Funding & Advice

Access the funding and advice you need to make the most out of an opportunity or an idea to grow your business.

Basildon for Business - Basildon Business Group (BBG)

The Basildon Business Group (BBG) is a private-sector led business group who provide the voice of local business to Basildon Council, identifying the needs and requirements to boost the borough's economy.

In addition to providing an effective channel of communication between the business community and Basildon Council, BBG works to help identify opportunities, assist in the promotion of the borough and to provide support to business. BBG meets quarterly with Basildon Council to steer programmes of activity that help drive the economy forward in Basildon, Billericay, Laindon, Pitsea and Wickford.

BBG projects and initiatives:

COVID-19 Additional Restrictions Grant (discretionary scheme)

The COVID-19 Additional Restrictions Grant discretionary scheme to help businesses which have had to close, or been able to trade but have been severely affected by the COVID-19 restrictions, regardless of whether they pay business rates. Businesses that are eligible for an Additional Restrictions Grant include, but are not limited to:

Eligible businesses must also:

Kickstart Scheme grant

If you're an employer looking to create jobs for young people, you can apply for funding as part of the Kickstart Scheme.The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new jobs for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

Employers can spread the job start dates up until 31 December 2021. You’ll get funding until 30 June 2022 if a young person starts their job on 31 December 2021. 


KEEP+ is a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme that will enable your business to achieve its goals for growth by helping you overcome barriers to innovation.The purpose of the KEEP+ programme is to support business investment in research and innovation (R&I) and to foster collaboration between business and the higher education sector.

By connecting your small to medium sized enterprise (SME) to academic expertise and graduate talent the KEEP+ programme will help give a boost to your business by supplying the research and development support needed to help you launch new products and services. 


The Manufacturing Growth Programme provides free advice and support funding to SMEs in the manufacturing sector.  

The Manufacturing Growth Programme can help:


The Manufacturing Growth programme will provide:


Is your business a small or medium enterprise (SME) that would like to dip its toe into export waters but you are worried that the costs may not be totally affordable? - Get Exporting 2 is here to help.

Backed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and delivered by the Department for International Trade (DiT), Get Exporting 2 is a tailored programme which can provide match funding (50/50) up to £3000 to help you explore your chosen market and find the partners you need to succeed. Alternatively if your route to market is through your online web presence, the Get Exporting 2 programme can help you to internationalise your website and get your products onto e-commerce platforms in other countries across the world. 

LoCASE  (Low Carbon Across the South and East)

The Low Carbon Across the South East (LoCASE) programme is supported by the European Regional Development Fund to provide a free business support programme in the South East. Its aim is to help businesses become more competitive and profitable while protecting the environment and encouraging low carbon solutions.


To do this, LoCASE provides grants for businesses of up to £10,000 as well as training workshops and fully funded events. Targeted business support is on offer for companies who offer “green” or low carbon goods and services. Further information can be found on the services page of just how this works.Some welcome good news for Kent, Essex and East Sussex firms!

We are delighted to announce that we have had our follow on programme approved by Government. This means that we’ll again soon be in a position to help our SMEs with grant funding (including those we’ve helped previously) right up until Spring 2023. This can be standard SMEs in the region who are looking at ‘green’ projects or LCEGS firms seeking grant funding for business development purposes, especially pertinent through COVID-19 adaptation. Maximum 40% ERDF grant contributions will remain at a limit of £10K with the minimum grant of £1K for qualifying projects. There’s going to be plenty of funding available to help our SMEs in this difficult transition time. We have worked hard behind the scenes to try to adapt and streamline our delivery and processes to best suit this increasingly digital world but there will still be real people to talk to and assist in your locality! 

TALE - Transport and Logistical Efficiencies is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by the Haven Gateway Partnership.

The TALE project supports SMEs in the Logistics sector to better understand and analyse their data to increase their efficiency.  It also helps them to understand cyber security and the implications on their data.  Specialist expertise is provided by the University of Essex and University of Kent.


SMEs are able to book a 1 to 1 free data assessment: to get a diagnostic support plan to identify opportunities on better data use opportunities.  TALE also offers free workshops on topics in the field of data exploitation: for latest dates please visit Events.Funding contributions (40% of the total value of your business case, non-repayable cash) can be spent to implement your company's growth plans, for example starting a new service, buying software or employing a data specialist.

