How Startups Can Access Financial Support to Kickstart Their Business (Swansea)

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Starting a business requires a great deal of hard work, dedication, and passion. However, even the most passionate and motivated entrepreneurs need financial support to kickstart their venture. In the UK, there are various grants and loans available to support startup businesses. This article will explore the different financial support options available to startups in the UK, with a particular focus on Swansea Council’s grant schemes.

Grants and Loans from Swansea Council

Swansea Council offers various grants and loans to support startup businesses in the area. These grants are funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and are aimed at promoting economic growth and job creation. Some of the grant schemes available to pre-start and startup businesses in Swansea Council include:

Pre-Start Grant: This is a grant aimed at supporting pre-start businesses. The grant is available to pre-start businesses only and can fund costs including but not limited to equipment, training, accreditation, and marketing. The maximum grant available is £10,000. The fund offers up to 95% of the project costs for the first £1,000 of expenditure and 50% for expenditure between £1,000 – £10,000. All applicants will be required to provide a business plan and a 12-month cash flow forecast.

Website Development Grant: This is a grant aimed at adopting new technology through online/website development. The grant can fund costs relating to the creation of a business website for the first time or enhancement to an existing site. The maximum grant available is £1,500. The grant will require applicants to provide 50% of costs in match funding. All applicants will be required to provide a business plan/summary and a 12-month cash flow forecast.

UK Steel Grant: This grant scheme is in partnership with UK Steel Enterprise Ltd and offers up to £1,000 for new start-ups or businesses that are under 2 years old in the Swansea Council area. However, the grant will only cover 50% of the eligible project costs, and the minimum grant payable is £250. Grant funding covers items such as equipment, qualifications, accountancy, software, web development, and tools.

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Green Innovation Grant: This is a grant aimed at enabling businesses to work towards net carbon zero. The grant is delivered by Swansea Council and is funded by the UK government through the Shared Prosperity Fund. The grant can cover the installation of systems that will reduce carbon footprint and improve business energy efficiency, changes in the manufacturing process that will directly deliver a reduction in the business carbon footprint, and first-time accreditation to schemes that recognize business environmental standards. Grant awards will range between £500 – £1,500, and all funding must be match-funded at 50% by the applicant business.

Property Enhancement Development Grant (PEDG): This grant scheme has been established to target derelict or vacant properties to bring them back into beneficial use and to ensure good quality building and shop front enhancements. The amount of any financial support offered via the PEDG grants to applicants is a maximum of 40% and will be assessed on an individual case by case basis, taking account of the economic and environmental benefits that the project provides. To qualify for the grant, the completed scheme must accommodate new jobs.

Sustainable Living Grant (SLG): SLG grants are available within the city center to convert empty floorspace on upper floors of commercial units into new residential accommodation. Projects can have an SLG grant of up to 40% of the eligible cost of the work and professional fees, but this will be assessed on an individual case by case basis.

Town Center Loan Fund: Swansea Council has a loan fund of £2,000,000 from the Welsh Government as part of the Town Center Loan scheme. The areas covered by the scheme include Swansea city center and Morriston town center.

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Access to Financial Support Schemes

In addition to the grants and loans available from Swansea Council, there are also various regional and national financial support schemes that startups can access. These schemes are aimed at promoting economic growth, job creation, and innovation. Some of the national support programs available to startups in the UK include:

The Start Up Loans Program: This program is aimed at helping new and early-stage businesses access finance. The program provides loans of up to £25,000 per co-founder, with a fixed interest rate of 6% per annum. The loans can be used for any legitimate business purpose, including working capital, equipment, stock, and marketing.

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS): The SEIS is aimed at encouraging investment in early-stage startups. The scheme offers tax relief to investors who invest in qualifying startups, including income tax relief of up to 50% of the investment amount and capital gains tax relief on the disposal of the shares. To qualify for the scheme, startups must meet certain criteria, including having fewer than 25 employees, gross assets of less than £200,000, and not having received any previous investment under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).

Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS): The EIS is aimed at encouraging investment in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The scheme offers tax relief to investors who invest in qualifying SMEs, including income tax relief of up to 30% of the investment amount and capital gains tax relief on the disposal of the shares. To qualify for the scheme, SMEs must meet certain criteria, including having fewer than 250 employees, gross assets of less than £15 million, and not being listed on a recognized stock exchange.

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The Future Fund: The Future Fund is a government-backed scheme aimed at supporting innovative UK companies that are facing financing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme provides convertible loans of between £125,000 and £5 million to eligible companies, with matched funding from private investors. To be eligible for the scheme, companies must be UK-based, have previously raised at least £250,000 in equity investment, and have a substantive economic presence in the UK.

Finance and Support for Your Business Search (GOV.UK): The GOV.UK website provides a comprehensive database of financial support schemes available to startups and SMEs in the UK. The database includes information on grants, loans, tax relief schemes, and other financial support programs available from government and private sources.

Conclusion

Starting a business can be a challenging and exciting journey. However, it is important to have access to financial support to help turn your ideas into reality. The grants and loans available from Swansea Council, as well as the regional and national financial support schemes available in the UK, can provide valuable funding to help startups kickstart their business. By exploring the various financial support options available, entrepreneurs can increase their chances of success and achieve their business goals.


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