Guide

Support for doing business in Europe

Types of business finance available in Europe

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. SeeĀ understanding European banking services.

Grants from the EU

Find out more aboutĀ European Union financial support.

Trade missions

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.

Find out about Invest NI trade visits and exhibition support.

Government grants

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.