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Training Grants For Small Businesses In The UK

Training grants for small businesses in the UK

If you are a small business owner, you should always be looking for ways in which you can expand your skills as well as your employees’ skills, and keep up with your competitors in the ever-changing world of business. One way you can take steps to achieve this is by investing in training courses. However, training courses can be very costly, especially if your business is just starting out. The good news is that there are many training grants available in the UK that aim to make training and upskilling more affordable, and in some cases free, to small business owners.

Even if you are not a small business owner and simply someone who is looking to up their skills, training grants could help you reach new heights in your career and help you become more employable.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the training grants available to small business owners and individuals in the UK and how to assess whether or not you may be eligible.

What is eligibility dependent on?

Every grant is different, but determining whether or not you are eligible for a grant will depend on your location, your age, the age of your business, what industry you’re in, what services you supply, how many employees you have, and many more factors. If you do not meet eligibility requirements perfectly, it may still be worth applying for certain grants, as they may make exceptions in some cases if you meet most of the requirements.

What are some of the private grants that are available?

There are a number of grants that have been made available by private companies that aim at helping small businesses. Some of these private grants include:

UnLtd Awards

This grant is completely administered by UnLtd and it is set up in an award-like fashion. If you happen to win this award, you’ll be given a designated award manager that will help you manage the £15,000 grant as well as help you gain access to specialised training and events. This manager will also be there to offer you support and guidance. Typically, this award is given out to brand new social enterprises and is one of the most beneficial grants that you could receive as a new business owner.

ReAct for Businesses

The way in which the ReAct for Businesses grant works is a little different. They aim at helping people who have lost their jobs find work. If you become part of this programme and hire someone from their list, ReAct will help you pay their wages and assist with their training. The type of remuneration that you can expect is around £3,000 in quarterly instalments for the first year. This will help you cover their salary. You’ll also receive £1,000 for training that relates to their job.

Construction Industry Training Board (citb)

There always seems to be a need for construction professionals in the UK, which is why the Construction Industry Training Board offers grants for apprenticeships, qualifications and short courses. There are different eligibility criteria for each category of grants.

If you need your training or qualifications to be renewed, you are also able to apply for a full grant. This is a wonderful grant to look into should you be working in the construction industry.


B&CE provides some of the most sought-after corporate grants aimed at those looking to gain a successful career also in the construction industry.


ECITB offer engineering-specific grants that should be used for training purposes. ECITB work across the country to help those in the industry upskill and learn more about technicalities, safety, leadership, competence, and so much more. They cover a wide range of practical and useful modules and are truly passionate about the work that they do. Anyone involved in the engineering industry can apply for this grant, and it is much easier to access than some of the other grants on this list!

What is the Prince’s Trust?

Suppose you are a young entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur. In that case, the Prince’s Trust is definitely something that you should familiarise yourself with as it is an incredible source of funding for training courses or to jumpstart your business with the help of a financial safety blanket.

So who is eligible for these grants? Well, the criteria is quite specific. You need to be aged between 16 and 30 years old and be living in the UK. You need to be unemployed or studying less than 14 hours a week, or working less than 16 hours a week. If you were successful in receiving this grant, you’d get between £175-£250 to help with accredited course fees, job license fees, equipment, uniforms, tools, and transport, among other things.

Where else can I look for grants?

If you want to gain access to even more grants than mentioned in this article, The Grants Hub is a great place to start. They list dozens of different grants that are neatly split into sectors, including non-profit enterprises. You’ll be able to find a wide array of government grants and private grants, and the eligibility information that these grants entail.

Another great way to gain access to a wide array of different grants would be to visit a professional business advisor. They’ll be clued up on all the latest options that you have available to you and what sort of grants and awards would best suit you and your goals.

What are some of the location-specific grants I should know about?

As we have already mentioned, in many cases grants are very much location-specific. Some of the location-specific grants that you should know about include:


  • Start-up Business Grants, Newport City

Start-up Business Grants offer you up to £5,000 if you are outside of the city centre and £10,000 if you happen to run your business from inside the city centre. Eligibility is quite complex, and there are a number of factors that can determine if you’ll perhaps be able to receive this grant. This grant can be used to cover the first year of rent of a commercial premises, your plant and equipment purchases, ICT software and equipment, website development and various training, consultancy services, and more.

