Sources of funding

Apply for funding to bring your entrepreneurial idea to life

In addition to our internal competitions and the Enteprise Challenge, we will also support you with applications to external competitions. If you need any help, send us an email at to book a 1 to 1 appointment with our team.

The Pitch

The Pitch provides a stage for startups to tell the public and investors about what they do. They can help you create a kick-ass pitch and give you the platform to use it. This competition is open to UK-based businesses that have been trading for less than four years. Applications take around 10 minutes to complete – They'll ask for some details about your business and why your product or service is incredible.

Prince’s Trust

The Prince's Trust is a youth charity programme which was set up in 1976 by Charles, Prince of Wales to support young people. It is widely known for its start-up enterprise programme which offers loans, training and mentoring to help 18-30 year-old's start their own businesses.

Government Start-up Loans

A Start Up Loan is a government-backed personal loan available to individuals looking to start or grow a business in the UK. In addition to finance, successful applicants receive 12 months of free mentoring and exclusive business offers to help them succeed. The loan is unsecured, so there’s no need to put forward any assets or guarantors to support an application. All owners or partners in a business can individually apply for up to £25,000 each, with a maximum of £100,000 available per business.

Stephen Lloyd Awards

Stephen Lloyd Awards winners are democratically selected by the entire community of charity and social enterprise experts who support the awards. That community includes philanthropists, social investors, lawyers, accountants, governance and management specialists and many others. Winners will also receive valuable pro bono support from that community. The Foundation gives technical, financial and moral support to innovators who are working on projects to tackle social problems. Shortlisted finalists are awarded up to £2,000, with the winner given £20,000 to help make their social innovation a reality.

Royal Academy of Engineering

Through its Enterprise Hub, the Academy offers a number of grants aimed at identifying and supporting the next generation of high potential entrepreneurs and prizes celebrating success in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Enterprise Hub programmes grant lifetime Hub Membership for successful applicants. The Membership includes:

  • Up to £60,000 equity-free funding for your business
  • Training courses, workshops and invite-only networking events
  • Personal mentoring by Academy Fellows and other business leaders
  • Access to fully equipped offices and meeting rooms in the Taylor Centre

South East Business Boost

The South East Business Boost (SEBB) programme offers growth grants to small and medium sized businesses in Kent.

The programme can fund up to 30% of the costs of qualifying projects, with the remaining 70% being met by the business. No purchases may be made, or suppliers engaged, until your project is approved. Once approved, all purchases have to be paid for in full before 30% of the cost can be claimed back.

You can apply for a SEBB Grant if you meet the following criteria:

  • Within Kent your business must be located in one of the following areas: Ashford, Canterbury, Dartford, Dover, Folkestone and Hythe, Gravesham, Maidstone, Medway, Sevenoaks, Swale, Thanet, Tonbridge and Malling, and Tunbridge Wells.
  • Be a sole trader, partnership, limited company or a not for profit business
  • Be seeking a grant between £1,000 and £10,000 with total project value of between £3,334 and £35,000 (offering a 30% intervention rate).
  • Currently have fewer than 250 employees

Enterprise Nation

Access start-up training and up to £10,000 to begin your entrepreneurial journey.

Created in partnership with Launch It, the Next Generation programme is part of the UK’s Community Renewal Fund. It aims to give thousands of young people in London aged 18 to 24 the support to start a business. An education hub and programme activity will launch in February, but you can apply now to the Next Generation StartUp Bootcamp.

Through the StartUp bootcamp 100 budding entrepreneurs will be selected for 10 weeks of training, one-to one mentoring, a pop-up on Oxford Street and a grant of between £750 and £10,000.

Closed competitions

The following competitions are now closed but may open again in the future. If you have any questions regarding a specific competition please email us at

NACUE Tata Varsity Pitch Competition

Tata Varsity Pitch Competition, powered by NACUE is an annual, national early stage business pitching competition that celebrates the best businesses coming out of colleges and universities across the UK. The three-stage competition provides an exceptional opportunity for early stages businesses to gain exposure to international businesses, gain credible feedback from industry experts, business support, a chance to compete for the increased prize pot of £15,000 equity free funding and a national title.

The CleanTech Challenge

The CleanTech Challenge is a student competition jointly hosted by London Business School and University College London, where students compete in cross-functional teams combining technical and business skills. The objective of the Challenge is to identify and reward innovative clean technology ideas that have been taken from a concept phase to a stage in which they would ideally attract Series A funding or otherwise be self-sustainable.

Social Enterprise Support Fund

The Social Enterprise Support Fund provides essential financial support to help social enterprises in England to rebuild and grow their income from trading, following the impact of COVID-19.

The Social Enterprise Support Fund is focused on social enterprises supporting people facing increased social and economic challenges as a result of COVID-19. We will support them in evolving and growing sustainable community services, in the face of ongoing disruption from COVID-19, with £16.3m of grants.

The fund is a two-year project, delivered by Big Issue Invest, Key Fund, Resonance, the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and UnLtd, in partnership with The National Lottery Community Fund.

Social Shifters

Do you have an awesome idea to solve a social or environmental problem? Are you ready to take action, but don’t know where to start? You're not alone.

The 2021 Social Shifters Global Innovation Challenge will take you from idea to entrepreneur - helping bring your idea to life AND sharpening your social business skills!

All applicants will receive FREE e-learning, specialist project development support and access to mentors as well as connection to a network of young changemakers like you! The first 500 applicants will also receive a VIP Ticket to the Social Enterprise World Forum 2021 and challenge finalists will compete for prizes of up to $10,000

Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Entrepreneurs (DBACE)

DBACE supports visionary creative entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-30 who are driven by a mission to create and sustain social value through their enterprise. DBACE aims to reach ambitious individuals from all backgrounds with ideas that will improve the lives of others and the communities we live in.

The prize package is designed to give you everything you need to power up your idea or existing business so that you can take it to the next level.

To apply you need to:

  • be 18-30 years old
  • have a strong idea or an existing business in the creative industries
  • want to create positive social impact through your enterprise
  • be focussed and committed