Exit Accessibility View

Business advice and support

Sources of funding

If you are an entrepreneur looking to start-up or expand a small business in the area, The Enterprise Network has a range of workspaces designed and managed for the needs of new businesses. Even if you just need a room or a desk for an hour or a day, the network can help you, call 01264 848311. The network runs regular events guiding and inspiring the next generation of business leaders and these are open to everyone. It focuses on helping women start successful businesses and also military personnel and dependents become their own boss.


For smaller businesses the first port of call for advice should be the South West Growth Hub. The hub works with both existing businesses and people thinking of starting-up. It will help with business skills, planning, and funding. Contact the hub by calling 01225 402096 and speak to them about help with exporting, manufacturing or business leadership; or any other advice you need.


If you have potential to be a high growth business, the government’s Business Growth Service might help you accelerate growth with its broad ranging schemes on finance, exporting and leadership. Funding is available from a range of sources, including places such as banks. Entrepreneurs are looking to collective crowd-funding to help ventures get started as well as from start-up loans.


The Fredericks Foundation provides loans to viable small and micro businesses in Wiltshire which cannot gain access to credit through the banking system.


Community First provides information, advice and support to tackle and promote rural community issues. They provide practical help, especially to social enterprises, community groups and village services, such as community shops and post offices. They can provide loans, grants and funds for community projects and as well as for youth inclusion projects.


The Wiltshire Community Foundation manages a huge range of business, community, educational and welfare funding schemes and operates a free funding database.


Develop offer a wide range of help to local groups on improving the way they fundraise and work with volunteers. Support provided includes fundraising courses, one-to-one support, application review and fundraising health checks as well as regular funding news and updates via an e-bulletin. The majority of services are provided free of charge. Call 0845 0345250 or email enquiries@developecs.org.uk for more information.


For community-led ventures, Locality provides extensive support and also runs the My Community scheme on behalf of government. The scheme is linked to neighbourhood planning and can help people take control and manage local community assets. The Big Lottery’s Power to Change is also geared to support local people run services and enterprises. The Wiltshire Council Area Board Grant Scheme can provide grants for community projects up to £5,000 to community groups, town and parish councils.


Rural business funding

This section provides information about grant funding available for economic development in our rural areas.

Wiltshire is a highly rural county and these rural areas are home to a wide range of businesses, from the traditional farming and food sector to ITC, design and technology and advanced manufacturing. Driving growth in the rural economy is a key element of our work and that of Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP).

SWLEP's Rural Economy Sector Group provides the strategic steer and support necessary for appropriate and sustainable economic development in rural areas, in accordance with SWLEP European Structural Investment Fund Strategy (ESIF). Members include Wiltshire Council, Swindon Borough Council and business sector representatives from the LEP’s rural areas. In the medium term we aim to achieve this strategic support primarily with EU funding through two elements of the Rural Development Programme for England:

  • LEADER Programme
  • Growth Programme rural economy grants

LEADER funds smaller projects (generally £5000 - £100,000 grants) whilst the Growth Programme funds larger projects, (generally from £35,000 to around £200,000 grants).


The LEADER Programme is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), delivered nationally by DEFRA in partnership with local authorities and communities. It aims to create jobs, stimulate new business start-ups and growth in rural areas, by providing European funding through Local Action Groups (LAGs).

  • Grant amounts: £5,000 - £100,000 generally, with some flexibility.
  • Grant rates: up to 40 per cent in most cases (higher rates may be available to non-profit organisations in exceptional circumstances).

LEADER has six national priorities:

  • Increasing farm productivity
  • Micro and small enterprises and farm diversification
  • Rural tourism
  • Provision of rural services
  • Cultural and heritage activity
  • Increasing forestry productivity

If you are interested in applying for a LEADER grant please contact the relevant LAG Programme Manager before completing an Outline Application.

For further information on LEADER, visit the GOV.UK website.

Local action group
Programme manager
Vale Action


Alan Truscott
01380 732814
Plain Action


Alan Truscott
01380 732814
North Wessex Downs


Dawn Hamblin
01488 680458
Heart of Wessex


Sarah Dyke
07826 907361
New Forest


Sally Igra
023 8028 5588


James Webb
01451 862033

The Swindon and Wiltshire LEP along with the Rural Payments Agency organised a day event on February 8th, 2017, announcing the launch of £3.9m rural business grants for small businesses in the area. The grants are available to businesses in tourism, food and drink processing or those seeking funds to further develop their rural business.

In Swindon and Wiltshire the rural growth grants programme local priorities for the funding are grouped into three themes – Tourism, Food and Drink and Rural Innovation.

  • 1.3m fund capital grants for food and drink processing and manufacturing businesses.
  • 1m fund split between grants for new and better quality tourism accommodation and grants for small scale tourism infrastructure and information improvements.
  • £0.7m fund for rural business innovation grants that support businesses involved in improving the natural capital resources that provide our ecosystem services.
    Businesses can obtain grants of up to just under £200,000 with bigger grants available from the food and drink fund.

Later this year, a further £300,000 will fund tourism cooperation projects that improve the visitor experience by bringing together small tourism-related businesses around geographical areas or activity themes.

For further details and how to apply for these grants go to: http://www.swlep.co.uk/news/322


LEADER local action groups

LAGS area map PDF (359kb)
Registrations Contact Us

Contact us

Economy Regeneration
Wiltshire Council
County Hall
BA14 8JD
01225 402096

Share this page

Last updated: 6 March 2019 | Last reviewed: 6 March 2019