Skip to main content

Start-up Grants For Small Businesses

Everyone wants to save money on their energy bills, from domestic customers to those responsible for running businesses. Usually, the first step most people take is to make an energy supplier comparison and choosing the best deal with Business Energy Comparison.

Business Energy Comparison Background - Blue
Coins sat infront of energy meter

The Best Grants For Small Business And Startups In 2023

Government, trusts, and various charitable bodies recognise that small businesses are the lifeblood of a sustainable inclusive economy.

There are many grant funds directed to small enterprises to give them an entrepreneurial headstart.

New Enterprise Allowance: This grant is aimed at aspiring entrepreneurs 18 + to help them take their business vision forward. To be eligible you or your partner must be receiving one of the following: Job Seeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, or Universal Credit. Alternatively, you should be a recipient of Income Support and be a single parent, or disabled.

The Prince’s Trust: The trust provides funding to entrepreneurs aged 18 to 30 who want to start or grow their new venture. Besides funding, the grant also offers training, mentoring, and other resources.

Innovate UK: Innovate UK is a government-funded initiative that funds and supports innovative UK ventures. It offers grants for research and development projects, as well as support for businesses looking to commercialise patents, ideas, concepts, and inventions.

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS): This scheme grants tax relief to investors who invest in new and early-stage businesses. SEIS can make it easier for businesses to attract funding from investors who may make part of the money available as a grant.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund: The fund seeks to promote the local economy and skills development with a particular focus on cultural traditions, historical places, and parks.

Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs): LEPs are partnerships between local authorities and businesses that provide a range of guidance, funding, and support in local regions.

What’s The Difference Between A Loan And A Grant?

A grant is financial assistance provided by a government, charitable organisation, or private institution to a recipient such as an individual, company, nonprofit organisation, or research project. Grants, by their nature, do not require repayment.

A loan is a sum of money that is borrowed from a lender such as a bank, financial institution, individual, or investment group. The borrower is required to repay the loan amount along with interest within a specified period.

Business Energy comparison

Grants are usually awarded based on the awarder’s mandate and specific criteria such as a particular project or social goals. Funding and assistance are often tied to specific purposes such as:

  • Supporting community projects
  • Encouraging employment
  • Promoting education and training
  • Funding research
  • Encouraging innovation
  • Aiding individuals in need
  • Easing the company’s tax burden
  • Aligning with government projects
  • Social and community goals
  • Environmental impact

Who Is Eligible For Grants?

The UK is fortunate to have a truly wide scope of business grants aimed at diverse recipients. That said, the funding pie is never big enough to go around to all applicants.

Expect there will be many applicants applying for the grant you are targeting. It’s important to present your application persuasively by submitting it in good time, ensuring you meet all the criteria and include all supporting documents. Highlight your USP – the special ‘sauce’ that makes your business stand out.

Young People

Grant agencies are committed to creating sustainable business opportunities for young people.

UnLtd is focused on social entrepreneurs. It provides funding to initiatives committed to driving social change.

Shell LiveWIRE is a Shell Oil programme that aims to plug young entrepreneurs from across the UK and the globe into skills, networks, and resources to create successful businesses that create employment and inspire innovation.


Grant organisations are committed to increasing funding opportunities for female entrepreneurs as evidenced in prestigious schemes such as the Cartier Women’s Initiative and Abie Awards. Local regions are also focused on empowering more women.

Rural businesses

There is a need to promote and encourage rural businesses and start-ups in zones outside the major economic hubs. To ensure these businesses enjoy full connectivity they can receive funding to install gigabit broadband through the government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.


The government growth through exporting programme assists small businesses to access international markets with grants covering market research, trade shows, and exhibitions.

Innovators and R&D

The knowledge economy is keen to encourage research and development, and innovation.

The Eureka Eurostars scheme is a commercially focused scheme that fosters international collaborative research and innovation projects that will be rapidly commercialised.

As mentioned, Innovate UK is a government-funded player very supportive in this arena.

Green Energy Efficient Grants

From government to local authorities there is a strong emphasis on creating more energy-efficient work environments. For entrepreneurs building out a new workspace or retrofitting an existing premise, there are incentives and energy-efficient workspace grants to help with costs.

Small business energy prices including business electricity tariffs and gas costs have soared in recent years. Small businesses wanting help to cover essential business energy bills should consider comparing business gas and electricity supply prices across the market. There may well be more favourable energy deals for you.

Grants by region

There are tons of regional funds available to inspire great businesses in local areas. The Local Enterprise Partnership network covers 36 regions and supports 2 million businesses. Your local LEP is a good resource to engage about grants in your region. Government Finance and Support provides details of 100+ schemes across the UK.

Man with design element above her head stock image
Design Elements

Is Any Other Government Support Available For Businesses?

The government is constantly reviewing how it can best support SMEs. The Government Grants Community portal keeps you abreast of the latest in government grants.

Besides direct funding, the government offers a wide scope of assistance. The Business Support Helpline provides essential guidance about skills and training, tax, exporting, funding, and more.

There are also many useful government allowances, including:

  • Employment Allowance – This enables you to reduce the national insurance contributions you pay for your staff by up to £5,000 per year.
  • Research and Development Relief – Companies may be able to claim up to 33% of their R&D costs as a tax credit to offset corporation tax
  • Apprentice and Skills Training Schemes – these initiatives provide a measure of help to employers to assist them in training their workforce and taking on apprentices
  • Business rates relief – If your business occupies a single property with a rateable value of less than £15,000, you possibly qualify for business rates relief
  • Energy Bills Discount Scheme– The Energy Bills Discount Scheme seeks to help all business deal with the crippling effects of high business energy bills caused by volatility in the energy market, global disruptions, and business energy suppliers being locked into expensive business energy contracts. The scheme currently runs until 31 March 2024 and provides a small discount of 1.9p per kWh to firms on fixed tariffs.
  • Climate Change Levy relief – If you enter a legal agreement with the government whereby you commit to meet future energy efficiency targets, you can receive reductions on your Climate Change Levy environmental tax.

What Are The Alternatives To Business Grants?

As an alternative to a grant, consider:

  • Equity capital – You could exchange some shares in return for a capital investment.
  • Small and micro business loans. All the major banks offer customised loans to SMEs. The government-backed Start Up Loan scheme provides loans up to £25,000 and there are many facilities like the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund offering loans, debtor finance, or equity arrangements.
  • Friends and family.
  • Private investor and angel loans.
  • Some entrepreneurs have raised funds through crowdfunding.
  • Hackathons, pitches, and challenge-led competitions can open doors to networks and funding.

Speak To The Experts At Business Energy Comparison

As business energy experts, Business Energy Comparison is dedicated to making utilities more affordable and energy contracts easier to understand for both small and large businesses.

We offer a fully comprehensive service finding you the best gas and electricity prices and encourages improved energy usage. Let the Business Energy Comparison team start comparing business gas and electricity plans for you today and dramatically lower your energy costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there grants for taking on an apprentice?

Some businesses are eligible for government support to help them train and upskill apprentices.

Does the Energy Bill Relief Scheme still exist?

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme helped companies lower their business energy bills during the 2022 peak energy crisis but the scheme ended on 31 March 2023. It was replaced by the Energy Bills Discount Scheme in April 2023.