8 business recovery grants and how to apply for them

The chancellor set out an ambitious ‘Plan for Jobs’ this week, to get the economy back on track, protect jobs and support UK businesses.

It will be a long road to recovery. But other organisations are also doing their bit, making grants available for small businesses of all shapes and sizes.

From Facebook to The Prince’s Trust, here’s our roundup of the funding programmes that are still running, along with the latest information on the newly-announced government schemes.

1. Support for businesses that aren’t eligible for other schemes

If you run a business with fixed property costs, and have missed out on other government grants, The Discretionary Grants Fund can help. It’s designed for a range of business types, including market traders, businesses in shared offices and B&Bs that pay council tax instead of business rates.

You may be eligible for a grant of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000. But you can’t apply if you’re already claiming under another government grant scheme, like the Small Business Grant Fund or other sector-specific funds.

The money is distributed by local authorities, so to apply you’ll need to visit your local council’s website first. They will be running their own applications process and will decide whether to offer you a grant. You don’t have to pay the grant back.

Find your local council here

2. Funding for young entrepreneurs

Youth charity The Prince’s Trust has teamed up with NatWest to create the £5m Enterprise Relief Fund, offering grants to young UK small business owners.

Along with cash grants, the initiative will offer one-to-one support to business owners.

To be eligible to apply you must be a business owner aged 18 to 30, have set up your business in the last four years and not have enough income to sustain your business currently.

There are three grants available, but you can apply for more than one type of grant. The Prince’s Trust has a team of advisers on hand to help you with your application.

Download the information pack and apply here

3. Facebook small business grants

Social media giant Facebook has pledged over $100m in funding. Money will be made available for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries.

To apply, your company must have between two and 50 employees, have been in business for over a year and struggled as a result of Covid-19.

Facebook is currently working through eligibility requirements for British businesses, so applications aren’t open in the UK just yet. You can sign up at the link below to stay in the loop.

Register interest in Facebook’s grants programme

4. Salesforce small business grants (Wales and North of England)

Software firm Salesforce is partnering with small business network Enterprise Nation to offer £5,000 grants to help businesses through the pandemic.

The scheme focuses on businesses that haven’t received support from the government. Businesses must be UK-based, have been running for at least 12 months and employ between two to 50 employees.

Application deadlines have passed for the first four regional phases, but you still have time to enter if you operate in Wales or the North of England. Applications open in Wales on Monday 13 July and in Scotland on Monday 27 July. Each region will have seven days to apply.

Review eligibility criteria and apply

5. Arts, culture and heritage rescue package

After months of campaigning from the culture sector, the government has announced an enormous £1.57bn package to keep cultural organisations afloat.

The full amount includes £880m in grants and £270m of repayable loans, with the remainder allocated to cultural institutions, the English Heritage Trust, cultural infrastructure and heritage construction projects and the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The precise arrangements are still yet to be confirmed. But it’s clear the package will support both bricks and mortar organisations like theatres, museums and galleries, as well as organisations like dance companies and orchestras without a physical space.

Further details will be set out when the scheme opens for applications in the coming weeks.

Read the government press release here

6. Bonus for bringing back furloughed staff 

The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has helped employers pay the wages of nine million employees across the UK. But the scheme, which will end in October, is now slowly being wound down.

To encourage businesses to retain furloughed staff, the chancellor has promised businesses one-off payments of £1,000 for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021.

To be eligible, employees must earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (£520 per month) on average between the end of the CJRS and the end of January 2021. Further details about the Job Retention Bonus will be announced by the end of July. In the meantime, the government has confirmed payments will be made from February 2021.

Visit the existing Job Retention Scheme page

7. Grants for tourism businesses

The government’s £10 million Kick-starting Tourism Package will give small businesses in tourist destinations grants of up to £5,000 to help them adapt in the wake of coronavirus.

The grants aim to help businesses continue trading or diversify their offering, through financial and legal advice, investing in new equipment or adopting new technology.

Funding will be allocated to Local Growth Hubs based on how much a region’s employment is linked to tourism. So coastal and rural areas, which are more focused on tourism, will get a larger share of the funds.

More details on the scheme are still to be announced, so for now the best thing to do is to contact the Growth Hub nearest to you.

Find your Local Growth Hub

8. Payments for hiring trainees and apprentices

Young people’s job prospects have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. So the government is introducing two new youth-focused programmes, which will improve access to training and incentivise employers to hire younger staff.

For the the first time ever, the government will fund employers who provide trainees with work experience, at a rate of £1,000 per trainee. Payments of £2,000 will also be introduced for each new apprentice employers hire under the age of 25, along with £1,500 for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over.

It’s not yet entirely clear how the money will be distributed, but the latest information states that funding will be provided for hires that take place between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021. In the meantime, it’s worth reading the government’s guidance on traineeships, or contacting the National Apprenticeship Service at the link below.

Traineeship information for employers