Looking for grants guide for disabled entrepreneurs

pound notesIt has been a Government initiative for the past few years to get disabled people off Benefits and back into work. This can benefit the disabled entrepreneur as this often means financial help and support distributed by various business support companies, the local Government, charities and Job Centre Plus partners.

Each organisation will have a grant for a certain purpose and for a certain type of person. So when enquiring about a grant it’s always worth mentioning that you are trying to get off Benefits and get back into work!

Working as a business advisor I have helped people in obtaining grants ranging from £500 – £15000. To get these amounts you will need three things; a sound business idea, a strong business plan, and a lot of patience.

If you have already started up in business, are in employment or have some finance available in a bank account, then your chances of getting a substantial grant are incredibly small. So for the purpose of this article I will be concentrating on grants for disabled entrepreneurs who are unemployed

Many clients who come to me want to start up in business yesterday. That’s fine if you have the capital behind to start up quickly, although I would not recommend it. If you require grants to start up in business, be prepared for a long wait.

Grants like most things, are a numbers game. The more you apply for the more chance you have of getting one. So where do you start? The best place is your DEA (Disability Employment Advisor) at the Job Centre. The DEA can be helpful in three ways;-

They may have a capital grant for you to apply for things like equipment or advertising.
They will have information on Benefits that you can still receive whilst in self employment.
Most importantly, they may know other organisations who do offer grants and loans.

This is the best way to play the numbers game with grants. Often a trip to the job centre will unearth other organisations that could help, but again more importantly they may know of other organisations and so on. Do you see how this can snowball?

The main ones are Job Brokers – These are partner organisations that work alongside the Job Centres to give specialist advice on how to return to work. They sometimes have a grant of between £250-£500 available when you start work/self employment. The Job Centre may work with several Job Brokers so it’s important you sign up with the one who is offering you the most money. I would phone each one up and ask them what they can do financially to help you start up.

After exhausting this avenue, I would then do some research, either on the Internet or via telephone and find other organisations that could help. National organisations such as your local Council and Business Link may have small pots of money, but again, always ask if they know of others who could help.

The next set of organisations I would try is Charities specific to your disability. The best place to start is the big national ones. If I was visually impaired for example, I would contact the RNIB and ask them for assistance. Again I must stress, even if they can help always ask if they know of others. Then I would try the local groups, but not only the charities. Often neighbourhood services and community groups will have small pots of money to help you get back into work.

41 Responses to “Looking for grants guide for disabled entrepreneurs”

  • 8th Sep 08

    I have read with great interest you site and find it interesting and helpfull. My situation is this, regestered disabled 4 years ago, bi-lateral kidney failure plus others. Now I’m back in the land of the living and looking to start again in my specialist field. It is Fine Art and Antiques along with any form of Firearms. I have contracts with the biggest company’s in the World. My experiance is 45 years old and I’m only 53, any advice? These companies pay for what I know not what I can do.

    Any advice and help you can give would be of great help.

    I understand their will be a charge but as far as I can find out, the goverment people do not tend to give you answers unless you ask the correct questions.

    Contact me on on 01743 243186 or 07963 524704 or email above.


    Martin Heath

  • admin:

    Hi Martin

    What sort of help would you like? Grants, marketing, Goverment support etc…Can you tell me more about your business? Who will be your customers?

  • Samantha Cole:

    I am currently doing an animal grooming program. When i have this program completed in April 2009 I am interested in starting my own business and furthering my edjucation to include horse grooming and training. I was wondering what grants or other funding may be available to me as a disabled woman? Thank you.

  • admin:

    Hi Sam

    If you are under 30 years of age then you could be eligible for a grant/soft loan from the Prince’s Trust. Will you be starting your business immediately after the course? If you are signing onto benefits after the course, you could be eligible for grants designed to get you back into work. As I have written in my article, the majority of grants are designed to help people get back into work. I would contact the local business centres in your area and ask them what’s available. You could ask charities would specialise in your disability. You could also be eligible for Access to Work for any specialist equipment you may need because of your disability or even a grant to fund a support worker.

  • Fiona Reid:

    I have been registered disabled with hypermobile joint syndrome and fibromyalgia since 2001 but tried to work full time from October last year. I gave up work recently, having been off sick due to my condition since May 2008. Since I have been ill, I have been making jewellery for something to do. I now find that people want to buy it and I want to turn it into a small homebased business as its something I can do when I’m ill. I am 41, female and a lone parent. Are there any grants available that I might apply for, given my circumstances. I think I could buy enough materials and stock and equipment with about £500. Any other advise would also be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  • admin:

    Hi Fiona
    Are you on any benefits at the moment? Most grants are aimed at getting people back into work. You could try and contact your local council’s business team, they may have grants for start up. Remember to ask them if they know of any other organisation who could help. I would also consider getting a website and putting the web address on any packaging to give with your jewellery. This will make it easier for people to get back in contact with you if they require more. A lot of people now are blogging about their business, which with a bit of persistance will get you a web presence for free. I will write an article about this soon. Is there any other support you need to run your business because of your disabilty?

