From time to time various grant opportunities arise to assist with the re-location or expansion of a business in Somerset. These grants may be from the local authority, or from a national agency looking to grow innovation in a particular sector. The information on this page will therefore change over time as specific grant opportunities may be time-limited

Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership Funding Opportunities

Business is GREAT: Support, advice and inspiration for growing your business

Government-backed support and finance for business

  • grants
  • finance and loans
  • business support eg mentoring, consultancy
  • funding for small and medium-sized businesses and start-ups
Customise your search by location, size and activity by going to the UK Govt website. There are currently over 40

schemes of assistance showing.

Innovation Grants for Funding

A range of innovation grants are currently available - watch the video on the UK Govt web page to understand the application process.

You can apply for funding to test the feasibility of your idea, research and develop it and demonstrate it in a prototype.

Innovate UK funding competitions cover the following industry sectors:

  • emerging and enabling technologies
  • infrastructure systems
  • health and life sciences
  • manufacturing and materials

There are currently 20 Innovation Funding schemes open for competition.

European Funding?

Business can apply for European funds for a range of innovative projects from autonomous transport to energy efficiency and digital health. Criteria to apply, tagets and application deadlines vary across programmes and activity. For a summary of the various intitiaves please see this link here.

Government underwrites European funding: The UK Government recently said that businesses and universities should continue to bid for EU funding while the UK remained a member of the EU and that it would underwrite payment of awards even when projects continued beyond UK membership

European Investment & Structural Funds

5 calls now open for businesses to secure funding through ESIF

  1. Reaserch & Innovation - Aerospace (closing date 17 February 2017)
  2. Reserach & Innovation - Linking Students & Graduates to industry (closing date 17 February 2017)
  3. SME support - digital utilisation (closing date 17 February 2017)
  4. SME support - investor readiness (closing date 17 February 2017)
  5. Low Carbon (rolling call - closing date 1 June 2024)

European Funding via the LEADER programme

The vast majority of rural Somerset is served by 5 different LEADER programmes. LEADER ("Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l'Économie Rurale", meaning 'Links between the rural economy and development actions') is a local development method which allows local actors to develop an area by using its own development potential. You can check out if your business growth idea might be eligible for support through one of the programmes. All 5 are open for business, and you can contact the project officers at each for advice and guidance.

Other Funding Opportunities

Other Funding opps, sometimes with mentoring support, also pop up from time to time. For example, Creative England and Barclays currently have a scheme called Eagle Lab Flight - It starts on 6 March 2017 and runs until 26 May 2017, but the deadline to register is 31 December 2016. If you are selected on the programme, your company will receive up to £25k of investment and business support over a 3 month period. The programme culminates in a pitch to investors, giving you the opportunity to potentially secure additional investment from experienced Business Angels and up to £50k follow-on funding from Creative England.

Another example which is sector specific is for the start up Food & Drink sector, which comes around every year: The Seed Fund (opens 1st Feb 2017)

Local Funds available

From time to time the 5 District Councils in Somerset have grant aid programmes to assist in new company formation and growth. Contact the Councils direct for information of assistance available at present. Here is an example of one fund:

Small business grants for companies creating new jobs in Taunton Deane

The Borough Council has small grants available for any business, subject to criteria, that is creating jobs in the area. More details are on the Council website and you can request the guidance notes to check out your eligibility. the Council offers £500 grant for every job created; and there is also a rural business retailers grant available of £2,000 per business .Please contact the Council direct for eligibility and availability, as these funds are limited. (information updated July 2016)