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Business grants and financial support

Information on grants, loans and alternative routes to funding available for your business.

Financial advice

The Dorset Growth Hub employ a finance specialist. Call 03454 586480 or email to arrange an appointment.

The business and finance support finder (opens in a new window) is a search tool for start-up and existing businesses to help find publicly-backed finance or support schemes.

Business grants

Grant for rural businesses

LEADER is a community led initiative, delivered by Local Action Groups (LAG) that works with the Rural Development Programme to allocate funding to rural business and communities - creating jobs, helping businesses grow and bringing benefits to the rural economy.

There are two LEADER Local Action Groups in Dorset:

Funding can be used to support projects in rural areas which:

  • create jobs
  • help businesses grow, and
  • support the wider rural economy

LEADER can fund capital projects that:

  • increase farm productivity
  • support micro and small businesses and farm diversification
  • support rural tourism
  • provide rural services
  • support cultural and heritage activity
  • increase forestry productivity

If you have a project idea contact the Dorset LEADER Programme Team for more information and to apply.

Grant for start-up businesses in North Dorset

The North Dorset Economic Growth Fund (pdf, 228kb) (opens in a new window) is a small grants scheme for start-up businesses to support economic growth through commercial activity. 

View the  Appraisal criteria (pdf, 205kb) (opens in a new window) before you  apply to the North Dorset Economic Growth Fund (word, 40kb) (opens in a new window).

North Dorset Apprenticeship Grant Fund

The  North Dorset Apprenticeship Grant Fund (pdf, 229kb) (opens in a new window) is a small fund to support setting up new or additional apprenticeships.

View the  appraisal criteria (word, 38kb) (opens in a new window) before you  apply to the North Dorset Apprenticeship Grant Fund (pdf, 217kb) (opens in a new window).

Business loans

South West Investment Group (SWIG) 

South West Investment Group (SWIG) (opens in a new window) is a not-for-profit organisation and member of the Community Development Finance Association supporting small and medium sized businesses across the south west. Apply for a business loan to start up or grow your business.

Business tax and National Insurance

Visit HM Revenue and Customs website (opens in a new window) on what you need to do for tax and National Insurance purposes when you start up a business as a self-employed person, a partnership or a limited company. 

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