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Business grants and funding

Business Link Kent

Business Link is the national business advice service and has pertinent information on a range of issues, including funding and grants.

Website: www.gov.uk/browse/business*

Cooperative Action

Co-operative Action, funded by co-operative societies, provides loans to -

  • Promote, support and develop co-operative solutions and co-operative enterprises
  • Expand the Co-operative Movement
  • Promote the co-operative advantage and demonstrate its relevance in the UK today.

Loans are available to projects to set up or expand a co-operative, mutual or social enterprise, support employee or community buyouts of an existing business (for example to prevent closure or privatisation), buy capital equipment or property, provide working capital or to cover delayed grants and to run feasibility studies. Loans are available of £5,000 to £75,000.

Grants: Co-operative Action Limited, P.O. Box 53. New Century House,
Manchester M60 4ES

Loans: Co-operative Action c/o ICO, F227c City Road,
London EC1V 1JT
Tel: 0800 0686 727

Dartford Borough Council

Grants of up to £250 for projects that improve the local environment - the project could be anything from improving a green area, promoting healthy eating, school recycling schemes through to using alternative technologies such as solar and wind power. Groups, schools and organisations can make one application per year and the grant can only be used for the purposes set out in the application form.

Address: Sandra Woodfall, Environmental Promotions Officer,
Dartford Borough Council, Home Gardens,
Dartford, Kent DA1 1DR
Tel: 01322 343056
Online: Contact Environmental Promotions Team

Enterprise Grants

Enterprise Grants were part of the business support package offered by the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) and delivered by the Small Business Service. Following a review at the DTI, the Enterprise Grant scheme has been replaced with Selective Finance for Investment in England (SFI). For more details, see the section further down this page.

Enterprise Capital Funds

A Venture Capital Fund for small businesses that will be funded with public money. The scheme is being developed by the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform.

Website: Department for Business, Innovation & Skills*

Enterprise Loan Fund

The Enterprise Loan Fund can provide loans to those who are unable to borrow from mainstream lenders but have an idea that they believe they can capitalise on. They will consider offering loans to business start ups, expanding businesses and social enterprises. The team work with the Enterprise Agency of North Kent to ensure that support, in the form of monthly meetings, is provided so that repayments can be made and the business succeeds. Loans for start ups are limited to £5000 and to £15000 for established enterprises.

Unit 1 The Courtyard, 7a Manor Road,
Gravesend, Kent DA12 1AA
Tel: 01474 327350 Tel: 01474 327304

Enterprise Zones

The Government has allocated the ward of Joyce Green as an enterprise zone. This means that certain benefits are available to encourage businesses to locate here, including -

  • Stamp Duty exemption on all residential property transactions up to the value of £150,000
  • Tax relief for the renovation of empty business premises (announced December 2004)
  • Contaminated Land Tax Credit
  • Community Investment Tax Relief
  • Improvements to the planning system
  • Access to the Bridges Venture Capital Fund

Finance South East

An independent service that has been designed for growth companies in the South East Region. They can help business to develop business plans and access finance options.

Devonshire Place, New Road, Crowthorne,
Berkshire RG45 6NA
Tel:01344 758540
Fax: 01344 762002
Website: www.financesoutheast.com*

Grant for Investigating an Innovative Idea

The aim of this grant is to help businesses based in England with fewer than 250 employees to develop their ideas by working with external experts. The outcome will be an action plan, which can then be used to take the idea forward to develop significantly improved products, processes and services.

The Investigating Innovative Ideas Secretariat, Department of Trade and Industry, Bay 712, Kingsgate House, 66-74 Victoria Street,
London SW1E 6SW
Tel: 020 7215 8671
Fax: 020 7215 4002

Grant for Research and Development

The Department for Trade and Industry's Grant for Research and Development replaces the Smart Award. It is an initiative that provides grants to help individuals and small and medium-sized businesses to research and develop technologically innovative products and processes. Support on applying for the grant is available from Business Link Kent.

