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Innovative Sector Exchange (ISE) Project

The new Innovative Sector Exchange (ISE) project is part financed by the EU Funded Interreg 5A 2 Seas Programme.

It will provide support to Kent businesses helping them innovate and internationalise through partnering and collaborating with new contacts in France, Belgium & the Netherlands. The project runs from 2016 to 2019.

Who can take part in the ISE project?

SMEs in Kent which are keen to innovate and to internationalise their business. The project will focus on supporting companies from the following sectors:

  • Agri-Food
  • Digital & Creative
  • New Materials
  • Mechatronics (engineering)

Find Out More

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Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme

Full fibre broadband connections offer the fastest and most reliable speeds available, and the government is committed to a vision of a full fibre Britain. As part of this commitment, in March 2018 the £67m Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme was announced.

Vouchers can be used by small businesses and the local communities surrounding them to contribute to the installation cost of a capable connection. One gigabit is the same as 1,000 megabits – so it’s a big leap forward in connection speeds that could benefit you and your business into the future. Full fibre also supports symmetrical connections – meaning your upload and download speeds can be the same.

Find Out More

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British Business Bank – Start Up Loan

When you’re trying to start a business, finance can be the key to getting your idea off the ground. But often it can be difficult to find, with lenders sometimes reluctant to serve riskier, early-stage ventures. For those without personal savings or contributions from friends, families or associates to draw on, the result is at best a slow and unsteady start, and at worst no start at all.

That’s why the British Business Bank, through its partner the Start Up Loan company is funding loans of up to £25,000 – available to entrepreneurs, in addition to mentoring and advice, to ensure budding businesses get the best start in life.

Find Out More


Pre Applications Open – Innovation Investment Loan Fund (i3)

The Innovation Investment Loan (i3) is supported by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund.

The scheme primarily offers 0% loans between £250,000 and £999,999 to small and medium sized businesses with the potential for high growth, ability to create new jobs and demonstrate innovation within their sector/business.

Businesses from the Ashford, Canterbury, Dartford, Dover, Gravesham, Maidstone, Medway, Sevenoaks, Shepway, Swale, Thanet, Tonbridge & Malling and Tunbridge Wells local authority areas are invited to apply.

Loans can be used to develop new or expand existing innovative products, services or processes, will lead to new jobs, deliver innovation and business growth.

Find Out More


KEEP+ Capital Grants & Revenue Funding for 3rd Party Consultancy Services

KEEP+ Capital Grants, Consultancy and Innovation Internships

In addition to providing funding for SMEs to collaborate with academic institutions, also on offer are stand-alone grants for equipment purchases, consultancy costs and internship placements.


  • KEEPs (Knowledge Exchange and Embed Partnerships)
    (shorter – Knowledge Transfer Partnerships)
  • KEEP R & I Collaboration
  • Innovation Internships
  • 50% match-funded Capital Grants for Equipment purchases (max £12,499)
  • Grants to pay for consultancy and business support services (50% of cost of supply)

End date: December 2019
Contact: Linda Hyder l.hyder@gre.ac.uk

To find out more about how the programme can help your business, contact the team or your local delivery partner.

Find Out More

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Rural LEADER Funding

Are you a rural business owner or have a land based enterprise in Kent seeking to develop a new project that will strengthen and grow your business?

Then you’ll be pleased to know that you may be eligible for funding under The LEADER Development Program for England. This is a great opportunity for you to obtain funding to help you realise your growth plans benefiting not only your business and yourself, but also the wider rural area in which you live.

Funding is available to rural businesses, farmers, foresters, growers and landowners to develop projects that will assist, strengthen and develop their businesses and the local area.

Funding is available in the following 3 geographical locations:

  1. East Kent Leader will cover the rural areas of Thanet, Canterbury, Dover, Swale (East of and including Faversham) and Shepway (north of the Romney marshes).
  2. Kent Downs and Marshes Leader will cover the rural areas of Ashford, Maidstone, Medway, Swale (west of Faversham), and the Romney Marshes.
  3. West Kent Leader covers the rural areas of Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, and part of rural Gravesham.

These areas have been defined by economic coherence and existing partnerships rather than administrative boundaries.

If you’re about to embark on a growth project that fits the Rural LEADER Funding criteria and you would like to find out if you are eligible for funding then you can contact the Rural Leader Program Manager in your area as follows:

West Kent Leader: caroline.lingham@sevenoaks.gov.uk  – 01732 227282

Kent Downs and Marshes Leader: huw.jarvis@kent.gov.uk – 03000 417104

East Kent Leader: huw.jarvis@kent.gov.uk – 03000 417104

The absolute deadline for all funding applications is October 2018.

