Enterprise Development Funding

Enterprise Development Funding

Funding is available for an organisation or partnership to support those working with heritage to develop their enterprise skills.


Enterprise Development Funding is now closed to new applications. Explore our available funding.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is inviting organisations to apply for enterprise development funding. The funding will be used to deliver a UK-wide programme of training and development to support heritage organisations in developing their enterprise and social entrepreneurship skills.

We will make one award of up to £1million as part of our total £3m investment which also includes funding for business support programmes across the UK.

This funding is available as part of our capacity building and organisational resilience campaign, launching in spring 2020. In our Strategic Funding Framework we committed to commission business support programmes to 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, who we want to benefit and the outcomes we expect. It also explains the application and assessment process and timetable.

A UK-wide enterprise skills development programme

Why are we doing this?

More cultural and heritage organisations need to adopt social enterprise models in order to:

  • reduce their dependence on public subsidy
  • strengthen their strategic leadership and income-generating skills
  • help them take advantage of repayable finance

What can we fund?

This funding is specifically focused on enterprise development and skills in social entrepreneurship. 

We would like to fund one skills development programme that will work across the UK, for a minimum of 40-60 organisations (80-120 individuals). It is important that you consider this in your application. 

We want to support a learning programme that is action-oriented, delivered through a cohort(s) and over a timescale whereby culture and practice in income generation, confidence and a positive outlook can become embedded. We want the programme to benefit the full breadth of the sector across the UK and a diverse range of organisations, to enable cross-fertilisation of ideas among organisations at different stages of development.

Within the proposed budget we are allowing for an element of match funding (£10,000 per participant) to incentivise increased trading income during and immediately after the programme (the grant providing a 1:1 match for demonstrable increase in trading income). We also propose to offer bursaries to cover travel, subsistence and other costs of taking part. 

How the process works 

  1. Review the criteria provided on this page. 
  2. Read the application guidance for grants between £250,000 and £5m to find additional criteria to help with your application.
  3. Note that for this funding a development phase is not required, and applicants will submit a delivery round application only.
  4. Submit an Expression of Interest via our online application portal by noon 13 January 2020.
  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 20 February 2020.
  7. We will let you know the decision by 28 March 2020.

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 enterprise development programmes with organisations with some similar characteristics to heritage SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), eg community businesses, others with trading activities including retail, venue hire, licensing etc 
  • capacity to support organisations and cohorts UK-wide 
  • demonstrable commitment to learning and evaluation 
  • demonstrable commitment to diversity and inclusion 
  • operational and financial capacity to deliver a programme at this scale

You can apply for both the enterprise development and business support funding. If you plan to do this, you must submit a separate Expression of Interest form for each strand of funding.

What we’re looking for

The training and development programme should aim to develop a stronger culture and achievement of successful enterprise in the heritage sector, with:

  • more organisations equipped with the skills, networks and confidence to achieve income growth and deliver their heritage and social mission
  • a diverse range of trailblazer organisations acting as advocates and proactively sharing insights and best practice.

What the programme will achieve  

We would expect the funded programme to have the following outcomes.

For participating leaders: 

  • improved confidence and resourcefulness in leading their organisation
  • expanded networks of personal and professional support 
  • enhanced business skills and entrepreneurial mindset 
  • increased capacity to engage with 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: 

  • increased financial resilience, with increased trading income and accelerated income growth (compared with non-participants) 
  • increased income generation from enterprise as a proportion of overall income 
  • greater reach into their communities with expanded and more diverse supporter, audience and/or volunteer base 
  • new job roles created (or paid work opportunities expanded)

Target participants 

The programme should aim to have 40–60 participating organisations UK wide (80–120 individuals).

Participants in the programme should be:

  • organisations working in heritage with potential to develop and grow existing enterprise activity 
  • organisations new to working in heritage setting up new enterprise models 
  • leaders demonstrating strong commitment to networking and peer learning 

We will work with the successful provider to create eligibility criteria for participants.

Leadership and skills focus

The programme will focus on opportunities and challenges facing heritage businesses and the general skills and leadership requirements for success including: 

  • leadership and management 
  • financial management (budgeting, financial accounting, management accounting, cashflow) 
  • marketing, building and retaining a customer base, branding and sales, online presence 
  • learning how to attract customers and to build on sales 
  • becoming investment-ready for repayable finance 
  • understanding of heritage and social value and impact, how to articulate and measure them

Programme delivery methods

The programme may include significant opportunities for participants to come together face-to-face with their peers across the sector. This could be through:

  • 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 to other organisations
  • structured learning groups
  • peer support 
  • bring people together as a cohort over a sustained period
  • creative use of digital
  • bespoke advice and mentoring 

Grants for participants

Financial support should be offered to participants to cover travel grants 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 interested in seeing creative approaches to incentivising growth of income generation. 


We estimate the above is achievable with a grant budget of £700,000–£1m to include:

  • overall design, development and management of the programme UK wide
  • recruitment and selection of participating organisations and leaders
  • delivery of all programme elements including administering grants to participants and administering 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 £250,000–£5m for all applicants regardless of level of grant requested. Refer to the standard guidance and help notes when filling in the Expression of Interest form and application form.

Use the Expression of Interest form to provide an initial response to this brief. The project title should clearly indicate which tranche the Expression of Interest is for, eg Enterprise Development UK or Business Support Scotland.  

At sift stage we will look at:

  • the extent to which your proposals are a creative response to our brief
  • your track record and capability to deliver a high quality programme of enterprise development activities, with an understanding of the needs of organisations in the heritage sector
  • how well proposals meet our other standard criteria for grants of £250,000–£5m, including our mandatory inclusion outcome, and using the Welsh language if your project will benefit people in Wales

Applicants whose proposals are being taken forward after the Expression of Interest stage will be asked to complete a single-stage delivery-round application. 


We will work up the detail of our evaluation framework for the enterprise development and business support funding in collaboration with the funded organisations. Applicants should allocate some budget for evaluation within the programme budget. 

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 increased income from trading and enterprise, both against previous year’s income and as a proportion of overall income 
  • 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)

Key dates

  • The deadline for Expressions of Interest is noon 13 January 2020. You will be notified if we would like you to submit a full application.
  • Submit a full application by noon 20 February 2020.
  • Applicants will be notified by 28 March 2020.

Documents to help you apply 

Information and advice for how to write a strong proposal. You should follow this when submitting your Expression of Interest, ensuring you have covered how you would address the points raised in the brief above. If we ask you to make a full application we will give you additional guidance on how to fill in the delivery stage application form.  

Useful information to help with completing an online application.

Our terms and conditions for grants of this size. 


If you have a question about our funding, email enquire@heritagefund.org.uk

If you query is regarding our application portal, please contact our support team.