Important COVID-19 notice: for help and support for businesses affected by coronavirus see business support COVID-19.

Financial support for businesses during COVID-19

For financial support for businesses affected during COVID-19, including the Business Support Grants Fund, see financial support for businesses during COVID-19..

Starting a business

  • Useful contacts when starting a business including funding such as Start Up Loans can be found on our website by visiting the start up support pages.

Expanding your business

  • Boost Business Lancashire offers a range of advice, special programmes and support to help grow your business including funding and finance options. Please visit the Boost Business Lancashire website or call 0800 488 0057
  • Visit the Government's Business is Great website for details of the different types of finance available.

Other Funding help

  • The NW Access to Finance Service is delivered by a team of experienced specialist finance advisors. It is an impartial, confidential and free service to eligible small to medium size businesses offering one-to-one support with developing business plans, financial forecasts, investment readiness and applications for funding.
  • Mercia Technologies (formerly Enterprise Ventures) can provide finance for businesses in all sectors and at all stages of development - from funding for start-ups to investment to help you grow your business.
  • Funding Circle is an online loans marketplace that enables businesses to borrow £5,000 to £500,000 directly from real people in the UK. Lancashire County Council has joined forces with Funding Circle and will also lend to eligible local businesses that take out a Funding Circle loan. Visit LCC peer to peer lending.
  • Rosebud is a package of financial assistance for growing businesses in Lancashire run by Lancashire County Council through Lancashire County Developments Ltd. Loans provided between £10,000 and £300,000 for ambitious growing businesses seeking to expand their workforce. Rosebud also includes complimentary support and advice tailored to your business needs. 
  • Lancashire Community Finance is a Community Development Finance Institution providing loans at fair market rates to individuals and small businesses in the Lancashire area who can't get help from the banks.
  • Seedrs is a crowdfunding organisation making it simple for investors to buy into businesses and allowing all types of businesses raise capital. Apply online at the Seedrs website or email support@seedrs.com 

Innovation Funding

  • The Innovation Funding service has funds to bid for throughout the year. Check their website for more details and application dates at Gov.UK Innovation Funding website.

Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme

  • The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme supports the cost of installing full fibre broadband connections direct to businesses for the fastest and most reliable gigabit-capable broadband speeds available.
  • Through the scheme SMEs can claim up to £3,000 against the cost of full fibre connection, either individually or as part of a group project. Residents can also benefit from the scheme as part of a group project and can claim for a voucher of £500. See Boost Business Lancashire - Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme for details.

Making Carbon Work - Low Carbon Technology Grants

  • The Making Carbon Work (MaCaW) project can save you money on energy bills by becoming greener and reducing your carbon footprint. Offer includes:
  • Match funded grants of up to £15,000 to purchase low-carbon technology
  • Funding for installation costs of equipment
  • Can fund any equipment that demonstrates a carbon saving such as new more energy efficient machinery or heating systems
  • Electric vehicles - there is now funding for electric vehicles and charging points  

Simply register and the MaCaW Team will let you know if your business is eligible and meet with you to plan your project.

Manufacturing Growth Fund

  • Lancashire Manufacturing Growth Fund provides SME manufacturers impartial manufacturing expertise to assess business opportunities and barriers to growth in order to make improvement recommendations and identify a suitable consultancy project for grant support where appropriate. Projects will be approximately £15k in scale and attract a 36% grant.

European Grants

  • Apply to run projects backed by the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF). ESIF includes money from the European Social Fund (ESF), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). A number of calls for proposals in different parts of the country can be active at any one time. Visit Regeneration funding for details or visit the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership for more details. 

Rural Funding

  • Rural Funding: LEADER rural funding is now closed but if you would like to keep up to date on future funding opportunities sign up to receive a newsletter.
  • EAFRD: There is currently a call for applications for funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development as part of a National Reserve Fund:
  • Food Processing
  • Rural Business Development
  • Rural Tourism Infrastructure

For details and how to apply, please visit the RDPE Growth Programme website

Rural Community Energy Fund 

Expressions of interest are invited for the £1 million NW Rural Community Energy Fund until 20 April 2020.