Backing Essex Business

Fully-funded by Essex County Council and delivered by Let’s Do Business Group, Backing Essex Business (Formerly Back to Business Essex) is here to support business growth across the county, promoting economic growth and creating jobs.

The Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) launched on 6 April 2021 and supports access to finance for UK businesses as they recover and grow following the Covid-19 pandemic. RLS aims to help businesses affected by Covid-19 and can be used for business purposes, including, managing cash flow, investment, and growth. It is designed to support businesses that can afford to take out additional finance for these purposes. Businesses who have taken out a CBILS, CLBILS or BBLS facility are able to access the new scheme without impacting upon that borrowing.A key aim of the Recovery Loan Scheme is to improve the terms on offer to businesses, but if we can offer a business the choice of a commercial loan on better terms, without requiring the guarantee provided by the RLS, then we will do so.The Scheme will run until 31 December 2021, subject to review. 

University of Essex

Our expertise can help innovate your business. The University of Essex has a successful track record of delivering innovative and disruptive projects with industry. From award-winning Knowledge Transfer.

Partnerships to consultancy and contract research, we're sharing our expertise and innovating business. You don't need a detailed brief when you approach us - simply bring us the issues you're facing and we'll pinpoint the expertise you need, cost the project, and help you find the right solution. We're in the top 25 for research quality in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and our KTP team is ranked as the third best support team in the UK. 

Get funding

Up to £10k for projects in any field. Innovation vouchers can provide your small or medium-sized business with funding to engage with our university expertise, with the opportunity to foster a long-term partnership. Funds pay for our academic experts to provide you with tailored consultancy.

Innovation for Business Funding

Get up to £100,000 per project through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership.  Innovate UK are looking for ambitious businesses who want to make a clear strategic step and address a significant challenge. Our KTP programme can give your business a competitive advantage. 

University innovation vouchers

SMEs can get University of Essex innovation vouchers (.pdf) worth up to £10,000 to start working with us. This could go towards scoping and developing a new product, staff training, or stimulating growth. Contact us and we'll guide you through the application process. Your application will be reviewed by our business panel, and if accepted, you can reclaim costs of up to £10,000 once your project is complete. We assess applications based on the scope and value of the project, and on the potential of you working with us in the future.

Data analytics innovation vouchers

These vouchers can help if your business needs academic expertise to help you understand your data, and if you have fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of less than £25.9 million. You may have a specific data project you want to tackle, or you may want to up-skill your analysts. We'll guide you through the application process when you contact us. You can get up to two data analytics vouchers a year, for a maximum of three years. These vouchers are funded by the ESRC, through our ESRC Business and Local Government Data Research Centre. Our Institute for Data Analytics and Data Science also supports businesses by helping to understand and analyse data.

UK Government Start Up Loan

Apply for a government-backed Start Up Loan of £500 to £25,000 to start or grow your business. Unlike a business loan, this is an unsecured personal loan. You’ll get free support and guidance to help write your business plan, and successful applicants get up to 12 months of free mentoring.

Before you start:

To apply for the loan all of the following must apply:

Fees and repayment

Start Up Loans are government-backed and charge a fixed interest rate of 6% per year.You can repay the loan over a period of 1 to 5 years. There’s no application fee and no early repayment fee. 

South East Export Development (SEED)

The Sector Support Fund (SSF) is a £500,000 per year pot to support one-off, discrete pieces of work of a pan-LEP nature with a sector focus that brings demonstrable benefit and has support across the LEP. At the June 2020 meeting a further £1 million was allocated to the SSF programme and it was extended until 31 March 2022 or when the fund is exhausted, whichever is sooner, The criteria was extended to ensure projects act to support the Covid-19 economic recovery and /or support the economy through the EU transition process.

SEED will address known export barriers (lack of international contacts and export knowledge/capacity) through an innovative support programme aimed at SELEP-based companies (product and service-based ‘new-to-export’ companies and existing exporters) in 3 priority sectors with export potential:

Target international markets will be finalised taking into account progress with new trade agreements and the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) latest advice.

