There are a number of types of finance, sources of funding, and ways to find the right path to financial stability.
Types of business finance
Financial support for small and medium-sized enterprises is available in two forms:
- direct support - finance for a project or objective
- indirect support - finance provided through an intermediary for regular or ongoing business investment
Direct support usually comes in the form of grants, loans and guarantees. Funding is provided to get to a particular point or deliver a certain piece of work and will usually require that your business matches the funding or co-funds in some other way.
Indirect support is provided through investment such as guarantee schemes, equity funding and mezzanine finance. This method usually provides better access to regular funding and long-term investment than direct funding.
Venture capital and private equity
In addition to funds and opportunities from European Union (EU) and national programmes, finance can be available from private equity firms.
Loans from European banks
Banks offering business services provide another potential source of funding for your business, as well as providing traditional banking services. See understanding European banking services.
Grants from the EU
Find out more about European Union financial support.
Invest Northern Ireland is a Northern Ireland government organisation that helps Northern Ireland-based companies expand internationally and overseas companies bring investment to the UK. It organises and funds trade missions. Trade missions are visits between countries to discuss trade between them. Northern Ireland-based small and medium-sized businesses may qualify for limited financial support towards costs of participation in trade missions.
There are many government grants - from both local and central government - available to help you expand your business into Europe.
Trade associations and industry groups
There are many trade associations and industry groups across the UK representing every business sector, which can give you financial support for expanding your business.