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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 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.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) 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.  This can make a difference and keep you up-to-date with funding opportunities.

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

This will vary between regions and counties and districts.

To find the grant information use the search facility on your local councils website.  Use different search words as the information may be buried deep within the website...Try....

  • Business start up grants
  • Start up funds
  • Innovation grants
  • Investment grants
  • Financial support for business
  • Business support
  • Grants for new businesses

And if all else fails mine the Internet with the same search words with your location or/and work area.

Good luck!

Other sources of finance and business support 

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.

Free local support, advice and sources of finance can also be found at your local Growth Hub.

Specific business information for other parts of the UK:

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

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

Business Gateway (Scotland)
Telephone: 0300 013 4753
Textphone: 0800 023 2071
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:  providing information, practical advice and finance options.

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

Innovate UK is a non-departmental Government public body grant aided from the UK Government.  It offers a search facility for funding and funding advice for UK businesses.

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"

Business Rates Relief

Business rates are charged by local councils in England on most non domestic premises.

Discounts or business rates relief is available and will vary from council to council.  It may include:

  • small businesses
  • rural areas
  • charities
  • enterprise zones
  • financial difficulties

Scotland provides business rates relief through its Non-Domestic Rate Relief.

Separate options apply to Wales and Northern Ireland

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 Kaleidoscope Foundation

The Kaleidoscope foundation offers business support and grants to enable individuals achieve a sustainable and self support livelihood.

It provides support to disabled entrepreneurs through its Incubation Program to create business that are non-commercial.  This means businesses such a charities, voluntary organisation or community enterprises.

It also offers grants up to £1,000 for individuals looking to start social enterprises or small life-style businesses.  The organisation must be based in the UK and either you or a member of your team must be disabled.

To apply: complete the online Contact form on the website.

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.


PRIME Cymru is a Prince of Wales' Initiative for Mature Enterprise in Wales.

It supports people over the age of 50 in Wales who would like to find employment, start their own business, retrain or volunteer.

Trained mentors help with one to one support from identifying work opportunities to writing a CV.

PRIME Cymru: About us from PRIME Cymru on Vimeo.

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 for UK residents over 18 years.

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 Award offers a total of £200,000 in cash prizes.  The overall winner will receive £100,000 with 2 finalist prizes of £60,000 and £40,000.

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.

All forms of entrepreneurial activities even without a registered company would qualify.

Applications for 2024 close at 5pm on Tuesday 11th June 2024.  The winners will be announced via Zoom on Tuesday 9th July 2024 at Application form.


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 from £500 to £15,000.  It also runs workshops, networking and seminars.

Varsity Pitch

NAVUE's (National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs) Tata 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 £15,000.

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

Sign up to newsletter to receive application dates.

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 from £500 to £25,000

See also:

Be the Boss (for disabled veterans)

Crisis - Changing Lives

Grant for my Business

My4Hands   (the story of one disabled entrepreneur)

Other Useful Links:

Companies House

Business Growth Hubs

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

Disability and Employment - Information and Advice

Access to Work

Disabled Employment Programmes

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