Likely focus:

Driving the electric revolution – building talent for the future

Through the Driving the Electric Revolution fund, UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £250,000 for innovative skills, talent, and training projects. This funding is from the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge.


This competition is open to single applicants and collaborations.To lead a project or work alone your organisation must be a UK registered:

Opens: 9 August 2021

Closes: 15 September 2021 

SBRI – Healthy Ageing Social Ventures industrial research

Through the Healthy Ageing Social Ventures Industrial Research Fund, Organisations can apply for a share of £3 million inclusive of VAT to develop products and services to support healthy ageing.


To lead a project, you must:

Contracts will be awarded to a single legal entity only.Opened:19 July 2021Closes: 15 September 2021 

SBRI – Healthy Ageing Social Ventures feasibility studies

Through the Healthy Ageing Social Ventures Feasibility Studies Fund, organisations can apply for a share of £1 million inclusive of VAT to develop products and services to support healthy ageing. 


Contracts will be awarded to a single legal entity only.

Opened: 19 July 2021

Closes: 15 September 2021 

Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): 2021 to 2022, round 3

UK registered academic institutions, RTOs or Catapults can apply for a share of up to £6 million to fund innovation projects with businesses or not-for-profits.


To lead a project your organisation must:

The business must contribute to the project’s costs.

Opened: 5 July 2021

Closes: 29 September 2021 

Biomedical catalyst 2021: early and late stage awards

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £18 million of the Biomedical Catalyst fund to develop innovative healthcare products, technologies, and processes.Eligibility:This competition is open to single applicants and collaborations.To lead a project your organisation must be a UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME).For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under State aid.


Opened: 7 June 2021

Closes: 26 August 2021 


Innovate UK Smart Grants: May 2021

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25 million of the Innovate UK Smart Grants for game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy. This funding is from Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.



This competition is open to single applicants and collaborations. To lead a project your organisation must:

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under State aid.


Opened: 28 May 2021

Closes: 25 August 2021 



ISCF smart sustainable plastic packaging: business-led R&D

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £7 million of the ISCF Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Grants for R&D projects with the potential to significantly impact the 2025 UK Plastic Pact targets. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.



This competition is open to single applicants and collaborations.To lead a project your organisation must be a UK registered business of any size.For more information on company sizes, please refer to the  company accounts guidance. This is a change from the  EU definition unless you are applying under State aid.

Opened: 18 May 2021

Closes: 8 September 2021 


Chelmsford Funded International Businesses Support programme. 

Since the 1st January and under the new Trade and Cooperation agreement (TCA), trading with the EU has proved to be both complex and time-consuming. Businesses are now faced with having to understand and implement new customs procedures and regulations.Through the funding programme Essex Chambers of Commerce will provide Chelmsford businesses who import and export with the much-needed International trade support and guidance required to trade confidently and compliantly. 


To qualify your business must:

  1. Operate in one of the following Post Code areas - CM1, CM2 0, CM2 5, CM2 6, CM2 7, CM2 8, CM2 9, CM3 1, CM3 3, CM3 4, CM3 5, CM3 7, CM3 8, CM3 9, CM4 0, CM4 9, CM5 0SX, CM6 3, CM7 8QL, CM77 7QL, CM9 7UN, CM98 1A, CM99 1A, CM99 1B, CM99 1BQ, CM99 1BS, CM99 2A, CM99 2B, CM99 2D CM99 2E, CM99 2F, CM99 2H, CM99 2U, CM99 2W, CM99 2X, SS11 7
  2. Export and/or import
  3. Not hold a current Essex Chambers Membership

If you qualify for funding you will receive -A full 12 month membership to the ECC and access to all standard benefits and services, including:  

An initial 1-2-1 advisory session with an International Trade Officer, adapted around the need of the business to create a suggested Support Plan. The plan will include:

Access to our Global Business Network including introductions to our key contacts.



Amazon Small Business Accelerator

Amazon Small Business Accelerator is a free, online educational programme for anyone who wants to start a new online business or grow an existing one.

The online learning is tailored to your experience level, with a comprehensive curriculum covering website building, selling online, social media, marketing, managing cashflow, selling on Amazon, and identifying growth opportunities. Not only is the training free, but by taking part you can access events and offers from partners, and join an intensive bootcamp experience.