South West Enterprise Fund – Business Grants
This is a new grant programme in partnership with the South West Enterprise Fund (https://www.swef.uk/about) which helps young people from Wiltshire and Swindon develop their business idea.
Grants of up to £2000 are available to help start a new business or, if it has been trading for no more than 2 years, help a business expand or become more sustainable. Grants can be used towards the cost of capital items such as the purchase of stock, equipment, or materials or towards running costs such as rent or bills. The grant cannot be used for salaries, to pay any existing debt or household bills.
To be eligible to apply, you need to:
• Be aged 18 to 30
• Live in Wiltshire or Swindon
• Planning to start your own business within the next 6 months or running your own business which has been trading for no more than 2 years
• Without easy access to other sources of finance
Applications will be open all year round and will be considered periodically throughout the year.
We prioritise applications from groups that are often underrepresented in business, including people on low incomes, women, migrants, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, people with few or no formal qualifications.
Guidance on completing the form
• These guidance notes will help you complete your application. If you are using a mobile phone, we recommend you rotate the phone to landscape, this will allow you to see the full questions and answer fields.
• You do not have to complete the application form in one go. If you wish to leave the form and come back to it at another time, remember to press the ‘Save as Draft’ button at the bottom of the form. Use the link we emailed to you to come back to the form
• If you would like to apply in a different format i.e. filmed presentation, a podcast that showcases your business and answers the application form questions please contact us.
If you find anything unclear or confusing or would like to talk to us, call us on 01380 738985 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This section will collect your contact details and allows you to tell us about yourself:
• Please tell us about yourself – provide a brief paragraph which includes where you grew up, where you went to school, what have you done since you left school, what qualifications you hold.
• What are you currently doing – provide a brief paragraph to tell us what you are currently doing e.g. if are you still in education, tell us where and what qualifications you are studying; if you are working, tell us where and how many hours you work each week; if you are unemployed, tell us how long you have been out of work and if you are claiming any benefits.
• Tell us about anything particular in your background, including your economic background, which would help us to understand any challenges you have faced or still face – you don’t have to answer this question if none of these things describe you. If you do answer it, then what you write will help us understand your circumstances and any challenges you may have faced e.g. if you or someone in your home has a disability or additional need, or you come from a low income family claiming benefits etc.
Business and Grant Request
This section allows you to tell us about your business. If you have a business plan which you think answers all of questions, please attach a copy with your application and can leave the business questions blank.
You will need to answer the following questions about the grant you are requesting and provide a budget detailing how you will spend the money. Tell us:
• How much grant are you applying for
• Why you need this grant, include where the other funds you need to start or grow your business will come from
• How will this grant help you start your business or improve/sustain/grow the one you are already running
• What time and money have you already put into the business
You don’t need to put anything in this part of the form unless you wish to do so. However, you can use this section if you wish to explain, clarify or add any additional information to support your application and why you need the grant.
As well as completing the form, we also need you to provide the following documents. You can upload them as attachments using the ‘Supporting Evidence – Add Documents’ section in your online application:
1. Proof of identity – driving licence, passport, birth certificate
2. Proof of Wiltshire address – driving licence, bank statement, bill
3. Evidence of your current income – benefit statement, recent payslip
4. Evidence of your business – business plan or if you have already started your business – evidence of trading e.g. premises rental agreement, recent invoice, accounts if trading for 1yr +
What happens after I have submitted my application?
1. Initial assessment – when we have received your application, we will check it is complete and eligible. If you have not submitted all the supporting documents, we will contact you, usually by email and ask you to send them to us.
2. Meeting – we may invite you to a meeting where you will be able to tell us more about your business. The meeting will usually take place online with 2 people, a member of staff from Wiltshire Community Foundation and someone from the South West Enterprise Fund.
3. Award – if you are awarded a grant you will be asked to accept the terms and conditions of the award and the grant will be paid directly to you by BACS. You will need to spend the funds within 1 year.
4. After the award – we will contact you, usually at 6 and 12 months after you received the grant to find out how your business is progressing. You will also have the opportunity to take part in a business forum with other businesses that have been awarded a grant. The forum offers a space to share, exchange ideas, experiences and learn.