  • Fantastic Services

Fantastic Services is a popular home services franchisor, and they offer a (Re)start grant of £5,000. This cash grant is intended to help entrepreneurs start up businesses that fall within the domestic service industry. One of the main criteria is that the business should be based in London. The grants can be used for start-up costs, and they also supply a fantastic training program that aims at assisting the recipients of this grant in running their own franchise.

  • The Supplier Skills Programme

The Supplier Skills Programme is partly funded by the European social fund, but the Birmingham City Council actually manages it. This programme is aimed at helping SMEs expand the skill levels of their current employees. SSP can help identify the types of skills that need to be expanded upon, and they also respond directly to needs that business owners have identified.

The types of grants that they allocate run anywhere between £500 and £18,000 per business. The way it works is that SSP usually funds half of the training, and the businesses themselves fund the other half.

  • Salford Skills for Business Apprenticeship Fund

If you are considering hiring an apprentice or becoming an apprentice yourself, this is a grant that you should definitely look into. If you are a recipient, you’ll be able to cover the cost of apprenticeship training or even get the necessary funding to help cover the costs involved with hiring an apprentice. This fund is ideal for a variety of trades.

  • Cumbria Business Startup Support Programme

Do you need help when it comes to developing your business plan? This grant aims at assisting you with just that, as well as providing crucial training to aspiring and new business owners. The advantage is that you will get a free membership to the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce for a year! You can apply for this grant if you are starting a business or if your business is under three years old.

  • Accelerate Cheshire and Warrington

Accelerate Cheshire and Warrington aims at helping businesses of all sizes within the Cheshire and Warrington areas up the workforce’s skills. If you are a recipient of this grant, you’ll have 40% of your desired training covered by Accelerate. It is a £30m programme, so there are many recipients each year. Training can include leadership and management, digital skills, and business skills.


  • Workforce Upskilling Grant

This programme based in Scotland gives grants of up to £2,000 to use towards staff training and to help improve your productivity and profits! Unlike some other grants, Workforce Upskilling can offer you 100% of the training costs, so long as it falls under £2,000 or less.

  • Fife Financial Support to Businesses

Are you a business in Scotland that is looking to expand and grow? This is not so much a grant as it is a loan with zero interest. They offer SMEs up to £10,000, which needs to be paid back over an agreed amount of time. There are a number of things that this funding can be used for, including improvements to property, development of products, plant and machinery, market development, and training.


  • Caerphilly Business Start-Up grant

If you’re an entrepreneur in Wales looking to start a business for the first time, this grant is ideal to apply for. You will need to be based specifically in the Caerphilly County Borough area, but your business could fall within any sector. The grant can be used to pay for things like equipment, marketing, website development, and training. While the grant is not very large, offering recipients a maximum of £500, it is a helpful start!

Northern Ireland

  • Skills Advancement Grant

One of the best grants available in Northern Ireland is the Skills Advancement Grant where recipients receive as much as £10,000 that they can put towards training. If you want to attain this grant, you’ll need to be in the manufacturing industry or provide international services. You need not be at the top of your game but be able to show how you plan to reach your goals and that you have growth potential. You’ll need to have all of your finances in place and be able to show your expected sales and profits for the next year.

How do I increase my chances of getting a grant?

Getting a grant has the obvious advantage of allowing you and your team to expand your skills at a nominal price. And for this reason, there are many businesses that apply for any available grant. In order to stand out from other applicants and increase your chances of getting a grant, you may want to consider the following:

  • Educate yourself thoroughly about the different types of grants available to you. Know the criteria of each grant and whether or not you are eligible.
  • Ensure that you apply well ahead of the closing date for applications. This will show that you are organised and take the process seriously.
  • Know what you will use the grant money for. This means researching various training courses and knowing which types of training courses would be most advantageous to you and your business.
  • Read all the fine print involved with the application and ensure that you understand everything.
  • Don’t rely on getting the grant, and be persistent in your applications. If you don’t receive it this year, you may get it the next!

Even if you are not able to get a grant, do not let that dissuade you from investing in furthering your and your staff’s level of skills. Upping your skills allows you to expand your services for greater turnover, find a niche market, and offer your customers an enhanced experience.



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