Business Support Funding Wales

Business Support Funding Wales

Funding is available for organisations or partnerships to support those working with heritage in Wales to build their skills in organisational leadership and management.


Business Support Funding Wales is now closed to new applications. Explore our available funding.

We are inviting organisations to apply for Business Support Funding for Wales, to deliver a programme of training and development to support heritage organisations. The programme will help organisations develop their business skills and achieve a better representation of people in heritage ­­– for example through encouraging people with certain protected characteristics and/or on low incomes to participate in heritage.

We expect to fund one programme in Wales with a maximum grant of £250,000. The funded project will be in addition to our investment in UK-wide Enterprise Development programmes and Business Support programmes in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

These funded programmes form part of our support for organisations’ recovery from the impacts of Covid-19. They are also key to the delivery of our Strategic Funding Framework commitment to commissioning business support programmes. We want to help increase resilience and skills in fundraising, business and financial planning, governance, commercial enterprise and engaging with social investment.

The guidance below sets out what we are aiming to achieve through this business support funding, who we expect to benefit and the outcomes sought. It also explains the application and assessment process and timetable.

Taking an inclusive approach

We believe:

  • Everyone in the UK has a stake in heritage
  • Everyone should have the opportunity to benefit from National Lottery funding, regardless of age, class, disability, ethnicity, faith, gender, income or sexuality
  • Heritage that is more inclusive will be more sustainable
  • As a funder, we should demonstrate leadership to achieve higher levels of inclusion in heritage, which is key to a flourishing, more equitable society

Capacity building support

We want to support partnerships or consortia to deliver a bespoke programme of capacity building support in Wales, across the core building blocks of organisational leadership and management. This would include, for example:

  • governance
  • business planning
  • financial planning and management
  • strategic leadership
  • enterprise development
  • fundraising
  • impact measurement
  • setting and tracking performance

The programme should be accessible to smaller community organisations operating in heritage looking to professionalise their business practice, as well as medium sized organisations and larger ones (by income) demonstrating a strong need.

There is no requirement on participants to be developing an enterprise model; rather the emphasis is on development of core skills and opportunities to become better networked, better supported and more forward looking.

Organisations taking part may be at different stages of development and successful delivery partners will need to take account of the diversity of organisations operating in the heritage sector in the design of their programmes.

The programme should offer opportunities for participation from organisations from the full breadth of heritage in Wales. Programmes may be delivered through partnerships or consortia involving specialist leadership development and training providers working with heritage umbrella and other bodies to ensure reach into all parts of the sector.

How the process works

  1. Review the criteria provided on this page
  2. Read the Application Guidance for £100,000 to £250,000 carefully to find additional criteria to help with your application
  3. Submit a project enquiry form via our online application portal by noon on Tuesday 24 November 2020
  4. Title your project ‘Business Support Wales’
  5. You will be notified if we would like you to submit a full application
  6. Submit a full application via our online portal by noon on Wednesday 13 January 2021
  7. We will let you know the decision by the end of February

Who can apply

You can apply if you are:

  • a not-for-profit organisation
  • a partnership led by a not-for-profit organisation

Organisations or partnerships looking to apply should also meet the following criteria:

  • demonstrable track record in delivering creative and successful business support programmes with organisations in the heritage sector or with organisations with some similar characteristics to heritage SMEs
  • capacity to support organisations across Wales
  • demonstrable understanding of the needs and challenges of smaller organisations in the heritage sector
  • demonstrable commitment to learning and evaluation of what works
  • demonstrable commitment to diversity and inclusion
  • operational and financial capacity to deliver a programme at this scale

What we’re looking for

The training and development programme should aim to provide business support to develop more resilient and forward-looking organisations working in heritage, with:

  • more organisations with the skills and capacity to diversify their income, develop their supporters, volunteers and audiences, respond to new opportunities and withstand threats
  • stronger networks among peer organisations in heritage across Wales

What the programme will achieve

We would expect the funded programme to have the following outcomes for individuals and organisations taking part.

For participating leaders:

  • improved confidence and resourcefulness
  • expanded networks of personal and professional support
  • enhanced business skills including capacity to make improvements and changes in their organisation across governance, financial management and business planning, fundraising, and, where relevant, enterprise development and social investment. 
  • increased knowledge and skills in setting goals for heritage and social impacts which are clear, communicable and measurable to help demonstrate the value of their activities 

For organisations:

  • strengthened and more diverse governance
  • increased financial resilience
  • more diverse sources of income and increased income
  • greater reach into their community/communities with expanded and more diverse supporter, audience and/or volunteer base

Target beneficiaries

The funded programme will need to engage participants from across Wales, with a particular emphasis on plans to recruit participants from our current Areas of Focus in Wales – Neath Port Talbot and Rhondda Cynon Taff.

Target participants should be:

  • small and medium-sized organisations working in heritage
  • organisations new to working in heritage (eg asset transfer recipients, or community groups championing intangible heritage)

Leadership and skills focus

The programme will focus on opportunities and challenges facing smaller and medium-sized heritage organisations and the general skills and leadership requirements for success including:

  • good governance
  • leadership and management
  • strategy and horizon scanning
  • business planning and financial management
  • building a case for support
  • fundraising from private sources
  • building and diversifying supporters, volunteers and audiences
  • engaging across sectors in your local area (influencing)
  • understanding of heritage and social value and impact, how to articulate and measure them

Programme and delivery methods

The programme may include significant opportunities for participants to come together with their peers across the sector – whether in person or digitally. This could be through, for example:

  • creative use of digital
  • group learning from experts in technical skills such as project and financial management
  • witness sessions where leaders share their experiences, successes and challenges to build confidence
  • study visits, or digital equivalent, with other organisations
  • structured learning groups
  • peer support
  • bring people together as a cohort over a sustained period
  • bespoke advice and mentoring

Grants for participants

Financial support should be offered to participants to enable them to take part in the programme. This could cover the purchase of equipment to enable better digital access or travel and accommodation costs for those who need to travel longer distances or stay overnight.

A small unrestricted grant may be offered to the organisations taking part in the programme to give them the capacity to engage. 


We are looking to fund one project in Wales with a budget of up to £250,000. The budget for the project should include:

  • overall design, development and management of the programme
  • recruitment and selection of participating organisations and leaders
  • delivery of all programme elements including administering grants to participants and any match funding or other incentive programme
  • the cost of grants to participants for travel bursaries, backfill/admin capacity and any match funding
  • ongoing monitoring, reporting and evaluation
  • end of programme reporting and dissemination

Application and assessment

We are using our standard open programme application process for grants £100,000 - £250,000. Refer to the standard guidance and help notes when filling in the project enquiry form and application form.

Use the project enquiry form to provide an initial response to this brief. The project title should be ‘Business Support Wales’.

When reviewing project enquiry forms, we will look at:

  • The extent to which your proposals are a creative response to our brief as well as your track record and capability to deliver a high quality programme of business support activities, with an understanding of the needs of organisations in the heritage sector
  • How well proposals meet our other standard criteria for grants of £100,000 to £250,000

We will then invite full applications from those whose proposals we would like to take forward.


Applicants should allocate some budget for evaluation within the programme budget and we will work with the successful applicant on their evaluation framework.

The evaluation approach will need to include collecting data and tracking progress of participants in these programmes across a range of measures over time, for example:

  • organisations having measurably different funding mixes and business models
  • organisations having more valuable and exploitable physical, intangible and financial assets (including but not limited to reserves)
  • improved performance in key areas such as governance
  • increased capacity and resources
  • developed organisational behaviours and cultures which are known to support resilience.

Documents to help you apply