within the Agri-Tech sector.

The Agri-Tech Growth Fund could help you to invest in new products or processes or improvements to existing products / processes and energy efficiency to improve agricultural productivity.

The Research, Development and Prototyping Fund could help support research critical to the development of new products or processes if your business is in the Agri-Tech sector. 

Vouchers are available to businesses from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles to provide support towards the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charge-points.

The Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF) provides equity finance for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the East of England that are contributing to the low carbon economy.

LCIF co-invests alongside private sector investors such as founders, angel investors and/or other funds to provide finance to early and growth stage businesses in a variety of sectors to enable them to develop.

LCIF 2 is now open for investments between £25,000 and £1 million. They would like to hear from suitable companies from any sector who are seeking investment to grow and develop and which match LCIF’s criteria.

Eligible companies must have an impact on carbon reduction by:   

  • Providing products that are more resource/energy efficient
  • Developing technologies
  • Providing products or services that reduce carbon emissions for customers

Technation have launched a new programme for companies that help reduce the emission of greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050. With the aim to help scale UK tech that is working towards a more sustainable future, Net Zero 1.0 is open to digital tech or hardware businesses which help the UK reduce greenhouse gas emissions directly or indirectly.

They are specifically looking for digital and hardware companies which operate across key sectors including electricity and energy, transport and mobility, agriculture, food systems, manufacturing and building technology. Companies may directly contribute to net zero, with emission reducing and carbon capture technologies or may contribute indirectly by changing consumer behaviour or increasing efficiencies.

The programme will run for 6 months and will cover key scaling challenges specific to the sector.

Creative England offer loans to creative, digital small and medium-sized businesses at competitive rates to finance business growth. 

The Arts Council has reopened its National Lottery Project Grants which will focus on supporting independent organisations, creative practitioners and freelancers.

The Arts & Culture Impact Fund is a new £20 million social impact investment fund for the UK’s arts, culture and heritage social enterprises. The fund offers loans to organisations in the arts, cultural or heritage sector of between £150,000 and £1 million, repayable over a period of up to 10 years.

The KEEP+ programme helps eligible small and medium-sized enterprises to develop new products or services in collaboration with universities, research institutes and the best graduate talent. There are also supporting capital grants available for those projects which need to make capital investment to realise their goals. Up to £9,999 is available for 'small value' grants (up to 40% of project costs) and £59,500 for 'large value' grants (up to 30% of project costs). 

Innovate UK have a range of funds and competitions available to help businesses to: to test the feasibility of an idea and make sure it will work; create a new product, process or service or improve an existing one, through research and development; and work with other businesses or research organisations on collaborative projects. 

REACTOR supports small and medium-sized enterprises to grow their business through the use of applied games. They do this by providing monetary support with grants, access to gaming software and high spec technology to build products in their Incubator Space, and introducing businesses to expertise through their unique network of businesses, games developers and designers. 


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