Business eligibility

We’re able to offer funding to a wide range of businesses in the Sunderland area.

The business must be based in the Sunderland City Council catchment area to be eligible for funding you can check your local council details here Find your local council – GOV.UK

The business must be a Small to Medium Enterprise (SME), including Social Enterprises. An SME is defined as an organisation employing fewer than 250 people with either an annual turnover of less than €50 Million (circa £42m as of April 2024) or a Balance Sheet Value of less than €43 Million (circa £36m as of April 2024). As part of your application, we will need to know the number of people you employ and some financial information to confirm you are an SME.

If the business applying is involved in any kind of group structure – either being partially of fully owned by another businesses or having partial or full ownership of another business – further details will be required post-application to establish eligibility.

To be eligible to apply, the business must be able to demonstrate that it has started to make sales of its main good/services.

The business must be planning to grow (particular focus will be given to applications demonstrating job creation and/or the safeguarding of existing jobs) and must also be able to verify that it can cashflow the cost of the whole project prior to claiming the grant at the end.

The programme can support private businesses (Limited Companies, Partnerships, Sole Traders etc), Social Enterprises and Third Sector Organisations (Charities, Community Interest Companies etc). We cannot fund public sector organisations or organisations whose primary focus is related to religion, politics or gambling; we also cannot support companies where the majority of their income is not commercial.

The business must not have received more than £315,000 of combined State Aid under the Minimum Financial Assistance (MFA), Services of Public Economic Interest Assistance (SPEIA) or Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) allowances since the 1st of April 2022.

Project eligibility

We can fund a range of projects that will help your business to grow or become more resilient.

What types of project can we fund?

As long as the work involves using external expertise to improve your business, you could be eligible for a grant towards the cost.

Making more sales:

– Marketing strategy

– Web design/development

– Video and animation

– Social media

Reducing costs:

– Management systems

– Product development

– Process improvement

– Quality management

Planning for the future:

– Succession planning

– Business growth planning

– Financial restructuring

– Change management

Ineligible projects

The Sunderland Business Business Support Fund is only able to provide grants towards the cost of bringing external expertise into your business. Examples of the types of project we are not able to fund include: Capital costs (equipment or material costs); premises/refurbishment costs; day to day running costs (accountancy fees for yearly accounts, for example); staff costs (wages); direct staff training or qualifications.

Please note – The Sunderland Business Support Fund is a retrospective grant i.e. businesses must be able to pay for the costs of their project and claim the Grant once everything is completed (all work complete and all payments to providers have been made). The funding cannot support projects that have already started (or have been completed) – you must not start your project or make any payments until you have received and signed your contract pack.

Funding process

Accessing the Sunderland Business Support Fund is very straightforward – you could have a decision on your grant application within a few weeks.

Apply for a grant

We’ll need to know some details about your business, the project you’d like to fund with a Sunderland Business Support Fund grant and how it will help.