Information and support about available business grants

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How do I secure and apply for a grant?

Finding and securing funding needn’t be a daunting process. There are plenty of options available both nationally and locally, and the publicly funded schemes are all about encouraging growth, creating jobs, and cultivating wealth.

Put simply, grants are a sum of money given by a government or organisation for a particular purpose. Businesses can apply for grants from the government, the European Union, local councils, and charities. It’s important to remember that grants usually require the business to ‘match fund’ them, which means putting up around 50 to 70 per cent of the project cost with the remainder being provider by the grant.

There are several types of government business grants available, and the most suitable type is a direct grant. This is a cash award given to support vital business activities such as training, purchasing new equipment or machinery, and development and investment. Currently, there are over 300 direct grant agencies that offer grants between £5,000 and £500,000, including loans for Start Up businesses.

You’ll be glad to know that most businesses are eligible for grants at some stage in their development, usually at the very beginning of their journey.

Alternative sources of investment

Alternative ways to finance your business

There are several ways to fund your business that don’t require a loan or grant, including:

  • pledging your personal sources of finance to support the start-up
  • securing buy-in from key investors known as ‘business angels’
  • crowd-funding

Most start-ups won’t be of interest to investors like ‘business angels’ (such as Cambridge Angels); these are venture capitalists and private equity firms that invest in businesses looking for a higher rate of return on investment and an exit plan. However, if you’ve had interested parties approach you, take advantage of the investment opportunity by presenting them with your business plan.

On the other hand, crowd-funding is an excellent way to grow a small business. Individual investors collectively invest in a business, each pledging a certain amount in return for a stake in the company, return on investment, or other benefits – like discounts. Currently, there are several crowd-funding platforms available for like-minded investors to support international businesses and creative projects, including,, and

Another fast-growing option known as ‘factoring’ is becoming increasingly popular with SMEs. Since the restriction of bank financing and the credit crunch, this practice has become a major source of working capital. It provides cash flow for businesses by releasing value tied up in outstanding customer invoices, allowing them to manager sales ledgers and credit control processes. To take advantage of this option, businesses will need an annual turnover of at least £50,000. If your business has an annual turnover of more than £250,000, confidential invoice discounting may be a better option.

Meet the team

Chris George<br />
Growth Hub Manager

Chris George

Growth Hub Manager

Chris is an experienced professional with over 30 years knowledge and experience in sales and marketing in the public sector along with 15 years working for two mainstream automotive manufacturers in the sub 10,000 fleet. Delivered sustainable change in a vast range of industries, whilst constantly updating and developing core competencies and knowledge.

Working in the Local Authority sector for the last 15 years has resulted in Chris turning around failing territories to becoming some of the best performing areas in the country, with excellent stakeholder engagement and a passion for premium delivery. Outside of work, Chris is a keen gardener, and also likes property restoration and reading.

Ashleigh Jackson<br />
Growth Hub Business Advisor

Ashleigh Jackson

Growth Hub Business Advisor

A proven senior influencer and sales professional with more than 25 years’ experience in brand building and driving category growth within the private sector.

“I have a strong research background, alongside vast experience in sponsorship and corporate events management.

My work has initiated good working partnerships with many Local Authorities across Hertfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire and London. I have also worked with many multi-national brands including KPMG, Barclays, EasyJet, Kingston Smith LLP, London Stansted Airport, Morgan Sindall and Heineken. I’m proud to be able to enhance on the work we do here at the CPCA Growth Hub and build on many success stories.

Away from the business, health and fitness is important to me, being in the great outdoors, and enjoying fun times and relaxation with family and friends”.

Stuart Thomas<br />
Growth Hub Business Advisor

Stuart Thomas

Growth Hub Business Advisor

Stuart is a former small business owner and former Business Link Advisor and has also worked as a project manager for an international IT company, overseeing a large number of IT projects for large corporate enterprises, as well as large public sector organisations.

Stuart has served as a director for an international timber trading company and has also been a director of a local independent radio station, where he mentored a number of new staff. Prior to this he spent time as a secondary school teacher, teaching IT and business studies at both GCSE and A level.

Liana Sannah Growth Hub Business Analyst

Liana Sannah

Growth Hub Business Analyst

Liana is an experienced professional with over 15 years’ experience as an Executive Assistant. Liana has previously been employed by Warner bros, Daily Mirror, Aviva and AXA. These roles have given her a wide range of skills and in a vast range of industries.

Liana has been working in the Local Authority sector for almost three years, as a Growth hub advisor and producing the Monthly BEIS report. In her leisure time, Liana enjoys cooking, interior design and watching movies.