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Finance and funding

Getting the right type of finance for your business is essential. There are many different types available including loans, grants and investment; each of them designed to meet different needs.

Forest of Dean District Council business start-up grant

Any locally based business or constituted social enterprise organisation can apply individually or in partnership for a maximum of £1,000 per application. Grant funding can be used towards a variety of business and social enterprise start-up activity including:

  • research and development
  • installing clean technologies
  • premises
  • equipment and product or service launch

To apply complete the form below* and email it back to us with the supporting information to [email protected]. More details on eligibility criteria are available in the form. For any questions email or call us on 01594 810000. 

The Business Start Up Grant application forms have recently been updated, please ensure you have read the new documents fully.

The closing dates for application rounds are:

  • 25 August 2024
  • 23 November 2024
  • 21 February 2025

Rural England Prosperity Fund rural business grants

In September 2022, the Forest of Dean District was identified by DEFRA as an eligible place for the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF). REPF aims to improve productivity and strengthen the rural economy and rural communities. The district was awarded an allocation of capital funding. The REPF is linked with the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). Both funding programmes share the same aims.

See our webpage Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) for information on all grants available.

Rural England Prosperity Fund energy and digital audit survey

Village and community halls / buildings were encouraged to complete an energy and digital audit survey, developed by GRCC (Gloucestershire Rural Community Council), by 29 September 2023. The data from the survey, commissioned by Forest of Dean District Council, has helped to inform the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) grant scheme and also the council's climate emergency targets and strategies. The REPF aims to support works to create new sustainable community infrastructure and safeguard existing facilities to serve local communities in the future.

Grants to help businesses

You can search for funding opportunities by signing up to the Gloucestershire Funding opportunities bulletin.

Apprenticeship grant for employers of 16 to 24 year olds

The National Apprenticeship Service provides £1,500 grants to small and medium sized employers to take on new apprentices between 16 to 24 years old. The £1,500 is in addition to the training costs of the Apprenticeship framework which are met in full for young people aged 16 to 18 and 50 per cent for those aged 19 to 24.

Boost your business with Faster broadband

Grants are available exclusively for Gloucestershire businesses that have yet to access super fast broadband and are not currently in a plan to deliver this. Grants of up to £25K of EU funding are available to access faster broadband. To find out if your business may be eligible visit the Fastershire website.

UK Research and Innovation

The UK Research and Innovation website has funding and support across all academic disciplines and industrial areas. You can use their website to search for funding opportunities.

Loans for businesses

British Business Bank

British Business Bank are a government-owned business development bank dedicated to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses. Whether you’re looking for finance to start a business, grow to the next level, or stay ahead of the competition, they delivering greater volume and choice of finance.


FOLK2FOLK is a national award-winning peer to peer lending platform who specialises in match-making local, rural and entrepreneurial business looking for a secured business loan.  It matches them with individual investors looking to earn an attractive monthly interest rate to supplement their income.

Funding Circle

Funding Circle is an online peer-to-business lending platform connecting businesses and investors. Businesses get fast business loans and investors earn returns on their investments. Funding Circle has funded over £330m in business loans so far and has created an estimated 16,500 jobs across the country. 

Start-up loan scheme

The Start-up Loan Scheme is a government funded initiative that provides a business loan together with a mentor for people starting up a new business.

SWIG Finance

SWIG Finance is a not-for-profit organisation delivering loan finance across the South West to small and medium sized enterprises. For starting a business, struggling to raise finance or growing a social venture.

Debt advice

For free, confidential and independent advice on how to deal with debt problems visit the Money Advice Trust's Business Debtline. Or visit the Citizens Advice Bureau.

For further information and finance schemes visit the Better Business Finance website.