  • Tina:

    I have just found your website – thank you. I’m setting up a dog walking business, my site isn’t live yet, I haven’t recruited dog walkers. Have found different target markets for my client base. Am a bit worried about it all working out, especially the costs & marketing aspect of it. I’m deaf so will rely on email and Spinvox. I already work full time – so no time to visit DEA! and I’m probably not eligible for their support as I already work. This will be a sideline, run like an agency where I facilitate the whole thing and will do weekend walks myself. I didn’t know about grants for disabled startups – found some on Business Link. Any tips please?

  • admin:

    Have a look at my article on Access to Work


    It’s worth getting an assessment to see if you are eligible for any equipment grants or a support worker.

    Please put your business details in my directory when you start

  • laiba:


    I am a dyslexic student with a very bad back, who has been caring for her mother with mental health problems. i have a degree but can not do anything at the moment in my life, therefore i would like to set up a small beauty waxing business from home and look after my mum.

    I have been out of work for a year and and i am struggling to survive and would really appreciate it if you could advise me on any grants or help avaliable to buy the equipment as it is very expensive.

    You can email me on my email address.

  • admin:


    Have you approached any organisations i’ve talked about in my articles? Are you on benefits at the moment? If so which ones?


  • Hi, I decided to set up a new business just as the credit crunch hit. I want to offer mobile parties on a double decker play bus. I will need to employ a driver as I am disabled and would need 2 members of staff to enable me to run the business. I put together a website jjust to see what interest I would receive and have been snowed under with calls to book the play bus. Having turned away over £26000 worth of custom since September has been frustrating as I can’t even get a foot in the door at the banks! Any advice would be gratefully received, I am 34 and suffer with pelvic and back problems due to pregnancy, I had to leave my job and I’m in receipt of incapacity benefit and disability living allowance, I’m fed up of being stuck in this rut of benefits. the mind id willing but the body isn’t able!
    Thanks in advance,

  • Jennifer McGann:

    I am a job developer and had an idea for a business employing people with disabilities. The name of the business is “We’ll Get It”. We’ll Get It is a business that provides a personal shopping service for people in assisted and senior living facilities. We would charge by the customer. My question is initially my agency would provide the transportation but down the road, if the business takes off, is it feasible to try and get a grant for a vehicle and driver. My goal is to have the shoppers become independant entrepeneurs once we work out the kinks.
    Your thoughts?

  • Andrew MacLeod:

    Hi I have been on disability benefits since 1993 suffering from post traumatic shock disorder and mixed anxiety and depression. For a long time I was virtualy agrophobic but recently felt strong enough to go into full time education to gain IT Support qualifications which I passed with flying colours. This gave my confidence a breat boost but now I am unable to find employment here in West Cumbria. So I decided to start my own IT Support business. I am about to start stage 3 with InBiz. I need to source funding for things like a laser printer for printing leaflets, the cost of a domain and hosting etc. I am 44 so the princes trust is out. Could you suggest anything.

  • Dan:

    I was made redundant not long ago, and am looking at starting an IT consultancy company running from home. I was diagnosed with MS a few years ago (secondry progressive was relapse remitting) and was trying to find any funding which may be available for starting up a business. I have decades of experience in the IT field, and using new technolgy have worked out how to do almost all the work from home, rather than constantly travelling.

    Are there any centralised lists of grant providers, I have a business plan, costings, RoI estimates, Short/Medium/Long term business plans, I hope to find somewhere I can get funding for setting an enterprise environment (IBM iseries) for hosting and VOIP initially, and software developement afterwards.

    I am not currently on benefits, since social security does not recognise indepentant living MS suffers as disabled, even though the DDA does.

  • Jack:

    Hi, I am so glad in finding this website and the help you offer. I was always thinking if there is a govement grant or similler to help disabled pepole start there own businesse and wish your advice. I have been on disablety living allownce for over 11 years due to my disablety which entitled me to disablity higher rate and mobelity lower rate , I am 30 years old and I don’t realy like being left out due to that disabelity and wish to start a small businesse of my own like a cafe. and I have around £2000 in savings but what I have realy do nothing those days in Brighton. I have been told by some one before that there are some councils that offer council property shops at discounted rates to cases like that and also some charites but I realy don’t know if that is true or where to start .
    thank again for your help and advice

  • Jon:

    I’m not aware of anything central. A lot of grants are only available for a year or 2 when an organization wins a funding contract, to help people start up in business. Your local council is a good place to start, plus they may know other orgs which could help

  • Have you considered applying for The Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs? You can win a cash prize of £50,000 for your business.

