Access to finance

Funding is often cited as one of the main barriers to people starting and growing a business.

This line gives you details of various funding programmes available in the East of England, along with information on new or better ways to finance your business.

Business Link, the place to go for business advice and support, also offers you guidance on every aspect of finance and grant availability. Visit for more information

Women in business

Women in business

Research from across the UK and Enterprising Women reveals that limited access to funding is one of the biggest challenges to business success.

Of course, lack of funding and fear of debt can be a barbusinesswoman.pngrier to starting any business but specialist advice, support and funding is available for women in the East of England through the Enterprising Women programme.

Innovation finance

Innovation finance programmes that assist businesses to develop and exploit new ideas are available in the East of England.

Grants and loans are available for businesses who require assistance to develop innovative products, processes or services.

Proof of Concept

The Proof of Concept fund is a scheme designed to help entrepreneurs in the East of England test the commercial viability of their innovative business ideas.

It is specifically aimed at helping define the market and assess customers' needs. Grants of between £5,000 and £40,000 are available - but funding is limited to 75 per cent of the project's total cost.

The funding should be used to obtain independent validation of the market for your business idea. This could be achieved by accessing existing market research reports, commissioning new research, undertaking detailed analysis of the market and competitive position or by conducting customer trials. A small proportion of the grant may be used to support the development of demonstration models and to secure intellectual property advice and protection.

Grant for Research and Development

The Grant for Research and Development, offered by the East of England Development Agency, is designed to help technology-focussed entrepreneurs carry out research and development work on innovative products and processes.

There are four tiers of grant available, each supporting a different aspect of research and development:
Micro project grant: to develop a simple, low-cost prototype of an innovative product or process.
Research project grant: to help assess the technological and commercial feasibility of turning highly innovative technology into a new product or process.
Development project grant: to help develop a pre-production prototype of a new product or process involving significant technological advance.
Exceptional development project grant: to help develop a new technology that is strategically important to an industrial or technology sector.

You do not need to have up-front match funding in place for this grant. This gives you an opportunity to use the provisional backing as an incentive to attract and raise the necessary funding to complete the project.

Grant for Business Investment

Grants for Business Investment (formerly Selective Finance for Investment in England) offers grant support for sustainable business investment and job creation projects in disadvantaged areas in the East of England.

Grants for Business Investment is a national scheme, managed regionally by EEDA, supporting businesses to make investments to set up, expand, diversify and modernise. Typically, a grant is offered to support the acquisition of key assets, such as buildings, plant and machinery and to support the creation of new jobs or to safe guard existing ones.

Grants will, on average, cover 10 to 20 per cent of the project's total cost. £10,000 is the minimum grant value available.

Community development finance - Foundation East

Foundation East , a community development finance institution, provides financial services to individuals or companies which have viable business plans but are unable to access mainstream services.

Business loans of between £3,000 and £50,000 are available to new businesses, existing businesses, self-employed people and social enterprises that can't get a loan from a bank or need additional funds to match bank lending.

Information technology

IT has changed the way we do business forever. Ten years ago businesses with a website were a step ahead of the competition. Today, businesses without a website are one step behind.

Many businesses miss the opportunity to maximise their IT potential and do not realise how IT can be integrated to maximise business, whether that is enabling your staff to work on the road, managing customer relationships or improving your online sales.

Stop at this station to find out how you can make your IT work for you.

Information technology

Risk capital

Risk capital is available within the East of England for small and medium-sized businesses with exceptional growth potential.

The aim of this equity finance support is to increase;

  • private sector investment in the equity gap
  • skilled investment professionals operating within the equity gap
  • high growth business start-ups within the economy.

Find out what help is available here.

Debt finance

Whether you are starting a business, expanding it or investing in it to stay competitive, you may need to borrow money. You may want external finance to cover day-to-day expenses when developing your new product, service or marketing strategy until your business generates enough surplus cash to meet these costs. Alternatively, you may want to borrow money to cover the cost of new equipment or premises.

Business Link has developed a guide which looks at the advantages and disadvantages of loans and overdrafts - two popular sources of finance - and the purposes for which they are best suited. It provides practical help when choosing a loan or overdraft, taking you through the options available from high street banks and building societies as well as companies offering unsecured loans.

It also gives guidance on how to raise your chances of success when approaching a lender, for example by using a finance broker, and lists the main sources of borrowing including specialist loan providers.

Debt finance

Get in touch

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