Small business and scale up grant funding

Grant funding is vital to many businesses in the region, and here we highlight some of the programmes and competitions currently open to ambitious tech firms.

Funding for innovation and innovative companies

  • Driving the electric revolution
    Innovate UK grants for innovative skills and training projects in the power electronic, machines and drives industry.  Competition opens 9 August and closes 15 September.
  • SBRI Healthy Ageing Social Ventures industrial research opportunity and feasibility studies opportunity
    Grants for innovative projects which deliver social impact towards healthy ageing.  Closes 15 September 2021.  Funding Fit workshop exploring the opportunity 5 August.
  • KEEP+ innovation grant funding
    50% towards the cost of knowledge exchange between an SME and a university or other research institution.  Can also enable the purchase of consultancy services for innovation activity from the academic or private sector.
  • Innovate UK SMART Grants
    Current call closes 25 August 2021.   Wide ranging innovation funding opportunity, with different grant options from £25,000 to £2m depending on the length of project.  Highly competitive funding.
  • Future RAN: Diversifying the 5G Supply chain
    Future RAN (Radio Access Network) is an open competition, run by DCMS, that will allocate up to £30 million of R&D funding to explore and develop new use-cases and sustainable business models for 5G applications and services. Would be relevant to organisations involved in the development, trialling and usage of applications, products and services. Deadline:  27th August 2021
  • Analysis for Innovators: Opportunity for businesses with an innovation challenge around measurement or analysis to secure up to £50,000 to work with a top science laboratory on developing solutions.   Registration for expressions of interest closes 18 August.
  • Space to Innovate Campaign – Alpha Drop: The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) Space Programme is seeking proposals that can aid UK Defence and Security to develop future space technologies. The objective is to fund research into space technologies that may not otherwise be developed within the civil space industry. Challenges will run as a series of ‘drops’ running throughout 2021 and 2022.  The current drop (Alpha) is now open and closes 4 August.
  • Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) DASA runs a rolling open call for innovative projects in a range of themed areas.  Worth investigating for businesses which may have innovations relevant to the Defence sector.
  • Smart Sustainable Packaging R&D competition: Grants from £200,000 to £4m for major innovation projects under this theme.  Competition closes 8 September 2021.
  • Clean Growth Fund A £40m Clean Growth Fund has been launched, with funding from Government and from one of the UK’s largest charity investors, CCLA.  Clean Growth Investment Management (CGIM) are managing the Fund, which makes investments into start-up companies developing clean energy solutions.
  • Good Food Fund A new business accelerator and venture fund backing healthier food and drink brands which help tackle childhood obesity.
  • Innovation Grant Mentoring for businesses in Norfolk: Free support programme to help businesses in Norfolk apply for innovation funding.

Funding to enable Clean Growth

  • BEE Anglia
    Grants up to £20,000 (up to 40% of total cost) for projects which reduce the carbon footprint of a business; could help businesses trying to reduce their regular costs in the light of Covid-19.  Contact the programme for advice and support.
  • Low Carbon Innovation Fund
    This co-investment initiative worth over £100 is aimed at SMEs in the East of England developing or deploying environmentally beneficial technologies.   Businesses interested in becoming investment ready should also look at the investor-led advice programme Invest East.
  • Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply 2 Competition – funding for low-carbon hydrogen innovative supply solutions.  Deadline 9 August 2021.  Part of the Government’s Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.
  • Longer duration energy storage demonstration Innovation competition with pre-competition registration by 14 July and further competition stages later this year.   Part of the Government’s Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.
  • SHAKE This fund offers start-up grants of up to £140K and innovation support to entrepreneurs and start-ups combating climate change in agriculture and food production.  Currently closed, but worth reviewing for new application windows.
  • Workplace Charging Scheme
    Government grants of up to £350 per socket to a maximum of 40 sockets per company available to encourage take up of EV charging in SMEs.

Funding and support for businesses and specific sectors

  • DRIVE
    DRIVE offers 12 hours of business mentoring to rural businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk, leading to a grant opportunity of £5,000 to £30,000 towards up to 40% of project costs.
  • I-Construct
    Grants from £1,000 to £20,000 to part-fund the development of a new product or service in the construction and built environment sector.   Alongside specialist sector support.   Not primarily marketed in Norfolk and Suffolk but any companies can apply.
  • Go Digital
    Support, advice and small grants for SMEs in Norfolk keen to improve their digital skills and services
  • Sustainable Farming Incentive – pilot funding stream for greener land management actions.  Agreements start from October 2021 for successful schemes.
  • Future Farming Resilience Fund will open in August to support farmers through the agricultural transition.  Details of support providers are here.
  • Farming In Protected Landscapes programme – provides funding for nature recovery and countryside access projects in AONB and National Parks, including the Broads.  Runs July 2021 to March 2024.
  • The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund
    Grants and support for 18-30 year olds who are self-employed or running their own businesses.
  • TALE: support for the logistics sector
    Webinars and tailored business support for the logistics sector, including advice on adapting business models for Covid-19.  Grants programme now closed.

Funding Platforms

  • Pay it Forward from Crowdfunder
    Free to use crowdfunding service, helping businesses to source financial support.
  • Spacehive
    Funding platform for ideas that bring local places to life.  Waiving their 5% fee and relaxing their criteria to help grassroots projects

Region specific grants, funding and support

Funding opportunities for charities and social enterprises