funding for craft enterprises

Perhaps the most daunting, yet most crucial aspect to setting up your usiness is finding the funding to get your creative idea off the ground. What’s great is that there is a wide variety of funding options available to small creative businesses – you just need to know where to look!

Advice here is applicable to Ireland, sorry to our other visitors.

Before you take a hammer to your piggy bank or remortgage the house, make Enterprise Nation one of your first ports of call. The Enterprise Nation website is a supportive community of small businesses, providing essential advice and regular blog posts on a such useful topics as improving your blog or website’s SEO (search engine optimization) and, crucially where to source that all important funding.

There are several options to choose from, and what might be right for one person may not be such a smart move for another. We help you weigh up and assess your options.


Grants are generally sums of money that don’t have to be repaid, awarded by governing bodies and institutions that have a particular interest in a niche. Naturally this method of lending is particularly sought after and competition can be tough.

Shell LiveWIRE’s ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award’ is one example of a small grant available to businesses at start-up stage that gives young entrepreneurs aged 16–30 the opportunity to win a prize of £1000. With four chances to win each month, this could be a great opportunity to finally get the ball rolling on that business idea you’ve been fantasizing about these past few years. The first step towards your dream business is to simply fill out an online application form.

There is also specific funding for creative projects to be found. The Arts Council in the UK for example helps provide finance to a range of artistic projects, helping artists carry out their work and engaging others in a variety of arts based activity from visual arts through to dance.


The dreaded ‘L’ word! But some loans may not be as scary as you think. Unlike bank loans, many organisations offer pre-existing companies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) financial support with a much lower interest rate than high-street banks and building societies. Such organisations lend larger sums of money as well as providing support and aftercare, making sure you spend the money in the most beneficial way for you – after all they have a vested interest in your business success.

CDFIs (Community Development Finance Institutions) make up a group of institutions across the UK who work to support individuals, groups or organisations that are struggling to access funding from traditional sources. Finding Finance is a brilliant CDFI search engine that makes finding your local CDFI organisations that little bit easier. For example, those of you living in Birmingham or Solihull could apply for the Aston Reinvestment Trust (ART), a trust designed to boost the local economy and assist small businesses that may have been refused some or all of the funding they require. ART loans can range anywhere between £10,000 and £50,000, and there are similar CDFI schemes nationwide.

StartUp Loans is an exciting new funding scheme backed by the government that aims to inspire young business minds and give them the confidence and support they need to start a business. So, if you’re aged 18–24 and eager to get started, you can apply for up to £2,500. Once you’ve applied you can also download a StartUp Loan Kit, created by Enterprise Nation, which includes advice about how to spend your money wisely and £500 worth of offers and discounts to get you equipped and looking the part.


Another way of funding your craft business venture is to convince other people that your business is worth investing in Dragon’s Den style. This can be anyone with the resources and desire to invest: it could be a sympathetic friend, a wealthy relative or an Angel – not your biblical messenger, but wealthy business moguls and affluent entrepreneurs.

Angels are fast becoming a great way to fund your business or project: they have plenty of cash, years of experience and invaluable advice – and they want to give it all to you. What’s the catch I hear you say? Sadly Angels aren’t all giving, unlike their biblical namesake, and there will be certain terms and conditions to be agreed upon, such as a percentage stake in the business.

The Angel Investment Network is one of the many websites that help investors find investments and vice versa. As a social network for business entrepreneurs, you could say that Angel Investment Network is the eBay of the business services world. Investors can advertise their skills and accolades stipulating what area of business they’re hoping to invest in, and allow those seeking investment to contact them and pitch their ideas. In the same way, emerging entrepreneurs can advertise their business pitch, desired investments and what they’re willing to negotiate, and wait for Angels to descend. Finding an angel can be a complicated and drawn-out process involving lots of contracts and paper work, but do not be daunted by any means, a successful negotiation will provide you with an invaluable investor to whom you can turn for advice and support.


This blog post wouldn’t be complete without a mention of crowdfunding, a new player regards creative funding for your craft business. It’s an idea that is both social and creative in nature, and works on a simple premise. Rather than have one person or bank lend you a lot of money, several hundred potential supporters pledge small amounts if they like the sound of your idea. If you reach your target then the crowdfunding platform takes a small cut of the cash fundraised, otherwise the pledges simply don’t materialise. You can set different rewards for the amount pledged. For example if you’re an animator wanting to create a new stop motion video, small pledges might result in an end credit, while much larger pledges might also mean the supporter gets a signed copy of the finished product. Get creative with your sponsorship video, and the pledge rewards and no doubt people will be queuing up to donate! Head over to Kickstarter or Crowdfunder to get started.

Are you looking to start your own craft company? What means have you used to bootstrap your business in the initial stages? Let us know!

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