From world class laboratories to an amazing location just a stepping stone from Europe plus fast transport links to and from the capital, there are lots of reasons why Discovery Park is the right place to do science and business.

For companies looking to start up, expand or relocate from other parts of the UK or the world, there are lots of funding opportunities available that makes East Kent even more attractive as a business location.

As the UK’s most successful Enterprise Zone, Discovery Park has built a thriving environment where businesses, whether science or not, can connect and work together.

Part of that success is the level of investment and financial support available in Kent – and the district of Dover in particular – attracting businesses that disrupt, create and innovate.

The list below gives some examples of the support available.

Want to know more?

Get in touch and we’ll get you connected.

Kent Life Science Fund

The Kent Life Science Fund (KLSF) is a new £50m venture capital fund backed by Kent County Council, with fund investing in small high-growth companies active in life sciences.

KLSF offers equity investments with a focus on game-changing medical technologies and advanced therapeutics. Examples of eligible projects could include:

  • a medical device technology business which has developed a product or service which will provide significant value to patients and healthcare systems and requires funding in order to fully commercialise and scale up
  • a biotechnology company seeking funding to take a novel therapy through the clinical trial pathway
  • a software development or service company whose see healthcare as a key market.

To find out more and to apply, visit the Kent County Council website.


The South-East Urban Coast Creative Enterprise Support Scheme (SUCCESS) provides grants for new or expanding businesses that are creating jobs in the Hastings, Tendring, Thanet, Rother, Colchester, Canterbury and Dover local authority areas.

It is funded from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) and aims to help businesses to grow and flourish and create new jobs.

The grants are to support investment costs – i.e. the costs of starting up or growing your business. This can include extra staff costs, new or extended premises, and new equipment.

You can apply for between £3,000 and £150,000.

A grant may be up to 50% of your total investment.

To be eligible you must be planning to start up or expand your creative, cultural or leisure business, within the primary area of Hastings, Tendring or Thanet.

In the Secondary areas of Rother, Colchester, Canterbury or Dover you must be looking to expand an existing creative business.

To find out more, visit the SUCCESS website

Innovation Investment Loan Fund (i3)

The next round of funding from the Innovation Investment Loan Fund (i3) opens for pre-applications from Friday, 25 August 2017 (closing at 12 noon on 11 September 2017).

The scheme offers 0% loans of between £100,000 and £500,000 to small and medium sized businesses (less than 250 employees) with the potential for high growth. Loans can be used to develop new, or expand existing innovative products, services or processes, create new jobs, or deliver innovation and business growth.

Priority sectors for the Fund include, manufacturing, low carbon technology, pharmaceuticals & life sciences, ICT software development and information management, media, creative and cultural industries; marine ports and logistics, and technological development.

The Innovation Investment Loan is supported by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund.

Businesses from the Ashford, Canterbury, Dartford, Dover, Gravesham, Maidstone, Medway, Sevenoaks, Shepway, Swale, Thanet, Tonbridge & Malling and Tunbridge Wells local authority areas are invited to apply.

For further information, see the applicant’s Guidance Notes and access to the on-line Pre-Application.

Innovation Investment Loan Fund (i3)

High Growth Kent

High Growth Kent offers tangible support for ambitious, growth-focused businesses. The HGK team has helped Kent companies raise £39 million in investment.

HGK provide expertise, support and information to help deliver great business results in:

  • Finance and investment
  • Operations and logistics
  • Product development
  • Technical /solutions
  • Manufacturing
  • Management and people resources
  • Sales and marketing

If you believe your business has the potential for 20% year-on-year growth, or can achieve towards £1million turnover within one year of start-up, then High Growth Kent can help.Their team of coaches are recruited for their commercial expertise, breadth of sector experience and black books bulging with professional and expert contacts.

They can help maximise business growth and connect businesses with the best expertise, including, prototypers, designers, manufacturers, IP lawyers, and marketing experts.

Not your average business coaches, their team’s commercialisation experience means they expect results. This means no NLP, and no meetings dragged down by meaningless Powerpoint presentations. A little less ‘action-planning’, a little more action.

Their service is FREE to eligible businesses because it is jointly funded by the European Union and Kent County Council to drive economic growth in Kent.

To find out more visit the High Growth Kent website

Wilkins Kennedy

Research and Development (R&D)

A 10% ‘Above the Line’ (ATL) credit for large company R&D expenditure is currently available. The credit is fully payable, net of tax, to companies with no corporation tax liability. The ATL credit scheme become mandatory on 1 April 2016.

