Going green may be good for your business – not to mention the planet – but the fact remains that making the necessary changes costs money and for a small business, grants can often provide the vital assistance to make it possible.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find your way around the world of grants – and with no single source of eco-grants, working out what you may be able to apply for from the different institutions that make awards can often seem daunting.
Between small business grants, government schemes, development funds, EU initiatives, capital programmes and bursaries – all of which have their own set of rules for eligibility and are intended for different purposes – it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin!
Fortunately, there are a few ways to take the headache out of the whole thing and – with luck – end up with some of the sort of financial help you really need.
Although the general priorities are the same across the country – energy, waste management and green transport being high on the list – the amounts, conditions and even the name of the grant programmes can be different.
As you might expect in the current generally eco-friendly business climate, the sorts of projects eligible for funding are fairly wide and while, for example, insulation grants are still a mainstay of energy efficiency, the likes of carbon neutral web-hosting can now be considered too.
While some grants and sources of funding are nationally available, others are aimed at particular areas. Barclays Commercial Bank, for instance, offers Green Cashback Loans – a scheme giving back up to £50,000 to small businesses which are borrowing to finance green initiatives, which is available nationally.
In Scotland, the Leader programme provides government financial assistance to support businesses in the country’s rural communities, while small businesses in South London can get “Green Business Grants” from Merton Chamber of Commerce to improve their energy efficiency.
The Regional Development Agencies and many County or local councils can often have particular grants available and individual industry sectors also frequently have their own sources of finance for green projects. Businesses in country areas, for example, may be able to benefit from the likes of the Rural Enterprise Investment Programme, while those running building firms may qualify for help from a Construction Waste Capital Grant from the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
People trying to develop green technologies are also catered for, the Carbon Trust supporting environmental research with a grant worth a maximum of £250k – to cover 60% of the costs – to anyone lucky enough to qualify.
Getting Some Help
While knowing what’s on offer is half the battle – in the world of grants, nothing is quite that straightforward! With some types of grants being local, others regional, while still more apply to the constituent parts of the UK, the UK as a whole or may be Europe-wide, it doesn’t take long to realise that sometimes you’re going to need a bit of expert help.
The good news is that there are plenty of people to give you sound impartial advice, ranging from the likes of the DTI and DEFRA to your own Regional Development Agency or local chamber of commerce. In addition, depending on the nature of your particular business, many of the trade bodies and professional institutions can also help.
Never be afraid to take up any of their offers of free or highly subsidised consultations or reviews; it could end up saving you a fortune – and a whole lot of time and stress too.
Sometimes it’s even worth being a bit cheeky – and asking your energy supplier, water company, local council and so on if they have any grants that you might be eligible to get. They can only say no and you never know, you might just be lucky – and even if they don’t have any hard cash to give you, they might be able to help you in other ways.
Navigating the grant system can sometimes seem an endless task, especially if you’re trying to run a business at the same time, but if you’re prepared to do a little bit of research and not afraid of asking for some help when you need it, it doesn’t have to be an impossible one.
Hi we are moving into a workshop built in the 70s so corrigated fibfe roof and no insulation on wales a nd door what help is there
Blob - 12-Dec-22 @ 4:57 PM
I am interested in a insulation grant for my business. Please contact me back on 07572777786
Mo - 12-Nov-22 @ 7:46 PM
I run a small social club, non profit making run by volunteers. The Building consists of two bar areas back to back and a hall, we are looking to all electric as far as central heating is concerned and also insulate our walls and flat ceilings, is this something you can advise and help with please?
Dudz - 9-Aug-22 @ 10:54 AM
My company currently operates from a small workshop space with corrugated roof and no ceiling, looking at foam insulation to warm the space up with less heaters and stop condensation dripping down in the winter.
Is there any help available for this?
AMS7 - 6-Sep-21 @ 12:39 PM
I have a small shop in leicester it has old storage heaters that don't work at all and we can't afford to replace them is there a grant that can help me
Kev - 9-May-21 @ 9:31 AM
I’m starting a heating installation and maintenance company focusing on renewable energy. Having run a successful heating installation business for 15 years I wanted to move into the renewable sector when my business partner didn’t. Are there any business start up grants for for renewable heating companies?
Shaun - 8-May-21 @ 12:45 PM
Hi, I’m wondering if they is any grants available for some heating supplies in a new business where the building currently has non.
We would be wanting some storage heaters for the walls.
Al - 9-Apr-21 @ 6:37 PM
I am seeking funding to replace our flat roof at our childcare premises.itvis leaking badly and has no insulation
Wiggy - 22-Jan-21 @ 11:13 PM
I run a training centre for carers. At present we run from a large, cold, expensive to run office building 7 miles away. I would like to build an eco friendly, warm office at my own property. Are there any funding options for this type of project
Wen - 14-Jan-21 @ 9:49 AM
Hi We have a recreation centre with a 20 x 15m sports hall which is made of block with corrugated metal roof.It is cold and draughty and the floor gets slippy because of the cold air hitting the granwood floor.The heating no longer works and it is freezing in the winter.It is a commercially run business but the hall is not really suitable for a 21st century sports facility.In addition the bar area needs better insulation and double glazing to make it more energy efficient.Could you advise what we should do with the two elements of the building.
vicky - 11-Jan-21 @ 2:27 PM
Any grants for installing double glazing in commercial building in highlands.
