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Business Grants for the Disabled

Making the jump to self employment can be a daunting task with fear of losing a regular income, negotiating changes to existing benefits and finding the capital to set up a new business.

But being your own boss is a popular choice for both the disabled and carers as a way of finding rewarding work with flexible hours that can be tailored to meet your individual needs

As well as providing the opportunity to work at your own pace in an accessible location of your own choice.

So, what do you need?

A business idea.....start up finance.....a network of support.....

All of these and more......

It's important to discuss your business proposals with employment experts such as Business Link or a local enterprise agency.

They can advise on the viability of your ideas, government initiatives and practical support such as drawing up a business plan.

Your local Job Centre Plus or Citizens Advice will be able to tell you about "in work" benefits such as the Disabled Person's Tax Credit and Access to Work.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) isn't affected by self employment and the Carers Allowance has the usual restrictions whatever your employment status.

Moving into self employment may be isolating with no office banter or colleagues to bounce off ideas.

So, finding a local network of like minded people through organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses or Disabled Entrepreneurs can make a difference and keep you up-to-date with funding opportunities.

Do check your local council's website to see if they have any funding for small business start up's or improvements to local businesses.

These will vary between regions and counties and will be restricted to a specific geographical area.

Other sources of finance and business support include......

Blind Business Association Charitable Trust (BBACT)

The BBACT support blind or partially sighted entrepreneurs.

It provides support and encouragement to individuals who are starting up or have already established their business.

It offers advice, mentoring, seminars and conferences.  It has a small grants fund for business start up and development.


Business Support - Government

There is a section on Business and Self Employment on the new .Gov website that provides links to other services and advice.

It has information on obtaining finance and links to local business support and helplines.

Specific business information for other parts of the UK:

Business Support Helpline
Telephone: 0300 456 3565
Textphone: 0191 581 0052
Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm

Business Wales Helpline
Telephone: 0300 060 3000
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Business Gateway (Scotland)
Telephone: 0845 609 6611
Textphone: 0141 952 7053
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Invest Northern Ireland
Telephone: 0800 181 4422
Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm

The Government have launched a new website www.greatbusiness.gov.uk  providing information, practical advice and finance options.

Free business plan templates can be downloaded from the .Gov website.

Business Link - A Government agency set up to support businesses has been closed and replaced by local enterprise agencies.

Childcare Business Grant Scheme

The Department of Education is funding the Childcare Business Grant Scheme to reimburse the setting up of a childcare business.

It is open to childminders or childcare providers on domestic premises or childminder agencies operating in England.

Applicants must have been registered less than 3 months with OFSTED.

Funding depends on the type of business being set up:

  • £500 is available to individuals setting up as an early years childminder 
  • £1,000 for setting up as an early years childminder agency
  • £1,000 for early years childminders for disabled children.

The scheme will run until March 2018 or sooner if funding is exhausted.


Disabled Entrepreneurs

A UK organisation run by disabled entrepreneurs for disabled entrepreneurs.

It supports anyone with a disability to become an entrepreneur by providing business networking opportunities and news on disability related business developments.

There is an on-line blog but full benefits are obtained through purchasing the membership package.

You can download a free PDF document "A Guide for Disabled Entrepreneurs"


Fredericks Foundation

The Frederick Foundation is a charity that helps disadvantaged people to set up or expand their own business. It is open to sole traders, partnerships and limited companies.

The Foundation operates in the south of England covering Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Surrey, Sussex and Kent.

Loans vary from a maximum of £10,000 (average £5,000)for start-up businesses and a maximum of £20,000 for established businesses. Repayments are negotiated over 2 to 5 years depending on the amount borrowed.

To apply: complete the on-line form to request an application pack. The application form should then be forwarded with a business plan and supporting documentation to your local office.


The Oli Bennett Charitable Trust

The Oli Bennett Charitable Trust provides financial support to young entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 30 years.

It supports new or very young businesses, preferring to purchase equipment rather than general running costs.

Grants are usually in the region of £1,000 to £1,500 but no more than £2,000.

All applicants will be required to submit a business plan.


Mentors Me

Mentors Me is Britain's first online gateway for businesses looking for mentoring.

It is designed to help you find a business mentor in a fast and easy way.

The website also aims to raise awareness of business mentoring through it online resource library.


