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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

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.

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.

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.


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.

To do this, LoCASE provides grants for businesses of up to £20,000 as well as training workshops and fully funded events. Targeted business support is on offer for companies who offer “green” or low carbon goods and services.

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

Click here to view the fact sheet, or follow the link below to head to the Manufacturing Growth Programme website.

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.

Find out more

  • Click here to download the brochure to find out more about the Mentoring for Growth programme
  • Click here to read about The Growth Company’s newest appointment, Tom Harrington, who has been named Mentoring Advisor for London and the South East region
  • Click here to view the Be the Business Mentoring for Growth infographic

Rapid Response Mentoring

Be the Business’s new 12-week Rapid Response Mentoring Programme aims to help guide owners and managers of these businesses through the next few months, provide a sounding board for difficult decisions, and support them to develop suitable strategies for the future.

Click here to find out more and register.

South East Business Boost

Following the success of the Grants Programme, there is a small amount of EU funding for capital and revenue purchases for Essex, East Sussex, Kent and Medway businesses. The 30% grants available are from £1,000 up to £2,000 and are for small growth projects totaling from £3,333.33 to £6,666.67.

There is a range of additional support options available:

  • 1:1 Business Growth Advice
  • 1:1 Start-Up Advice
  • Business Support Workshops and Training

The South East Business Boost programme will be launching soon. Please keep checking back for updates.

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.

What’s involved for the participants (your managers)?

  • This is an online programme so it fits around a manager’s own schedule
  • There’s no requirement to be out of the office or to attend timed events
  • The programme can be completed between 15-45 minutes per week over 20 weeks
  • The programme costs £350 + VAT per person (originally it is £1,595 + VAT pp).

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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