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Finance and funding

Devon Investment Partnership

The listings below are regularly updated, any additions or amendments should be sent through to

Devon Community Foundation

The DCF manage a range of grant making funds which support local groups, organisations and charities.

  • Contact: 01884 235887

Devon Communities Together

Devon Communities Together is a charity providing advice and support to members of the rural community. It offers training and events on a range of topics from business start-up and growth to how to be an effective councillor; a membership scheme which includes a support line, member discounts on training, events and insurance as well as supplies and regular communications on policy changes and funding opportunities.

Fredericks Foundations

Fredericks Foundation is a charity that helps disadvantaged people to set up, or expand their own business as a means to achieve financial independence. A comprehensive range of business support and microloan funding is provided for start-ups and small businesses. For start-up businesses up to a maximum of £10,000 is offered though the average loan is less than £5,000. For established businesses with a financial track record the maximum loan is £20,000.

  • Contact: 01276 472 722

South West Investment Group

SWIG is the largest provider of complementary loan finance to small and medium sized businesses in the South West. It offers support for businesses that help the local economy, itaims to complement rather than compete with the banks, can often fund projects where bank support is limited, and manages a portfolio of funds worth £10 million

 Devon Business Angels

Devon Business Angels brings together small companies wanting to grow and individual investors who have skills and expertise that can help those small companies develop. The scheme is open to businesses that are looking to grow – it is not currently aimed at start-ups.

  • Contact: 07801 597302


The South West Angel and Investor Network (SWAIN) connects private investors, or ‘Business Angels’, with companies looking for investment. SWAIN specialises in helping small and medium sized companies to find equity finance, and assists private investors in the South West to search for investment opportunities in businesses with growth potential.


Exeter-based Crowdcube offers a new way for businesses to raise funding by facilitating crowdfunding via micro-payments.

  • Offers entrepreneurs and business pioneers a new way to raise business finance
  • Enables investors to invest smaller amounts of cash in exchange for rewards and a stake in their business
  • Crowdfunding has been made much easier by the internet, online micro-payment systems and social networking
  • Crowdfunding can not only be used to raise money but also gain feedback and publicise an idea, project or business

Specific Finance

Devon Renaissance

DR is a regeneration company based in the South West providing support for economic and social projects to businesses and communities. DR run and manage a number of funding streams but also offer assistance with:

  • Researching and preparing business plans
  • Planning and running projects, including technical (State Aid) and funding advice
  • Carrying out environmental assessments, including BREEAM
  • Assessing the effectiveness and impact of a project
  • Developing and managing funding programmes
  • Contact: 01837 658 643


Local Action Groups (LAG’s) were set up to deliver RDPE funding on a local basis making use of local knowledge to promote an integrated “bottom up”, community-led approach. LAGs are made up of interested volunteers from the public, private and voluntary sector. Each LAG develops a Local Development Strategy and funds projects in its locality to deliver this. Currently there are 4 LAGs in Devon:

Making it local

£2.4m worth of funding was secured to support projects in the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), East Devon AONB and the surrounding area that: A. Raise business performance and local employment. B. Support Communities and Connections. C. Make the most of local resources. Making it Local is offering new and existing businesses, charities, voluntary and community groups the chance to apply for a small pot of grant funding.  Expressions of interest are invited from applicants in preparation for the 12 November deadline.  Complete an ’Initial Project Outline’ and we will offer you feedback on your project, if it is eligible for Making it Local, and other funding advice.

Greater Dartmoor LEAF

The Greater Dartmoor Local Enterprise Action Fund (LEAF) covers the whole ofDartmoorand a significant area around the edge of the moor. It has been set up to provide funding for projects that will improve the area economically, socially and environmentally.

South Devon Coastal LAG

The South Devon Coastal Local Action Group is a community led organisation that works to support projects in the rural South Devon area between Torbay and Plymouth. £1.6m of funding was successfully obtained from the Rural Development Programme forEngland- to invest in projects that benefit the communities, economy and environment of the South Devon Coastal area. Most of the funding is already allocated to a wide range of projects that are being run by local groups and businesses. There is a small amount of funding remaining for selected projects that deliver the aims of the LAG.

