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 35
- currently live in the counties of Somerset, North Somerset or BANES
- 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.
Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application within 2 months of their application being submitted.
PLEASE NOTE: Applications are considered on a monthly basis (except in August when the programme is closed). Once we have received your application, the entire application process should take 2 months. Please consider this timeline when applying. Please submit your application by the 7th of the month, for consideration in that month.
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.
There is no minimum amount, but we would expect to receive applications of £500 upwards.
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).
Please note that SWEF does not provide grant funding for new computers, tablets and phones. On a match funded basis, SWEF will consider applications for refurbished technology. However, in order for this to be considered, you will need to:
- Explain why the laptop, tablet or phone will transform their business and
- Provide a link to the refurbished item with an explanation of why they need this piece of specific technology.
You’ll need to tell us about your business in your application form and we would like to see a business plan and sales forecast attached. If you are unable to provide these please let us know and we will put you in touch with an organisation that can help.
We may also invite you to an online meeting to tell us in more details about your business. If this is the case, we will email you to arrange a date and time.
If I’m successful, what will happen next?
If you are awarded a grant, it will be paid directly to you by bank transfer, this will need to be paid to a business bank account, either in your business or sole trader name, if you are unable to provide this you will need to let us know why.
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. We encourage you to find organisations and other networks who might help you grow your business, and we can put you in touch with local providers it you are not already working with any.
How do I apply for money?
You can apply for money by clicking on the button below.
This opens an application form and you will receive an email link that allows you to return to the form before submitting. 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.
You will also need to attach your business plan, 12 months sales forecast and 12-month cashflow forecast, please let us know if you are unable to provide these.
We may ask for further information, evidence to confirm the information within your application, or the contact details of a referee. 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. If we would like you to provide further information, evidence or a referee we will ask you.
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.
Sources of support
The following organisations may be able to help you with your application, developing your business idea and preparing a business plan:
- Money Helper provides advice and information on a wide range of topics. For more information click here.
- Heart of the South West Growth Hub offers free business support and advice to start-ups and businesses across Devon & Somerset (excluding North Somerset & BANES). For more information click here.
- West of England Growth Hub offers free business support and advice to start-ups and businesses across BANES and North Somerset. 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 click here.
- Future Bright provides tailored business support for individuals aged 18 and over living in Bath & North East Somerset who are in paid work (including zero hours and self-employed). For more information click here.
- Cool Ventures provide funded business support, workshops and mentoring for individuals of all ages. For more information click here.
- Enterprise Nation offer free online support on a range of subjects related to setting up and running an enterprise. For more information click here.
- SBA offer training, business and skills support for individuals running or looking to start their own business in Somerset. For more information click here.
- School for Social Entrepreneurs offer programmes and guidance with some fully funded options for individuals looking to set-up or grow their social enterprise. For more information click here.
- Diversity Voice are a charity who help refugees, asylum seekers and migrant workers to settle into the community across the whole of Somerset. If you are looking for support to access more information on starting a business, please click here.
What do you do with my application?
We’ll email you to confirm we have received your application once you have submitted your form online. If we have any further questions or need additional information a member of our Grants Team will be in touch within two weeks.
Somerset Community Foundation and SWEF 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.
We will let you know the outcome of your application within 2 months of the application being submitted to us.
If you have any questions, then please get in touch. It’s usually best to email on firstname.lastname@example.org but you can also call on 01749 344949.