Starting a business is a brave, tough, and challenging move at any point. Arguably, the events of the past year, in the thrall of a devastating pandemic, have made conditions all the more gruelling for those looking to launch a new business.
There is, however, help out there. There are, in fact, prolific sources of new business funding and knowing where to look, and which to apply for, can be an exhausting process in itself. It is, however, worth pursuing, to ensure you’re taking onboard any financial assistance you might be eligible for.
This article will run through some of the best government schemes that support the funding, growth, and development of SMEs.
Directly funded by the government, these are sector-specific and location-specific loans and grants from which your business may be able to profit. Search through the prolific range to work out what your business may be able to apply from; grants and loans cover everything from ‘CRACK IT’ – a grant to support competitions which solve business and scientific ‘challenges’ to deliver commercial benefits, to the Enterprise programme for young people in the UK, and The Prince’s Trust fund which assists young people aged from 18 to 30 set up their own businesses in England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.
Start at the Beginning: GOV.UK
GOV.UK is an invaluable source of information for new business holders. Not only does it contain all the vital information you need for information on how to employ people, details on your tax payments and obligations, and support in the intricacies of business and self-employment, it also is a database for government-backed financial support. It contains listings for direct financial assistance in the form of grants, finance, and loans for small to medium businesses and startups, but also offers the opportunity to access mentoring and consultancy on your business itself. There is a plentiful list of videos, direct mails, and webinars that you can sign up to as well, to help you take the right route into self-employment and business ownership.
SME Business support + Coronavirus
This year has been full of unprecedented challenges for everyone – but the challenges to SMEs have certainly been significant. Luckily, the government has released a page summarising all of the business assistance you may be entitled to, to help your enterprise weather this strange period. The page contains everything from how to go about paying your employees to business rate relief you might be entitled to, as well as a specific sublist for support for SMEs. The SME support includes the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Future Fund, and the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan.
There are plenty of other national and regional support schemes and grants which are well worth exploring, from the Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure Grant Fund to the Small Business Grant Fund. Call the Business Support Helpline to access all of the initiatives and support schemes that your pioneering SME may be entitled to, to keep your small business running through that hard start-up period.