Enterprising Worcestershire Start-Up Grant

People sat around a table with a laptop and a cup

Enterprising Worcestershire Start-Up Grant

Boost your start-up with support from our grant funding!

The Enterprising Worcestershire Grant Fund offers grants from £1,000 up to a maximum of £15,000. In addition to our usual grants, we are thrilled to announce, we have a small number of £30,000 grants for a limited time only! The same application process applies. Grant-funded projects must be completed and claimed by 31 May 2023.

The grants are match funded and will provide 40% of the total cost of a project meaning 60% is to be funded by the SME. 

What can the grant be used for?

The grant can be used to fund a variety of investments and one-off costs such as:

  • New IT equipment
  • Machinery
  • Marketing collateral
  • Website design
  • Consultancy advice 


To qualify your business must be:

  • situated in and trading from Worcestershire 
  • an SME as defined by the EU i.e. 
  • employ fewer than 250 employees 
  • have a turnover of less than the equivalent of 50 million Euros per annum 
  • have or an annual balance sheet of less than 43 million Euro 
  • trade predominantly business to business i.e. a minimum of 70% B2B 
  • meet EU De Minimis criteria i.e. have not received 200,000 euros of state aid over 3 years 
  • Trading for less than 36 months at the point of application 
  • Organisations must be able to provide evidence of the availability of funding for the project (60% provided by SME)

Want to find out more about start-up grants and apply?

Email our team today ew@worcestershire.gov.uk

What businesses have had to say about the programme

What businesses have had to say about the programme

 Jo Wyatt, owner of English Genius

“I would strongly recommend any early-stage business to apply for funding through the Enterprising Worcestershire Programme, if needed. The funding covers a wide variety of purchases which would be applicable to businesses in most industries” 

& people standing in a group

 Ben Hewitt, Finance Director of Apogee

“The funding has been used to further strengthen our marketing presence, enabling us to support even more companies with their R&D Tax Credit applications. We’re very grateful for the support of Enterprising Worcestershire and we would definitely recommend.”

Case Study One - Smile Box

Employee wellbeing and mental health are hot topics right now, but it can be challenging for businesses to find the best ways to engage with their teams, particularly on a low budget.

Donna Fisher, believes doing the right thing by telling staff you care shouldn’t cost the earth, and this is the premise behind her recently launched start-up, Smile-Box. Providing ‘care boxes’ containing a variety of sustainably sourced treats, a Smile-Box is a way for employers to let their staff know that their health and wellbeing is important to them, increasing staff motivation and retention along the way.

Two women standing behind a table with boxes on the table in front of them

Based in Redditch, Worcestershire, Donna sought advice from the business support team at Enterprising Worcestershire to help get her business off the ground

“I really wanted to get Smile-Box business off to a strong start,” she says, “but I had concerns about the start-up costs that would be involved in launching my new business. I was pleased to see that Enterprising Worcestershire’sthe Start-up Grant that was available could to help me out with some of the expenditure and the challenges around launching my product range and marketing my new business."

Donna knew that presenting her range in a professional manner was critical to her success

“I knew tasks such as getting high quality photography for my products were very important. The grant covered the costs for this and also provided funding for marketing brochures, web design and prototyping.”

The grant application process was also a positive experience for the new business owner

“The grant application was seamless and easy. What’s more, the team at Enterprising Worcestershire were always on hand to offer advice and help if I had a query. They had a genuine interest in my business and a desire to see me succeed which meant a lot. I’ve applied for grants elsewhere before and this was by far the best experience.”

A women putting items into a box stood at a table.

The support received from the grant funding had an almost instant impact on Smile-Box, resulting in a very successful first year of trading, leading to expansion plans for year two

“The support from the Start-up Grant has had a massive impact on my business,” says Donna. “I wouldn’t have been able to afford some of these expenses without funding. I have been able to recruit staff and provide essential equipment like laptops, desks, and storage for our warehouse area. It has also allowed me to promote our services, to help maximise sales.”

Donna is full of praise for the grant-funding programme and the support she has received

“This experience has been incredibly beneficial and provided me with a successful start to my business. Without this help I wouldn’t be where I am now,” she says. 