Read about some of the local people, businesses and projects that have received funding in the past: Jane Bowyer, owner of Canterbury Cheesemakers Nick Waldron, master craftsman, carpenter and joiner and Mike Gillman, owner of the Log Barn.

Find Out More


Utilise Plus Programme

The Utilise Plus Programme offers a range of services: grant funding, events, workshops and fully-funded energy audits, for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) throughout England. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), supported by the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, and delivered by the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC.


Grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 to cover up to one-third of the cost of best practice energy efficiency projects.

Find out more.

If your organisation is not eligible for the Utilise Plus programme, find out more about our other grant schemes.

Energy Audits

An analysis of energy consumption, which can include a robust audit of the premises. This identifies measures to reduce energy use, costs and carbon emissions.

Find out more.

Energy Saving Workshops

These half-day, practical sessions explore both quick-win and longer term energy efficiency measures.

Find out more.


A varied events programme to build energy efficiency awareness and knowledge, and enable networking with like-minded organisations, is currently in development. These will take place throughout the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership region.

Case Study visits offer an insight into organisations that have implemented energy efficiency measures, from basic to best practice, to share their successes and issues. Business Breakfasts allow for knowledge-building and networking with expert speakers and real life case studies.

Find out more.

Case Studies

Read about SMEs who have benefitted from similar grants and business support here.


  • Save money
  • Reduce carbon emissions
  • Increase productivity
  • Improve competitiveness
  • Reduce risk
  • Enhance staff loyalty
  • And more!



To find out more about the services on offer:
Email: info@sustainablebusiness.org.uk
Tel: 01273 964239

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Manufacturing Growth Programme

We Believe in Supporting and Driving Growth in Local Economies

Supporting SME Manufacturers to grow by identifying, understanding and removing barriers to growth and enabling sustainable business improvement.

Providing free advice and support to manufacturing SMEs to help:

  • Identify opportunities and create plans for growth and improvement
  • Work with the best external experts to implement those plans
  • Cover up to 35% of the cost of implementing the plans through an improvement grant
  • Connect to wider support to maximise opportunities for growth

Specialist Manufacturing Growth Managers provide free advice and support to businesses in the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, parts of the East Midlands and East of England.

By joining the Manufacturing Growth Programme you can benefit from:

  • Insight into the risks, issues and opportunities that face your business for improvement and growth
  • Understanding of what needs to be done to make practical improvements
  • Work with new expertise to bring about real developments
  • Reduced cost, helping you make the changes you need sooner and cheaper

Find Out More

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South East Business Boost – South East of England

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) focuses on supporting business competitiveness, creating jobs, investment in research and innovation, and the low carbon economy. South East Business Boost is an ERDF funded project.

South East Business Boost is an ‘enhanced’ business support service for SMEs, providing in-depth, specialist business support activities tailored to meet the individual needs of different business communities. The programme will offer targeted and bespoke 1:2:1 and 1:2:many support activities, workshops and events, provision of a grants programme, and the development of ‘super local’ business networks.

Business support and guidance is available to all stages of business (including those not yet trading). Growth grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 are only available to eligible trading businesses. The grant can fund up to 30% of the total cost of goods or services related to increasing sales, improving productivity and increasing profitability.

The South East Business Boost is available to small and medium business based in 
, Rother, 
Eastbourne, Gravesham, 
Thanet , Shepway, 
, Tunbridge Wells, 
Tonbridge and Malling, 
, Ashford Borough, 
, Tendring, 
Epping Forest, 
Basildon District, 
Brentwood Borough, 
, Castle Point, 
Uttlesford or 
Harlow, with up to a maximum of 250 employees.

Find out more

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Fredericks Foundation

Fredericks Foundation are a responsible finance provider with a bias towards helping those who have been turned down by high street banks and are struggling to find finance elsewhere to support their start up business.

They lend up to £10,000 for start-up businesses and £20,000 for growth opportunities and they also provide FREE post loan mentoring for all our customers.

They have funds to lend throughout the UK but currently have a special focus on Bath, Bristol, Hants, Mendip, South Gloucestershire, Surrey, Kent, Cornwall, Northampton, Cambridge and Lincolnshire.

Applications should be made via their web site, visit the Fredericks Foundation here: www.fredericksfoundation.org