Leader 4: Torridge and North Devon

Leader 4 Torridge andNorth Devon is a programme with a £3.438 million grant to provide project funding and development support to improve the economy, environment and quality of life in rural areas. Support will be available for innovative, sustainable and high quality projects that meet the Leader 4 aim and objectives. The programme area includes all of rural Torridge andNorth Devondistricts except for the six central wards that make upBarnstapleTown(Pilton,YeoValley,Forches & WhiddonValley,Newport, Longbridge andCentralTown). The map below shows the extent of the Leader 4 area.


Northern Devon Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) is a partnership that has come together to support all aspects ofNorthern Devonfisheries. The Northern Devon FLAG has been successful in securing funding from the European Fisheries Fund (EFF). The FLAG will manage this fund inline with the FLAG strategy and will look to secure further funding, such as other Axes of the European Fisheries Fund.

Business Support

Business Link

Business support, information and advice for all businesses. From October 2011 this is now delivered via a comprehensive website and a national helpline service:

  • An improved national Business Link website with essential information, support and services for your business.
  • A new addition is a ‘growth and improvement’ service full of information you need to make your business work better and achieve growth objectives.
  • For start up businesses the Business Link website will have a new area called ‘My New Business’ providing tailored information and training to guide people through the process
  • A search service for public sector procurement opportunities
  • A national mentoring network that puts your business in touch with mentoring organisations across theUK.
  • Contact: 0845 600 9 006

Rural Focus

Rural Focus replaced Business Link’s Rural Service in October 2011. Rural Focus provides easy access to the advice, support and funding that today’s rural, agricultural and land based businesses need to succeed. The service gives rural businesses access to:

  • A team of Rural Advisers
  • Specialist advice for rural business in the South West
  • Access to support and funding through the Rural Development programme for England (RDPE)
  • A programme of events on a range of business support topics
  • Tailored resource efficiency advice for farmers (R4F)

Rural Growth Network

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership has been awarded £2.9m from DEFRA to form a Rural Growth Network (RGN) covering rural Devon and Somerset. The Rural Growth Network will achieve growth by:

  •  Creating a “ladder of business accommodation” – through investment in several key locations acrossDevonandSomerset;
  • Partnership with two universities and multiple private sector research and development agencies to nurture new businesses and support businesses with high growth potential;
  • A strong focus on low carbon industries and sustainable business practices;
  • Innovative elements include a pilot programme to galvanise whole communities to recognise, celebrate and promote entrepreneurship, masterclasses to foster succession planning in rural family businesses, and a strong emphasis on enabling women to start-up and grow businesses.

It is estimated that through this work the Rural Growth Network will encourage the creation of approx. 1,100 new jobs and has the potential to add up to £58m to the rural economy across the area by March 2016.

Devon Business Mentors

Offers a range of business mentoring services that are provided either free of charge or on a subsidised basis to eligible businesses in some parts of Devon.

  • Services available in: Torridge, North Devon, Torbayand South Hams
  • Programme also available for high growth businesses

Princes Trust

If you are young, unemployed, struggled at school, have been in trouble with the law, or have been in care, the Princes Trust  can provide support in a number of ways.

  • Courses for 16-25 year olds, working on motivation, skills and experience. They help individuals get their lives on track.
  • Grants are available if you want to get a job or get on a course, but need some money to do so.Grants are also available if you want to start a community project. A Development Award or a Community Cash Award could help if you are aged 14-25.
  • The Prince’s Trust supports unemployed young people aged 18-30 to work out if their business ideas are viable and whether self-employment is right for them.


UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) staff are experts in helping your business grow internationally.

  • Provide expert trade advice and practical support to UK-based companies wishing to grow their business overseas.
  • With 2,400 staff and a presence in 96 countries, UKTI can assist you on every step of the exporting journey.
  • Whatever stage of development your business is at, UKTI can give you the support that you need to expand and prosper.

