back to news

Funding options available for women in business

19 March 2021

If you’re a woman with her own businesses and looking to grow, or you have a dream of starting a new venture, the Leicester and Leicestershire Growth Hub is a great place to go for advice and support.

All of our services are at no cost to you (because they are fully funded) and our team of business advisers offer impartial, practical advice and guidance on every aspect of business including trading after Brexit, recovery after the pandemic and lots more.

As well as advice, they can put you in touch with experts in certain aspects of business and people with experience in your business sector. We work in partnership to achieve your business goals. In terms of funding, there is a wide range – too many to include here – and often new funding is announced to address key issues as they arise (such as the support during COVID).

Here’s a list of some of the funding available to you and, if you would like to apply, we can guide you through the process.


If you’re 18-45 we can help you apply to the Harry James Riddleston Charity for an interest-free loan up to £10,000 to start your business in Leicester and Leicestershire. Perhaps you’re a creative person ready to make the next step into selling your crafts or arts professionally. You’ll need a website and digital marketing as well as all kinds of other support. Also for this age bracket, there are interest-free loans up to £20,000 from the Sir Thomas White Loan Charity to help start your business.

NBV Grants for New Business are available from £1000-£2500 to cover 25% of your costs, so your minimum project spend would need to be £4000 to qualify.


If you’re running an organisation in the East Midlands with social and community aims and you’ve been refused funding from elsewhere, Key Fund offers grants, loans and equity from £5,000 to £300,000. As you’d expect, there is a Coronavirus Support Fund which gives up to £5000 to charity and community organisations supporting local people who are struggling as a result of the pandemic. Your project would need to be delivered by the end of August 2021.

Charities and social enterprises can also apply to the Making Local Life Better Fund for grants between £500 and £3000 to support one-off specific projects or for core operating costs. If your focus is on improving interfaith or multicultural relationships, the Richard Bonney Community Harmony Awards provides grants of £500. Finally, if you are a not-for-profit community organisation delivering in the St Matthew’s area, St Matthews Big Local offers grants up to £1000 and we can help you with application to all of these organisations.


Start-Up Loans is a government-backed loans programme lending between £500 and £25,000 over a period of one to five years. The loans are charged at 6% interest with no set-up or early repayment fees and this includes 12 months of free mentoring.


The recent budget introduced Restart Grants which will give shop owners £6,000 if they were forced to close during the pandemic. Hospitality and leisure venues could get up to £18,000.

Businesses of any size can apply to the Recovery Loan Scheme for a loan or overdraft between £25,000 and £10m until the end of 2021. Asset and invoice finance between £1,000 and £10m will also be available and all of these have a Government guarantee of 80%.

If you have an SME that trades only with the EU, and you’re still working out the new processes, apply to the Brexit Support Fund for a grant of up to £2,000 to pay for practical support such as training and professional advice to ensure you can continue trading effectively.


Big Issue Invest provides loans from £20,000 to £3m for social enterprises and charities trading for two or more years.


Find out more about these schemes and how to apply by speaking to our friendly team at the Growth Hub. Call 0116 366 8487, or email

For other local community and social enterprise grants and funding visit