There are plenty of financing options available, so make sure you do your homework. Financing sustainability measures might be easier than you think.
Investing in energy efficient equipment usually makes sound business and environmental sense. There are a number of financial schemes available to help make this investment as attractive as possible.
- Research associated cost savings from emission savings. When you put forward the internal business case make sure you include figures on the savings of a sustainability project and include payback times where appropriate/possible.
- Get multiple quotes from suppliers. Make sure you shop around to get the best deal when putting together a project. It is also wise to try to cross-reference efficiency saving figures provided by potential suppliers. It is sometimes in their interest to exaggerate them.
- Research funding opportunities carefully. There are lots of different financing options and plenty of grants available. Make sure you know all the opportunities. Often grants, particularly the larger ones, only provide a proportion of the initial capital costs. Be prepared to mix and match between different financing options.
Finance, funding and support schemes for startups with their own premises
- Green Business Fund: The Carbon Trust Green Business Fund is offering a capital contribution of 30% of the project cost (up to a max of £10,000) to small and medium sized businesses, who could benefit from financial support when buying energy saving equipment. https://www.carbontrust.com/client-services/technology/implementation-and-finance/green-business-fund/#finance
- O% Loans in Wales and Northern Ireland: The Carbon Trust offers interest free and unsecured loans in Wales and Northern Ireland from £3,000 up to a maximum of £200,000 in Wales and £400,000 in Northern Ireland for energy efficiency measures or renewable energy projects. https://www.carbontrust.com/client-services/technology/implementation-and-finance/#financing
- Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme: The ECA scheme provides businesses with a first year 100% accelerated capital allowance that enables them to set aside the total cost of the asset against taxable profits (or losses) in the year of purchase. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/enhanced-capital-allowance-scheme-for-energy-saving-technologies
- The Resource Efficiency Fund (REF): The REF is a dedicated capital fund for implementing resource efficiency opportunities in the Leeds City Region (LCR), providing 50% match funding for the implementation of all eligible measures up to £10,000. http://www.the-lep.com/what-we-do/energy-(1)/
- Low Carbon Across the South East (LoCASE): A business support programme for companies based in Essex, East Sussex, Kent and the intervening councils of Thurrock, Medway and Southend-on-Sea. http://locase.co.uk/
- Siemens Energy Efficiency Finance: Funding is available for UK businesses to invest in cost effective energy efficient equipment and other low carbon technologies, such as new efficient lighting and biomass heating. Finance is available from £1,000 with no upper limit. https://www.siemens.com/uk/en/home/products/financing/market-focus/energy-finance.html
Finance, funding and support schemes for startups without their own premises
- Local business support: Look up your local Chamber of Commerce and other local business support groups. They offer business consulting services and networking events to help startups develop and make business contacts.
- Incubators/accelerators: There is a vast range of incubator and accelerator programmes in the UK. Take a look at the following list to find one that’s relevant to your business: http://www.etondigital.com/the-best-tech-accelerators-and-incubators-uk/
- Crowdfunding: If you are considering crowdfunding, look up platforms which are well known in the UK such as Seedrs, Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
- Grants: Grants are a particularly sought out funding type because the funding does not need to be paid back. A selection of grant opportunities for small businesses in the UK can be found here: http://startups.co.uk/small-business-grants/
- Mentoring and advice: Many organisations offer mentoring and advice to startups, and act as a link between startups and potential investors. The Startup Funding Club (SFC) is one such organisation: http://startupfundingclub.com/