Raising Funds Without Grants

Starting (and running) your own business in London can be challenging, especially when it comes to finding the money to make your dream a reality. While some businesses receive large grants, whether that be from the government or another organisation, it can be a much harder and often more frustrating process for others.

If you’ve applied for grants and been unsuccessful, the good news is many allow you to apply again a year later. Until then, we’ll look at the different ways you can raise funds for your business that don’t involve receiving any grants.

Why do I need to seek funding for my business?

Funding isn’t just for start-ups; you may decide it would be a good idea ten years into running your business – especially if you have big plans for growth. From ramping up production to simply wanting to expand your team or improve your cash flow, it all depends on the goals within your business.

What types of funding can I get for my business?

There are more options than you may think when it comes to raising funds for your business, we’ll take a look at some of the popular ways to do it.


Did you know you can transfer money from your personal account to your business one? It comes with lots of benefits too. For example, because you aren’t borrowing money from anywhere, that means there’s no interest to be paid on the money you’ve put in. It also means less risk if anything goes wrong, for instance, if the business ends up in debt and you still owe lenders money resulting in interest payments and default charges. That said, there’s always the risk that personal funds you put in will be lost if things don’t work out.

Some business owners also ask family and friends to help. While this means you still need to pay them back, family and friends are likely to be more flexible with interest rates (if they charge you any), but before you do this, ensure the relationship won’t be damaged and think about creating a contract with a realistic timescale of when you can pay them back.  

Merchant Cash Advance

This could potentially be a good option for small to medium-sized businesses that need a little boost! In a nutshell, a merchant cash advance (MCA) is short-term funding for businesses that accept both debit and credit card payments.

How it works: MCA lenders will provide small businesses with an upfront sum of money that businesses will then repay back, from a percentage of card transaction sales (and any fees that have been added).

This is different from your typical business loan in that you don’t need to offer assets like inventory or property for security in order to access your funding.


Crowdfunding is where individuals or investors donate small amounts of money to meet a large funding goal. There are many different types of crowdfunding platforms out there, such as GoFundMe and KickStarter.

To get started you’ll need to create a funding campaign which explains why you’re raising money, what it will be used for, and what plans you have for the business. Adding details about how you plan to make a profit is also great for attracting investors. They’ll then either pre-purchase a product or give you a donation.

As well as receiving the funds you need for your business, this also gives you excellent exposure to investors who may want to partner up with you in the near future. It’s a great idea to keep the page updated along the way with how the business is doing, and how the donations have helped.

Bootstrapping your business

Bootstrapping your business is perfect if you don’t have enough savings but do have a small amount of money that can help get you started. Once you’ve added some funds, you’ll basically use any profits you make to keep your business going.

This is a good idea if you still want full control of your business, and you don’t want to pay interest on funds you receive. It also means you’ll develop amazing customer service skills because you’ll rely on that custom to keep your business going – which should help your clientele expand!

Pitch competitions in London for start-ups

Being a small start-up business in London can be exciting as there are so many networking opportunities and lots going on.

A pitching competition allows you to show off your business and its potential to entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders. London is heaving with events like this, and there are even pitch workshops to help you sharpen up. Check out Eventbrite’s list of business pitch events in London – you may find yourself with investors by the end of the evening!

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