SWEF Enterprise Fund

Grant details

Grant size:Up to £2,000
Apply by:Open year round
Decision in:Every month

Who is it for?18–30-year-olds in Somerset, BANES and North Somerset.

What is it for?To help you grow your new business.

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What can I use this money for?

The SWEF Enterprise Fund awards grants of up to £2,000 for young people in Somerset who are running an early-stage business and need support with business costs that they would otherwise not be able to afford.

This money can be used to help fund the following:

  • equipment that will help a business bring in a second revenue stream
  • equipment that will help a business increase production where there is proven demand
  • materials/stock for a new product line
  • prototypes
  • website/booking system build
  • training
  • product development.

What can't this money be used for?

The grant can’t be used for:

  • salaries
  • debt repayment
  • rent and utility bills
  • stock for an existing product line 
  • ongoing software subscriptions.

The grant can’t be used for new computers, tablets or phones. On a match funded basis, SWEF will consider applications for refurbished technology. However, for this to be considered, you’ll need to:

  • explain why the laptop, tablet or phone will transform your business 
  • provide a link to the refurbished item with an explanation of why you need this piece of specific technology.

You’ll need to complete the application form as fully as possible. Tell us about anything particular in your background, including your economic background, which would help us to understand any challenges you have faced or still face. If you need help, please let us know and we’ll put you in touch with an organisation that can help.

Who can apply?

We can only consider you for a grant from this fund if you:

  • are aged 18 to 30
  • 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 all the above criteria, we would like to hear from you – regardless of your background or how well you did in education.

When do I have to apply?

This fund is open all year round. Decisions are made every month, and you will be told if you have been successful or not within two months if sending us your application.

The deadline for applying for the monthly meeting is the 7th of each month.

How likely am I to get a grant?

Sadly, we can’t provide funding to everyone that applies to us.

We’re more likely to give you some money if:

  • you have a clear plan for your business
  • can show that time, energy and effort has already gone into developing the business
  • we think a grant would help you achieve success.

Applications solely for ‘business ideas’ will not be successful. You need to show that you have taken steps to get your business off the ground and that the grant will help take it to the next level.

If you ask for £500 or less and are successful, you will be able to re-apply for a second grant at a later stage. Very early-stage businesses should consider if an initial smaller grant is helpful, before applying for a larger amount.

If you are awarded the grant you will need to have a business bank account for us to pay the money into.

How are decisions made?

Your application will be assessed by one of our team. They’ll read through what you’ve written and look at your supporting documents. We may contact you if we have any questions.

A recommendation will usually then be made, and a panel will make the final decision. The panel will include people from SWEF and from SCF.

How do I apply to this programme?

The next step is to fill in our online application form.

The link below opens an application form, and you’ll 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.

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’ve worked for. If we would like you to provide further information, evidence or a referee we’ll ask you.

You need to fill out the form as fully as possible. Think practically about your business. For example:

  • Where are you going to buy what you need and how much will that cost each month?
  • How much are you going to charge your customers?
  • How many customers do you think you’ll have to start with?
  • How will you find your customers/promote your business?
  • How much money do you expect to make from your business in the next 6 months?

Please contact us if you’re unable to use the online form or can’t attach a document. We can support you to make your application in another way. You may also be able to get some support from the groups below:

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.

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Get help with this funding programme

If you’d like to find out more about this funding programme, want to ask us any questions or need help with an application, get in touch. You can also book a time to chat to us online.

Clare Stephen (She/Her)
Programmes Manager
Working days: Mon - Thurs

Grant details

Grant size:Up to £2,000
Apply by:Open year round
Decision in:Every month

Who is it for?18–30-year-olds in Somerset, BANES and North Somerset.

What is it for?To help you grow your new business.

Apply Now