Small Firms Loan Guarantee scheme offers 70% guaranteed loans from £5000 to £100,000 for 2-10 years (85% and up to £250,000 if the company has been trading for more than two years) for firms that have a viable business proposition but have failed to get a conventional loan because of a lack of security. The firm pays a 1.5% premium a year on the outstanding amount of the loan, which is reduced to 0.5% if taken at a fixed interest rate. Contact the Small Business Service Loan Guarantee Unit on 01142-597308/9.

Smart Feasibility Studies Grant Up to £45,000 is available to individuals or businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The grant is aimed at those who need funding to bring up a product/process up to prototype stage.

Smart Micro Project Award offers grants of up to £10,000 to help individuals and micro-firms (under 10 employees) fund the development of low-cost prototypes of products or processes that are technologically innovative. Contact Smart in England through Business Links on 08456-009006 or

Enterprise Grant offers a maximum of £75,000 – either 7.5% or 15% of the capital costs for projects that are typically too small to qualify for Regional Selective Assistance. Contact 08456-009006 or

Regional Selective Assistance A discretionary scheme aimed at attracting investment and creating / safeguarding jobs in low-income areas of the UK.