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Wednesday , September , 30 2020
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Grants and External Funding

Please use the menu below to access information on grants and external funding news and resources. 


Open 4 Business Portal

Open 4 business logo image

To support our businesses during the current COVID-19 crisis, and into the recovery phase, Carlisle City Council is providing free access to Open 4 Business. Open4Business is designed to support businesses locate relevant up to date funding opportunities.

The portal is updated regularly with new local, regional and national funding announcements and can be easily searched by businesses on the basis of their industry, region and business size. The portal then provides information on how to apply for funding and contact funders directly. To search for grants for your business you will first need to register on the Open4Business website


Grants and Funding News

First Steps Enterprise Fund

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A loan/grant funding package is available for small community-led charities and social enterprises based and working in England to help them grow their services and become more sustainable.


First Steps Enterprise Fund (FSEF) is a £300,000 pilot fund to support community organisations that is managed by Social Enterprise Business on behalf of the Asda Foundation.

Objectives of Fund

The First Steps Enterprise Fund aims to help charities and social enterprises to improve people’s lives in communities in England by providing loan/grant packages that will help them grow their services and become more sustainable.

Value Notes

The pilot fund is £300,000.

A loan/grant package of up to £30,000 (90% loan and 10% grant) is available. A package of up to £50,000 will be considered in exceptional cases.

The loan element is charged at 5% (fixed) to be repaid over a period of four years with an optional capital holiday for the first year.

Match Funding Restrictions

Match funding is not required.

Who Can Apply

This fund is for community organisations (charities and social enterprises) looking to take on their first loan to to help them grow and become more sustainable.

To be eligible organisations should:

  • Be based and work in England.

  • Have been operating for at least one year.

  • Be able to provide evidence of need for and benefit to their local community.



Eligible Expenditure

Proposals must be able to explain how the organisation benefits and addresses the needs of their local community.

Preference is given to organisations that work in the following areas:

  • Older people.

  • Health and wellbeing.

  • Employment for young people.

How To Apply

Applications can be made at any time.

Applicants should contact SIB's loans team to discuss potential applications or for further information.

Useful documents & links

Useful Links

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