    More info, entry criteria and the application form can be found at http://www.disabledentrepreneur.org

  • Mandy Brace:

    Hi I have just been told about your site by my Pathways to work advisor. I am on ESA and have been since Nov 2008 due to arthritis in back, knees, ankles and one wrist. Until then I was self employed. I am looking at doing ‘permitted work’ to continue with my buisness but I need a small grant to start advertising, buy supplies and general re-start up. No-one seems to have anything in my area, Bedfordshire, any help would be very gratefully received.

  • Looking for advise. I am disabled with MS and a heart condition. I cannot hold a steady job but could do my own business as a part-time helper could be hired. I have found a property that is ideal with business included with home. Unfortunatley I have no downpayment or start up funds. Do you have any advise?

  • Mark:

    I have been long term sick with disabilities for 9 years now. I am still noyt well but i am desperate to work but i want to work for myself at my pace without worrying about pleasing someone else. My main motivation to succeed is my fantastic cihldren and my lovely wife who is also my full time carer.
    Anyway, i have no savings at all but a burning desire to open a body piercing shop.
    I havent a clue where to start but i need to be able to find someone or organisations that are willing to give me grants to help me get equipment, advertise and pay for any expenses to do with renting a shop premisis.
    I am not looking for anything big, just a small shop that will enable me to offer this service local to where i live.
    I am currentlly on the higher rate DLA for both mobility and care componants for an indefinate period, i am also receiving incapacity and income support with severe disbled allowance, my wife is my full time carer and receives carers allowance.
    I know this is a hard situation for me to be in because i am not well but i am so desperate to work and i am taking a body piercing course that i complete in january and the best thing about it is i can do the job sitting down!
    I just need advice on what financial support i can get to help me realise my dream and how i go about approaching benefits with this, i know with DLA it is not means tested and my wife will still be my full time carer and will also help me in the shop when it happens.

  • bob pavuchak:

    i was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma dec 2007, i battled cancer for 9 months with chemotherapy treatments leading up to a stem cell transplant in august 2008. The proceedure worked so far and I am now cancer free to date. My immune system was weaked by the treatments and I now have a rare eye infection in my cornea. My company told me I no longer have a position and at 51 years old seeking employment is a very hard task. I have been working on an idea I had while in the hospital to help cancer patients be more comfortable in daily life and the idea for these products has caught intrest enough for me to persue this idea. who do i explain my idea to and whatare the next steps. My funds are depleted and i am seeking financial help to move my life forward and help others, i have a full business plan

  • Christine:

    I had to leave teaching ten years ago due to a slipped disc and also to care for my son who is autistic. I cannot drive due to epilepsy and returning to work just doesn’t seem an option anymore. I have decided to become a sole trader and make clothing for a niche market ( I have been asked to make clothing in the past but never dedicated a business to this)
    Because I have been on Carers Allowance I don’t seem to qualify for any normal ‘jobseeking’ grants or start up packages. Is there anything that I’m missing? I am already aware of Child & Working Tax credits as my partner hs been self-employed but he is going to take over as carer for our son.
    I will look forward to your comments.
    Great site btw!

  • Willie McArthur:

    I have been trying for three years to get grants for myself and two other disabled workers to for training we need to start a small business training other disabled

    There is little or no help available from the goverment quangos or so called charities to help disabled unless your face fits or you are involved wity green issues

  • suzanne:

    can you please advise me as to whether, I am eligible for any type of grant, I am disabled and signed permanently off work due to fibromyalgia. I am a single parent to a 13 yeard old, and want to start up my own cafe, i do have a sound business idea, as this will not be a totally normal cafe, but it has a twist. I am on income support and disability living allowance, at th elower rate, and would love to know if i can get any help from anywhere, without being scammed, to secure premises etc….. I do not have any capital to invest myself

  • le igh Landers:

    Are their gants availabe to start a business, start up arond 5 thoustand ?

  • Veronica:

    I am a 34 year old woman with (T)raumatic (B)rain(I)njury. I have been off of work to be a stay at home mom. I want to return to work so I can get off benefits. Can someone give me information on funding?

  • cher:

    Hi , i have dyslexia and want to set up my own beauty/massage business. i have try to find grants or fiancial help availbe to me but have had no luck. the grovement wont help as i am going to doing a degree. Is there any where you can suggest. i have already invested in some equpitment out of my savings.