Growth SW

If your business can demonstrate ambition, innovation and high growth potential, Growth South West  now offers three high impact business growth services to drive your success – and as they’re funded by European Region Development Fund, there is no charge.

  • Coaching for High Growth offers structured and focused coaching support, helping companies to build upon their own capabilities to achieve accelerated growth.
  • Available to businesses with a turnover of £1m plus.
  • Coaching for High Growth provides an independent business coach to work alongside the senior management team, supporting strategic decision-making, organisational development and management capability.
  • Three programmes available: Starting a High Growth Business; Coaching for High Growth; and Understanding Finance for Business.


iNets South West provides business support and advice to five specific sectors of the economy: Aerospace and Advanced Engineering, Biomedical, Creative Industries, Environmental and Microelectronics.

  • iNets South West is supported by £13 million of funding.
  • It works to strengthen and connect existing networks, nurture innovation and find new opportunities for businesses.


The Manudacturing Advisory Service (MAS) provides companies, whatever their size, with practical support on all aspects of manufacturing and offer direct access to manufacturing experts with a proven track record. Subsidised consultancy assistance is available where it is needed.


Mentors is a Government initiative that aims to connect companies with mentoring organisations that can support and guide their growth.

  • Provides a searchable directory of mentoring support available in different parts of the country


The service provides free support to businesses to help solve a real business challenge using innovative solutions developed in conjunction with business innovation mentors.

  • Plug into the expertise of all partners (SouthDevonCollege, Petroc and Kingston Maurward).
  • Projects have included product design, ICT, marketing and sales strategies, process development & business planning.

Enterprise Europe Network South West

Enterprise Europe SW provides high quality advice and practical support to businesses throughout Devon and the South West in relation toEurope, the Single Market and further afield. Excellent links in over 40 countries including the whole of Europe, China, Korea, Chile, Israel, Russia, Switzerland, Tunisia, Egypt and more.

Local Support

Business buddies

Business Buddies provides experienced business mentors at no charge to eligible small businesses in areas ofNorth Devonand Torridge.

  • A mentor will provide a high quality sounding board for all issues that arise in the business.
  • Mentoring is not a business advisory service, counselling service nor coaching service.
  • We will usually provide up to 10 mentoring sessions to a business client and would expect these would be with the same mentor although mentors are used to working in teams where appropriate to ensure you have the relevant skills and experience available to you.
  • Free workshops also available

North Devon +

North Devon + offers a comprehensive suite of business advice for new and developing businesses in North Devon.

  • Business advice, signposting and support networks
  • Training and skills.
  • Membership marketing and support networks for tourism and food and drink businesses.

Exeter Business Support

Exeter Business Support offers assistance for start-ups and existing small business.

  • Assistance for start-ups includes free one to one advice, business coaching and mentoring, opportunities to promote and market your business, all aspects of business planning, access to the Exeter Enterprise Club and full support during your pre-trading period and for a full year after you have started your business.
  • Advice and support also available for existing small businesses in the city, including a free Business Health Check to help you with growth planning, sustainability and business recovery.
  • Download: Exeter Business Support Information Sheet

 Exeter Business Support offers assistance for new and existing social enterprises.

  • Provides free one-to-one business advice sessions and workshops inExeter. Available to new or existing social enterprises which must be based withinExeteror be planning to move into the city.
  • Download: Exeter Social Enterprise Support Information Sheet

Outset Torbay

Outset Torbay is a fully-funded programme with the aim of supporting under-represented enterprise groups to start their own businesses in theTorbayarea.

  • Initial 1:1 session with one of their advisors
  • Range of tailored sessions and workshops aroundTorbay

West Devon Business Information Point (BIP)

BIP offers assistance for start-ups, small businesses and farm enterprises in West andEast Devon.

  • Provides support and advice to businesses from start-up to development.
  • Runs business workshops on a range of topics.
  • Administers the new Enterprise Allowance, and Honiton Enterprise Club.

