Grants and funding

Grants and funding

We have put together some links to information about a variety of sources for financial support, whatever your business stage or needs. This list is not exhaustive: please contact the Business Support team if you are unable to find suitable sources as we may be able to signpost you to alternative funds or advice.

COVID-19 financial support

There is a range of Government financial support schemes available to businesses who have been seriously affected by the Coronavirus restrictions. 

Omicron support schemes

Applications are now open for the latest business support grants for businesses impacted as a direct result of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. These are:

  • The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG) supports eligible rate-paying businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sectors with one off grants of up to £6,000 per premises (depending on rateable value). 
  • We have received further funding through the discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme. This is a limited, one-off fund and it is the Council’s intention use this to provide support to eligible businesses that do not have a rateable value and/or are ineligible to receive the OHLG but nonetheless operate in the supply chain to OHLG businesses.

For more information and how to apply visit our Omicron Grant page.

COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF)

The government is providing additional business rates relief to support those businesses affected by the pandemic, but who cannot apply for existing support linked to business rates.

The exact details of the scheme are being finalised, but the allocation of funds will fundamentally be based upon these three rules, according to central government guidance:

We will not award relief:

  • to ratepayers who would have been eligible for Extended Retail Discount (covering Retail, Hospitality and Leisure), or Nursery Discount
  • where the hereditament (property) was unoccupied. Hereditaments that were temporarily closed due to government advice on COVID-19 may still apply
  • unless ratepayers have been adversely affected by the pandemic and have been unable to adequately adapt to that impact.

We are currently working on the scheme design and will update with more details as soon as they become available.

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, the New Enterprise Allowance Scheme, can provide money and support to help you start a business. 

The British Business Bank’s Finance Hub 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 East of England Regional Growth Loan Scheme, supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is available to established incorporated businesses based that have a minimum annual turnover of £100k, show strong growth potential and have a medium to long-term funding requirement to deliver that growth.

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

Alongside fully funded growth consultancy, Growth Works offers up to 50% match funding to help businesses accelerate their growth, with no set maximum. This investment gives businesses the opportunity to benefit from subsidised fees for external professional services or invest in capital purchases.

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. 

There are a number of funding programmes available to support housing-led developments through a partnership with Homes England.

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.

Support for workers in the photography industry

If you have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and have worked in the photographic industry (including photographic laboratories) then the Benevolent Society of the BIPP (BenSoc) may be able to help.

BenSoc assists people in need, due to illness by means of single grants in case of emergency or long-term hardship. It also provides help, gives encouragement and friendship. 

Financial help for musicians

The Musician's Union has distributed over £1.3M to members in hardship grants through their Coronavirus Hardship Fund since April 2020. The fund remains open to new claimants.

The Association of Independent Music crisis fund for independent music contractors is aimed at contractors and freelance workers in the independent music industry whose source of income has been severed without warning due to lost work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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. 

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. 

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) offers funding and support across all academic disciplines and industrial areas from the medical and biological sciences to astronomy, physics, chemistry and engineering, social sciences, economics, environmental sciences, and the arts and humanities.

Our Climate Emergency Toolkit pages have lots of advice and guidance to help businesses, communities and individuals reduce their carbon emissions and reduce waste. There is also information about available grants, funding and incentives.

Community Energy England list details of a wide range of funding opportunities relevant to community energy organisations. The latest additions to the page are shown first.

The Eastern New Energy programme aims to build a stronger Local Energy and Low Carbon Economy in the East of England. It will achieve this by providing support to a range of individuals and organisations, and by understanding and addressing the barriers to the decarbonization of communities, buildings, transport, and lives.

The Industrial Energy Transformation Fund provides grant funding for feasibility and engineering studies, and for the deployment of industrial energy efficiency and deep decarbonisation projects.

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s clean growth challenges are maximising the advantages from a global shift to clean growth, by supporting the development, manufacture and use of low-carbon technologies, systems and services.

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.

Plug in grants offer a discount on the price of brand new low-emission vehicles through a grant the government gives to vehicle dealerships and manufacturers

The Workplace Charging Scheme is a voucher-based scheme designed to provide eligible applicants with support towards the upfront costs of the purchase and installation of EV charge points. The contribution is limited to 75% of purchase and installation costs, up to a maximum of £350 for each socket, up to a maximum of 40 across all sites for each applicant.


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