Grants for event planning business

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Event planning involves organising the ins and outs of an event - including all the activities involved, so you may find yourself needing some financial help to get the funding you need in order to grow your business. From conferences to music festivals, we understand that the events industry covers a variety of event sizes and sectors and acquiring the right funding can determine the success of your event planning business.

Grants for event planning business

Event planning involves organising the ins and outs of an event - including all the activities involved, so you may find yourself needing some financial help to get the funding you need in order to grow your business. From conferences to music festivals, we understand that the events industry covers a variety of event sizes and sectors and acquiring the right funding can determine the success of your event planning business. 

This article will provide you with the information you need to understand what financial help and grants are available for event organisers.

What is a grant?

A grant is an amount of money which is awarded by an organisation such as a government department or educational institution. Grants offer financial assistance to individuals and companies for a host of reasons. For example, an individual might apply for a grant so that they may kick-start a business, afford to attend a college or run a community project. 

Do you have to pay back grants?

No, you do not have to pay back a grant which is given to you. Grants are usually needs based and are awarded to support individuals or businesses. 

How to get funding for an event

There are many ways you can get funding for an event, here’s what you can apply for or consider:


Let’s start with grants. The government offers a range of grants which can support event organisers. You will need to apply for grants and they can be competitive (remember that there are plenty of event planners out there who may need the extra funding) and you must ensure that your event meets the criteria for the grant you are applying for. If you are awarded a grant, you will not have to repay it, so you can focus on ensuring that your event will run smoothly and successfully with the funds acquired. 

You will need to do some research to see what grants are out there and it is worth checking grant schemes from your local council. For example, Southampton City Council offer events and festivals grant schemes, giving priority to organisations and residents who are based in the city of Southampton. 


Crowdfunding can be a great way of raising money and awareness for your event - all you need to do is use a crowdfunding platform such as Kickstarter to let people know all about your event and set a fundraising target. If people using the platform are interested in your event, they can ‘pledge’ to pay for a ticket if it takes place. These investments (which are risk-free as pledges will not pay if the event doesn’t take place) allow you to gauge how interested people are in your event and support you on your fundraising journey.

Bank loans

You might be able to apply for a business loan at a bank if you can prove that your company has a great record. Whilst you probably wouldn’t be given a loan for the event itself, this is a way of acquiring the funds you need to allow the event to go ahead. 


Sponsorships are a great way to fund your event - they aren’t always easy to get, and you will usually need to let sponsors know about the location, marketing plan and the stage your event is already at before they can consider offering support. In fact, it may even be necessary for you to have people who have committed to attending your event (you could show them your Kickstarter crowdfunding page to evidence the public’s interest). 

Companies will sponsor events for a variety of reasons, but essentially, sponsoring is a great way for other businesses to promote themselves, uphold their corporate responsibilities and reach new audiences. When you approach a potential sponsor, make sure that you highlight the benefits on their part to really persuade them to support you. 


If you know an investment group or investors that you can pitch to, that’s great! If not, there are websites such as Angelsden which will allow you to pitch your event to potential investors who can help fund your event - whether they decide to help you will depend on a variety of factors, including how confident they are that you and your team can pull-off the event and the return of investment (ROI) they are expected to receive. 

Alternatively, there are investor events that run across the UK throughout the year. For example, the UK Investor Show saw more than 125 stalls exhibiting over 3000 private investors which is a fantastic opportunity to meet potential investors in person and really sell your event idea!


You could look into selling tickets or exhibition space in advance as this will provide you with the funds you need to make the event work. Of course, this option will be much easier for established event planners as there will already be a level of trust but you could try to offer discounts to get the first few people on board! 

Spreading the word of your event will also work in your favour - make the most of social media platforms and encourage people to recommend your event to generate a buzz and improve your chances of selling more tickets/exhibition spaces. 

Financial support in light of COVID-19

It is no surprise that COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on the events management industry and there are COVID-19 specific grants and business support available to support struggling businesses. For example, the wedding industry is reported to have suffered a loss of £5.6 billion with over half of weddings being impacted and 36% being cancelled or moved. You can find more information about support available for the wedding industry here.

