Business finance and grants
Important COVID-19 notice: for help and support for businesses affected by coronavirus please visit business support COVID-19.
Financial support for businesses during COVID-19
For financial support for businesses affected during COVID-19, including the , see financial support for businesses during COVID-19..
Starting a business
- Useful contacts when starting a business including funding such as Start Up Loans can be found on our website by visiting the start up support pages.
Expanding your business
- Boost Business Lancashire offers a range of advice, special programmes and support to help grow your business including funding and finance options. Please visit the Boost Business Lancashire website or call 0800 488 0057
- Visit the Government's business support pages for details of finance options available or call 0800 998 1098.
Other Funding help
- The NW Access to Finance Service is delivered by a team of experienced specialist finance advisors. It is an impartial, confidential and free service to eligible small to medium size businesses offering one-to-one support with developing business plans, financial forecasts, investment readiness and applications for funding.
- Mercia Technologies (formerly Enterprise Ventures) can provide finance for businesses in all sectors and at all stages of development - from funding for start-ups to investment to help you grow your business.
- Funding Circle is an online loans marketplace that enables businesses to borrow £5,000 to £500,000 directly from real people in the UK. Lancashire County Council has joined forces with Funding Circle and will also lend to eligible local businesses that take out a Funding Circle loan. Visit LCC peer to peer lending.
- Rosebud is a package of financial assistance for growing businesses in Lancashire run by Lancashire County Council through Lancashire County Developments Ltd. Loans provided between £10,000 and £300,000 for ambitious growing businesses seeking to expand their workforce. Rosebud also includes complimentary support and advice tailored to your business needs.
- Lancashire Community Finance is a Community Development Finance Institution providing loans at fair market rates to individuals and small businesses in the Lancashire area who can't get help from the banks.
- Seedrs is a crowdfunding organisation making it simple for investors to buy into businesses and allowing all types of businesses raise capital. Apply online at the Seedrs website or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Export Help - match funded up to £9,000
Internationalisation Fund from the Department for International Trade- SMEs across Preston and Lancashire looking to expand into new overseas markets can now apply for up to £9,000 of match funding. The funding can be used for help with a range of issues, including market research, IP advice, translation services, international social media and SEO work, trade fairs, independent market visits and consultancy.
SMEs can apply for match-funded grants of between £1,000 and £9,000 which will be available for proposed future activities (subject to eligibility).
Contact email@example.com. An International Trade Adviser will then check your eligibility, provide more details about the fund, discuss your project and support your company to make the application.
Closing date of March 2023 for applications.
- The Innovation Funding service has funds to bid for throughout the year. Check their website for more details and application dates at Gov.UK Innovation Funding website.
Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund
- The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) could provide the funding you need to help your business realise its potential. From £25,000 small business loans up to £2 million equity funding. To apply visit NPIF - funds available.
Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme
- The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme supports the cost of installing full fibre broadband connections direct to businesses for the fastest and most reliable gigabit-capable broadband speeds available.
- Through the scheme SMEs can claim up to £3,000 against the cost of full fibre connection, either individually or as part of a group project. Residents can also benefit from the scheme as part of a group project and can claim for a voucher of £500. See Boost Business Lancashire - Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme for details.
Making Carbon Work - Low Carbon Technology Grants
- The Making Carbon Work (MaCaW) project can save you money on energy bills by becoming greener and reducing your carbon footprint. Offer includes:
- Match funded grants of up to £15,000 to purchase low-carbon technology
- Funding for installation costs of equipment
- Can fund any equipment that demonstrates a carbon saving such as new more energy efficient machinery or heating systems
- Electric vehicles - there is now funding for electric vehicles and charging points
Simply register and the MaCaW Team will let you know if your business is eligible and meet with you to plan your project.
ECO I NW project - help to lower your carbon impact
Free support available for SMEs such as designing and running research and innovation projects to lower carbon impact:
Internships -140 Hours funded programme of support, with an appropriate student matched to your business need supported by an academic team.
Innovation projects -A 3 month collaborative innovation project with an academic specialist, working across all aspects of your business to reduce your carbon footprint
MSc - A dedicated full time researcher working on your project at Masters level for 12 months, supported by a team of academics
Innovation Workshops subject related and access to partner support
The ECO I NW project is a £14 million pound ERDF project being headed up by Lancaster University with support from the University of Central Lancashire.
To find out more: Alison Holden, Business Engagement Officer, University of Central Lancashire T: 01772 894324 E: Aholden11@uclan.ac.uk
Manufacturing Growth Fund
- Lancashire Manufacturing Growth Fundprovides SME manufacturers impartial manufacturing expertise to assess business opportunities and barriers to growth in order to make improvement recommendations and identify a suitable consultancy project for grant support where appropriate. Projects will be approximately £15k in scale and attract a 36% grant.
- Apply to run projects backed by the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF). ESIF includes money from the European Social Fund (ESF), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). A number of calls for proposals in different parts of the country can be active at any one time. Visit Regeneration funding for details or visit the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership for more details.
- Rural Funding: LEADER rural funding is now closed but if you would like to keep up to date on future funding opportunities sign up to receive a newsletter.
- HeadsUp! Digital productivity training: Are you a small business owner fed up with admin taking too much time away from achieving your goals? Receive up to 10 hours of free training worth £1,000 covering finance, marketing, people and time management. More details at HeadsUp!
- Made Smarter: Are you a manufacturing company curious about how digital technology might help your business? Or are you a digital service provider looking to support manufacturers? Made Smarter is a government backed initiative designed to improve productivity of North West manufacturers through the adoption of industrial design technologies (IDT).
- Digital Lancashire/Digital Preston: Digital Lancashire is the voice for the digital profession in Lancashire, lobbying, delivering work, collaboration, events and programmes across the whole of Lancashire. Digital Preston is the Preston-based city hub - helping accelerate the digital economy in Preston.
Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership
For all things digital in Lancashire, please visit the The Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership (LDSP).
The LDSP brings together public private and charity sector organisations to address local digital skills needs.
Lots of good work already happens in Lancashire to improve the digital skills landscape and the Partnership provides co-ordination. They do this by highlighting good practice and working with partners to fill gaps in provision to ensure Lancashire becomes a digital skills hot spot.
They want more local businesses, and partners involved to grow the success and impact of the work of the partnership. To join and support the partnership, email Kerry Harrison - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Foreign Owned Company Support
If you are an internationally owned company based in Lancashire, you are entitled to the same business support as any UK registered business. However, you also have access to a dedicated Key Account Manager who can put together a bespoke business support package, which could include:
An introduction and access to a range of services from Department for International Trade including tax, regulatory and business planning support, expansion of a UK base, networking opportunities, visa/immigration issues and much more
Access to the Knowledge Lab, which includes a bespoke research and intelligence service to support your needs
- The Department for International Trade can help to make your case for investment
Health Innovation Campus
As part of Lancaster University's £41m Health Innovation Campus there are fully-funded opportunities for SME businesses in Lancashire to grow and innovate in health.
- Locally Creative Lancashire has a section on funding for the creative industry.
- Our Events and Culture pages help arts organisations and individual artists who are based and work in Preston.
- The Lancashire Forum Creative from the University of Central Lancashire is a business, leadership and innovation development programme designed specifically for Creative and Digital SMEs. To find out more, please email LancashireForum@uclan.ac.uk - call 01772 892858 - or visit the Lancashire Forum Creative website.
- Cultural and heritage organisations to be protected with £1.57 billion support package from the Government. See details of open funds on the Funding available through the Culture Recovery Fund website.