New Enterprise Allowance (NEA)

The New Enterprise Allowance provides business support to individuals who have received Jobseekers Allowance for at least six months and have been assessed as having a viable business idea.

The scheme offers a start-up loan of £1,000 with expert help and advice from a business mentor.

It will also support the business for at least six months and pay a weekly allowance for 26 weeks.

NEA is managed by Job Centre Plus who will also be able to assist with benefit calculations to help you decide if the scheme is financially viable for your own situation.

Disabled applicants for the New Enterprise Allowance are also eligible for Acesss to Work funding.



PRIME is the Prince of Wales' Initiative for Mature Enterprise.

It supports unemployed people over the age of 50 who would like to set up their own business.

The organisation runs courses workshops, events and networking opportunities. The on-line community forum is currently closed.

It also provides free essential information on starting and running a business. This includes videos on how to register your business and record keeping. There is also an e-learning guide to setting up your business, marketing and business planning advice


The main Prime website is unavailable at the moment.  Prime Cymru for individuals in Wales is available.

The Princes Trust - Enterprise Programme

The Princes Trust's Enterprise Programme supports young people aged 18-30 years who have a business idea.

Applicants must be unemployed or working less than 16 hours a week and live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

It provides the opportunity to explore the viability of their business ideas and to obtain advice on employment options. It may also provide financial support to start your own business and business mentoring.

The Trust has also produced a number of free downloadable guides to help in starting a business.

To register your interest complete the on-line Enquiry form.


The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE)

The SSE runs courses for individuals who are looking to  start, sustain, and scale social enterprises, charities and community projects.

It runs 6 day programmes as well as short courses and workshops.

The organisation also offers mentoring and other resources to help the aspiring entrepreneur.


Start Up Donut

Start Up Donut is a resource website covering all areas of starting your own business.

It has how-to guides, articles and checklist to help the new entrepreneur. Topics include how to work out tax and national insurance and how to finance your business.


Start Up Loans

Start Up Loans is a Government initiative chaired by serial entrepreneur James Caan for young people aged 18 to 30 years living in England and Northern Ireland.

If you are thinking of starting your own business and are keen to have someone help you can apply using the on-line form.

Every entrepreneur who is accepted for a loan will get a mentor to help guide you through your business choices to help turn your dream into reality.


Stelios Awards for Disabled Entrepreneurs

The Stelios Award for disabled entrepreneurs in the UK is sponsored by Sir Stelios, the founder of EasyJet and is run by Leonard Cheshire Disability.

The 2017 Award is now open offering a total of £70,000 in cash prizes.  The overall winner will receive £30,000 with 4 runner up's each receiving £10,000 each.

Applicants must be registered with a disability and own at least half of the business.  Companies must have been started in the UK in the last 7 years (since 2010).

All forms of entrepreneurial activities even without a registered company would qualify and this year people planning to start a business activity (even with just business plans at the pre-revenue stage) are welcome to apply.

The deadline for applications is 6th October 2017.



Unltd supports individuals involved in social enterprise activity.

It provides grants for projects at the pre-start up or early start-up stage to help individuals realise a project whether it's a one off event or a longer term venture.

Unltd can offer funding up to £5,000.  It also runs workshops, networking and seminars.


Varsity Pitch

NAVUE's (National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs) Varsity Pitch competition is the UK biggest business competition for students and graduates.

It offers the opportunity to showcase your business start up and to enter the competition to win up to £10,000.

The competition is open to current students running their own business and anyone who has left education within the past 5 years.

There are 8 categories including one for Young Founders aged 16 to 19 years.

Applications for 2015 have closed but will reopen in 2016.


Virgin Start Up Programme

The Virgin Start Up Programme is a not for profit company offering financial support, mentoring and business advice to young entrepreneurs in the UK.

It is open to young people aged 18 to 30 years and is designed for start up businesses less than 2 years old.

To apply you will need to register on the Virgin Start Up website. You will then be contacted by one of the schemes partner to discuss your plans.

Loans are available up to £25,000


See also:

Be the Boss (for disabled veterans)

Crisis - Changing Lives

Enabled 4 Growth (for London)

Grant for my Business

My4Hands- the story of one disabled entrepreneur.

Other Useful Links:

Companies House

Business Growth Service

Now check out the other pages......

Disability and Employment - Information and Advice

Access to Work

Disabled Employment Programmes

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