This page contains all the information you need to apply to this fund. At the bottom of the page is a link to an application form. All the information and the questions from the application form can also be downloaded as a .pdf here.
What are the criteria (or rules) for this fund?
You can only apply if you:
- are aged 18 to 30
- currently live in the counties of Somerset, North Somerset or BANES
- are not in education, employment or training
- want to start your own business and know what products or services you want to provide, or have been trading for under 2 years.
If you meet the above criteria we would like to hear from you, regardless of your background or how well you did in education.
How much money can I get, what can I use it for, and what is the application process?
If you meet all the criteria above, then you can ask us for up to £2,000.
This money can be used to pay for the equipment, materials, stock and services you need in order to get your business running (you cannot apply for salary/your own living costs). You’ll need to tell us about your business in your application form, or you can attach a business plan that you’ve already written.
We may also invite you to a meeting (either online or in person) to tell us in more details about your business. If this is the case, we will email you to arrange a date and time.
We will let you know the outcome of your applicaton by the end of August.
If I'm successful, what will happen next?
If you are awarded a grant, it will be paid directly to you by bank transfer.
You need to spend your grant within 1 year and provide feedback at 6 months and 12 months after you received the grant offer. We’ll tell you more about that if you are successful.
You will also have the opportunity to take part in a Business Forum with other start-up entrepreneurs to exchange ideas, experiences and questions. The aim of the Forum is to offer a space to share and learn.
How much is available?
We have around £10,000 to give out this year. This money comes from the South West Enterprise Fund which is working with Somerset Community Foundation and is involved in the awards process.
How do I apply for money?
When the Fund is open you can apply for money by clicking on the button below.
This opens an application form. You must complete the form in one go. It’s not possible to save your progress and return to the form at another time.
This .pdf includes all the questions you need to answer. You can download it, prepare your answers, and then copy and paste them into the online form.
At the end of the form, you have the option to attach documents. You can use this to attach proof of Universal Credit, for example. You can request proof of Universal Credit through your journal on your online account or by contacting the benefit office that pays you.
We ask for a reference from a referee to support your application. A referee is a person who can tell us about your character or abilities and can confirm your circumstances. This might be a tutor, or someone who you have worked for. You will need to ask your referee to complete a Reference Form and return it to us. This form is available to download here. If you don’t have anyone like that to be your referee then please contact us. You can still apply, and we will look at other ways to confirm your circumstances.
Finally, you must read the terms and conditions and click ‘submit’.
Please contact us if you are unable to use the online form, or can’t attach a document. We can support you to make your application in another way.
You will be invited to meet with us and discuss your business in more detail and after this you will be told the outcome of your application.
Sources of support
The following organisations may be able to help you with your application, developing your business idea and preparing a business plan:
- Heart of the South West provides business support services in Somerset and Devon, and has information to help people start their own businesses. For more information click HERE.
- Money Advice Service provides advice and information on a wide range of topics. For more information click HERE.
- Thrive offers free business support and advice to startups and businesses across Devon & Somerset (excluding North Somerset & BANES). For more information click HERE.
- Edventure Start-Up Course in Frome/Taunton. A free, part-time, 11-week course in community entrepreneurship and turning ideas into reality. Learn skills & tools from the real experience of starting-up a real social enterprise as part of a team. For more information cick HERE.
- For young people living in North Somerset who are interested in working in the food and drink or creative industries, the You Be the Change (YOU) coaching/peer mentoring programme run by the North Somerset Enterprise Agency may be of interest. For more information click HERE.
What do you do with my application?
We’ll email you within one week to confirm we have received your application.
A member of our Grants Team will look at your application. If we have any questions, we’ll contact you.
Somerset Community Foundation and the South West Enterprise Fund will then decide who to invite to a meeting to discuss their application further, and then to whom we’ll award grants, taking into consideration:
- whether or not you meet the criteria for the fund (rules)
- the plan for your business
- how a grant would help you to start that business and/or make it more successful.
If you have any questions, then please get in touch with us. It's usually best to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org but you can also call on 01749 344949.