What are the SEIS and EIS schemes?
The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) have helped thousands of women raise investment enabling them to grow their businesses. So, what are they and how can they help you?
How could the SEIS or EIS help my business?
If you need money to grow your business, you could consider raising investment in exchange for shares in your business. This can seem daunting but there is lots of support to try and help you. It’s also worth remembering that the benefits of investment go beyond money. Often investors will be able to provide mentoring, advice, and connections which can be hugely valuable.
The UK government created the two schemes to try and make it easier for you to secure the investment you need to grow your business. Through these schemes, the government offers investors tax relief to encourage them to invest in start-ups like yours. These schemes have existed for decades and have so far helped over 52,000 founders to secure investment.
What is the difference between the SEIS and EIS?
SEIS and EIS serve a similar purpose – to help founders like you secure investment. The key difference is that the SEIS is explicitly for very young start-ups, while EIS can be used by slightly bigger start-ups and scale ups.
You may have heard people talking about some changes to the SEIS qualifying rules which came in in April 2023. These changes make it easier for founders like you to benefit from the SEIS for longer.
Is my business eligible?
Most, but not all, start-ups qualify for the schemes so the first thing you’ll need to do is check if your business fits the criteria. The government has a list of ‘excluded activities’ which is important to read. There are also other criteria and at the EIS Association (EISA) we have a simple checklist to help you decide if you can use the EIS.
How do I access SEIS and EIS investment?
The government has tried to ensure the schemes are accessible to founders like you, but it can be quite complicated! If this is your first time exploring using the schemes, there are lots of people to help. Some founders choose to get professional advice with using the SEIS and EIS and you can find a list of EISA members who specialise in this.
SEIS Success story
If you’ve decided your business is ready for investment and you think you qualify for the SEIS and/or EIS then your next step is to think about how you approach investors.
Most investors will expect to see a pitch deck so make sure you have one prepared and our guide to creating a pitch deck is a great place to start.
Many investors will ask you if you are SEIS or EIS qualifying and using the schemes can make a big difference in helping to secure that investment you need to grow your business. Some investors will ask for Advance Assurance, an HMRC form that gives an indication that your business is highly likely to be eligible to use the SEIS and/or EIS (it’s worth noting that if you have Advance Assurance you are very likely to be approved for the S/EIS but it is not guaranteed).
About the author
Christiana Stewart-Lockhart joined the Enterprise Investment Scheme Association (EISA) as Director General in February 2022. She previously spent more than a decade working for economic think tanks in Westminster and Brussels. Christiana holds a BA in Politics from the University of York and she regularly speaks at events across the whole of the UK. She is a member of TISA’s Children’s Financial Education Policy Council and also sits on the Advisory Board for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Entrepreneurship.