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Grants and Funding Programmes

There are many different types of grants and funding available to businesses locally and nationally. In this section you will find information on what’s available across the South East.
All national initiatives can be found through the business support platform.

Grants and Funding Programmes

Accelerating Women’s Enterprise (AWE)

Accelerating Women’s Enterprise (AWE) is a collaborative project helping women either side of the English Channel to increase their knowledge and personal skills to start and grow a successful business.

The programme supports women through new training workshops, face to face advice, mentoring and online learning, all developed specifically for women.

Clean Growth Fund

Clean Growth Fund supports the UK’s most ambitious low carbon innovators seeking investment capital to rapidly drive their businesses forward.

CGF invests in technology businesses that are driving the transition to net zero through developing disruptive products and services.

The clean growth sector includes innovations that can improve the resource efficiency of industry and commerce, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, pollution or other adverse environmental impacts and also deliver substantial financial returns.

While the typical first round investment tends to be in the region of £500k – £3million the fund actively participates in follow on rounds so the overall investment in a company can be much higher.

Countryside Productivity Small Grants (CPSG) scheme

£25 million has been made available in grants for productivity-boosting farming equipment in the third and final round of the government’s Countryside Productivity Small Grants (CPSG) scheme.

The third round of the Countryside Productivity Small Grants (CPSG) scheme is now open for applications. Under this scheme, farmers can apply for grants of between £3,000 and £12,000 to contribute towards investment in new and innovative technology to boost productivity on their farms.

Farmers have until midday on 4th November 2020 to submit their application to the Rural Payments Agency.

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA)

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) finds and funds exploitable innovation to support UK defence and security quickly and effectively, and support UK prosperity. Our vision is for the UK to maintain its strategic advantage over its adversaries through the most innovative defence and security capabilities in the world. DASA is a cross-Government organisation, launched in December 2016 by the Secretary of State for Defence.

Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Entrepreneurs (DBACE) 2021

The Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Entrepreneurs (DBACE) is for 18-30 year old creative entrepreneurs seeking to set up or grow an enterprise that delivers positive impact.

  • £50K prize pot
  • £100K worth of tailored business support
  • 5 winners

For 26 years the Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Entrepreneurs has helped creatives bring their ideas to life.

Since 2019, the bank is partnering with MeWe360 to find the best young talent wanting to drive positive social impact through their creative enterprise.

Enabling Innovation: Research to Application (EiRA)

Funded by Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund (CCF), EIRA is a consortium of seven universities and colleges supporting innovation in the East of England. This ground-breaking project provides businesses with funded knowledge exchange across three key areas: artificial intelligence, biotechnology and digital creative.

Facebook Small Business Grants Program

Up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in more than 30 countries will be able to receive a grant from Facebook. To be eligible to apply, your business must:

  • Have between 2 and 50 employees
  • Have been in business for over a year
  • Have experienced challenges due to COVID-19
  • Be in or near a location where Facebook operates

Future Fund

Announced by the Chancellor on 20 April, the Future Fund issues convertible loans to innovative UK companies with good potential, that typically rely on equity investment and are currently affected by COVID-19. The scheme will help these companies through the current period of economic disruption and the recovery, so they are able to continue their growth trajectory and reach their full economic potential. The Scheme is designed by government and delivered by the British Business Bank.

The Government has announced an extension to the Future Fund. The Future Fund will now close for new applications on Monday, 30 November 2020. Please note that only one application per Investee Company can be accepted by the Future Fund.

Gigabit Voucher Scheme

Gigabit vouchers can be used by small businesses and the local communities surrounding them to contribute to the installation cost of a gigabit-capable connection. Businesses can claim up to £2,500 against the cost of connection either individually or as part of a group project. Residents can benefit from the scheme with a voucher worth £500 (plus VAT) as part of a group project.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is an investment to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing greater access to education, capital and business support services. 10,000 Small Businesses is funded by Goldman Sachs and the Goldman Sachs Foundation.

Through 10,000 Small Businesses UK, participants identify and execute the steps necessary to enable them to scale their ventures, create employment and expand to new markets. Each participant develops a business growth plan throughout the course to implement back in their businesses.


I-Construct helps SMEs grow by opening up new opportunities in the construction and built environment sector.

Construction is set to be a growth industry in the coming years, with a huge amount of infrastructure and housing development planned. Small and medium-sized businesses, through their specialist knowledge and innovative products and services, could benefit from accessing new business opportunities in this growth market. Could your business be part of this future?

I-Construct creates opportunities for a wide range of small to medium-sized businesses:

  • SMEs in the construction and built environment sector
  • Companies from other sectors, that are already in the construction and built environment supply chain
  • Companies wanting to join the sector’s supply chain
  • Entrepreneurs wanting to enter the sector

I-Construct also works with larger companies and organisations to help develop their supply chains by connecting them with local SMEs through its network.

Innovate UK

Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base.

Follow the link below to:


KEEP+ provides businesses with flexible opportunities for innovation with a focus on the development of new products and services.

Low Carbon Across the South East (LoCASE)


The Low Carbon Across the South East (LoCASE) programme is supported by the European Regional Development Fund to provide a free business support programme in the South East. Its aim is to help businesses become more competitive and profitable while protecting the environment and encouraging low carbon solutions.