Successful projects will then be invited to submit funding applications by 1 June 2020.

The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) is a fully funded grant scheme to support rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects, which provide economic and social benefits to the local community.

The RCEF does not provide funds for the technology installations. RCEF provides support to rural communities in 2 stages:

  • Stage 1: grants of up to £40,000 for a feasibility study for a renewable energy project
  • Stage 2: grants of up to £100,000 for business development and planning of feasible schemes

For more information, please visit the North West RCEF website.

Digital Support

  • Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund: This is a £3m fund for employers and training providers to work together to run innovative digital training schemes linked to skills shortage vacancies. Register your interest for the Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund Round 2 to run innovative digital training schemes linked to hard to fill jobs that need digital skills. For queries about the fund please email: FastTrack@lancashirelep.co.uk
  • HeadsUp! Digital productivity training: Are you a small business owner fed up with admin taking too much time away from achieving your goals? Receive up to 10 hours of free training worth £1,000 covering finance, marketing, people and time management. More details at HeadsUp!
  • Made Smarter: Are you a manufacturing company curious about how digital technology might help your business? Or are you a digital service provider looking to support manufacturers? Made Smarter is a government backed initiative designed to improve productivity of North West manufacturers through the adoption of industrial design technologies (IDT).
  • Digital Lancashire/Digital Preston: Digital Lancashire is the voice for the digital profession in Lancashire, lobbying, delivering work, collaboration, events and programmes across the whole of Lancashire. Digital Preston is the Preston-based city hub - helping accelerate the digital economy in Preston.

Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership

For all things digital in Lancashire, please visit the The Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership (LDSP).

The LDSP brings together public private and charity sector organisations to address local digital skills needs.

Lots of good work already happens in Lancashire to improve the digital skills landscape and the Partnership provides co-ordination. They do this by highlighting good practice and working with partners to fill gaps in provision to ensure Lancashire becomes a digital skills hot spot.

They want more local businesses, and partners involved to grow the success and impact of the work of the partnership. To join and support the partnership, email Kerry Harrison - kerry.harrison@lancashirelep.co.uk.  

Foreign Owned Company Support

If you are an internationally owned company based in Lancashire, you are entitled to the same business support as any UK registered business. However, you also have access to a dedicated Key Account Manager who can put together a bespoke business support package, which could include:

  1. An introduction and access to a range of services from Department for International Trade including tax, regulatory and business planning support, expansion of a UK base, networking opportunities, visa/immigration issues and much more

  2. Access to the Knowledge Lab, which includes a bespoke research and intelligence service to support your needs

  3. The Department for International Trade can help to make your case for investment

Please visit Invest in Lancashire - International or contact Angela Kershaw, Key Account Manager for Foreign Owned Companies at Lancashire County Council on angela.kershaw@lancashire.gov.uk

Health Innovation Campus

As part of Lancaster University's £41m Health Innovation Campus there are fully-funded opportunities for SME businesses in Lancashire to grow and innovate in health. 

Find out more about the support opportunities available by visiting: Health Innovation Campus or by contacting the team on 01524 595005 or email business.healthinnovation@lancaster.ac.uk

Creative Industries

  • Arts Council England is making £20 million available to individuals working in the cultural sector, including artists, creative practitioners and freelancers. More information and how to apply at:  Arts Council England Support
  • Locally Creative Lancashire has a section on funding for the creative industry. 
  • Our  help arts organisations and individual artists who are based and work in Preston.
  • The Lancashire Forum Creative from the University of Central Lancashire is a business, leadership and innovation development programme designed specifically for Creative and Digital SMEs. To find out more, please email LancashireForum@uclan.ac.uk  - call 01772 892858 - or visit the Lancashire Forum Creative website.