By Phil Ellerby

Banks have always been seen as the traditional way to secure additional finance by most business owners.

But here at Northern Accountants, we know there are also lots of alternative lenders where you can gain access to business grants in Leeds.

Before looking to secure additional funding, it’s always a good idea to be 100 per cent clear about why you want the money.

You may want to buy new premises, update some equipment or hire new staff.

If you are to successfully access one of the various business grants Leeds has available, knowing how much this is likely to cost – and the impact it will have on your profitability or cash flow – is essential.

Here’s why:

Without answers which have been costed properly, you won’t get very far.

Once you’ve done your homework and built a sound business case for securing additional finance, take a look at these alternative providers of business grants in Leeds – one of them might just hold the key to your future growth plans.

1: Leeds Business Growth Solution

Who can access grants and what can the money be used for?

Aimed at SME businesses, this consultancy scheme is designed to help you innovate and grow by having access to consultants and students from Leeds Beckett University, the funding body.

By reviewing your current growth ambitions, the University’s academic consultants will come up with a bespoke strategy for your business as well as providing hands-on support and guidance.

Funding Body: Leeds Beckett University

Maximum Value: £3,000

Minimum Value: There is no minimum value

Find out more: http://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/business-services/funding-options/business-growth-solution/

2: Leeds City Region Business Growth Programme

Who can access grants and what can the money be used for?

Specifically aimed at British businesses with a proven business model and good track record, this funding could help unlock your ambitions by providing substantial growth capital.

Funding of up to £10m is available for a minority equity stake and a seat on the board – and is applicable to all sectors, except property development or financial services.

In return, you’ll get the long-term stability that’s needed create strategic growth and provide more employment opportunities within the Leeds City Region (LCR).

Funding Body: Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership

Maximum Value: £10,000,000

Minimum Value: £10,000

Find out more: http://www.the-lep.com/for-business/business-finance/business-growth-fund/

3: Leeds City Region LEP Apprenticeship Grant for Employers

Who can access grants and what can the money be used for?

One of the most popular business grants Leeds companies can access, this scheme is aimed at small and medium sized businesses with less than 250 employees.

If you’ve not taken on an apprentice in the last 12 months, grants of up to £2,000 are available for each apprentice recruited aged 16-24 years old – up to a maximum of three per business.

To qualify for the business grant, your business must be in one of the following local authority areas: Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield or York.

Funding Body: Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership

Maximum Value: £6,000

Minimum Value: There is no minimum value

Find out more: http://www.the-lep.com/for-business/skills-and-training/lep-apprenticeship-grant/

4: Leeds City Region LEP Grants

Who can access grants and what can the money be used for?

As with most business grants Leeds companies can apply for, this scheme must eventually create permanent new jobs in the Leeds City Region.

This means it is open to business in the local authority areas of Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York.

Primarily for small and medium sized businesses based in the Leeds City Region or ones which are planning to invest there, you must be able to provide at least £4 of private sector investment for every £1 of LEP funding sought.

With £50,000 set as the minimum total project cost, it means you need at least £40,000 of private finance to invest – either of your own, from a bank or another commercial finance lender.

If that’s available, you can spend the grant on any capital investment, including any plant, machinery, equipment or a building refurbishment that will help to create permanent jobs in the Leeds City Region.

Funding Body: Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership

Maximum Value: £500,000

Minimum Value: £10,000

Find out more: http://www.the-lep.com/for-business/business-finance/lep-grants/

5: Leeds City Region LEP Skills Service

Who can access grants and what can the money be used for?

Does your business suffer from a skills gap?

If you’re based in the Leeds City Region and employ less than 250 people, your business could apply for up to £50,000 or LEP skills funding – as long as you can pay at least 50% of the cost of the training.

In return, you’ll benefit from having better-trained staff who will be able to help your business grow and develop.

Funding Body: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)

Maximum Value: £50,000

Minimum Value: £500

Find out more: http://www.the-lep.com/for-business/skills-and-training/lep-skills-service/

6: Let’s Grow North & East Yorkshire

Who can access grants and what can the money be used for?

Let’s Grow is a £4m Regional Growth Fund programme that promotes the expansion, modernisation and diversification of businesses located within North & East Yorkshire.

Funding is available to encourage firms to set up new establishments in these areas, particularly small and medium businesses.

However, only 25% of the eligible project expenditure is available in the form of grants and projects that qualify must be completed by March 2017.

Funding Body: BE Group

Maximum Value: £1,000,000

Minimum Value: £25,000

Application Deadline: 31/12/2016

Find out more: http://www.be-group.co.uk/services/commercial-development-programmes/lets-grow-programmes/lets-grow-north-east-yorkshire/

7: The Key Fund

Who can access grants and what can the money be used for?

As a social enterprise company, The Key Fund provides access to finance for community interest companies and business which improve the lives of the communities they serve in the North of England.

That means you have to be a limited company, community interest company, community benefit society, co-operative or charitable incorporated organisation to be eligible for this avenue of social finance.

They are particularly keen to hear from established community-based organisations wanting to expand and grow, or businesses which need financial help to improve the way they serve the community.

Funding Body: The Key Fund

Maximum Value: £150,000

Minimum Value: There is no minimum value

Find out more: http://thekeyfund.co.uk/

8: The Business Enterprise Fund

Who can access grants and what can the money be used for?

More commonly known as BEF, the Business Enterprise Fund is a social enterprise which lends money to Yorkshire-based businesses that are unable to borrow from banks.

By taking calculated risks on small and medium businesses with poor credit ratings, they support and invest in the future of the region’s economy, including sole traders, start-ups and established companies.

Funding Body: BEF

Maximum Value: £150,000

Minimum Value: There is no minimum value

Find out more: http://www.befund.org/about-us/

9. Leeds City Region Social Impact Accelerator

Who can access grants and what can the money be used for?

Open to ‘regulated’ social enterprises only, this scheme is designed to provide flexibly structured loan finance to ambitious social projects in the Leeds City Region.

The borrowing available ranges from £200,000 to £1million as long as it will support activities that deliver substantial impact.

Grants can be used for investment in staff, marketing, the development of new products or services, to assist with strategic asset purchases or to cover overheads where the activity will deliver identified revenue growth.

Funding Body: Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership

Maximum Value: £1,000,000

Minimum Value: £200,000

Find out more: http://www.the-lep.com/for-business/business-finance/social-impact-accelerator/

10. Yorkshire Association of Business Angels (YABA)

Who can access grants and what can the money be used for?

A member of the UK Business Angels Association, YABA helps introduce its growing network of 140 private equity investors with start-ups, turnaround opportunities and growth stage businesses that are seeking finance.

As a provider of vital but high-risk funding in the early stages of business, investments of up to £300,000 can be made – but the expertise and advice they offer is sometimes worth much more in the long term.

Funding Body: Envestors Limited

Maximum Value: £300,000

Minimum Value: £10,000

Find out more: http://www.yaba.org.uk/

Get your free Growth Plan consultation now!

Northern Accountants might not offer business grants, but we are always keen to help companies in our region make more money – which is why we offer a free GrowthPlan consultation to any SME business owner.

To learn where you can improve your margins and reduce your costs, get in touch or call 0113 2189552 for more details.

To get involved in our business grants Leeds list, email savetax@northernaccountants.co.uk and we’ll add the details.