Small business grants programme specification

Programme aim

The aim of this fund is to increase business growth, productivity, investment and sustainability in North Yorkshire; encouraging micro (less than 10 employees) and small businesses (less than 50 employees) to access wider support, safeguarding jobs and encouraging first-time grant applicants to come forward.

Our ambition is to offer a fund that is innovative in its flexibility and access, and encourages businesses to ‘make one small change’ to thrive and grow.

We are keen to engage with new businesses and/or existing businesses who would benefit and embrace longer-term support from our business advisory teams and those seeking to explore further opportunities and support from across UK shared prosperity fund and other providers.

If your project relates primarily to decarbonisation, reducing emissions to net zero and nature recovery objectives, you may also wish to consider the business sustainability grants programme.

Who can apply?

New and existing businesses with less than 50 staff that are based in North Yorkshire. This includes:

  • sole traders and limited companies from all sectors, including business-to-consumer and business-to-business models - sole traders will need to submit a copy of their last self-assessment submission to HMRC with their pre-application
  • start-up businesses who can demonstrate they are currently trading, for example, a business bank account or a personal bank account that shows business trading activities
  • community interest companies and community enterprises
  • local (resident) property owners and landlords
  • landlords of commercial units and business parks
  • home-based businesses
  • farm businesses diversifying outside of agriculture in a start-up, expansion or scale up capacity, where this involves converting farm buildings into other commercial or business uses - support for farmer-owned businesses is available under the Farming Investment Fund

For projects relating to property, applicants who are tenants, not the property owners, will need to show they have the landlord’s permission for the project and should have been tenants in the project property for at least 18 months. Where planning permission is essential, applicants should demonstrate they have this already and/or have submitted plans.

Application exclusions

  • businesses already in receipt of DEFRA funding schemes for the same project
  • those who do not have their landlords permission for the project
  • applicants who have already received a grant under this programme cannot reapply for more funding until 6 months after the successful completion of their first award - limited to 2 awards per annum
  • applicants with outstanding liabilities to North Yorkshire Council cannot be considered for a business grant - an internal credit check will be completed as part of the application process
  • businesses who are currently pre-start up or not yet trading - businesses with this status will be signposted to specialist help

What will be funded?

Grants will be given for the acquisition of tangible and intangible assets - not running costs or lease/hire purchase costs.  

Assets should be projected to have a lasting impact beyond the lifetime of the project, for example, leading to business expansion, an increase in the number of suppliers or associates, the retention and attraction of staff, new customers, greater business resilience, new products or services, greater business efficiency.

Examples of assets that could be funded include fixed, movable and technological assets, including tools and equipment to develop a new product or service.

Specific examples might be:

  • practical lasting equipment - including hospitality equipment, cleaning equipment, retail showroom improvement, racking, enhanced beauty equipment
  • food manufacturing equipment aimed at diversifying the customer base and/or boosting capacity, such as, food/pallet wrapping machines, automatic batch weighers, separate/enhanced/larger production lines, automated labelling systems.
  • assets associated with farm diversification or boosting tourism, such as, bike racks, bike washing and secure storage facilities to attract cyclists as customers, electric carts for farm site tours, creating music festival venues, pods, yurts and glamping accommodation, dog exercise facilities, provision of crafting spaces and courses
  • technology assets, not limited to overcoming rural connectivity issues, or to making businesses more accessible to customers/e-commerce ready, such as, receivers, PCs, laptops, bespoke software packages (not licences or subscriptions), online/EPOS systems

For a more extensive list of possible projects, please see the example projects information provided by the government.

Funding exclusions

  • grants cannot be used for revenue (running) costs.
  • funding will not be given retrospectively for any purchases made already
  • work previously carried out or costs already incurred are not permitted
  • licences and subscriptions
  • marketing costs
  • undertaking training or offering training services, costs associated with onboarding staff, recruitment services
  • registration with professional bodies, licences and subscriptions of any kind
  • vehicles
  • general website and software upgrades, social media or LinkedIn content
  • recoverable VAT
  • reapplication within a 6-month period

Amount of grant funding available

The overall programme has the capacity to award small grants of between £1,000 and £10,000.  

