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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. If you’re unsure whether you qualify for any of the schemes below please get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.


The business finance guide provides a comprehensive overview of the financing options available to growing businesses. Whatever the challenges faced, the right financing decisions are critical. For business owners and management, awareness of the choices available allows the business to make a well-informed financing decision.

This link takes you to a helpful tool that guides you through the various options for finance: Find the right finance for you

Search finance and support for your business, click here to go to the Government National Finance Finder Tool.

Local Grants & Funding

Innovate UK Smart Grants January 2021

Innovate UK is investing up to £25 million in the best game-changing and commercially viable innovative or disruptive ideas. All proposals must be business-focused. Applications can come from any area of technology and be applied to any part of the economy.

Find out more here

No Use Empty Initiative Loan Scheme

The following local councils participate in the above scheme:

Ashford, Canterbury, Dartford, Dover, Folkestone & Hythe, Gravesham, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Swale, Thanet, Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells

Find out more about the scheme and eligibility here

Internationalisation Fund

– Match funded grant between £1,000 and £9,000

– SMEs with high growth potential

– Can be used for professional advice, consultancy, trade show participation

– To apply contact one of the team

Find the full eligibility here

Recovery Innovation Fund

Kent’s Knowledge Exchange and Innovation (KEI) department will be able to support businesses with:

  • Exploring ways to inspire business evolution
  • Allowing employees to improve and grow
  • Discovering or cultivating new products
  • Cultivating business efficiency
  • Solving problems
  • Engaging with viability studies
  • Exploring new business initiatives

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Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan

The Chancellor announced that a scheme will temporarily replace the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG), becoming available over the coming weeks.

It will operate in a similar way to EFG and be provided by the British Business Bank, but will offer more attractive terms for both businesses and lenders, with the aim of supporting the continued provision of finance to UK businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak.

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Innovation Loans - For SME's with game-changing ideas
  • Up to £10 million in loans to help SMEs to commercialise innovative products or services.
  • any area of technology or the economy and must lead to sustainable business growth.
  • The scheme supports projects in the late stage of development.

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South East Business Boost II (SEBBII)

The programme can fund up to 30% of the costs of qualifying projects, with the remaining 70% being met by the business.

  • Funding available for capital items
  • Grants between £1,000-£10,000
  • Funding 30% of your project

Businesses who were supported with either a grant or a business support intervention on the South East Business Boost I (SEBB I) programme are not eligible to apply for SEBB II.

Please note that business support workshops and 1-2-1 advice will be available later in the year.

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LOCASE (Low Carbon Across the South East)

The LOCASE fund has reopened with a small amount of additional funding. As this is an extension businesses that have accessed the funds already cannot do so again.

  • Funding available for carbon reduction and increase in sustainability.
  • Funding available for businesses within the environmental and sustainability sector
  • Grants between £1000-£10,000
  • Funding 40% of your project

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I-Construct works 1:1 with small and medium-sized enterprises to assess their business plan, agree tailored business support, and offer project- specific help with business development or grant-funding applications.

I-Construct also offers SMEs a choice of two additional routes to work on their business priorities:

  • Business development support: Up to 9 hours of free 1:1 business mentoring
  • 30% Grant funding between £1,000 and £20,000 to part fund the development and launch of a new product or service; this is for consultancy, to upgrade or purchase a new system, associated hardware and a new employee.

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TALE (Transport and Logistical Efficiencies)

ERDF-funded project designed for SMEs in the Transport and Logistics sector to make the most of their logistics data to improve profit margins and reduce costs. This includes:

  • Data Analysis
  • 1-2-1 support
  • Funding

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Enterprise Grants

Financial support for social sector organisations looking to become more enterprising

Funding available:

  • Feasibility Grants between £5,000 – £10,000
  • Development Grants around £50,000

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Innovation Loans - Manufacturing & Materials

• For UK businesses that want to scale up and grow through innovation
• £100k to £1m for eligible project costs
• Low interest rate
• Reasonable collateral
• Appropriate covenants

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Utilise Plus Programme
  • Grants – between £1,000 and £5,000 to cover up to 1/3 of the cost of energy efficiency projects.
  • Workshops – half-day, practical sessions explore energy efficiency measures.

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Kent and Medway Business Fund

Kent County Council are offering 0% loans between £50,000 and £500,000 to small and medium sized businesses in Kent and Medway.

This is currently open for pre-application from 25th June 2019.

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Growth Loan in Medway
  • Established businesses only (min. 2 years trading)
  • Up to £10,000 interest free loan
  • If in commercial property, must be paying Business Rates in Medway
  • For More information contact the Kent and Medway Growth Hub on 01233 225447


Start Up Grant in Medway
  • Pre-start businesses only
  • Up to £1,000
  • Must be based in Medway
  • For More information call the Kent and Medway Growth Hub on 01233 225447
Start Up Loan + 12 months Mentoring
  • 18+ years old
  • Pre-start or trading less than 24 months
  • UK-based business
  • Up to £25,000 at 6% p.a. fixed for up to 5 years


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Innovate UK Grant Funding
  • Test new ideas and develop innovative products or services
  • Variety of schemes from £25,000 to £10,000,000
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UKTI Trade show Grant
  • Grant to attend organised overseas trade shows
  • £1,500 to £2,500 match funded
  • Stand and exhibition space costs
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Loans for Not for Profit Social Enterprises & Charities
  • Start-up or existing incorporated organisations
  • Borrow £10,000 – £100,000 up to 5 years
  • Potential of grant assistance
  • Unsecured
  • Flat interest rate of 5% pa
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The Manufacturing Growth Programme Grant Scheme
  • For small to medium sized businesses
  • For manufacturers who are able to demonstrate an intention to grow/improve
  • To support the costs of working with an external expert
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Fredericks Foundation
  • Loans from £2,500 to £35,000
  • Loan terms from 6 months to 5 years
  • Rates from 8% to 14%
  • No early payback penalties
  • Long term flexible rolling loans

All loans are subject to an upfront admin fee that is only payable on success

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EIRA Innovation Vouchers
  • R & D Innovation Vouchers £7,500 – Ai, Biotechnology and Digital Creative
  • 80/20 match funded

For academic experts to provide a business with support for scoping or developing new products, solving problems, carrying out a feasibility study, scoping a new business idea and more.

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EIRA Grant
  • For R&D activity for A.I., Biotechnology and Digital Creative
  • £20 000-£50 000
  • 75/25 match funded grants for:
    * feasibility testing
    * development of a product or service,
    * de-risking a complex innovation
    * diversifying product range
    * enhancing products from prototypes and more.

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Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) – Closes on 16 February 2020.

  • £20k- £750k Grants
  • Priority will be given to projects that:
    * adopt new techniques and processes
    * create new ‘local food’ products
    * open new product markets to the business
    * increase the productivity of the emerging wine industry and breweries

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Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) – Closes on 16 February 2020.

  • £20k – £175k Grants
  • create new and expand existing SME’s in rural areas
  • create services or manufacture new products i.e:
    * enable farming businesses to diversify into non-agricultural activities
    * reduce the environmental impact of the business

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Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) – Closes on 16 February 2020.

  • £20k – £175k Grants
  • For capital investments
  • Create sustainable new or existing rural visitor attractions
  • Priority will be given to specific projects

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Got questions? Ask Phil

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