  • shane:

    hi dont know if this will help anyone, but maybe looking at the princes trust fund i know they do grants and loans and very low interest rates,
    hope this helps someone

  • Rebecca Bean:

    Hi I am a 35 yr old disabled lady with AS. I have two teenage sons, one of which is suffering with anxiety and depression. I have an aspiration to run a cafe with a friend. As a family business. With premises that We could all live and work in. This would take us all of benefits and give both my teenage sons employment and a chance to learn a trade. Plus a chance to own our home and business. Is there any funding that myself or my sons in the future could be entitled to?. I am trained as a care manager and have good knowledge of food hygiene, cross infection, health and safety. etc I am presently doing a course so I could to the booking and legislation/inspections etc. and my friend is presently training as a chief. Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

  • Mike:

    Have you read all my guides on getting grants? Usually people only get grants ranging from£1000-£10,000. If your looking for more it will be difficult.

  • Ali:

    HiI would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the guidance and support, please kindly assist me  I am in process of stating a business in services, mortgage broker and travel agency,  I need a lop top printer and some assistance with clothing, and mainly the franchise fee which is 20k what is the possibility of getting the closest to this amount I will get some assistance from family,  is there any possibility of grant as I am register with disability. please reply by email
    is there 6 months support with benefits?
    please assist
    best wishes

  • Marcus:

    Hi, I'm 27 and registered disabled, highest rate of dla etc, I'm looking into setting up my own business (alloy wheel repairs), I've been researching this and have plenty of information and that theres a demand for it in my area, the sums I have researched suggest that if I set this up, I will be better off giving up my benefits and setting this up, but a) I have no idea who to talk to regarding grants as banks won't touch the disabled if applying for a loan b) I wouldn't know where to start on a business plan can you please help me out and give as much advice as possible. Thanks Marcus

  • Hi, I am a 50 year old Mail I am at present in full time employment as a computer clerk, unfortunatly this is likely to stop in the near future so i will be unemployed i became Disabled which affects my movement with the left hand side of my body and looks a little like a stroke.
    at present botyh myself and my wife work but before i became employed i was elligeble for the higher rate of DLA  mobility and care allowance plus full disability allowance under KCC
    I would like to organise and run a Caffee that is allso a gallery as i am an Graphic Artist with my own web site what i need is advice on Grants and  business plan advice so that i can move from employment into self-employment easily
    Regards Jeremy

  • Mike:

    Hi Jeremy – The majority of business grants are on hold at the moment because of the changes in Goverment. Hopefully in April, there will be business grants available from the places mentioned in my guides.

  • Mike:

    Hi Marcus – The majority of business grants are on hold at the moment because of the changes in Goverment. Hopefully in April, there will be business grants available from the places mentioned in my guides. There should be new companies giving business advice aswell so hold fire until the new year

  • Mike:

    They will be some new schemes in the new year to help disabled people into business. The Government has announced an Enterprise allowance program which might be able to help you

  • John:

    I am wanting to start up my own business doing Media work (graphic design, audio / visual IT work and photographic restoration)  working from home. I have a condition called Non Epileptic Attack Disorder which means I can have several seizures a day with no warning and require 24 hour supervision, this understandably therefore restricts me from working in the normal workplace. However my main stumbling block to getting back to work is actually my DEA at my local Job Centre. I put forward my ideas (including a thorough business plan) to her to try get some help with funding to get new professional equipment, software and to fund initial advertising to get my business started but was totally rejected with her saying 'working from home is not working. We do not help anyone to work from home'. I couldn't believe it.
    All I hear is the government saying they want to get people off benefits and back to work, and I'm trying everything to get myself back to work but everywhere I turn I get knocked back. Even the organisations that are meant to be helping me back to work are rejecting me. My only option is to work from home but no-one seems interested. Surely there must be some help out there.
    Any help / advice would be very gratefully received.

  • Zoe:

    HI,  My partner and I are both on Incapacity benefit and DLA and Housing and Council tax benefits and we would like to set up a not for profit website.  How would this affect our benefits please?

  • i am kind of lucky in a way i am setting a business up very slowly i have bpd so its a major disability since i cant do face to face mettings with people well i am slowly my mentor works with the job centre so he is pretty good ill update as i find out about any funds etc from what i here thou its very hard to get money threw grants etc i think it would be good if the goverment came out with extra funds for financing start ups for people who have not been in work for a long time 

  • Mike:

    What? I have never heard of this in all my 8 years of working as a business adviser. A large proportion of disabled entrepreneurs work from home and access grants, benefits and access to work. I would speak to someone else at the job centre (maybe her manager) and ensure they are giving out the right advice. Ask for it in writting, i have had a look at the Governments website regarding working from home http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Employees/Flexibleworking/DG_10027910

    There is no mention of this rule, they actually have a link for job seekers who wish to work from home on their website.

  • Mike:

    currently grants are had to come by, there maybe some money once the Government sets up “Local Enterprise Partnership” to distribute support for business start up in the new year. Most business grants are for business start up and support people to get off benefits. Once you start up business grants are even harder to find.

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