Best grants for UK startup businesses

Starting a new business can be very exciting, though frequently it requires financial support to turn innovative ideas into successful ventures.  In this post. we discuss the best grants for UK startup businesses and how they can potentially contribute to the success of your business.

Best grants for UK startup businesses

Firstly, we'll cover those best grants available for UK startup businesses at national level.

Innovate UK Grants

Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency, is possibly the most well known source of government funding for tech start-ups. They offer a variety of grants designed to support projects that address significant challenges or opportunities in a variety of different sectors. The selection process for Innovate UK grants is very intensive and highly competitive. You'll therefore need  and require to demonstrate your potential for commercial success and significant impact your business will have.

One of the best grants for UK startup businesses offered by Innovate UK is the Smart Grants scheme, which is offering potential funding of up to £2 million for game-changing ideas which could potentially lead to disruptive technological advancements. Start-ups can secure funding for research and development projects, covering areas like emerging technologies, artificial intelligence, and digital health.

Start Up Loans

Whilst The Start Up Loans scheme is not a grant, it does offers low-interest loans of up to £25,000 to new and early-stage businesses - including those in the tech sector. In addition to finance, the scheme provides you with mentoring and support. This  will hopefully help you navigate the challenges of starting and growing a new business.

R&D tax credits

Whilst it's not strictly a traditional government grant, R&D Tax Credits can provide tax relief to your company if it invests in research and development activities. This relief can significantly reduce your company's corporation tax liability, freeing up funds for further innovation and growth or provide a valuable cash injection to your new business .

In terms of regional government grants available, we set these out below:

Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund or (NPIF for short) is designed to support start-ups and SMEs across the North of England. It provides a mix of grants and loans to businesses in a variety of sectors. The NPIF's specific aim is to nurture economic growth and create job opportunities in the North of England.

Scottish EDGE Fund

As the name suggests, the Scottish EDGE Fund offers a mix of grants and loans for businesses based in Scotland. This fund supports innovative and high-growth businesses, providing them with the resources needed to grow and succeed with their business.

Welsh Government Business Grants

The Welsh Government offers a number of grants for businesses in Wales, supporting job creation, growth, and innovation. These grants cover various sectors and business sizes. which are tailored to meet the needs of startups based in Wales.

Invest Northern Ireland

This covers grants for startup businesses based in Northern Ireland. Invest Northern Ireland offers financial support for businesses in the region via grants and loans. Their programs aim to encourage entrepreneurship, innovation, and business development in the region.

Applying for Government Grants

An application for any government grant requires careful planning and attention to detail. Whilst each grant may have its own specific application process, we've set out below the general steps to follow as a guideline:

  • You should first thoroughly research the  government grants available to ensure they align with your business's goals and needs.
  • It's then important to review the criteria for each grant to ensure your business is eligible and qualifies for grant funding.
  • You should then prepare a comprehensive business plan which outlines your goals, strategies, and how the grant will be utilised in your business. This is where using up to date online accounting tools and having an IT focused accountant could prove invaluable.
  • It might seem obvious, though completing the application forms accurately and providing all the required documentation will help speed up the application process.
  • After submitting your application it will naturally be reviewed. Therefore be prepared to answer any follow-up questions or provide additional information.
  • Finally, the grant application approval can be a time consuming process. So try to be patient and proactive in addressing any inquiries.

Interaction with R&D tax relief, EIS and SEIS reliefs

If you have obtained grants previously, you should bear in mind any potential impact on any claims for R&D tax relief. Additionally if you are looking to raise private finance for example via tax advantaged schemes such as the SEIS you will need ensure any prior government funding doesn't compromise the qualifying criteria. 


Government grants can prove to be a valuable source of funding and support for your new business. However, it's vital that you ensure your business meets the specific criteria for each grant and that you follow the application instructions meticulously. 

However, remember that government grant programs can change over time, so always refer to the official government websites for the most up-to-date details.

For more useful information, check out our Ebooks here.

And if you'd like to know how we can help you with all of this, or with anything else, feel free to give us a call on 01202 048696 or email us at [email protected].

Alternatively, please feel free to complete our Business Questionnaire here.

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