Business Finance Support and Advice

Businesses seek finance for a variety of reasons, to start-up a new venture, fund capital expenditure, fund research and development or to obtain new working capital.  There are many types of finance available including grants, loans and equity finance and it is important you choose the right finance for your business.

Employment allowance

From 6 April 2014 employers can claim the Employment Allowance and reduce their employer Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) by up to £2,000.

The Allowance is open to nearly all employers that pay Class 1 NICs on their employees and directors earnings including; businesses, charities and community amateur sports clubs.

The North West Fund

The North West Fund is a £170m evergreen investment fund established to provide debt and equity funding from £25,000 to £2 million to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) based in, or relocating to, the North West of England.

For further information on eligibility and the application process, please visit The North West Fund

Access to Finance

Access to Finance North West is a free impartial advice and support service available to North West based SME's who are seeking to raise finance. Support is individually tailored to the needs of each company by experienced Specialist Finance Advisors and can include:

  • an assessment of your financial position and funding requirements
  • development of your business plan with financial and other supporting information
  • identification of the finance products that are appropriate for your business
  • coaching and mentoring to develop an investment proposition and pitch presentation
  • introductions to suitable finance providers including access to NW Business Angels
  • introductions to other business support and financial service providers
  • support at meetings with lenders and investors

For more information or to arrange an initial meeting, please visit NW Access to Finance, telephone 0161 359 3050 or send an email to:

Please note: The advisors provide their services completely free of charge to eligible small to medium size businesses (up to 250 employees) based in the North West.

Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund

The Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund is a seed and early stage venture capital fund investing in a range of life science businesses across all stages of development, from initial market research and concept development through to product/services launch and manufacturing. The £30m fund has been created by Cheshire East Council in partnership with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Cheshire and Warrington LEP , and Manchester Science Partnerships. 

The fund will invest in ‘Life Science’ businesses which include the following sectors: 

  • pharmaceuticals
  • biotechnology
  • diagnostics
  • contract Research Organisations
  • healthcare technologies
  • medical devices

For more information, please visit Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund or send an email to:

The website is the Governments main provider of financial advice and support for you and your business – whether you work for a large organisation or are starting your own business. The online Business Finance and Support finder can help you identify and access the schemes that are right for your business.

Tech Partnership Training Fund

The Tech Partnership Training Fund provides funding for employers to invest in IT training to stimulate increased investment in training and support business growth and competitiveness.

The fund supports:

  • Enhanced Apprenticeships: additional training for IT apprentices over and above their standard programme. This could include, for example, training for industry certifications.
  • Short courses: training in strategically important skills such as cyber security, big data, mobile, cloud and e-commerce.

Applicants can apply for up to 50% of the costs of training, up to a maximum of either £1,000 per learner for enhanced apprenticeships or £500 per learner for strategic skills short courses.

For further details on the eligibility criteria, please visit Tech Partnership or email

Climate change adaption

For information on how small and medium sized businesses in the Cheshire and Warrington area can adapt and become more resilient to climate change, please visit the CLASP website.

Funding Circle

Funding Circle is an online lending platform connecting businesses and investors, where strong established businesses in the UK get fast business loans of between £5,000 and £1 million (repayable over a period of 6 months to 5 years) to finance a broad range of business costs and investment including: working and expansion capital, asset finance and one of businesses expenses.

Funding Circle was launched in 2010 and has so far provided more than £220 million in loans to British businesses.

For further information, please visit Funding Circle, telephone 0800 048 8747 or send an email to:

Small Loans for Business

The Small Loans for Businesses scheme is open to anyone in the North West - covering Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cumbria looking for business loans of £3,000-£50,000 who are unable either in full or in part to obtain mainstream funding. It was set up to encourage and make it easier for more people to start up and grow their own enterprises in the region.

For further information on the eligibility criteria and how to apply, please visit Business Finance Solutions ,telephone 0161 245 4977 or send an email to:

Start-up Loans

The Start-up Loans scheme offers young entrepreneurs (18-30) a support package: low interest loans of up to £2,500, an experienced and free mentor and quality resources, to help develop their business ideas.

For further information on the scheme, please visit Start-up Loans, telephone 0161 245 4726 or send an email to:

Please note: The Small Loans for Business Scheme and Start-up Loans are provided by Economic Solutions Ltd, a not-for-profit organisation and are delivered by Manchester Solutions.

South Cheshire Chamber Business Fund

The Business Fund is operated by the South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry who offer loans for short and long-term capital projects, to organisations within South Cheshire (the old district of Crewe and Nantwich)..

To find out more about the Business Fund, please visit South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, send an email to: or telephone 01270 504 700. 

Other sources of information

Prince's Trust offers grants to 13 to 30 year olds for jobs, training and group projects. The Prince's Trust also provides grants and loans to people aged 18-30, who are unemployed and have an idea for a business, but can't raise all the cash needed from other sources.

Open4Funding enables small businesses, charities and community groups to identify funding schemes for projects via their free interactive website, which contains a comprehensive database of grants, loans and other initiatives operating in the UK, including European Commission grants, UK Government grants, Local Government grants and grants provided by corporate sponsors and charitable trusts.

J4B offers access to an interactive website containing comprehensive information on government and lottery grants for both business and voluntary groups.