Financial help to make your ideas reality

This year the government is spending a staggering £280bn on measures to fight COVID-19 and its impact on the economy. Whilst schemes such as the furlough scheme have received much attention in the media, there are several other initiatives and grants available to support businesses.

We share some of the lesser known local and national schemes that are available to help SMEs create a more resilient and stronger economy through innovation. Several of these grants will wholly or part fund the costs and could include anything from developing software to building a new product prototype.


If you have an idea and need to protect your intellectual property, the Sussex Innovation Centre have announced grants to commercialise IP. Their IP Grant will cover up to £5k towards costs including research, patent search, and registration and trademarking.

For organisations who want to build a prototype, the Ground Floor Prototyping Grant will match-fund the costs 50:50 for producing a physical prototype.

Transport and Logistics

Aimed at SMEs in the South East, the TALE scheme has already supported many businesses in the transportation, logistics, manufacturing and distribution sector. TALE is more than just a grant and will offer diagnostic support, coaching and support with up to £10k towards costs such as new software development.


If you’re a not-for-profit or have a project supporting inclusion and/or engaging diverse groups in Heritage projects, then check out the National Lottery grants from £3-10k and £10-100k.

For other charities, CAF has lots of useful resources and they are expected to announce a new round of funding soon.


LoCASE’s aim is to help businesses within the South East become more competitive and profitable whilst protecting the environment and encouraging low carbon solutions. Grants of up to £5k are available to help businesses and charities start and grow. Their funding has just been extended until Spring 2023, so if this applies to you, then register your interest.


See Science offers support for the development and delivery of education and public engagement projects in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). If you work in these areas, various grants are available to help develop the talent needed to create the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Digital and Creative

Digital Drive provides up to 40% towards the cost of digital projects. Although based in Durham, the projects can be anywhere in the UK. Funding can help website, app, and bespoke software development, or digital consultancy.

The National Lottery has several grants for individual artists and cultural organisations. Individual practitioners can apply for up to £10k to research and develop new opportunities or create new work through their DYCP grants.

You can see all Arts Council schemes here.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

We know how important this sector is for our local community around us in Eastbourne and how hard it has been hit by Covid-19. Owners of shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues with a rateable value under £51,000 may be eligible for up to £25,000 through Creative England’s scheme. Freelancers may also access the scheme if registered as a sole trader with premises.

Find out more

The South East Business Hub has an excellent search engine to discover more funding opportunities.

How Switchplane can help

If you have a new idea to develop a new product or service and need consultancy to help make it reality, Keep+ will pay 50% of our consultancy fees up to £12,500.

Furthermore, any innovative work the Switchplane team carries out may qualify as R&D; the government’s R&D tax relief scheme can help reduce your tax bill. See our article here for more information.

Please reach out to us to discuss any of your software ideas. We're happy to support your funding applications where we can, so we can work together to bring your idea to life.

The Switchplane Team

Hey! We are Switchplane and we help businesses save time and money by building them custom software. This can be anything from a job management portal to a complex ecommerce solution. Want to find out more?

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