Priority Sectors Loan Fund NOW CLOSED


The LEP is planning to distribute at least £1m of loan funding to SMEs, ranging from £15,000 to £99,000. We are looking to support a minimum of ten projects with the money available.

In order to apply, the loan amount you seek must not exceed 80% of the total cost of your project, and at least 20% of the total project costs will need to have come from your own funds or confirmed third-party funding. Subject to financial due diligence checks, the loan funding can provide a variety of benefits, including:

  • No interest paid on loan funds, unless subsidy limits are breached (see below) - this will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Please note that all loans will be subject to an administration fee of 2.5% of the loan value. This fee will be on the loan amount agreed upon as part of the loan agreement, and not on the loan amount that is ultimately drawn down. This charge is separate from the total project costs and must be paid up-front, ahead of the agreed loan funding transfer.
  • Up to a 12 month re-payment holiday (this is included within the overall 36-month maximum term).

Projects must be able to demonstrate how they can achieve one or more of the following fund goals:

  • Support the growth of our primary industries (see below)
  • Create direct jobs
  • Provide new training or skills opportunities
  • Support the Solent’s transition to Net Zero

Our strategy sets out seven long-term priorities and to be successful applications must demonstrate how they will support the achievement of at least one of the below.

  • Priority 1: Developing a world-leading marine and maritime economy
  • Priority 2:Pioneering innovative approaches to climate change adaptation and decarbonisation
  • Priority 3: Assisting the Solent in becoming the UK’s capital of coastal renaissance
  • Priority 4: Creating a thriving visitor, creative and cultural economy
  • Priority 5: Developing a top-tier talent pool
  • Priority 6: Building an outstanding business environment
  • Priority 7: Putting health and wellbeing at the heart of economic success.

To express your interest in this Loan, please download the spreadsheet below, save it, update it, then email it to us at

Is My Project Eligible?

Your project must be located in the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership area and be a UK-based company to be able to apply for loan funding.

Take a look at the prospectus below to see the full list of eligibility criteria.

  • Deliver economic outputs in the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership area
  • Be seeking loan funding of no less than £15,000 and no more than £99,000 (The level of loan you apply for must not be more than 80% of the total cost of your project, with at least 20% of total project costs being confirmed from your own funds)
  • Commence delivery on site by the end of March 2023 (projects that can start sooner may be prioritised)
  • Demonstrate the ability to pay back the loan funding in no more than 36-months from the commencement of the agreement (including any agreed repayment holiday period)
  • Be able to offer non-personal security to underwrite the full value of the loan at the cost of the bidding organisation.
  • Be within one of the following sectors:
    • Maritime
    • Advanced Manufacturing
    • Transport and Logistics
    • Leisure, Hospitality and Tourism
    • Healthcare and Medicine
    • Greentech - Products and services the use of technology and science to reduce human impacts on the natural environment.
    • Creative and Cultural
    • Aerospace
    • Retail (Online and Bricks and Mortar)

Who Can Bid?

Only private sector SMEs operating in the UK and based in the Solent area can apply.

If you are still unsure whether your business or organisation is eligible for this loan fund, or you need any further assistance, please give us a call on 02392 688 055 / Our team will happily answer any questions you may have.

What We Are Looking For

Projects must be able to demonstrate that they have the potential to meet one or more of the following fund objectives:

  • Assist the growth of our main sectors (see below) (in terms of new customers secured, increased turnover)
  • Create direct jobs as a result of the loan funding
  • Provide new training or skills opportunities
  • Support the Solent in its move to Net Zero

Project Outcomes

It’s vital that we measure the impact LEP loan funding has on the Solent region and the changes that occur as a direct result of the projects. Therefore, we are interested to hear more about what outcomes you hope to achieve with your project, and will prioritise projects that can accomplish one or more of the following:

  • Support our key industries’ growth (in terms of new customers acquired, greater turnover)
  • Create direct jobs
  • Provide new opportunities for training or skills development
  • Support the Solent’s path to Net Zero

Project Delivery

We are eager to support projects that can provide an early start and delivery. Proposals will need to begin (on site) by the end of March 2023 and complete (practical completion of project) by June 2024.

We will give priority to projects that can demonstrate how all project funding and agreements will be in place to allow it to begin on-site by the end of December 2022.

What Kinds of Loan Funding are Available?

We can only provide loan assistance to capital projects and are unable to consider grant funding requests.

Your loan funding application must be for a minimum of £15,000 and a maximum of £99,00 to be considered. The loan amount you apply for must not be more than 80% of the total cost of your project, with at least 20% of total project costs being confirmed from your own funds or confirmed third party funding.

Important – As part of the due diligence process, The Solent LEP and its accountable body will need to see a debenture or other form of non-personal security when you apply.

How to Apply and the Assessment Process


Applicants will need to complete the SME Priority Sectors Loan Fund Expression of Interest Form, which is available here. This will allow applicants to secure an early response on whether their application is eligible. Eligible applicants will be invited to complete the SME Priority Sectors Loan Fund application form (not available for download). This application form draws on the approach adopted by HM Treasury and the business case templates and guidance that is published here: The Green Book: Templates and support material - GOV.UK (

Once you have completed your application, email it to the LEP at by 23:59 on Friday 8 July. Please make sure that you fill out the declarations and eligibility check list before submitting your application.

Application Timeline

The key dates and deadlines in the loan funding application cycle are shown below

8 June 2022

Loan Fund is launched

8 June 2022

Expression of Interest window open

Sessions to support potential applicants. We highly recommend booking on to these to help with your application:

  • 8th June 2022 (At the Solent Summit)
  • Webinar 24th June 2022 (11.00-12.00)
8 July 2022

Deadline for submission of Expression of Interest form

11 July 2022

Applications are given an initial eligibility check

18 July 2022

Qualifying projects are emailed invites to submit a full application

30 September 2022

Deadline for full application

3 October

Independent due diligence

Independent expert due diligence and financial due diligence of applications carried out.

Please note, we might get in touch with you to clarify details mentioned in you application or to provide additional evidence.

7 November 2022

BSIP Review

The LEP Business Support Investment Panel (BSIP) will meet to review applications.

We will let you know the outcome of your application within five working days of the LEP Business Support Investment Panel (BSIP) meeting. If you are unsuccessful, you will have the opportunity to have a feedback call so we can explain why.

December 2022

In-principle loan offer

Need more help?

If you are unsure about any of the details we ask for when you apply, please feel free to get in touch with us:

By email to:

Or by telephone on 023 9268 8055

Applications should be sent to

To watch a previous webinar about these Loans, click here.

Solent Partners

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