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.

Funding for start-up businesses

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. 

General business grants and loans

Signpost2grow offers grants of between £1,000 and £20,000 (20% of project costs) towards capital investment costs to eligible small and medium-sized businesses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. 

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 provides a range of loans for businesses including a Growth Revolving Loan and a Women’s Loan Fund. 

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. 

Funding Circle offers unsecured loans to businesses, provided by peer-to-peer investors. 

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

Grants for rural businesses

If your business is located in west Cambridgeshire, you could also be eligible receive funding from the LEADER investment programme. Grants are available from the Greensands Ridge Local Action Group (LAG) for projects which fit into one of 6 national priorities: increasing farm productivity; supporting micro and small businesses and farm diversification; boosting rural tourism; providing rural services; providing cultural and heritage activity and increasing forestry productivity. If you would like to find out more or make an application for funding, please contact Bedfordshire Rural Community Charity Rural Development Team at leader@bedsrcc.org.uk, or call them on  01234 832614.

The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative provides 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. 

Research and development grants

Innovation Bridge offers eligible small and medium-sized enterprises free support to help them innovate and grow, access to specialist university expertise from University of Bedfordshire, Anglia Ruskin University and University of Suffolk and a grant programme (between £1,000 and £15,000), covering up to 30% of the investment to support the implementation of a growth plan. 

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 is also a supporting capital grant available (max purchase value £20,000) for those projects which need to make capital investment to realise their goals. 

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. 

Grants to improve energy efficiency and save money

The Business Energy Efficiency Cambridge & Peterborough Programme (BEECP) provides support and grants to small and medium-sized businesses to help improve their energy efficiency and save money. Businesses can receive a free on-site energy review and the possibility of a capital grant – up to a maximum of 25% or £20,000. 

The Carbon Trust Green Business Fund is an energy efficiency support service for small and medium-sized companies. It provides direct funded support through energy assessments, training workshops, equipment procurement support and up to £5,000 capital contribution per company towards energy saving equipment purchase. 

Loans for creative businesses

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

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