If you are considering starting a small business, there may be options available when it comes to grants for self-employment. Different types of self-employment grants are offered by UK businesses and organizations, so you are not only limited to the government.
These grants can take the form of simple, small-sum incentives up to giant fund injections in exchange for equity in the company itself. Whether you need help building something simple or are pursuing something ground-breaking, there are several options available for you and your business.
R&D Tax Credits
This tax accreditation scheme allows you to claim back up to 32% of your development costs each year, including costs for staffing. If you are starting a development-focused business, this is one that will be very beneficial to look into. Filing for this grant is fairly simple, and there are several agencies that can help you take care of all of the details.
Application: A great source of information for this grant can be found here.
SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme)
This tax relief incentive is geared towards encouraging investors for UK companies by allowing them to claim up to 78% of their investment back in taxes. This is extremely important to know since many professional investors are now making this type of scheme a requirement before even looking at new companies!
Application: The HMRC allows you to apply for SEIS status here.
EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme)
Similar to the SEIS, the Enterprise Investment Scheme focuses on attracting investors to companies in need of self-employment funding. However, EIS focuses on later-stage companies. 30% (or up to £1 million) of investments made are eligible, with investors also being able to defer capital gains tax in most cases.
GBI (Grant for Business Investment)
The Regional Development Agencies (or RDAs for short) offer these capital grants for self-employed individuals. Specifically, it is a tool to help new businesses alleviate their start-up and expansion costs. This grant is normally awarded to high-impact, long-term businesses, those with measurable benefits in economically challenged areas. The minimum amount offered for this grant is £10,000. The amount can vary widely depending on the nature and scope of your business.
Application: You can apply for the grant directly from the GBI website.
Innovate UK Smart Grants
This scheme focuses on providing government grants for self employed individuals, or existing businesses that have significant interests or properties in the scientific or technological fields. There are 3 divisions of grants available:
- Proof of Market, 60% match funds, up to £25,000
- Proof of Concept, 60% match funds, up to £100,000
- Prototype Development, 45% match funds, up to £250,000
The level that you may be eligible for depends on many factors, such as company size, age, and the scope of what you seek to accomplish.
Application: Find out more about Innovate UK and apply here.
With £5,000 on offer, Innovate UK seeks to help companies or individuals develop ideas and innovations for new products and services in the UK. They will also set you up with advisors from universities, research institutions, and ad agencies to help you along in your efforts to grow.
Application: You can apply and find out more information about Innovate UK here.
Horizon 2020 was established to help influential businesses and individuals do extraordinary things. You can find access to a set of funding calls through multiple different UK agencies. According to the organisation, these funds can be used to:
- Power ground-breaking research or new technologies
- Improve research training and development, or research infrastructure
- Create growth in sectors like advanced manufacturing, materials, biotechnology, information and communication technology, nanotechnology and space
- Increase private investment in research
- Respond to challenges like climate change, food security or healthcare for an ageing population
The process of applying for their self-employment grants (which can range from £100K to over £10 million) is quite complex. Essentially, there is a bidding process that goes along with every funding call. Additionally, you must usually be a member of a consortium.
Application: By following this link, you can learn more about what is required and offered, as well as when the next funding calls will be.
Heritage Lottery Fund Start-up Grants
Catering to grants for self employed individuals, particularly those creating non-profits, the Heritage Lottery Fund is a dynamic, multi-faceted initiative. It can provide business owners with new insights and perspectives into the world they are entering. The scope, nature and overall purpose of your business will be heavily taken into account, with priority being given to businesses wishing to better humanity in one way or another. There is no set amount of funds that this grant will provide as it is highly based upon the specifics of your business and its needs.
Application: The application process for self-employment grants is open year-round, but it typically takes 8 months to process one through the organisation.