“My advice to any local businesses considering the programme is to apply now – you won’t regret it! And if you’re not sure whether you’re eligible for support, reach out to the team for advice – they are so friendly and helpful, they will guide you all the way.”

Enterprising Worcestershire offer a variety of support options to enable start-up and early-stage enterprises to develop and thrive. The support includes start-up workshops, business coaching, specialist high-growth consultancy support and grant funding to help take your business ideas to the next level.  

The programme is just one of a range of comprehensive business support programmes offered by Worcestershire County Council for businesses at different stages of their development, from pre-starts to large established businesses. 

Case Study Two - Trainer Armour

Have you ever looked at a pair of recently purchased trainers in dismay, as they are already sporting a hole in the fabric near your big toe?  You’re not alone! The cause of this problem is a bona fide medical condition called ‘hyperextension of the distal phalanx’ which is surprisingly common.

Andy Chancellor, from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, was one of those affected. “My job at the time involved lots of physical activity, and I found I was being hit with a recurring problem …  a hole in my trainers just above the big toe area, after about 3 months. It was costing me a fortune!”

Out of curiosity, Andy tried to find a solution to the problem but found that there wasn’t a product available that could help. Working full-time, Andy would not normally have had the time to explore this further, but with the advent of the first Lockdown his business was forced to close, and he found himself with time on his hands. 

With a background in product design, he set about creating a prototype product to help solve the problem.  After receiving positive feedback from those he showed it to, he felt confident enough to enrol on the Enterprising Worcestershire High Growth Activate programme, where he discussed his invention with the advisors. 

He began to realise that an investment in his business at this early stage could really help accelerate his progress, and he was quickly signposted towards the Enterprising Worcestershire Start-up grant. The team worked with him to navigate the grant funding process, helping him to identify where the grant funding could have the most impact.

“At the beginning, it was easy for a team of two to manage everything,” says Andy. “However, it was clear that working from the kitchen table was not a sustainable long-term plan. Using the support I received on the programme, I applied for grant funding to create a proper office space with suitable IT equipment and infrastructure”. 

“In addition, with my projected growth figures, I also needed to increase the number of employees within the business, and the grant funding has paid for the extra equipment required to get them up and running.”

Sometimes, applying for grant funding can be a complicated, drawn-out process - but this was not the case for Andy  

“Sue Bailey at Enterprising Worcestershire made sure that I always had appropriate support which ensured that the process progressed smoothly,” he says.

The future is looking bright for Trainer Armour.  Now a team of four, the business has ambitious growth plans

“Trainer Armour sales have grown significantly over the last year and will continue to grow over the foreseeable future. However, there are dangers in being a one product business. Therefore, it is important for us to develop new products – but this takes time.  

An additional benefit of the Start-up Grant funding is that our recruits can assist with the day-to-day activities, freeing up my time to concentrate on developing new products. I am pleased to say that products 2, 3 and 4 are on the way.

As a small start-up, we are agile and able to react to opportunities quickly. We are now actively following up on distribution leads in mainland Europe and Australia.”

As for recommending the Start-up Grant Funding to other business owners, Andy could not be more encouraging

“Some business owners might find the process a bit daunting, especially whilst also trying to run your business, however the long-term potential gain from the grant funding makes it all worthwhile. I would recommend it to anyone.” 

Enterprising Worcestershire offer a variety of support options to enable start-up and early-stage enterprises to develop and thrive. The support includes start-up workshops, business coaching, specialist high-growth consultancy support and grant funding to help take your business ideas to the next level.  

The programme is just one of a range of comprehensive business support programmes offered by Worcestershire County Council for businesses at different stages of their development, from pre-starts to large established businesses. 

Enterprising Worcestershire hears from Smile Box

Optimec Metrology - Enterprising Worcestershire Grant video

The scheme will enable SMEs to establish and grow whilst making a positive contribution to the Worcestershire economy and employment rates across the County by creating more sustainable SME’s. Building on the success of the previous program, the maximum grant fund has been considerably increased allowing SMEs to make a much more significant investment.

For all the latest information follow the #EnterprisingWorcs on LinkedIn and Twitter 

The Enterprising Worcestershire Project is receiving up to £2,212,296.45 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit European Growth Funding page (GOV.UK)

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