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

Romney Marsh Business Hub Grant Scheme


The Romney Marsh Business Hub Grant Scheme launched early December 2021 with the aim of attracting and supporting businesses taking up space within the Business Hub.

Folkestone & Hythe District Council will offer grants of up to £10,000 (and more in exceptional circumstances).

Grants are available to contribute towards:

  • Fit-out costs for a bespoke design tailored to business needs
  • New furniture, office accessories and ICT equipment

And in exceptional circumstances, towards:

  • A maximum of 3 months’ rent and/or business rates (if payable) for a maximum of 12 months.

Who can apply for a Grant?

The grant scheme is available to any business signing a lease to take space in the Romney Marsh Business Hub.

How the apply for a Grant

Applicants are required to complete and submit an online application form.

Click here to download the Application Form

The following evidence is required in support of an application and this should also be emailed, along with your completed application form, to:

  • Business plan (where available)
  • Quotes for works relating to the grant application

Please note: for individual items of expenditure over £5,000 at least two quotes must be obtained and submitted.  For items under £5,000 only one quote is required.

What happens after you apply?

Following submission of an application, this will be scored against the following criteria:

  • size of grant requested;
  • proposed purpose of the grant;
  • number of jobs to be located in Romney Marsh Business Hub
  • Type of business
  • Proposed length of lease

A decision panel will consider the application and assessment and we will contact you to let you know the decision.

If your application is approved, you will be required to enter into a legal agreement with the council for the grant.

When will the grant be paid?

Grants will only be payable in arrears of expenditure and on submission of evidence of payment (e.g. invoices).

Grant applications must be made and approved before any works take place.

Where a tenant vacates the premises within 1 year, they may be required to pay back a proportion of the grant or forfeit assets acquired with the grant, on a proportionate basis, depending on the circumstances.

Questions or further information

If you have any questions about the application please contact Jade Smyth or Andy Markwell  at Folkestone & Hythe District Council.

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.

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

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…

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

No Use Empty Loan Scheme

If you have a commercial property standing empty & requiring refurbishment, you may be able to obtain an interest free loan to bring back into use for alternative commercial, residential or Mixed-use purposes.

The NUE Commercial Phase II project will build on the success of Phase I of the project which exceeded expectations.

The project will continue to focus on empty commercial properties in town centre locations (particularly in coastal areas of Kent), where secondary retail and other commercial areas have been significantly impacted by changing consumer demand and have often been neglected as a result of larger regeneration schemes.

Click on the link here for full details and making an application.

Please note that further funding for this scheme has recently been announced. Details will be updated as further information becomes available.



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.

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

C-Care Technology Resilience Voucher Scheme

C-Care Technology Vouchers for Businesses available value up to £1,000

From the 22nd of November Kent-based businesses will be able to apply for a voucher to implement a digital or technology solution or project to help them with business resilience and economic recovery. Each voucher will cover costs up to a maximum of £1,000. The scheme will run for 9 months or until the voucher budget has been fully allocated.

Businesses will be able to redeem a voucher for services from a range of suppliers that KCC has procured in the following areas:

  • Web-based Activities.
  • Remote Working Technologies.
  • Software solutions & Apps.
  • Digital Marketing & Promotional Activities.
  • Skills & Capacity Building.
  • Equipment & small Investments to facilitate digital activity.

Businesses can also book a slot with a specialist digital advisor prior to applying for the scheme to ensure that they maximise the voucher.

The Technology Resilience Voucher Scheme is part of the C-Care (Covid Channel Area Response Exchange) project which is funded by the EU Interreg France (Channel) England programme.

Derek Murphy, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “During the pandemic, businesses realised the importance of making the best use digital technology to connect to customers and deliver services in new ways. This new voucher scheme will help local firms to adopt these solutions to help with new ways of working and future growth.”

Click here for further details and to make an application

Covid-19 Recovery Fund Programme

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