Last week, I was invited to attend a workshop put on by BIG2, aimed at their delivery partners. The workshop was based on three themes:
I thought it would be of interest to share some of the pertinent points raised from the workshop.
Background to BIG2
BIG2 is a £3.6 million investment grant fund with an aim to create 360 skilled jobs in small and medium businesses in Cornwall. It is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered by Cornwall Development Company (CDC). Grant funding is between £2,500 and (currently) £75,000 with an intervention rate of 45%. The fund is open until December 2018 and can be used for capital and revenue costs (although not salaries).
To apply for grant funding, you must be an eligible business looking to do an eligible project. Below, I have expanded out this eligibility criteria. We would recommend discussions on eligibility with us and/or the team at BIG2 before making an initial application.
To be eligible, the business must:
- Operate in Cornwall – note* a registered address not in Cornwall would not exclude you
- Qualify as a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME), medium sized is fewer than 250 Full-time Equivalent (FTE) employees and €50m turnover or €43m balance sheet total, including connected businesses
- Not work in an excluded ERDF sector, i.e. fishing, primary agriculture, generalised education
- Trade (or will trade) more than 50% out of Cornwall thus avoiding any displacement – i.e. tourist accommodation would not work whereas a tourist attraction could
- Require funding for a project and not business as usual
- Require the grant as a lender of last resort, i.e. must have considered alternative routes and or have a working capital policy intend to create new jobs (by June 2019) for every £10k of grant funding
Quotes for the full application need to meet the tendering rules as per the ‘ESIF National Procurement Requirements’ guidance (chapter six, paragraph 22) however, the team at CDC can help guide you through this process to ensure your application is compliant and thus reduce the exposure to a clawback.
With grants under £25,000, it is possible to obtain a single quote against the specification as a direct award. Screen-prints of websites can work well in these situations. If it is over £25,000 for a piece of equipment but less than £200,000, then it’s possible to do three like-for-like quotations. If not, then the opportunity needs advertising for a minimum of 14 days using an invitation to tender (ITT).
Getting it right early on will help ensure a smoother and quicker application.
Depending on the level of grant required will mean a different level of information provided.
|Start Up||Small grants||Medium grants||Large grants (not currently available)|
|Amount of grant||Max £7.5k||Up to £20k||£20k to £75k||£75k to £150k|
|Documents required||Business plan, bank statements, personal credit check||Latest statutory accounts, management accounts, bank statement||Latest set of statutory accounts, management accounts, bank statements.||Latest set of statutory accounts, management accounts, bank statements.|
|Type of application form to complete||Spend Profile (per format provided)||Spend Profile (per format provided)||Two year simplified cash flow (per format provided) and accounts analysis||Two year cash flow (per format provided) and accounts analysis|
- Financial accounts older than six months old will require management accounts
- Bank statements should be the starting bank position and include all business bank accounts
- If the bank account goes overdrawn, overdraft facility details will need to be provided
- If there is a high cash position, justify why the funding is required
Want to know more?
On Wednesday 7 March, we are hosting a breakfast briefing event about EU grant funding, where we are fortunate to have Anna from the BIG2 programme as one of our presenters. Anna will be able to give you further details, plus answer any of your questions. Alternatively, please get in touch with BIG2 via their website.
With grant funding, there is the need for match funding, as well as bridging the finance until the grant is paid. On 18 April, we will be holding our annual ‘Finance in Cornwall‘ event that will cover alternative funding that could offer insights into sourcing this funding, including getting yourself ‘investment ready’.