Entrepreneur offers £75K of grants to start-up businesses in the North West - Manchester Evening News

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A generous entrepreneur is looking to help change and enrich the lives of people in the North West by offering £75,000 of grants to early stage start up businesses who may not have access to funding.

Ash Rust, a Lancastrian entrepreneur and investor, is about to launch a new grant programme for early stage founders and start-ups in the North West. This feeds into his desire to give back to the area which he says is full of great talent but lacks access to capital funding.

He is planning to issue grants of £1,000 to around 25 founders and companies over the course of three years. These don't come with any restrictions - he just wants to support good ideas, with the view that many of these might become longer term investments.

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He said: “As a born and bred Northerner, I know that the North West of England has a deep pool of talent and creativity, but lacks access to capital. Our hope is that initial grant winners continue their growth where Sterling Road can invest multiple times long term. I want to grab this opportunity to give back."

Ash is particularly interested in software/SaaS companies with diverse and "underestimated" founders. These include black founders and female founders.

(Image: submitted)

Application is a short form on the site, a three to four minute pitch video and a Zoom interview for shortlisted founders with the first grants being awarded from July. Early-stage founders and start-ups in the North West of England are being invited to apply for a new grant programme spearheaded by Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Sterling Road.

Managing partner Ash says The Sterling Road Grant Fund programme will provide £1,000 grants to founders with promising business ideas or companies — with the goal of jump-starting or supporting each project.

For the next three years minimum, the programme will see 25 companies per year across such sectors as technology, SaaS, FinTech, and more. Ash is keen to directly reinvest in the North West, where he has too often crossed paths with under-estimated founders, who might have additional challenges when seeking loans or financing.

The grant process involves a simple online application at www.sterlingroad.com/UKgrant NW with a short two minute video pitching your idea or business.

Entrants do not need a pitch deck to apply; simply share how your big idea solves a meaningful problem for customers.

Shortlisted applicants will then have a Zoom interview with Ash and his team, with the first winners onboarded from July 2022. The grants have no restrictions and can be used to purchase equipment, advertise, hire, or pay the bills needed to launch your idea forward.

Entrepreneur offers £75K of grants to start-up businesses in the North West - Manchester Evening News
Photo Credit: Manchester Evening News

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