SWEF Business Grants for Individuals

SWEF Business Grants of up to £2,000 are available if you are a young person struggling to invest in your business venture and/or keen to take your business to the next level. 


Applications solely for business ‘ideas’ will not be considered. You must be able to show that you have taken steps to get your business off the ground, even if it is at an early stage.


This is not a loan scheme and young people do not need to pay the grant back.


We will prioritise funding for young people who face barriers to investing in their business.


SWEF: This grant programme is made possible through funding from SWEF Enterprise Fund.


HIWCF: This fund is administered by HIWCF under the impact theme ‘Employability and Skills’.


Please see the grant agreement guidance


Need help?

Please contact the grants team if you have any queries.

Programme Overview

Status: Open
Opening Date: 18/03/2024
Closing Date: 01/11/2024
Minimum Grant: £500
Maximum Grant: £2,000
Location: Hampshire, Southampton, Portsmouth, and the Isle of Wight


Your application must meet all of the following criteria to be considered for funding:
• You should be aged 18 to 30.
• You must be living in Hampshire, Southampton, Portsmouth, or the Isle of Wight.
• You should outline in your bid the financial challenges or barriers that are preventing you from developing your business e.g. you are from a low income household.
• The business you are applying for should already be set up as a sole trader/limited company but should have been running for less than two years.
• You must be the majority stakeholder in the business.
• You should already have a business bank account.


How much can I apply for?

• If you meet the eligibility criteria you can apply for a 12-month grant of between £500 and £2,000.
• If you apply for £500, 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.


What can I apply for?

• Equipment, materials, product development, stock, one-off costs such as a website build, or other services
• You cannot apply for your salary or living costs.
• You cannot apply to cover debts.
• The grant cannot be used for brand new computers, tablets and phones. However, applications for refurbished technology will be considered if you are able to:
o contribute towards the cost of the item/s.
o explain why the refurbished laptop, tablet or phone will transform your business.
o provide a weblink to the item/s and describe why this has been chosen.

You need to provide a breakdown of costs that you will spend the grant on, including weblinks or quotes where possible. Avoid general terms like ‘marketing’ that do not provide enough detail about how you will spend the grant.

Applications for match funding are particularly welcome – this means that you already have some funding but need an additional contribution.


Application Process


Complete our online Application Form
The application form asks about your business and how a grant would help you to make it more successful or help you to take your business to the next stage.

A core part of your application is your supporting documents that you should attach with the bid:
– We need a copy of a recent bank statement (no more than three months old) to confirm your account details, should you be successful. We can only pay grants into a business bank account that matches the business name in your application.
– Please attach any additional documents like your business plan or detailed budget breakdown.


After we receive your application we will review it against the criteria and contact you to let you know if we are able to progress the bid. We may at this stage ask you for further information.


1) If your bid meets all fund criteria, HIWCF will invite you to an Assessment meeting (online or by phone) to tell us more details about your business.
2) After the Assessment meeting HIWCF will advise if you have been invited to an online Panel meeting with SWEF staff who will chat with you and decide on the outcome of your application and amount of grant funding.


Support After the Award
• If you are awarded a grant, you will have an opportunity to take part in a business forum run by SWEF; this will be with other grant recipients to exchange ideas, experiences and questions.
• You will need to spend your grant within one year and provide light-touch feedback 12 months after you receive the grant.


Contact us
If you have any questions, please get in touch with us by emailing grantsadmin@hiwcf.com

What does a strong application look like?

Please see SWEF’s website for stories like Abby’s about how a SWEF grant can be used: https://www.swef.uk/case-studies/greengrove-designs