Business Support

Every business needs finance, but that doesn’t mean every business has the same finance needs. The options available – and suitable – for your business may fall outside of more traditional forms of funding like bank loans, overdrafts and credit cards.

The range of business finance options available can seem daunting, but whether its grants, loans or equity investment you’re looking for, the SMA can help can provide independent and impartial guidance and put you in touch with trusted providers.

You can read more about different finance options below. If you’d like to discuss which could work best for your business, or how to access different schemes, the SMA can help – contact us at


A grant is financial assistance given by an organisation, such as a local authority or central government, to an eligible business or individual. While not readily available for all types of business or at every stage of a company’s growth, grants can be a really useful form of funding.

Grants come in two main varieties: 100% funding for costs such as one-off projects (a large capital purchase or hiring a business strategy consultant, for example) or as part of match-funding where the grant can provide a percentage of the associated costs.

These often enable businesses to improve sustainability, manage resources more effectively, or encourage innovation in certain sectors and stimulate the growth of SMEs.



Crowdfunding has become especially popular with small businesses and start-up ventures who want to raise the initial funding to get their new business or idea off the ground.

Crowdfunding accesses small amounts of money from a lot of individual investors to create a large funding pool.

This type of funding is usually accessed via an online portal which allows people to pitch their business idea and attract investment.

Like other forms of finance, crowdfunding can be in the form of equity or debt, but it can also take the form of donation or reward funding where the investor donates to a cause or business they believe in, or where they receive a reward for the investment – which is typically related to the product or service the company is offering.

There are many well established crowdfunding platforms available, contact the SMA – for more information.

Equity Funding

Instead of taking on debt, you could look to an investor to help fund your business growth.

Unlike debt, equity finance can give your business the cash injection it needs without the burden of regular repayments, although that’s not to say it’s without risk or commitment.

Whether it’s an early stage angel investor you’re after, or more established venture capital and private equity, the SMA will help to point you in the right direction.

The government has four schemes designed to help small or medium sized companies and social enterprises grow by attracting investment. Read more about them here.

Debt Funding

While we’re all familiar with bank-based overdrafts and loans, debt funding refers to far more than you might think.

From start-up loans and revenue based funding, to asset-backed finance and hire purchase, there are a wealth of options available to fund specific projects and equipment, help with cash-flow or to expand and grow your business.

Other useful information

Search the government’s website for relevant financial support here:

Contact the SMA – for more free and impartial business support.

Useful information:

Click on the links below to see some of the key finance and grant providers to consider for:

While the availability of grant funding is limited, the SMA can offer you the best route to finding available schemes and put you in touch with relevant funding bodies. Talk to the SMA or email us at

Fenland District Council - Investment in Business Programme

Fenland District Council has received £1.2million from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) via Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority for a range of Shared Prosperity Fund projects, including a ‘Fenland Investment in Business’ programme.

The programme aims to support local businesses who are looking to scale and grow within the district with capital and revenue grants. The grants are available to fund capital investment, acquisition of specialist business or technical support, market research, and so on.

The programme will support any size of existing Fenland business that has the desire to grow, expand into new markets, create more jobs, increase profitability and productivity, save energy, but without the skills or experience or sufficient funding to do so.

Read More here: Investment in Business Programme – Fenland for Business

Huntingdonshire Digital Manufacturing Growth Programme

The HDC scheme is as of a result of £280,000 of Shared Prosperity Funding from Government, and into HDC – the scheme can be found here: Huntingdonshire Digital Manufacturing Growth Programme (

Funded access to Catapults and RTOs to support growth & scaling

Innovative, ambitious businesses can benefit from the facilities and expertise provided by Catapults and Research & Technology Organisations (RTOs) through Innovate UK EDGE (if decided it is appropriate as part of a client’s advisory support from a specialist and not as stand alone application).

RTOs are specialised not-for-profit knowledge organisations dedicated to the development and transfer of science and technology to the benefit of the economy and society. They include hubs, laboratories, testbeds, factories and offices for cutting edge R&D. The Catapult network of technology and innovation centres established by Innovate UK supports businesses to transform great ideas into valuable products and services.

They can offer applicants with a suitable project who are currently benefiting from our growth advisory support a grant for 100% of eligible costs to a maximum of £15,000.

The SMA can make the necessary introductions – More information can be found here: Funded access to Catapults and RTOs to support growth & scaling | Innovate UK EDGE (

Digital Catapult

Digital Catapult is the UK authority on advanced digital technology. They work with a range of organisations – including startups and scaleups, established businesses, investors, government and public sector, research and academia – to discover new ways of solving industry challenges, increase productivity and open up new markets.

Please read more here:

The East of England Regional Growth Loan Schemes

Supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, are available to established businesses based within the East of England. The schemes help support eligible businesses that can show strong growth potential and have a medium to long-term funding requirement to deliver that growth. Funds available range from £50,000 up to £500,000.

Read More information here; East of England Regional Growth Loan Schemes,

Foundation East

Specialises in supporting businesses who have struggled to get a loan due to a limited trading history, insufficient credit record or lack of assets to secure against finance. Their Small Loans for Business scheme provides loans to start-ups, SMEs and social enterprises in the East of England. Loans of up to £100,000 are offered on flexible payment terms (minimum 6 months, maximum 7 years) to groups of who are typically refused finance from a bank but have a viable business plan. For more information, email or call 01284 757777.

Read More here: Home – foundationeast

Fredericks Foundation

This is a charity that helps people wanting to set up or expand their business but are unable to access finance from conventional sources. They provide microloan funding alongside support and advice to help your business ambitions become a reality.

More information can be found here: Finance for Social Enterprise – Fredericks Foundation

British Business Bank - Start-Up Loans

A government backed scheme set up in 2012 to help new and early stage UK businesses access affordable finance and mentoring support.

Read More here: Start Up Loans – loans for businesses of up to £25,000


UKRI regularly releases new funding opportunities  for collaborative projects between researchers and businesses towards variety of research proposals and business innovation projects. These often cover sustainability, zero carbon initiatives, as well as adopting and developing new technologies.

Read More here: UKRI – UK Research and Innovation

Business Growth Loans

Borrow between £10k – £100k to invest in your business plans up to a maximum of 7 years. Loans are available to businesses trading for more than 24 months, but earlier stage businesses can be considered.

read more 

Enterprise Investment Scheme (venture capital)

Your company (or group of companies if you’re a parent company) may qualify if at the time of investment it has:

  • no more than £15 million in gross assets
  • less than 250 employees
  • been more than 7 years since it’s first commercial sale

There may be higher limits if your company carries out research, development or innovation and meets certain conditions.

Find out more about EIS.

read more 

CRACK IT - Challenges

This is a challenge-led competition that funds collaborations between industry, academics and SMEs to solve business and scientific challenges which  improve business processes or develop a commercial product. Depending on the challenge, contracts of up to £1 million for up to three years are available.

read more 

Eureka Eurostars

Eurostars is the largest international funding programme for SMEs wishing to collaborate on R&D projects that create innovative products, processes or services for commercialisation. Your consortium must spotlight an R&D-performing SME as the main project participant and collaborate with a business based in the EU.

read more 

Knowledge Transfer Partnership Grants (KTP's)

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) connect  businesses that have an innovation with graduates and universities which have the expertise to help deliver it.

Read more here; Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (