Finance for start-ups

Once you are sure your business idea is worth pursuing, you should aim to secure funding to give your business the best chance of success. The following could help you as you look to navigate the start-up phase.

Start-up Loan Company

A Start Up Loan is a government-backed personal loan for business purposes. Start Up Loans are available to individuals over the age of 18 who are eligible to start a business in the UK. Individuals can only receive one Start Up Loan, however more than one partner in a business can be eligible to apply for a loan.

They also provide a handy guide to all aspects of starting a business. For this essential guide click here.

Help with moving from benefits to work

If you receive certain benefits and have a workable business idea, you could get help from a mentor and financial support in the form of a weekly allowance to help you start your business.

Access to Work Funding

An Access to Work grant can pay for practical support if you have a disability, health or mental health condition to help you move into self-employment or start a business. The grant is not for business start-up costs, but can pay for things like special equipment, fares to work if you use public transport, a support worker, disability awareness training for colleagues or the cost of moving your equipment if you change location.


Crowdfunding is still a relatively new phenomenon, but has captured the attention of hundreds of thousands of people looking for investment. If you are struggling to finance your business venture, advertise on crowdfunding sites and you may get investors from all over the world pitching in to help. Money invested through most crowdfunding sites does not have to be returned.

There are plenty of crowdfunding sites out there. For starters try Crowdfunder, CrowdCube and KickStarter.


The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) is designed to help small, early-stage companies raise equity finance by offering tax relief to individual investors who purchase new shares in those companies.

Equity crowdfunding

As opposed to regular crowdfunding, if you raise funds through equity crowdfunding you will have to give something up, i.e. equity, a stake in your business.

One example of an equity crowdfunding platform is Seedrs, which allows people to invest as little as £10 into a business.

Samuel Wilson’s Loan Trust

Samuel Wilson's Loan Trust is a charitable organisation which grants business loans to people under 40 years old to establish and develop start up businesses. The purpose of the Trust is to benefit people under 40 years old suffering financial hardship or other disadvantage, by granting loans to individuals, partnerships or limited companies that have recently set up in business or are about to.

Prince’s Trust

Since 1983, Prince’s Trust has helped over 80,000 young people start their own business. If you’re aged 18-30 and working fewer than 16 hours a week, Prince’s Trust can help you turn your business idea into reality with a package of training and funding that includes access to a mentor.


UnLtd supports individuals who have their social ventures firmly rooted in delivering positive social change. UnLtd operates a unique model by investing directly in individuals and offering a complete package of resources; from awards of funding to ongoing advice, networking and practical support.