Support for Social Enterprises

Business support

Plymouth Social Enterprise Network The Network aims to be a focal point for the social enterprise sector within Plymouth providing a way for social enterprises to exchange information, ideas and expertise helping to strengthen the sector.

Routeways A local charity that manages a range of projects funded by local and national funding streams, serving to enhance the social and economic well being of communities by providing choice and opportunity for individuals.

Dartington School for Social Entrepreneurs An intensive supportive programme for those starting a social enterprise.

Community & Social Action Plymouth Represents charities, voluntary organisations, community groups and social enterprises that make up the sector in Plymouth. Also runs the Venture support programme for established social enterprises.

Social Enterprise UK The national body for social enterprise, with information, events and resources.

Get Legal Free online reference and decision-making tool for charities, social enterprises and co-operative organisations.

Select A Structure Online tool provide by Co-operatives UK to help you decide the most appropriate legal structure for your enterprise.

Social Enterprise Mark Certification body which requires social enterprises to provide evidence against a set of qualification criteria.

Funding, finance & contract opportunities

Contracts Finder One of a series of government measures aimed at making it easier for suppliers, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to find and apply for public sector contracts. It is the main source of government opportunities worth more than £10,000.

Sell2Plymouth A partnership between Plymouth’s public sector buyers, local business support agencies and both the Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses, enabling businesses to register once for public sector contracts in the city under £25k.

Pro-Contract Web portal through which public sector contracts across the south west are promoted.

Funding Central A free website for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises, providing access to thousands of funding and finance opportunities.

Outset Finance Part of the Outset Plymouth team, providing help and advice for start-up and established businesses who need assistance in accessing finance.

Crowd Funding Today This site provides a list of current UK crowd funding websites (Buzzbnk, Bloom Venture Catalyst, etc).

Clearly So The global hub for social business, social enterprise and social investment.

J4B Website which aims to provide a comprehensive database for voluntary organisations and small businesses of business grants and soft loans.

Adventure Capital Fund The Adventure Capital Fund is an ambitious new style of funder for community enterprise. The pioneering packages that we offer have the potential to transform neighbourhoods across the country.

Big Lottery Fund Every year BIG gives out millions of pounds from the National Lottery to good causes. The money goes to community groups and to projects that improve health, education and the environment.

Awards for All A Lottery grants scheme funding small, local community-based projects in the UK.

Big Society Capital The Big Society Capital group (formerly referred to as the “Big Society Bank”) is a financial institution that aims to develop a market for investment made on the basis of positive social impact as well as financial returns. In so doing it will boost the ability of social enterprises, voluntary and community organisations to deal with social issues.

Bridges Community Ventures Bridges Community Ventures Ltd invests in entrepreneurial small and medium-sized enterprises in the most deprived 25% of England (using the Index of Multiple Deprivation).

Charity Bank The UK’s first not-for-profit bank that lends to charitable organisations and social enterprises. It offers loans of up to £500,000, normally in situations where traditional lending from commercial banks is not available.

Comic Relief Distributes money raised through the regular Red Nose Days, through grants to charities and voluntary organisations with charitable objectives.

Community Development Finance Association The trade association for Community Development Finance Institutions.

The South West Investment Group covers the south west region.

Esmee Fairburn Foundation One of the largest independent grant making foundations in the UK.

Frog Capital A venture capital firm that invests in British and European businesses involved in the field of environmental and ‘clean’ technology.

Impetus Trust Uses the experience and techniques of the venture capital industry in making grants to charities – what is known as ‘venture philanthropy’.

Unltd A charity which supports ‘social entrepreneurs’, which it defines as “people with vision, drive, commitment and passion who want to change the world for the better”.

Unity Trust Bank Provides banking services and support to trade unions, charities and not-for-profit organisations.

Charities Aid Foundation Venturesome A social investment fund that provides investment to help charities and social enterprises deliver on their mission.

The Social Investment Business Social investor which helps social enterprises, charities and community organisations prosper by providing innovative financial solutions and business support.

Social Enterprise Investment Fund aims to support social enterprises deliver innovative health and social care services and products as well as to invest to help them to become sustainable in the longer term.