Grant Funding for small businesses
At Swoop we understand that knowing what grant funding is available for small businesses – and more importantly how to access them – can be a difficult task. So, we have partnered with UK government and European business grant schemes, as well as various local business funding schemes provided by the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), to provide you with that access. Small business grants are often made available at a regional level and can be sector-specific.
The most appealing thing with small business grants is that the money doesn’t have to be paid back. However, they often come with a match funding requirement (typically 25% – 50%) in place. Another consideration is that during the application process your business may have to set and agree the expected outputs to be achieved from the activity that is to be funded by the monies provided.
Grant offerings are opening and closing continuously, making it difficult to keep track, but Swoop provides constantly updated access to numerous grant providers of small business grants.
Additionally, we recognise the specific skills required to complete grant applications and provide expert service in assistance with this. To find out how we can help just contact us for a chat, or click here to get registered.
We have detailed here some of the largest providers of grants we work with.
Funding your small business with Innovate UK grant
Innovate UK is a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government part of UK Research and Innovation. Their purpose is to drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise their potential. They drive this growth by working with companies to de-risk, enable and support innovation.
Innovate UK connects businesses to partners, customers and investors that can help turn ideas into commercially successful products and services – and ultimately business growth. They fund business and research collaborations to accelerate innovation and drive business investment into research and development. This support is available to businesses across all UK regions, economic sectors and value chains.
Innovate UK was established in 2004 within the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), before becoming an independent body in July 2007 after the reorganisation of the DTI into the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) under Brown’s government.
Contact us or register now to find out whether your business could be eligible for an Innovation UK grant. Click here to get registered.
Funding your small business through Horizon 2020
Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness.
Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly £80billion of funding available over 7 years (2014-2020) in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. Many of the grants are accepting applications until the end of 2020.
Seen as a means to drive economic growth and create jobs, Horizon 2020 has the political backing of Europe’s leaders and the Members of the European Parliament. They agreed that research is an investment is our future, and so put it at the heart of the EU’s blueprint for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs.
By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 is helping to achieve this with its emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges.
Horizon 2020 is open to everyone, including grant funding for small businesses, with a simple structure that reduces red tape and time so participants can focus on what is really important. This approach makes sure new projects get off the ground quickly – and achieve results faster.
LEPs – Local Enterprise Partnerships
Grant funding your small business with LEPs
In England, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses. Set up in 2011 by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills they help determine local economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation within the local area. LEPs carry out some of the functions previously carried out by the regional development agencies which were abolished in March 2012.
Local Enterprise Partnerships play a vital role in supporting businesses and innovation across England, developing skills, delivering infrastructure, and securing investment
Currently, there are 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships in operation and each LEP has its own pool of grants and funding opportunities for local small businesses.
To see find out whether your small business is eligible for LEP grants, and discover which grants are available, contact us or click here to get registered. Our team of experts will also be happy to guide you through the application process.
Research & Development (R&D) tax credits
R&D Tax credits for small businesses
R&D tax credits are a tax incentive from the UK government, designed to encourage companies to invest in research and development. The scheme was introduced in 2000 and only Limited Companies qualify for R&D tax relief. This scheme can dramatically reduce your tax bill or you can claim payable cash credits as a proportion of your R&D expenditure.
Claims must be submitted no later than two years after the end of the year in which the money was spent. Two-thirds of the total amount claimed until now has come from companies registered in London, the South East or the East of England. However, R&D tax credits are available to small businesses all over UK and Ireland.
There are different types of R&D relief depending on the size of your company and whether the qualifying project has been subcontracted to you or not.
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) R&D Relief
Small business R&D tax relief, or the SME tax credit scheme, is accessible if you are a SME with fewer than 500 staff and a turnover of under €100m or a balance sheet total under €86m. The SME R&D tax credit scheme has a more generous rate of tax credit – up to 33p for every £1 spent on R&D.
Research and Development Expenditure Credit
This replaces the relief previously available under the large company scheme. Large companies can claim a Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) for working on R&D projects.
This can also be claimed by SMEs and large companies who’ve been subcontracted to carry out R&D work by a large company. The RDEC is a tax credit for 12% of your qualifying R&D expenditure.
Is my small business eligible for R&D tax credit?
Your business must be able to demonstrate to HMRC that the product or service you’re claiming for is truly innovative and an advance on what’s currently available in the market. According to HMRC, R&D for tax purposes is a project which “seeks to achieve an advance in science or technology”. R&D is still deemed to have taken place whether or not the project goes on to be successful; it’s the attempt that counts.
You must be able to explain how a project:
- looked for an advance in science and technology
- had to overcome uncertainty
- tried to overcome this uncertainty
- couldn’t be easily worked out by a professional in the field
A commonly-overlooked opportunity which qualifies as an example of ‘using science and technology in a new way’ is in the potential to claim for investment in developing new IT systems, so keep this in mind if you’re wondering whether or not your small business is eligible for R&D tax relief.
R&D Tax Credits and Grants working together
Grants are up-front funding for which you have to pitch, whereas R&D tax credits are a retrospective tax incentive that you claim after having begun your research and development.
It is a common misconception is that grants and R&D tax credits cannot be used together. If your business is grant-funded and looking for additional sources of funding you should, certainly consider R&D tax credits. R&D tax credits can help you grow without diluting your equity.
R&D Tax Credit Loans
R&D tax credit loans for small businesses
Swoop works with providers offering a loan facility whereby businesses have an opportunity to access their future R&D refundable entitlement in advance as a loan. The R&D credit is treated as a future receivable and businesses are provided with a receivables funding facility. This loan is then repaid from the HMRC as the R&D refundable benefit.