Manufacturing Growth Programme


The Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) supports SME Manufacturers to make improvements by identifying, understanding and removing their barriers to growth.

Support tailored to your business:

  • A dedicated, experienced, Manufacturing Growth Manager to provide on-going support
  • A comprehensive business diagnostic tool, GROWTHmapper for manufacturers
  • Identify opportunities and create plans for growth and improvement
  • Work with the best external experts to implement those plans
  • Using an average 35% of the cost of implementing an improvement project
  • Connect to wider support to maximise opportunities for growth

Mentoring for Growth

In business, making the right calls at the right time is easier said than done. One proven way of increasing your chances of driving effective change is to use what has already worked in another successful business and adapt it to work in your own company.

At Be the Business we’ve hand-picked a team of senior-level mentors who want to share their experience, sector expertise and best practice with British small and medium-sized enterprises. And it’s completely fully-funded.

Unlike peer-to-peer mentoring, our mentors are from big multinationals, such as Siemens, GSK and the John Lewis Partnership. That means our programme is designed to focus on needs such as: tackling real challenges like IT investment or exporting, matching with the right experience set and pairing personalities that can work together.

Smarter Choices - Energy Efficiency for SMEs

About Smarter Choices

Reducing energy use is great for business as well as the environment; helping to save cost, enhance brand reputation and reduce carbon footprint. There is a significant opportunity in many premises where energy costs are relatively high for areas such as lighting, heating and cooling. However, many small and medium businesses are unsure how to start an energy saving project, are limited on time and have concerns around the business case.

Smarter Choices has been government funded to bring together and test the latest financing and monitoring technologies into a single online platform to provide straightforward building energy saving solutions. To develop this new service, SMEs with energy bills above £20,000 per year can now access a limited number of free energy assessments and free measurement & verification equipment for pilot projects which proceed to installation.

Smarter Choices will provide:

  • a simplified process and account manager support
  • free independent energy assessments and recommendations
  • financing options for guaranteed cost savings without upfront investment
  • free energy monitoring equipment

South East Business Boost

The South East Business Boost (SEBB) programme provides free business support to start-ups and SMEs within the South East Local Enterprise Partnership area, covering East Sussex, Essex, Kent and Medway.

Offering a tailored mix of practical advice, grant funding options, coaching and workshops, we work with new and established businesses to help them realise their growth goals.

The programme is completely free to access, providing you meet the required eligibility, and can help your company to expand physically and financially. We support a huge range of businesses and are well equipped to enable local organisations to do more and offer more across this beautiful region.

SEBB has a pot of grant funding to support participating businesses to grow. Whether you need new equipment, IT software and training, or better facilities, our programme could over up to 30% of the costs, with Growth Grants available ranging from £1,000 to £10,000.

SEBB’s FREE 12 hour support programme is now live. Register here

South East Creative, Cultural and Digital Support


South East Creative, Cultural and Digital Support (SECCADS) is a programme of support for the creative, cultural and digital sectors across Thurrock, Essex, Kent, and East Sussex.

SECCADS has received £2.578 million of funding from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds growth programme for 2014 to 2020. This will be match-funded with £2.578 million from a partnership of private and public sector sources.

About the programme

Between March 2019 and December 2020, the programme will help more than 370 companies and sole-traders with business support or grants, giving a £2.5 million boost to the creative economy in the south east of England.

SECCADS offers grants that cover up to 35% of individual project costs – typically grants are between £1,000 and £3,000 but can be up to a maximum of £20,000 if the project has a very strong business case.

The remaining 65% of project funding must come from private sources – for example, organisational profits, crowd-funding, trusts, foundations, a secured bank loan or personal contributions.

Grants to not have to be paid back – SECCADS offers equity-free investment.

Contact the SECCADS project team to find out how the programme could help you.

STAR Manager

Notion and the London School of Economics, as well as the UK LEPs & Growth Hubs, have been provided with the Business Basics Fund (Innovate UK) to deliver STAR® Manager, an award -winning online training programme to the SME marketplace, with the key objective that it can demonstrate increases and stimulate growth.

Transport and Logistical Efficiencies

Transport and Logistical Efficiencies (TALE) is an ERDF funded project helping SMEs in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent and East Sussex make the most of their logistics data, to improve profit margins and reduce costs.

TALE can help you to:

  • Safeguard your data
    • Improve Cyber Security and comply with GDPR
  • Improve Customer Satisfaction
    • Insight to increase profit margins and grow sales
  • Use Data Strategically
    • Launch new products and implement innovation

TALE offers three types of support:

  • One-to-one free data assessment
    • Get a free diagnostic support plan to show how you currently use data, and recommendations on better data opportunities
  • Free workshops on practical use of data
    • Cyber Security, Customer Insight, Operations, Business Intelligence and Digital Strategy
  • Funding contributions
    • Up to £60,000 (40% of total project cost, non-repayable grant)

UEZ Fund programme

Specialist support and funding for SMEs in the food and drink manufacturing or packaging sectors.

All support is delivered by the National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) at the University of Lincoln and funded by Research England.

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