Regional Growth Fund: a guide for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
Regional Growth Fund programmes
Regional Growth Fund programmes are schemes run by national or local organisations which have been awarded Regional Growth Fund cash to offer grants and/or loans to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Over £1 billion has been made available to SMEs through Regional Growth Fund programmes and over 3,500 SMEs have received cash from the Fund via Regional Growth Fund programmes.
Millions of pounds of government funding is now available for eligible SMEs to:
- invest and strengthen their business
- create or protect jobs
- build on creativity
Application criteria for Regional Growth Fund programmes
Each Regional Growth Fund programme will have specific criteria for applications and you will need to check this when you apply.
In general terms, SMEs applying for a grant or loan must:
- be based in England
- want to strengthen, consolidate or grow their business
- create or protect jobs
- be investing private capital
- be unable to find funding elsewhere for the application
- be state aid compliant
To apply for Regional Growth Fund support for your business you will need to contact the programmes in your area to see if you are eligible.
Finding a live Regional Growth Fund programme in your area
- D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership
- Derby City Council
- Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP)
- Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP)
- Nottingham City Council on behalf of (Nottingham Technology Grant Fund Group)
East of England
- Cavendish Consortium / Barclays – Ready for Business
- CDFA wholesale loan fund
- CfEL - Business Angels
- Close Brothers Asset Finance
- Grant Thornton / ‘GROW: Offshore Wind’ - Opportunities for Manufacturers
- Finance For Industry Limited
- Fredericks Foundation
- HSBC / Asset finance scheme
- Lloyds Banking Group (Lloyds TSB Bank plc, Bank of Scotland plc and Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance Limited)
- Santander UK
- The GAMMA Programme
- The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (Lombard)
- UK Steel Enterprise Limited
- Arch (Commercial Enterprise) Ltd
- Business Acceleration for SMEs (BASME) Programme
- Business & Enterprise Commercial on behalf of BE Group, Trinity Mirror and UNW LLP (Let’s Grow)
- Tees Valley Unlimited
- Britain’s Energy Coast
- Economic Solutions Ltd
- Greater Manchester LEP / Pipeline
- Lancashire Business View - The Fuse Fund
- Business Growth Grant / Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership
- Regenerate Pennine Lancashire
- Wirral Business Growth Grant
- Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership AMSCI (administered by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council)
- Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership
- North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce & Industry (NSCCI)
Yorkshire and The Humber
- Bradford City Centre Business Growth Scheme
- Humber Local Enterprise Partnership
- Leeds City Region LEP Business Growth Programme
- North Lincolnshire Council (Tata)
- Sheffield City Region LEP
Further programme details
Descriptions, eligibility criteria and contact details (where known) for the above programmes are available in the spreadsheet below.
Other funding schemes
A list of additional government support is provided below:
- Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) - this is a loan guarantee scheme which assists additional lending to SMEs who are considered viable and eligible but which lack adequate security or a proven track record for a normal commercial loan
- Start-up loans – this scheme assists entrepreneurs aged between 18 to 30 living in England and looking for finance to start a business
- Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) – this scheme aims to encourage investment in small and early stage companies by giving tax breaks to investors and if you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner this site will show you how you can raise money for your company by accessing SEIS investments
- UK Export Finance (also known as the Export Credits Guarantee Department) is the UK’s official export credit agency - it provides government assistance to exporters and investors, principally in the form of insurance policies and guarantees on bank loans
You may also wish to visit the government’s finance finder for more information on what is available: Business finance support finder.
Regional Growth Fund National Audit Office (NAO) report update
The NAO report rightly recognises the steps we’ve taken to strengthen RGF by improving its governance and getting money into the hands of businesses more quickly to support economic growth.
RGF is working. Over £2.6 billion of RGF investment has now been allocated to 400 local projects and programmes which is unlocking nearly £15 billion of private investment and delivering 550,000 jobs. RGF programmes amongst these awards have supported over 3,000 SMEs.
RGF money is drawn down by businesses at the rate agreed with Department of Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) that is right for their projects. If we had pushed money at businesses faster than they wanted it, government would have been rightly criticised and in breach of Government Accounting Rules that forbids funding ahead of need. The NAO has actually praised the assessment process applied to each bid for support, and the rate at which funds are issued are a product of that process.
The challenge we face in the coming financial year - our peak year budget-wise, with a £1.4 billion budget - is to ensure grant recipients stick to their plans, achieve the milestones we have jointly set and draw down funds at the predicted pace. We have an excellent team of monitoring officers across England who are working with businesses to ensure this happens.
For further updates please follow the RGF twitter account at https://twitter.com/RGFGrowthFund
If you are interested in any of the live programmes listed on this page you should contact the respective programme leads directly. They will be able to discuss with you whether you are eligible and suitable for their programme.
If you experience any difficulties making contact with the programmes please contact the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Regional Growth Fund Team, email: email@example.com