Entrepreneurs in London enjoy a host of government-backed schemes. The government backs many schemes that promote new business startups and other entrepreneur initiatives.
Arranging financing is crucial for the success of any business activity. The government in the UK offers many schemes that provide easy access to funds. The sum corpus of all grants and loan assistance available to entrepreneurs offered by the government at the United Kingdom and European Union level stands at two billion pounds and London gets a lion's share of this.
• The "Grant for Business Development" (GBI) and "selective Finance for Investment" (SFI) schemes offers entrepreneurs who launch ventures in certain sectors that generate employment grants to acquire capital assets.
• The "National DTI Grant for Research and Development" scheme offer grants to entrepreneurs engaging in research and development and promoting innovative products. Organisations into research and development also become entitled to R&D tax credits. At a wider scale, organisations engaged in collaborative research and development activities with other companies or universities across Europe become eligible for "Framework 6," a EU backed pan-European grant.
• Companies undertaking real estate development where the end value of the project will be less than the cost of development owing to issues such a contaminated land, difficult ground conditions, market failure and the like becomes eligible to gain grant funding to meet the difference
• Entrepreneurs into exports may avail insurance schemes offered by the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD). ECGD also provides grants to facilitate participation in overseas exhibitions.
• The Mayor of London and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has launched a £300m funding scheme to help small and medium businesses manage their carbon footprint and thereby reduce day-to-day operational expenditure.
The grant amount in all cases depends on the size, location and quality of the project.
Apart from grants, the government also offers loan and loan assistance to help
• The "Small Loans for Business Scheme" provides loans up to £50,000 for small and medium businesses.
• The "Enterprise Finance Guarantee" scheme, which is managed by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills which has offices in London, SW1 (nearest tube stations: St James Park, Westminster and Victoria) helps entrepreneurs denied loans by banks for want of collateral. The government offers guarantee to lenders.
• The 'Gateway to Finance' program offered by The East London Small Business Centre (ELSBC), which has offices in Aldgate East and Stratford, helps entrepreneurs in the 33 London Boroughs, and particularly in East London, raise funds to start or expand their business.
The key to availing such grants and loans offers is preparing a viable and comprehensive business plan. Make sure to highlight the efficiency and scalability of the business model.
The support extended by the British Government to entrepreneurs extends to much more that finances. A host of schemes makes available technical expertise, manufacturing know-how, information on marketing strategies, legal guidance, facility to benchmark peers and more.
• The "Business Bootcamps" scheme launched by the Mayor of London is a series of tailor made intensive training programme focusing on sectors such as digital technology, fashion, hospitality, entertainment, bio-tech industries and more. The programme delivers comprehensive and in-depth knowledge, including the latest and current trends relating to the selected field. The scheme, with £275,000 worth of funds from the Royal Bank of Scotland and another £135,000 worth of funds from EU's Interreg scheme provide opportunity to about 1000 new entrepreneurs develop essential skills required to succeed in business. For more information on the Business Bootcamp scheme contact the Business Bootcamp office, Gordon House, London, WC1 (nearest tube stations: Russell Square, Goodge Street and Euston Square)
• The "Entrepreneur First" scheme seeks out graduates just out of the university and interested in starting their own businesses. The two-year programme not only provide training and mentoring to the candidate, but also provides them with access to funding through a network of investors, free legal advice, free software, and a platform to network with other entrepreneurs.
• The "Get Mentoring Scheme" offered by Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI) makes it possible for entrepreneurs to get mentoring and become voluntary business mentors. Mentors offer coaching to aspiring or new entrepreneurs to equip them with skills to benchmark, undertake market research, train the workforce and many other essential activities.
• "Understanding Finance for Business" is a joint-initiative of the London Development Agency and European Regional Development Fund. This scheme, open to all business sectors but located within any London borough, offers advice and training to entrepreneurs of small and new businesses on how to seek angel or venture capital investors and how to prepare funding applications when taking loans. The scheme has two sub-programmes: "Gateway2Finance" that focus on entrepreneurs seeking bank loans and debt finance and "Gateway2Investment" focusing on entrepreneurs seeking out business angel and venture capital investors.
• The Barking and Dagenham Small Business Centre (BDSBC) offers entrepreneurs help in developing business plans, assistance in raising funds and assistance in managing functional activities such as accounting, particularly for businesses operating in the Barking and Dagenham area.
• Enterprise Enfield, established
in Enfield, is a
non-profit funded by London Development Agency and Learning & Skills
Council helps established entrepreneurship in UK, especially in North
London , with expert
business advice, seminars, platforms to network, access to low cost premises
• The UK Business Incubation (UKBI) operates various research and development centres, laboratories and commercial clusters. It also manages various social regeneration projects, and through such projects disseminates technical, scientific and research resources among entrepreneurs.
• The UK Science Park Association (UKSPA) provides entrepreneurs with an interface to universities, encouraging them to innovate
• The London Development Authority (LDA),
with offices in
Blackfriars and Southwark, has invested £24 million in the London Waste and
Recycling Board to develop new recycling facilities that would process the
seven million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste generated by the city,
again benefiting entrepreneurs indirectly.
Such schemes offer a good launching pad for new entrepreneurs and help entrepreneurs already running a business. In the age of high competition marked by cutthroat margins informed entrepreneur who takes advantage of such schemes to cut operational costs gain a significant competitive advantage.
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