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Small Business Funding Opportunities for Pre-Start Ups

If you're looking for small business funding opportunities for your pre-start business, take a look at some of the sources of finance in this article.

You will learn

  • About the Start Up Loan Company
  • About Seed Corn Funding
  • Other possible small business funding opportunities

In the majority of cases, when borrowing money for small business funding, the borrower will have to start making repayments the following month. That is not ideal if the business is still in the pre-start phase, and has not yet started trading. How do they generate any money to make that repayment?

Even before the business is up and running, you may have expenses: research and development of your product or service, perhaps you need to pay for professional advice, coaching or mentoring. What are the options for businesses in this situation?

Start-Up Loans

These are available to businesses even in the pre-start phase. However, there does have to be a very clear plan and timescale to begin trading. They lend to businesses, not to ideas. Therefore, you need to have a definite plan as to when the business will begin trading.

Start-Up Loans are a government-subsidised unsecured loan. It is a loan, not a grant, and of course you have to pay it back, but the interest rate (6% fixed) is very attractive. The maximum amount is £25,000 per director or partner.

Find out more about Start-up Loans

Seed Corn Funding

Rather than a loan, seed corn funders will provide funding in return for equity in the business. So for example, they may be impressed with your plan, and invest £100,000 in return for 20% of the company. As an investment, this is considered very high risk – after all, statistically, a lot of new businesses do fail – and so an investor will be looking for high growth and a good return on their money.

Seed Corn Funding tends to be restricted to businesses that are high growth and in innovative high tech sectors. This type of investor is not interested in a business that grows at 25% per year, they want rapid explosive growth and a good financial return.

Crowdfunding or peer to peer (P2P) lending can be a viable option for this type of equity funding as well. Find out more about P2P lending here.


There are some seed corn grants available for research and development. Like the funding mentioned above, these tend to be restricted to the research and development of innovative products and services. Something that has not really been done before.

There are also several local authority grants that are area specific. For example, in rural areas, local authorities provide diversification grants to encourage the local economy.

Check out our Funding Page here.

Creative England

This is an organisation which provides funding specifically to companies within the creative industries. For example, film production companies and other organisations within their supply chain, as well as the computer game industry. They provide interest free loans as well as some equity investment to projects within this sector.

Find out more about Creative England.


If you are a company which provides a product or service to other businesses, delays in receiving payments can be a problem and seriously affect your cash flow. Particularly in the early days of a business, that delay of say, thirty or sixty days between sending your invoice and receiving payment, can be debilitating. Factoring will allow you to draw funds against the value of those invoices straight away. This can be invaluable in the first few weeks, as cash flow can be a particular problem.

Want to find out about local funding opportunities?

See what's available to you in this free guide

Written by:

Peter Beresford

Finance expert

Email Address:

Telephone: 07738 546400