Business Loans and Grants

Business Loans and Grants

Other sources for business loans and grants

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.

Business Grants

Folkestone Community Works SME Business Grant Scheme

The Folkestone Community Works programme offers business grants to small-medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) located within the defined area.  This aims to support local business to grow and create jobs.

An EU grant is available to cover up to 50% of the costs of your investment.

The types of investment that a grant could be used for includes:

  • Building Refurbishment:  including external/internal refurbishment and conversion of buildings, provision of services and landscaping, up to a maximum £10,000 EU grant
  • Business Development: funding required enabling expansion of the business (for example, marketing/research costs)
  • Plant and Machinery:  costs of re-tooling and installation of machinery and hardware and training required to operate it.
  • Intangible Assets:  including costs of purchasing patents, IT, software and licenses
  • Consultancy Costs: including marketing, business planning and sector specialists

Your business will be eligible for a grant if you are not in any of the following sectors

  • Fishery and Aquaculture
  • Agriculture
  • Coal, Steel and Shipbuilding
  • Synthetic Fibres
  • Retail
  • Education
  • Banking and Insurance

To check your business is located in the programme area,  please see the Ordnance Survey map

Call for Projects will run until 2021.  Please click the link for more details

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

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.


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.

The Carbon Trust 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.


Innovate UK Grant Funding

Guidance for business and academic organisations on what 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

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.

Elephant Trust Art Grant

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.


TALE - Transport and Logistical Efficiencies

The TALE (Transport and Logistical Efficiencies) ERDF project is geared towards driving productivity and efficiencies in the transport and logistical sectors and runs until March 2021 across the SELEP region.

Support comes in the forms of 12 hours of 1 to 1 support which includes a diagnostic visit at the start to assess the way in which the transport and logistics of a business can be improved.
There is also a 40% match funded 3-level grant scheme attached to this project which consists of:
1. Starter Boost – £1000 grant to support the purchase of software and initial consultancy advice relating to data analytics.
2. Step change grant – £10000 to £20000 grants to support the purchase of consultancy and software to embed data analytic tools and techniques into the company to generate business intelligence that will be used in plans to improve efficiencies and/or launch new products or services.
3. Transformation Grant – £20000 to £60000 grants to support the purchase of consultancy, software and will include the option of the establishment of a new role to implement the innovations/solutions. The grants are for businesses with significant long-term plans for changes to their business in which the business has an advanced business plan and intends to create at least one FTE post for the implementation of the project and to help launch a new data-analytics enabled approach to operations to generate market efficiency savings or bring a new product/service to the market.

Contact for F&HDC based companies is Fred Thomas 07739971665 or email
More info at…

South East Creative Cultural and Digital Support (SECCADS)

SECCADS is a business support programme designed to support Creative, Cultural and Digital Businesses across the South East Local Enterprise Region.

The support is available for the following sectors:

  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Architecture
  • Crafts
  • Design and designer fashion
  • Film, TV, video, radio and photography
  • IT, software and computer services
  • Publishing
  • Museums, galleries and libraries
  • Music, performing and visual arts

Eligibility requirements:

  • Employ fewer than 250 people
  • Annual turnover not exceeding €50 million
  • Balance sheet not exceeding €43 million
  • Not be engaged in a restricted sector according to the state aid regulations and ERDF requirements. Not have either already exceeded the de minimis state aid limit (€200,000 over three years) or to be in a position where the de minimis state aid limit would be exceeded were the application to be approved

For more information contact:

Lisa Ricketts
SECCADS Programme Manager

01375 652271

Business Loans

Kent and Medway Business Fund

The Kent and Medway Business Fund is financed by recycled loan repayments from the former Regional Growth Fund schemes (Expansion East Kent, Tiger and Escalate) and aims to offer funding to businesses across Kent and Medway.

The scheme primarily offers 0% loans between £50,000 and £500,000 to small and medium-sized businesses with the potential to create new jobs and growth within the Ashford, Canterbury, Dartford, Dover, Folkestone & Hythe, Gravesham, Maidstone, Medway, Sevenoaks, Swale, Thanet, Tonbridge & Malling and Tunbridge Wells local authority areas.

Loans can be used to develop new or expand existing products, services or processes, where these will lead to new jobs, deliver business growth and improve productivity.

Those interested in applying can currently register their interest in anticipation of the pre-applications which are open now:


Read more about the Kent and Medway Business fund

Social Enterprise & Charities Loans

Kent Community Foundation connects people who care about 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.

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 is 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

There are a number of other websites that provide support for businesses and some include details of other grants and loans available.

Kent and Medway Growth Hub

Funding is provided to either affect 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

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.

Patent Box Corporation Tax Relief

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).

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.


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.

SEED (South East Export Development) Project

The South East Export Development (SEED) is a project funded by SELEP (the South East Local Enterprise Partnership) and will help small businesses from East Sussex, Kent & Medway, Essex and South Essex to get into overseas markets.

  • Virtual trade missions – Food & Drink, Digital & Creative, Life Sciences
  • Target Markets: UAE, Hong Kong, Ireland, Malaysia, US etc.

IMPULS Interreg Project

Innovation in Manufacturers of Products Used in Life Sciences (IMPULS) is a project funded by the Interreg France-Channel-England (FCE) Programme which can help small businesses from South East England and North West France to get into international markets.

  • Support for Life Science SMEs: online training & info webinars
  • Virtual access to international trade shows

Boost4Health Interreg Project

Boost4Health lowers the thresholds for international collaborations by providing a platform and support. Enabling SMEs to find and access the best experts and facilities to advance the TRL of life sciences innovations.

  • Connections to 7 Life Science Clusters in mainland Europe
  • Internationalisation & connection vouchers for Kent firms

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has announced a new £4.4 million COVID-19 Recovery Funds Programme which will provide support and grant funding to businesses, as well as support with workforce skills.

Read more about the SELEP support programmes