Alternative funding for small businesses and social enterprises

business support

Some private funds have been made available by third parties that businesses may apply for, in order to mitigate their financial losses during the Covid-19 period and beyond. These are explored herein; however, we also encourage you to do research based on your business’ specific industry, status, and needs, as there may be additional funds available to you that we have not listed here.


To search for grants available to small and medium-sized Co-operatives, Limited Companies, Limited Liability Partnerships, Private individuals, and Sole Traders, a free database is available with Idox Open4Business. This can be a helpful place to see what funding is presently available locally, regionally and nationally.

Coronavirus (COVID‑19) support is available to employers and the self-employed, including sole traders and limited company directors. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants, whether your business is open or closed. Use this business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business.


National Lotteries Community Fund: Activities specifically geared to supporting communities through this crisis, and helping organisations overcome any liquidity issues caused by Covid-19 through Awards for All and Reaching Communities. 

The Trust for London fund work which tackles poverty and inequality in the capital. They support work providing greater insights into the root causes of London’s social problems and how they can be overcome; activities which help people improve their lives; and work empowering Londoners to influence and change policy, practice and public attitudes. They have seven funding programmes for 2018-2022, details of which can be found in their funding guidelines. The deadline for applications is 2 February 2021.

Enterprise Nation launched Pay it Forward to help smaller firms navigate the looming cashflow crisis and provide support and advice. Through the Pay it Forward crowdfunding campaign, small businesses can set up a Pay it Forward campaign to pre-book things like meals, a room for the night or a ticket to an event based on a promise to deliver in the future. Crowdfunder will cover all platform and transaction fees.

The Future Fund will support innovative UK companies with good potential, that are essential in ensuring the UK retains its world leading position in science, innovation and technology. These companies typically rely on equity investment and are currently affected by Covid-19. The fund will provide UK Government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million.

If your space of business is at risk (artist studios and creative production space) for freelancers and the self-employed, you can email the Mayor of London’s Culture at Risk office on

AIM provides information about grants for people in the independent music and creative industry.

BenSoc, a charity which supports professional photographers and photography lab technicians, is offering small grants.