Other Funding

Other Funding

Other sources for business loans

Every business could do with a growth boost and if you’re an expanding business or an ambitious start-up, we can help you access the finance you need through experts that are able to help you secure these funds.

Kent and Medway Business Fund

Kent County Council has launched the new Kent and Medway Business Fund. The fund offers 0% loans between £50,000 and £500,000 to small and medium sized businesses. The scheme aims to deliver £5m of investment to businesses across Kent and Medway in 2017/18. It is funded by loan repayments from the previous Regional Growth Fund schemes (Expansion East Kent, Tiger and escalate).

Initial applications need to be submitted by 19 January 2017, but there will be further opportunities to submit further applications over the coming year.

Read more about the Kent and Medway Business fund

Kent and Medway Growth Hub

Funding is provided to either effect some change in the economy such as create more jobs, innovation, green working, etc. or to address a market failure such as a lack of social enterprises. For this reason, criteria and eligibility is often very specific and funding may often take the form of paid for advice, zero interest loans or small grants that require a match contribution from the business. See if you qualify for any of the current schemes here http://www.kentandmedwaygrowthhub.org.uk/learn-about-grants-and-finance/

East Kent LEADER and Kent Downs and Marshes LEADER

If you are a business in the rural community of Folkestone, Hythe, Romney Marsh and North Downs, grants are readily available. Funding is available under LEADER specifically orientated to rural businesses and farmers, foresters and growers, landowners and environmental organisations.

It is also available to cultural, heritage and community providers. It can also be used by voluntary and charitable organisations to develop projects that will strengthen the local economy and deliver jobs, growth and community benefits in rural Kent.

Coastal Communities Fund

The Coastal Communities Fund is dedicated to those businesses in the coastal area of Folkestone, Hythe and New Romney to support economic development and growth. The government has set up a dedicated fund to help stimulate job creation, encourage start-up businesses and support the existing business community.

Read more about the Coastal Communities Fund

GREAT UK Challenge Fund

Food and drink companies in the Folkestone, Hythe, New Romney and North Downs area have the opportunity to access a grant under the GREAT UK Challenge Fund.

The purpose of the project is to encourage food and drink exports, create jobs and boost local tourism. To find out more visit GREAT UK Challenge Fund website or email international.affairs@kent.gov.uk.

Start-Up Business Loans

A Start-Up Loan is a government-backed personal loan for business purposes. Start-Up Loans are available to individuals over the age of 18 who are eligible to start a business in the UK.

Individuals can only receive one Start-Up Loan, however more than one partner in a business can be eligible to apply for a loan.


Virgin StartUp Loans

Enterprise First are the delivery partner for Virgin StartUp loans in Kent, providing start-ups with a loan of £500-£25,000 and a business mentor to support them on their journey. All successful loan applicants will be matched with a local mentor, with relevant business experience, who will provide at least 15 hours of one-to-one support for the first year.

You could be eligible for a loan if you:

  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Have a developed business idea
  • Are starting a business in England
  • Are a British Citizen (or are permitted to work in England)
  • Are a start-up business or your business has been trading for less than a year

Loans are between £500 and £25,000 with an interest rate currently fixed at 6% nominal with typical repayment over 1-5 years. If you are successful you will receive your loan and 12 months of mentor support.

To apply visit the Virgin StartUp loans website

If you want to find out more, contact our loans team loans@enterprisefirst.co.uk

Growth Investment Programme

If you are looking for investment to grow your company, Creative England is able to provide £25k to £250k of investment to finance business growth.  Find out how to apply

If you are a creative digital company operating in the English regions Creative England has investment suitable to support you throughout your growth cycle. Tell us about your investment by completing an expression of interest and we’ll be in touch to discuss your proposition. Get in touch

Innovation Investment Fund

If you want to develop an innovative product or service, you may be able to apply for funding of between £25,000 and £10 million.

Innovative UK runs funding competitions which can help you develop your idea and make it successful. These competitions are open for projects led by any UK based companies. Innovative UK awards funding to the winners of these competitions.


Start Up Loan

Looking for a start up loan? Let’s Do Business Start Up, part of the Let’s Do Business  Group, has a proven track record in successfully delivering start-up loans and business mentoring to people ready to take their first steps in the business world.


Low Carbon Across the South East

Low Carbon Across the South East (LoCASE) is an EU funded project set up to help businesses tackle and adapt to climate change.

The aim is to reduce costs by cutting emissions and to promote the opportunities of the low carbon market.