Rob - 1-Dec-20 @ 6:50 AM
Can anyone point me in the right direction for eco friendly business grants, we are based in Hertfordshire.
Gregor - 30-Nov-20 @ 7:53 PM
Is there a grant for changing from electric heaters to central heating at my holiday let's in Blackpool?
Bob - 24-Nov-20 @ 9:31 AM
I am looking for some advice please. I work for a village community centre, a community interest charity.The building is 15 years old and has no insulation in the roof space.
Who can I approach regarding applying for a grant for this to be provided?
Nicola - 15-Oct-20 @ 10:53 AM
Hi I would like to know if I'm able to get some help with funding please? It's only a very small amount needed to finish of our prototype of our fully electric canal and river boat propulsion system for small boats, the system requires no charging at all , once installed it generates it's own sustainable power that drives all propulsion systems, so basicly it's a electric set up that has no after costs to run. Imadgen having transport that requires no fuel cost and just keeps on goin.
Kind Regards Benjamin.
Vision ECO Propulsion ltd.
Vision eco - 7-Oct-20 @ 6:01 PM
I am looking for grants to support the rebuild of a childcare nursery and funding to pay for temporary accommodation whilst the build takes place.
I also need a definitive answer about the payment of VAT on the new build we are a registered charity and not for profit company limited by guarantee and not VAT registered?
MaryM - 27-Sep-20 @ 3:05 PM
We are in the process of registering as a CIC with the intention of running a community garden sourcing produce for green cleaning products. We are in need of a 20K start up fund to plant our produce and reach out to our local community.
Molly Moon - 26-Aug-20 @ 4:57 PM
Is there any grants or funding available in Scotland for a new business taking on a commercial property from local council for a heating and hot water system ?
ALZ - 11-Aug-20 @ 2:48 PM
Small village bakery trying to expand to do wholesale replace single shop front window by double glaze shop front door make access into the two units replace unit and Bakery door to double glazed help buying equipment if possible is there any grants available for this
Bernard01 - 31-Jul-20 @ 7:46 PM
I’m a small business owner with a little village bakery I want to expand next door is there any grants available as I need to replace front window to the shop front door building work inside and outside plus all the equipment necessary to remove the shop from inside my Bakery at the moment allowed me to expand into Wholesale
Bernard - 31-Jul-20 @ 7:41 PM
I have a new established company which is a clothing brand for the e o friendly community,
We promote eco friendly transportation.
We are looking for a grant to continue our support and promoting our eco friendly brand.
Please can you help.
Emove - 10-Jul-20 @ 2:26 PM
Hi I am opening my own barbershop/tattoo studio. I open 15th July with no heating system. I want to go green all the way can you get bAck to me/ my business is thefamilybusinessbarbershop. You will find us on Instagram.
SB - 9-Jul-20 @ 4:19 PM
I am seeking a grant to help out my struggling minority owned business. We haven't been able to pay the landlord for 3 months, make payroll, or pay utilities. We need to find some grant money to help assist us in these troubling times. Any direction or assistance would be a tremendous help.
Wes - 2-Jun-20 @ 7:51 AM
Hello, we are looking for equity partners for the Waste to Energy Projectin Zambia.Waste to Energy Project is based on aerobic digestion technology. Instead of wasting the energy in the million metric tons of municipal solid waste to landfills and waste water plants annually, which waste could be used to power industries and homes, equipment and vehicles. Are there any partners who can be interested to partner with our company?
EcoGreen Organics - 1-Feb-20 @ 3:12 PM
I am looking to bring a eco friendly building material to the UK. Then mass manufacture it and ship national. The construction industry accounts for 45% of all CO2 emissions in the U.K. and 33% of waste. This product reduces these considerably but I will need a very large grant to begin processing.
Any help would be much appreciated!
Jase - 15-Dec-19 @ 3:06 PM
Hi I have a small Kennels and Catery bisiness in Aberdeenand heating costs are approximately £1000 per month. We are totally dependent on electricand bottled gas for our heating and hot water. We have no left or cavity wall insulation.
Is there any Grant's available in Scotland to help me improve the above conditions.
Ginger - 10-Dec-19 @ 6:28 AM
I am starting my own zero waste business which will provide plastic free refills for household products such as topping up your shampoo hand wash etc,and selling handy plastic free alternatives, produce people can buy by weight in the own Tubs. Do you think this would qualify for any type of funding. It's helping communities reduce waste, hopefully providing advice and support on becoming plastic free. Anything you can think of?
R - 8-Apr-19 @ 9:24 PM
Hi are there any business grants available for established business
G - 10-Oct-18 @ 9:49 PM
I have an Business that shreds used cardboard into equine and small animal bedding. Cardboard is environmentally friendly as there is little or no dust, and de-composes quicker than any other equine bedding, also good to animals healths. I am looking for a grant which will help us source clean dry cardboard at competitive prices. I know where to get cardboard, but need to offer competition to the bigger recycling companies who buy and then ship and sell cardboard to China which is not carbon friendly.
Cardman - 9-Oct-18 @ 11:27 PM
Hi,I’m a carpet retailer in Coventry. I am looking at selling more Recylable materials and wanted to open a shop for this purpose. Would I be able to get a grant from somewhere to start my new venture? And if so who would I need to contact?