Grants for music festivals

Grants are an excellent way to raise the funds needed to host a music festival. Here are just some options for you to consider to obtain a grant for music festivals:


  • Arts Council England National Lottery Project - This grant scheme is designed to help those in the arts, museums and libraries to fund their projects. Festivals are valued as an important aspect of our culture and the scheme aims to support the quality of these events as well as the development of the artists involved. 
  • Culture Recovery Fund - This grant is designed to support those working within the UK’s arts, culture and heritage industries who have been affected by COVID-19. 

It is well worth doing your research to discover what grants are out there to support organisers of music festivals. You can take a look on Grants Online to see what funding options are available in the UK for those working in the arts, culture and heritage industry.

Case studies: how grants for event planning businesses have helped others

Chalke Valley History Festivals

As mentioned, the outbreak of coronavirus has meant that many industries, including events management has suffered a huge hit. Chalke Valley History Festivals faced an uncertain future and there were doubts as to whether organisers could afford to go ahead in 2021. However, with the help of government funding, Chalke Valley History Festivals were awarded £260,000 from the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which was designed to support organisations after the impact of COVID-19. This means that they will be able to host their educational school festivals next year and continue to provide their fun learning experiences, all thanks to their event grant!

The Coffee House Project

The Coffee House Project is an award-winning annual event which pulls together lovers of caffeine for a two-day festival in Bristol. With local artisan roasters and independent food and drink retailers usually showcasing their delicious produce, COVID-19 sadly prevented the festival from running as planned this year and business partners Louisa and Sofia, who run the project, were looking for some financial support to ensure that the event could still go ahead in 2021. After a slightly “lengthy” process, they managed to secure a grant to help their business - we got in touch with them to find out how they applied and how they found the process:

What grant did you secure for your business and how much were you awarded?

"The business was awarded £2.5K from “The COVID Local Authority Discretionary Grant” by our local council, and, as it is discretionary, grants are awarded based on a case by case basis."

How did you find out about this grant?

Sofia actually heard about this grant on LinkedIn as we follow other event professionals who shared links to various grants and funding available. 

How did you apply for the grant?

We just got in touch with our local council who were very helpful and explained what our event is and how COVID-19 has had a negative impact on our business. We then asked them what support we could apply for and for any advice they could give. The application for this grant was quite a lengthy process as we had to detail what we would use the funding for. 

How did you find the grant application process?

For us, the application process was a little challenging at times as our application was actually unsuccessful when we first applied! Basically, the business was registered in a different county at one of our parents’ houses so the council didn’t view the business as local. However, we got back in touch with them to explain the situation and how The Coffee House Project serves our local area, so that we weren’t disadvantaged over admin. Eventually, the decision was overturned and we were quickly awarded with the grant. 

How will you use this grant to support your business and future events?

We have a lot of storage and have been paying the rent for these costs ourselves so really needed the financial support. Our grant will now cover the business’s storage costs to relieve that pressure from us.

Do you have any tips for other event planners and businesses who are looking for financial help?

Event organisers and businesses really have to be proactive in finding a suitable grant and be willing to work for them...explaining why your business deserves the financial help and not being afraid to question the council’s decision or seek advice. Councils may not always share the deadlines of these grants, so you need to keep on top of all the due dates and ensure your applications are sent on time. You can ask your local council or MP if there are time limits on the grants you’ve applied for so that you are prepared. 

Hopefully, both The Coffee House Project and Chalke Valley History Festivals grants have provided a useful insight into the process and you have the confidence to enquire about grants for your own business to get the financial help you need. Just remember to do your research, note down any grant deadlines and speak to your local council to see what grants are available to you. 

Planning an event?

If you’re planning an event, it is a good idea to also consider event insurance to cover yourself financially. Whether you’re planning conferences or festivals, we’re here to help. With our reliable policies and professional experts, we can help give you the peace of mind you need with our quality-assured event insurance. 

Call us at 01425484860 or contact us for further information. 

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