£10,000 match funded (60/40%) grant/support.  Growth related projects.  Sustainability must be a feature.


Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KIP) scheme helps businesses to innovate and grow. It does this by linking them with a university and a graduate to work on a specific project.

Each KIP is a three-way partnership between a business, an academic institution and a graduate. The academic institution employs the recently-qualified graduate who works at the company. The graduate, known as the ‘associate’, brings new skills and knowledge to the business.

A KIP can last between 12 and 36 months depending on the project and the needs of the business. It is part-funded by a grant. The amount businesses need to contribute is different for SMEs and larger companies.



R&D Tax Credits

R&D is a Corporation Tax (CT) tax relief that may reduce your company’s tax bill. This tax relief can only be claimed if your company is liable for CT.



Smart provides funding of up to £250,000 to support small and medium-sized businesses working on innovative R&D projects that could lead to new products or services.

Innovative UK commissioned SQW Ltd, working with Cambridge Econometrics and BMG research, to carry out an assessment of the impact of Smart funding since 2011 and an evaluation of the processes.


Patent Box

This legislation will make changes to the design of the UK Patent Box to comply with a new international framework for preferential tax regimes for intellectual property set out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).


South East Business Boost

Are you interested in a financial contribution to help boost your business?

Growth grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 are available exclusively for small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) or start-ups based in the South East (SELEP) area – with under 250 staff and a turn over under €50m. The grant can fund up to 30% of the total cost of eligible goods or services.

Spend must be on up to three Capital purchases.

Must have received a grant offer letter from South East Business Boost before starting the project.

Learn About Grants And Finance












Manufacturing Growth Programme

Helping you to make improvements by identifying, understanding and removing barriers to growth. Expert Growth Managers will work with you to establish practical steps to achieve business growth.

  • Part funding for manufacturers for business growth
  • For manufacturers who are able to demonstrate an intention to grow / improve
  • To support the costs of working with an external expert / consultant.


European Agricultural Fund For Rural Development

Submit Expressions of Interest to the Rural Payments Agency.

  • Food Processing – £50,000-£1m.
  • Rural Business Development – £50,000-£170,000
  • Rural Tourism – £50,000-170,000.


Childcare Business Grants

The Childcare Business Grants Scheme is now open to newly registered early years childminders, childcare providers on domestic premises and Childminder Agencies (CMAs) in England.

  • £500 for an early years childminder or childcare provider on domestic premises
  • £1,000 for an early years childminder or childcare provider on domestic premises of children with special educational needs and disability
  • £1,000 for a Childminder Agency.



UKTI Trade Show Grant

The Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) provides funding in the form of grants for eligible businesses to attend overseas trade shows. The funding helps your business gain market knowledge, experience in attending and getting the most from overseas trade shows, advice and support from trade experts.

  • £1,500 to £2,500 match funded
  • Stand and exhibition space costs.


Innovate UK Grant Funding

Guidance for business and academic organisations on vwhat funding is available to test ideas and develop innovative products and services.

  • Variety of schemes via funding competitions throughout the year
  • From £25,000 to £10,000,000


Green Business Fund

Energy efficiency support, energy assessments and funding for small and medium-sized businesses.

  • Up to 15% of equipment costs
  • £10,000 maximum
  • Installation of energy efficient equipment or low carbon products
  • Must use accredited supplier.


Loans for Not for Profit Social Enterprises & Charities

Kent Community Foundation connects people who care with local causes that matter.

  • Start-up or existing incorporated organisations
  • Borrow £10,000 – £100,000 up to five years
  • Potential of grant assistance
  • Unsecured
  • Flat interest rate of 5% pa.


The Elephant Trust

The Elephant Trust was created in 1975 by Roland Penrose and Lee Miller with a view to develop and improve the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the fine arts in the United Kingdom.

  • Grants of up to £2,000 (larger grants of up to £5,000 may be considered) are available to artists, small organisations and galleries.


Regional Growth Fund

The government’s Regional Growth Fund is a £1.4 billion fund supporting projects that can create jobs, are based in areas dependent on the public sector and are supported by private sector investment.

Hundreds of small businesses will benefit from government investment of £95 million to help boost growth and rebalance the economy.

The funding is expected to create at least 4,000 jobs and unlock around £500 million of new investment by small and medium businesses (SMEs).

RBS, NatWest and HSBC have agreed to facilitate the distribution of the £95 million – which is part of the government’s Regional Growth Fund.