The grants have been divided into two categories:

  1. Grants of £1,000 are aimed primarily at micro businesses and will not require match funding. Small businesses are not excluded from applying for grants of this size. Applicants will need to complete a  small business grant application form - £1,000 only (docx / 178 KB). The maximum grant available using this form is £1,000. Applications for between £800 and £1,000 can be considered. The total project cost stated in the application must not exceed £1,350 (where the business is providing some match funding towards the project).
  2. Grants over £1,000 and up to a maximum of £10,000 are aimed primarily at small businesses and will require match funding of 25%. Applicants will need to complete a  small business grant application form - £1,000 plus (docx / 198 KB) and send a business plan and cash-flow forecast. Micro businesses are not excluded from applying for grants of this size. The total project cost stated in the application must not exceed £30,000.

All applicants should submit two quotes (screenshots of website prices are fine) and their last two years’ accounts (where available).

Total capital available in 2023 to 2024 will be £450,000

Ongoing evaluation, review and feedback from our work in 2023 to 2024 will inform the programme moving forward and have an influence on the opportunities promoted within this funding programme in 2024 to 2025 (estimated value circa £1 million).

Match funding requirements

No match funding is required for grants of £1,000.

Minimum match funding of 25% is required for grants of over £1,000.

Programme-specific outputs and outcomes that projects should aim for

Projects should aim to achieve some or all of the following objectives:

  • new business started
  • improved business sustainability
  • improved business productivity
  • increased investment
  • adopting new to firm technologies or processes
  • increased exports
  • jobs created and/or safeguarded
  • decarbonisation and reducing emissions to net zero
  • nature recovery objectives
  • value for money and additionality

For projects which have these objectives as the main focus, please apply to our Business sustainability grants programme instead:

  • decarbonisation and reducing emissions to net zero
  • nature recovery objectives

Programme delivery requirements

All works need to be complete and invoiced by 31 March 2024. Failure to claim the grant within this time period may result in the offer of funding being withdrawn.

Programme procurement requirements

Two quotes must be provided for capital items.

Programme monitoring and evaluation requirements

Evaluation will be expected to be completed towards the end of a 6 month period when the grant has had time to impact on practice or progress. A reminder will be sent at this time. The evaluation requirements will be provided within the funding agreement at the point of agreeing to work with the team.

Application appraisal methods and award timescales

  • all application forms will be screened for basic eligibility, for example, alignment with the criteria listed under ‘who can apply?’ section
  • eligible applications will be contacted by a locality Business Adviser in the first instance to start determining the level/type of support needed - they will discuss your project plan and its intended impact on your overall business - a business plan and cash-flow forecast template will be provided for completion (unless a business has these and can discuss)
  • through conversation we will establish if the business would benefit from an offer of wider support
  • grant approvals are expected to be assessed by a grant panel on monthly basis
  • you will be notified thereafter whether your application has been successful or not, and also of any specific terms and conditions associated with any grant awarded
  • if successful, a funding agreement will be sent to you to sign
  • if unsuccessful, we would hope to continue a support role with your business to continue developing ideas and/or funding opportunities
  • payments will be made on project completion or at an agreed point when impact is evident - invoices must be accompanied by certified receipts

Opening date for applications

16 November 2023.

Closing date for applications

New applications to the Small Business Grant scheme have been paused and will reopen in April 2024.

The grants programme has been hugely popular since its launch in November 2023 and has received hundreds of applications, many from first-time grant applicants. We have supported businesses with up to £750,000 so far and learnt lots from the programme which will inform the next phase of the grant scheme. Pausing the scheme allows us to review all existing applications.

We have also seen a significant increase in the number of new and existing businesses keen to access wider business support in addition to the financial grants. Other forms of support, information and advice are still available, more information can be found on the York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub website.

We thank everyone who has applied and worked with us to date and look forward to opening the scheme again in April when have earmarked £1million for Small Business Grants and wider business support. 

Please view our small business grants programme specification for further information on who can apply, what kinds of projects will be funded, and additional delivery requirements.

How to apply

Please complete the appropriate small business grant application form available on the UK Shared Prosperity fund webpage in the 'Boosting Productivity' section. Once completed, please email the application form to

Additional information

Sign up for help and news from the York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub.

To receive our locality business newsletters please contact us.

Businesses ineligible for this programme, including those in a pre-start up state, can also get specialist advice and support from the Growth Hub.

Data protection

Please note that by submitting a pre-application or full application form, you are consenting to any personal data collected being processed by North Yorkshire Council and shared with partners involved in the delivery of UK shared prosperity fund. This includes the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and its contractors. The personal data will be held for the purposes of contacting applicants and assessing applications. You can find out about your data protection and subject access rights on our website.