< How to access finance - LLEP Business Gateway

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There is a huge range of local, regional and national funding options to support your start-up and growth plans. Below is a small selection of options. There’s a lot more. Get in touch with the Growth Hub team today to find out what’s available for your business.


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    Latest Finance Options

    You can view some of the latest grants, loans and alternative finance options here. Get in touch today to find out what’s available for your business.

    Leicestershire Business Recovery Fund

    Grants from £2,000 to £10,000 are available to Leicestershire businesses (excluding those located within Leicester City boundary). The scheme provides 50% grant support with the applicant providing the other 50%.

    Business Growth Grants

    There’s a new Business Growth Grant to finance growth or expansion plans providing capital grants from £2,000 to £25,000 making up 35% of total project cost.

    Covid-19 business grants and funding

    Find out about finance options, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, grants and other support if you have been economically effected.


    Non-repayable funding for your business towards the costs of a project or equipment that meets specific criteria and eligibility.

    SHIRE Environment Grant

    This scheme, run by Leicestershire County Council, aims to help projects that minimise household waste, reduce carbon emissions and improve biodiversity through new and innovative projects. Grants up to £3,000 available. Next round of funding closes on 26 February 2021.

    Kickstart Scheme

    If you are an employer looking to create job placements for young people, check if you can apply for funding as part of the Kickstart Scheme.

    Smart Grants

    Opportunity to apply for a share of up to £25 million to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations that can make a significant impact on the UK economy. Closes 25 Nov 2020

    Shop Front Improvement Grant - Leicester City

    Grants of up to £5,000 to encourage independent retail businesses to improve their shop fronts. Businesses must match 50 per cent of the grant offered. The grant scheme will prioritise certain areas and vacant shop properties.

    Street Cafe Furnishings Grant - Leicester City

    Eligible independent restaurants and cafes in Leicester City can apply for grants of up to £4,000, to purchase appropriate furniture and outdoor goods to support their business.

    Business Growth Grant

    Grants from £2,000 up to £25,000 are available providing 35% towards the cost of capital projects (e.g. new machinery, tools, premises improvement or expansion). A Business Gateway adviser will support you throughout the process.

    Leicestershire Business Recovery Fund

    Grants available for businesses in Leicestershire County only, from £2,000 to £10,000. It supports rural businesses impacted by Covid-19. There is 50% grant support with the applicant providing 50% match funding.

    SPRING from The iNet

    Supporting Productivity Innovation & Growth - SPRING provides grant funding towards external costs of projects aiming to introduce new capabilities, enhanced capacity or a significantly improved product, process or service.

    PROSPER from The iNet

    Grant funding towards external costs of innovation and product development projects. Up to £40,000 on capital projects with 30% contribution and £12,000 on revenue projects with 31% contribution.

    Green BELLE

    Phase 2 is now open – offering grants from £1,000 to £7,000 to eligible SMEs in Leicester and Leicestershire towards the cost of energy efficiency measures.

    Digital Growth Programme

    Grants for the introduction of new systems and software to improve business performance and productivity. Grants from £2,000 - £25,000 are available (higher project values will be considered) with a 35% intervention rates.

    Leicester Innovation Hub

    Innovation vouchers up to £4,000 (consultancy, analytical services and sustainability audits) are available to use with the University of Leicester for qualifying SMEs interested in developing new products, services and processes.

    Manufacturing Growth Programme

    Supporting SME manufacturers to grow by identifying, understanding and removing barriers to growth and enabling sustainable business improvement. Grants up to 35% towards an improvement project, grant value starting from £1000.

    NBV Grant for Enterprise and Grant for New Business

    Grants of between £1000 and £2500 available. This is for a maximum of 25% of eligible costs for equipment and consultancy on a match funded basis. The minimum project spend is £4000.

    Coalville market traders

    NW Leicestershire District Council have a small grants programme to help support growing businesses on Coalville Market.

    Exploring Enterprises

    Fully funded support for 18-30 year olds from the Prince’s Trust that want to explore setting up their own business. Support includes workshops, one-to-one support, a £250 market test grant and access to low interest start up loans up to £5000.

    Leicester Low Carbon Transport Accelerator

    Grants towards the cost of replacing fossil fuelled Vehicles with Electric Vehicles and Hybrids for business use. Call or email: ULEV-Grants@leicester.gov.uk

    Medilink - SoLSTICE

    Life Science companies in the LLEP area can access support to develop new and existing products and services. Innovation grants up to £20k, Med tech trials grants up to £50k and specialist networking event grants up to £3k.


    Long and short term, repayable funding for your business to encourage growth, often with specific criteria and eligibility.

    Sporting Capital Fund

    The £3m Sporting Capital Fund provides loan funding of between £50,000 and £150,000 to eligible organisations. The loans are available to fund organisations that make a difference to individuals and communities through sport.

    First Enterprise Small Loans for Business

    Provides business loans to individuals, aiming to support good business ideas that could be difficult to fund through other means.  Loans from £3,000 to £50,000 are available with 30% contribution required from the applicant.

    Funding Circle

    Funding Circle is the world’s leading marketplace exclusively focused on small businesses.  Loans are available from £5k to £1m directly from a wide range of investors, including more than 44,000 people, the UK Government, local councils, a university and a number of financial organisations.

    Invest to Grow

    £16m East Midlands wide funding available to SMEs - loans and grants ranging from £15k to £250k to cover 30% of a project cost.

    Midlands Engine Investment Fund

    Midlands Engine Investment Fund offers four different funding options to help your business grow, ranging from small business loans to fund start-ups, to later-stage equity investment that allows established businesses to continue growing.

    Sir Thomas White Charity

    Leicester based charity providing interest free business loans for under 45s of up to £20,000 for small businesses based in Leicestershire and Rutland.

    Start Up Loans

    Government backed start-up loans programme offer £500 up to £25,000 over a period of 1-5 years. Loans charged at 6% interest with no set up or early repayment fees with 12 months of free mentoring.

    Alternative Finance

    Commercial finance options for businesses from high street banks and tools to help find what you’re looking for.

    Better Business Finance

    Impartial information and support to businesses and entrepreneurs looking to develop and grow. BBF works with a number of industry partners and membership institutions,

    Business Growth Fund

    BGF is an investment partner for growing companies in every sector of the economy. They provide the tools you need to grow, from funding to expertise, while letting you set the course.

    Business is Great

    Help for businesses to find out how to access affordable and appropriate finance as well as more general guidance.

    Funding Options

    Funding Options helps UK firms access business finance, working directly with small businesses and their trusted advisers.


    A useful tool for business users who know what they are looking for. It provides information on government-backed support and finance for business.

    British Business Bank Finance Hub

    Designed to help businesses understand the financial landscape and ultimately access the right finance for their growth potential. Independent, impartial and digital hub for growing UK businesses.


    Funding and support for social enterprise and social entrepreneurs.


    Finpoint is a funding platform that helps sole traders and SMEs find the right lenders and get access to finance options that are most relevant for their business with just one simple online application.