5 public finance options for businesses


Innovate UK

The former Technology Strategy Board is now called Innovate UK, but the grant system has continued unaffected. There is £150,000 to £10 million for research and development grants for businesses with truly groundbreaking ideas. There are four funds – agri-tech, biomedical, energy, and industrial-biotechnology. Levels vary, but 60 per cent of project costs can be covered.



Businesses in the South West can apply for funding from the South-West Investment Group or SWIG. This non-profit company was set up 25 years ago by Cornwall County Council to fill the funding gap for small firms in the region. There are business loans, micro-credit and startup loans, with advice thrown in.

3. HORIZON 2020

Horizon 2020

The European Union’s flagship fund boasts a barely believable €80 billion, available between 2014 and 2020. There is a long list of schemes open to applications, including green vehicles (€30 million), better use of antibiotics (€1 million), breaking optical transmission barriers (€500,000) and EU prize for women innovators (€180,000).


National Lottery

The National Lottery is a font of funding for a vast variety of non-profit organisations. For example, National Lottery co-funded Creative Scotland backs arts, screen and creative projects by individuals and companies. The latest round of open project funding saw 61 awards from £1,500 to £100,000. Recipients included the Hebridean Celtic Festival, Glasgow International Jazz Festival and Ullapool Book Festival.



In March the EU agreed a new £40-million fund of loan guarantees for British small and medium-sized enterprises. Orange Money, which trades as Ezbob, will be doing the work on behalf of the European Investment Fund. Over the next two years, more than 3,000 companies are expected to benefit from this EU support. Business looking for funding should visit everline.com and ezbob.com.