  • Micro Projects are simple low cost development projects lasting no longer than 12 months. The output should be a simple prototype of a novel or innovative product or process. A grant of up to £20,000 is available to businesses with fewer than 10 employees.
  • Research Projects typically involve planned research or critical investigation lasting between 6 and 18 months. The result of the project could be new scientific or technical knowledge that may be useful in developing a new product or process.A grant of up to £75,000 is available to businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
  • Development Projects involve the shaping of industrial research into a pre-production prototype of a technologically innovative product or industrial process. A grant of up to £200,000 is available for businesses with fewer than 250 employees.
  • Exceptional Projects involve technology developments which have higher costs. These projects are likely to generate much wider economic benefits and must be recognised as of strategic importance for a technology or industrial sector. A grant of up to £500,000 is available to SMEs with a qualifying project

New Entrepreneur Scholarship

Enterprise Agency of North Kent run a scheme for groups thinking of starting their own business/social enterprise or individuals becoming self-employed who live in deprived areas of Dartford, Gravesham, Medway & Swale. They are running completely free training (part time workshops) and free mentoring and advice sessions. There is also an opportunity for discretionary start-up grants of up to £1500 available which can be used for items such as initial rent, insurance or equipment. The scheme starts in January 2008 and the grants are available to those with at least 80% attendance & satisfactory business plan.

For further information:

Tel:01304 822351

Prince's Trust

The Prince's Trust helps young people by providing long term support to those who have the potential but few of the opportunities. The Prince's Trust business programme helps people aged 18-30 who want to set up a business by providing low interest loans, grants and mentors.

Tel: 01252 891330
Website: www.princes-trust.org.uk*

Small Firms Loan Guarantee (SFLG)

This scheme guarantees loans from banks and other lenders for small firms that have viable business proposals but are unable to otherwise secure a loan. Loans are available for 2-10 years and the SFLG guarantees 75% of the loan. Applications for this scheme are made to the lender *of the loan.

Address: DTI Enquiry Unit, 1 Victoria Street,
London SW1H OET
Tel: 020 7215 5000
small-firms-loan-guarantees-sflg-scheme-loans-made-1-december-2005-to-31-january-2009*

Tax Credit for Research and Development

HM Revnues & Customs offers a tax credit for those companies spending money on research and development.

Website: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/businesses/tmarandd-tax-credits.shtml *

Technology Programme

The Department for Trade and Industry have launched two programmes aimed at helping businesses to develop new technologies. £150m is available over the next three years (to 2007) with grants of between 25% and 75% towards collaborative projects and up to 100% for proposals that help develop knowledge transfer networks in seven priority areas -

  • Bio processing
  • Technologies to support environmentally friendly transport
  • Advanced composite materials and structures
  • Inter-enterprise computing
  • Renewable technologies
  • Disruptive technologies in electronics and displays
  • Sensor and control systems

Deadlines are set for receipt of applications, see the website for details of the latest call for proposals.

DTI Enquiry Unit, 1 Victoria Street,
London SW1H OET
Tel: 020 7215 5000

Unltd Millennium Award

Unltd Millennium Awards are cash awards plus support to help make ideas a reality. They provide advice, training, mentoring and other support services. Level 1 awards, from £500 to £5,000 to help make ideas become real projects. They are aimed at individuals or informal groups of people who want to set up new projects in their spare time. Level 2 awards, from £5,000 to £15,000, support projects that are already developed.

123 Whitecross Street, Islington,
London EC1Y 8JJ
Tel: 0207 566 1100
Fax: 020 7566 1101
Website: www.unltd.org.uk *

Venture Capital

Venture capital provides long-term committed capital to businesses. Venture capitalists are only interested in companies that have the potential to grow very quickly so that they see a return on their investment. The Small Business Service and British Venture Capital Association offer advice on whether seeking venture capital may be an option for your business and the Small Business Service are supporting a number of initiatives to facilitate relations between venture capitalists and potential beneficiaries.

British Venture Capital Association, 3 Clements Inn,
London WC2A 2AZ
Tel: 020 7025 2950
Website: www.bvca.co.uk *

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