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Natural Capital Demonstration Fund – funding available in Heart of the South West LEP area

The Heart of the South West LEP Board has approved in principle a £1 million Natural Capital Demonstration (NCD) Fund to invest in natural capital demonstrator projects across the Heart of the South West to test their ability to deliver clean growth and wider economic benefits.

This piqued my interest, and I think/ hope it may be of interest to a number of our clients (as based on the conversation had in our first Business Bite Size event earlier this week a lot of the talk was about sustainability) so here are few details and links to more information.

The NDC Fund is loan fund and is only looking initially to fund 3 of 4 projects.

I share the information below not only for potential applicants now – but also, what I think, is an indicator of direction of travel for LEP funding more generally.

What is on offer and application process?

The bulk of the £1m NDC Fund is to be administered as loans but there is £20k set aside to assist a few applicants develop their business case.

It is envisaged that [loan] funding will be provided for a “portfolio of 3 to 4 innovative demonstrator projects that together, will provide methodology that could be replicated in other areas and potentially be scaled up”.

Two stage application process:

 

Stage Deadlines On offer:
1 – Expression of Interest 5pm on the 8th April 2021. Grant – of up to £5,000 to help develop their business plan.
2 – Ful Application and Business Case 5pm on the 30 June 2021. Loan

Essential requirements

The guidance document for NCD details five essential criteria a project:

Criteria Extracts from guidance
Location The project and investment must be wholly or in part in the Heart of the South West LEP area
Deliverability The project must be able to commence as soon as possible after commitment of any NCD Fund investment, planned by the end of September 2021.
Business Model Applicants selected to take part in Stage 2 will be required to submit a business plan with evidence of match funding and any proposed security for the HOTSW LEP’s investment. A proposed repayment mechanism will also be required.
Finance The investment required must be for capital expenditure only.
Outputs and Outcomes The project must deliver natural capital outputs and outcomes. Any expected economic outputs such as job creation, improved productivity and/or increase in earnings will also be assessed.

Natural capital outputs and outcomes could be:

  • supporting or improving biodiversity,
  • reduction of degraded land, supporting the condition of marine habitats,
  • sustainable use of materials,
  • reduction in emissions from e.g. deforestation, protection from flooding, peatland restoration and/or tree planting.

More information

The guidance document can be found at link with summary of the fund on the LEP’s website at link.

PKF Francis Clark

We are looking to host a number of events on the theme of business sustainability in 2021 – keep your eyes on our Events page for the details appearing on the first of these appearing in the next couple of weeks.

FEATURING: Richard Wadman
Richard qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in 1993. Since 2006 he has worked in Corporate Finance, firstly with the predecessor firm in Truro… read more
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