Business Grants available from £2,000-£20,000 (match funded)

Dorset Council has launched two new grant schemes using funding from UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Rural England Prosperity Fund grants for both community groups and organisations, together with local business grants. Round 1 of both the UKSPF and REPF will close on Wednesday 31 January 2024.

  • Local business grant awards are from £2,000 to £20,000 per business.
  • Community groups and organisations can apply for grants between £1,000 and £15,000.

Dorset Council has been allocated just over £6 million via the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) for use within the county, with funds available until completion in March 2025.

The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK by investing in communities and places, supporting local businesses, people and skills.

There are three fundamental elements to the Fund: People’s pride in the place they love; Empowered local leaders and communities; and Stronger social fabric with better life chances.

Local business grants

Businesses can apply for grants towards digital technology and innovation, research and development, business growth and exports. Such as:

  • Purchase of new equipment; software development and implementation; adaptations; automation and robotics.
  • Support with Intellectual Property (IP); patents; trademarks; designs; copyrights; or other options for protecting IP; capital funding for new machinery for new products; and development of new services or products.
  • Grants to facilitate growth, promote innovation and increase productivity.
  • Grants to facilitate and support businesses that are either wish to start exporting or are already doing so.

Businesses must provide 100% match funding in cash and are required to undertake a diagnostic support with our lead business partner, Dorset Growth Hub (WSX Enterprise). If you want an initial conversation please contact Nick Gregory:

 or call 0345 458 6480.

Community groups and organisations grants

Dorset Council is keen to provide support for grassroots community-led development, supporting local groups to lead on what their community needs and wants. For example, community infrastructure; the facilities, structures and environment of a neighbourhood which contributes to the quality of life and overall safety and health of a community.

Groups or organisations are required to provide at least 10% match funding (cash or in-kind match funding is acceptable).

For full details about the grant schemes, including terms and conditions, can be found on the Dorset Council website.

Cllr Simon Gibson, Dorset Council’s Portfolio holder for Economic Growth and Levelling Up, said:

“I am delighted that the UK Shared Prosperity and Rural England Prosperity Fund Grant Schemes are launching, giving all community groups, organisations, and businesses in the Dorset Council area a chance to apply and make a difference across the county.

“I encourage businesses to apply for these grants to develop and further their innovation, research, and growth. This is also a great opportunity for community groups and organisations to apply, enabling them to enhance their local community facilities within the towns and parishes where they live to increase the quality of life for residents.”

Round 1 of both the UKSPF and REPF will close on Wednesday 31 January 2024.

The grants will be assessed by a panel made up of councillors, Dorset Council officers and independent reviewers.

The grants panel will meet every three-weeks, with the first panel meeting planned for early January 2024. Awardees will receive a decision no later than 2 weeks after their respective panel meeting.

These grants must be spent and finalised in this financial year (2023/2024), all complete by 31st March 2024.

With around 100 members any business in Dorset with less than 30 employees can join Dorchester Chamber for business for £60p/a (no VAT).

Dorchester Chamber for Business | News