Business Funding

For businesses seeking support related to COVID-19, information is available here

When you start a business, there’ll usually be a period when you’re investing lots of time, effort and money before you start making a profit.  Before you do this, it’s important to research your market to make sure your customers will really pay for your product or service.

Once you’re confident they will, explore sources of funding to help with the costs of starting up your business.

Use the links in Related Content to find how what help is available.

In addition, if you are an existing business wishing to grow and/or relocate to a rural area, the following grant programmes are currently available:-

South East Local Enterprise Partnership logo

South East Business Boost logo

The South East Business Boost

BEST Growth Hub are pleased to administer the South East Business Boost programme.

From 15th June 2020, our popular 30% Growth Grant of between £1000 and £10000 can be accessed by Essex SMEs who have not received any type of support from the SEBB programme to date. 
  • A 30% Grant for eligible Essex SMEs who are in the position to or are planning to carry out a Growth project. 
  • The Growth Grant is available to support eligible small to medium enterprises and trading sole traders who have not previously received support via the SEBB programme and require funding for their specific eligible Growth project.  
  • The total Growth Project cost must be between a minimum of £3333 and a maximum of £35000.  The SME would self-fund 70% of the project cost and the Growth Grant would fund the remaining 30% from a minimum of £1000 to a maximum of £10000.
  • It can take as little as 8 weeks to get a grant approved.
  • If you would like more information in relation to this Growth Grant, please email stating:
    • your name
    • business name and address 
    • confirmation that your business is registered or that you can provide trading evidence (for sole traders this would be business bank account details/HMRC number
    • phone number
    • confirmation that you have not received any support previously via the SEBB programme.

Low Carbon Across the South East (LoCASE)


Some welcome good news for Kent, Essex and East Sussex firms!

We’ve finally had a further extension agreed until the end of September 2020. This means that we’re again in a position to help our SMEs with grant funding (including those we’ve helped previously). This can be standard SMEs in the region who are looking at ‘green’ projects or LCEGS firms seeking grant funding for business development purposes, especially pertinent post COVID-19.

Maximum 40% ERDF grant contributions will remain at a limit of £10K with the minimum grant of £1K for qualifying revenue projects. There’s £500K for us to work with helping as many firms as possible so do get in touch to discuss your plans.

For more information about how we’ve helped firms, see our news section and then register your interest

NWES logoAdvice and training

Established in 1982, Nwes is one of the largest not-for-profit enterprise agencies in the UK. Providing total business support, boosting self-employment and encouraging enterprise, Nwes offers free start-up and growth workshops, networking and business focused events as well as the opportunity to meet a local business advisor to discuss ideas on a 1-2-1 basis. 

Start-up Funding

Nwes is an official delivery partner of The Start Up Loans Company, a Government-backed initiative delivering start-up loans across the East of England, London and East Midlands. A Start Up Loan is a personal loan available to individuals looking to start or grow a business in the UK. With a fixed interest rate of just 6% per annum and the ability to borrow up to £25,000, this scheme offers an affordable source of finance to help new and early stage business owners bring their plans to life. In addition to finance, all Start Up Loan recipients are offered mentoring support.

DiT logoGet Exporting 2

Get Exporting 2 is a tailored programme of advice and assistance, both financial and 1-2-1, to enable companies to begin selling overseas or to expand internationally thereby increasing profitability and employment in a sustainable way. It is backed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) which has enabled the Department for International Trade (DiT) to provide services additional to their normal operations and grants of up to £3000.  For further information, please see the Get Exporting 2 leaflet in the Related Content section.

Manufacturing Growth Programme logo

Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) 

The MGP supports SME Manufacturers to make improvements by identifying, understanding and removing their barriers to growth.  Support tailored to your business:

  • A dedicated, experienced, Manufacturing Growth Manager to provide on-going support
  • A comprehensive business diagnostic tool, GROWTHmapper for manufacturers
  • Identify opportunities and create plans for growth and improvement
  • Work with the best external experts to implement those plans
  • Using an average 35% of the cost of implementing an improvement project
  • Connect to wider support to maximise opportunities for growth

Click here to view the fact sheet, or follow the link in Related Content to head to the Manufacturing Growth Programme website:

Transport and Logistical Efficiencies (TALE)

TALE is an ERDF funded project helping SMEs in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent and East Sussex make the most of their logistics data, to improve profit margins and reduce costs.

TALE can help you to:

  • Safeguard your data - Improve Cyber Security and comply with GDPR
  • Improve Customer Satisfaction - Insight to increase profit margins and grow sales
  • Use Data Strategically - Launch new products and implement innovation

TALE offers three types of support:

  • One-to-one free data assessment; Get a free diagnostic support plan to show how you currently use data, and recommendations on better data opportunities
  • Free workshops on practical use of data; Cyber Security, Customer Insight, Operations, Business Intelligence and Digital Strategy
  • Funding contributions; Up to £60,000 (40% of total project cost, non-repayable grant)

For further information, visit their website here:

South East Creatives

South East Creatives has moved many of their workshops and mentoring programme online, so that they can be accessed remotely. They also continue to offer Top-up and larger grants.

The grants can be used to buy new equipment, to work with a consultant, perhaps on a new website or for training.  For top up projects of between £3000 to £4000 it’s a simple application process to get back 35 per cent of your spend as a grant.  For example, a £3000 spend would give you a £1050 grant. We can also support larger grants up to a value of £20,000.

If you would like to look at a grant or find out more about the workshops and mentoring please get started by confirming you are eligible for a grant at

ERDF logoThe European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is responsible for management of the EU funding which is dedicated to regional development and funds all of the above grant programmes.