Patent Box

Companies can elect to apply a 10% rate of corporation tax to all profits attributable to qualifying patents, whether paid separately as royalties or embedded in the sales price of products under Patent Box. The regime also applies to other qualifying intellectual property rights such as regulatory data protection, supplementary protection certificates and plant variety rights.

For more information, please email 

Rockstar Start-Up 

Rockstar Start Up provides start up capital and mentoring for new businesses.

Part of the government-backed and James Caan-led Start Up Loans initiative, Rockstar hold free incubator days to help start-up companies complete their business plans and get through the application process… Better still, it is free as costs are subsidised by the government!

To be eligible you simply need to have a business idea or existing business that has been trading for less than 12 months.

Successful applicants then receive 12 months of face-to-face mentorship for free, provided by the Rockstar Mentors who have each, on average, started, built up and sold their own companies for £18m!

To register your free spot on one of our next incubators simply visit:

Regional Growth Fund

From 2 February 2015 applications for Expansion East Kent have been suspended due to high demand and the commitment of existing funds.  Visit the Kent County Council website for details of replacement business support schemes including the Kent and Medway Business Fund, offering 0% loans between £50,000 and £500,000 for small and medium sized businesses.

Businesses in East Kent can still apply for the Small Business Boost scheme and the £5m equity scheme (Discovery Park Technology Investment Fund) detailed above.

Kreston Reeves

Kreston Reeves have a specialist team, who have been working with public sector organisations and finance institutions to provide a unique service of assisting with organisations looking to access grants and funding. This is often an overlooked source of funding when a business is working to achieve its plans.

Our role is to work with businesses to develop the business plan and supporting information to ensure the funding application meets the scheme’s parameters, and to advise and support through the funding application process.

Regional Growth Fund

Kreston Reeves have many years of experience advising on successful funding applications across a number of sectors. With most areas in Kent included in a scheme such as Expansion East Kent, TIGER, Esculate and Marsh’s Millions, we have been able to support businesses in getting the finance they need to achieve growth.

Securing over £10m of funding from Expansion East Kent, we have extensive experience of the scheme and are able to provide real added value to your plans.

From Grants to Interest free loans and even Equity investment, the Regional growth funds are a great initiative to enable businesses to secure vital funding.

VC Funding/Angel/Crowd Funding

Kreston Reeves have access to various institutions looking to invest in innovation. Depending upon the stage of funding, we are able to access the right partner to gain valuable funding for businesses.

Working with businesses, we can ensure your business plan and proposal is presented in a professional manner to increase your chances of obtaining funding.

Growth Vouchers

Kreston Reeves are registered to accept these vouchers which have a value of up to £2,000 for businesses to spend on finance and cash flow advice. The service is free for small businesses to use and you can register at

Technology Strategy Board

We have assisted Life science and technology companies to access key funds through the Technology Strategy Board. Given as matching grants, these provide excellent cashflow for research organisations to continue there development plans.

Traditional finance

With many grant funding organisations, there is a need to provide match funding and we have the expertise to enable businesses access a range of traditional banking facilities, such as Overdraft, Loans, Invoice discounting, Letters of credit, Asset finance and Import loans to name a few

Innovation tax benefits

For SME innovation businesses, the UK is a very attractive option from a tax perspective. With two main taxes designed to promote the UK and innovation.

Research and Development (R&D)

For SME businesses that undertake innovative works, the UK government have provided an R&D tax relief scheme that allows a 225% deduction to be taken on qualifying expenditure. If you are a loss making organisation there is also a chance to surrender the losses for a cash payment at a rate of 14.5% (10% for a large company).

Patent Box

Where companies will benefit from income derived from qualifying patent they can apply for a 10% rate of corporation tax to all profits attributable to qualifying patents.

For more information or to meet with one of our specialists, please contact Scott Miles (Partner at Discovery Park) of Kreston Reeves on 01227 813626 or email:

Expansion East Kent

Expansion East Kent is a £35 million programme of financial support designed to assist business growth in Canterbury, Dover, Shepway or Thanet through the provision of 0% interest loans.

In October 2011, Kent County Council, with the support of the Sandwich Task Force and the East Kent Districts, secured £40 million from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund. Expansion East Kent, represents the bulk of this funding and the scheme aims to stimulate over £300million in associated investment over the course of the next three years, creating a major boost for the East Kent economy.

To apply for investment support from Expansion East Kent you must be:

  • a sole trader, partnership, limited company or a not for profit business
  • providing employment – either creating or safeguarding jobs in the East Kent area – Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet districts
  • able to provide an element of private sector investment with your business proposal

Visit the Kent County Council website for more on the Expansion East Kent programme.

Note – This programme is currently closed to new applications.

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