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Finance and funding

Getting the right type of finance for your business is essential. There are many different types available including loans, grants and investment - each of them designed to meet different needs.

Working capital


The Council has invested £50,000 in local businesses via MarketFinance, a funding platform that allows firms to release funds from outstanding invoices. Local businesses looking to benefit can apply on the MarketFinance website and, if approved, can receive funds in as little as 24 hours. Unlike traditional invoice factoring, the service is completely flexible, so companies are able to upload as many – or as few – invoices as they choose, with no contract or tie-ins. The Council’s funds will only be available for businesses based in the district. Costs are typically between one and three per cent of the value of the invoice. For more information please visit the:

Loans for businesses

Start-up Loan Scheme

The Start-up Loan Scheme is a Government funded initiative that provides a business loan together with a mentor for people starting up a new business. 

For more information please visit the:

Funding Circle

Funding Circle is an online peer-to-business lending platform connecting businesses and investors, where businesses get fast business loans and investors earn returns on their investments. Funding Circle has funded over £330m in business loans so far and has created an estimated 16,500 jobs across the country. Furthermore, the UK Government has lent £60 million through Funding Circle during the past two years.

For more information please visit the:

Enterprise Finance Guarantee

The Enterprise Finance Guarantee is a Government loan guarantee scheme. The loans are available from ordinary commercial banks and can be up to £1 million, repayable over a period of up to 10 years. The scheme is open to viable businesses with an annual turnover of up to £25m. Contact your bank for further details.

Grants to help businesses

OxLEP Go-Create Grant

OxLEP Go-Create grants of up to £50,000 are available to help SMEs with innovation projects.  The types of eligible project include:

  • Investment in product and service development
  • Technological and applied research
  • Developing pilot lines
  • Early product validation actions
  • Supporting advance manufacturing capabilities
  • First production

See: OxLEP Business

Innovation funding

Innovate UK is the Government's innovation agency and it distributes grants to help businesses cover the cost of R&D activity.  The grants tend to be competitions focussed on specific technologies which are announced at very regular intervals.  Innovate UK also runs "open" competitions which are not sector specific. It is worth checking Innovate UK's website regularly for recent funding announcements. For more information please visit the:

Apprenticeship grant for employers of 16 to 24 year olds

The National Apprenticeship Service provides £1,500 grants to small and medium sized employers to take on new apprentices between 16 and 24 years old. The £1,500 is in addition to the training costs of the Apprenticeship framework which are met in full for young people aged 16 to 18 and 50% for those aged 19 to 24. For more information please visit the:

Other grants

We subscribe to Grants Online Local, a free, user-friendly service to help organisations identify funding sources available for specific projects. You will need to register the first time you use the site. To search for grants, please visit the:


Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network

The Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network (OION) was established in 1995 as one of the UK's first business angel networks. Today, it ranks among the most successful in Europe. OION links investors to companies with high growth potential who are seeking business development funds from £50,000 to over £1m. For more information please visit the:

Oxford Early investments

Oxford Early Investments (OEI) is a business angel network that focuses on innovative companies at the very early stages of technical and commercial development. These companies are often building on an initial proof of concept, and require investment capital of between £20,000 and £150,000 to develop their product. This stage of company growth is often the most difficult to fund. For more information please visit the:

The Thames Valley Investment Network

The Thames Valley Investment Network (TVIN) links investors to companies with high growth potential who are looking for funding from £50,000 to £500,000. For more information please visit the:

  • TVIN website

British Business Angels Association 

The British Business Angels Association (BBAA) is the national trade association dedicated to promoting angel investing and supporting early stage investment in the UK. The BBAA now represents almost 100 organisations including the vast majority of business angel networks across the UK and over 20 early stage venture capital funds. For more information please visit the:

The FSE Group

Finance South East help growth businesses achieve their potential through direct investment from its £33.6m funds under management, together with a range of professional support and advice. It provides an integrated, independent and specialist offering which prepares companies for investment and high growth. For more information please visit the:

Dealing with business debt

Problems paying tax bills

HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) Business Payment Support Service is there to help businesses that are aware they may not be able to make a payment due in full before the payment deadline. For more information please visit the:

Organisations offering free advice on debt problems

For free, confidential and independent advice on how to deal with debt problems, please visit the:

For free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities and is experienced in helping with personal debt problems, please visit the:

Further information on business finance

For further information and finance schemes that may not be listed here, please visit the:

Starting and running a successful business can be one of the most rewarding things you can do in life. It can also be one of the most daunting. However, statistics show businesses that take advice during the start up phase are more likely to be successful.

If you are not sure where to start, then email our Business Development Team or call 01993 861485 and we will point you in the right direction.