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.

Please note: The Folkestone & Hythe High Streets Fund programme is now closed, and we are no longer accepting new applications. 


Business Grants

South East Creative Growth Programme

Funding opportunity for creative businesses within our region

Six regions outside London to benefit from £17.5m to help scale up creative businesses and increase job opportunities. Within the South East region, businesses in Kent can benefit from this scheme.

As part of the Create Growth Programme, Innovate UK have launched a brand new funding opportunity for businesses in the Creative Industries in six English regions. Business can apply for £10-30k each for innovation projects.

The aim of this first Innovate UK competition is designed to help creative businesses explore new game-changing innovation projects as a stimulus for growth.  

Deadline for applications is by 1100am on 8th February 2023

Click here for further details  and to register your interest 

You can also find details on the website by clicking here

Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) Funding


Farming in Protected Landscapes is a funding programme for farmers, landowners and land managers. Administered by the Kent Downs National Landscape, they have about £500,000 worth of grants available for spending in the next financial year (April 2024 to March 2025).

Although it’s mostly farmers who have received the main grants, they also accept applications from organisations and individuals carried out in collaboration with a farmer, landowner or land manager.

One example is North West Kent Countryside Partnership, who received FiPL funding to install and monitor Barn Owl boxes in the Darent Valley (with permission given from local landowners and farmers).

A second example is Wild With Wheels who provide guided interactive nature walks for adults and children with disabilities and impairments along the east Kent coastal paths (on land owned or managed by Network Rail, Kent County Council and a local farmer).

If you have an idea for funding you’d like to discuss, please get in touch. They have case officers on hand to help you apply now for FiPL spending in the next financial year (April 2024 to March 2025).

Projects need to contribute to at least one of the four key themes: Nature (biodiversity and wildlife), Climate (projects that help mitigate climate change), People (access, engagement, volunteering and learning about the Chilterns) or Place (landscape character, historical features and archaeology).

You can also find further details by clicking on this link

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.

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

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.



Small Business Boost Interest Free Loans

If you’re a business located in Kent and Medway in the early stages of growth and are looking to create jobs, then a 0% interest loan from Small Business Boost could provide the financial support to help achieve your goals.

Small Business Boost is part of the Kent and Medway Business Fund, managed by Kent County Council. It seeks to support those businesses that can power the region’s economy.

Small Business Boost provides financial support of between £26,000 and £99,000 to small and medium sized businesses, repayable over a period of 5 years following a six-month repayment holiday.

You can apply for funding for:

  • tangible assets such as land, buildings, software, machinery and equipment
  • intangible assets acquired from third parties by the transfer of knowledge or technology
  • employment costs, for new employees only.

Click here for further details 

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

Rural England Prosperity Fund (Folkestone & Hythe District Council)

As a result of central government funding, Folkestone & Hythe District Council has £350,000 available to provide capital grant funding for both businesses and community projects in areas classed as Rural locations.

Click here for full details of this scheme and how to apply

Kent & Medway Innovation 0% Interest Free Loans

Are you looking to grow your business but need capital to do it? Interest Free loans available 

An opportunity has arisen for Kent and Medway businesses to apply for an Innovation Loan of between £26,000 and £500,000.  Currently two schemes are available and open to application to business in Kent and Medway:

Innovation Loan – Small Business Boost 

Loans available from £26,000 to £99,000 with 20% – 30% matching funding.

Click here for further details and to submit an application

Innovation Loan – KMBF Standard Loan Scheme

Loans available from £101,000 – £500,000 with 50% fund matching. Security will be required.

Click here for further details and to submit an application






Closed: High Streets Fund Grant Scheme

The Folkestone & Hythe High Streets Fund programme is now closed. We are no longer able to accept new applications.

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.

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