Well, even we underestimated the demand for this grant. Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Hub reached its initial limit on applications within 1.5 hours of opening. So, as we have said before, time is very much of the essence. A quick summary of where I think each Growth Hub in the South/ South West is with offering:
- Cornwall & Isles of Scilly and Heart of the South West – closed as they process the applications received to date but likely to reopen in the near future (albeit with limited funding remaining)
- Dorset – opened early last week; lots of applications received
- Swindon & Wiltshire – opened today 14 September
- West of England – no details so far
See below for an overview of each Growth Hub’s offering where we have details and our thoughts on what to do next.
As each LEP announces their schemes, we will update the following with the relevant information.
The two pots allocated to the LEP (tourism and non-tourism) are being administered as a single pot with allocations based on the declarations made by applicants.
Some of the details in connection with help available are summarised below.
Two streams of help appear to be available:
- A free 12-hour support session for ERDF eligible businesses. Provided through Growth Support Programme which offers the following support modules: Finance; Business Planning; Innovation; HR and Digital
- Grants are 100% of your eligible costs and you can apply for between £1,000 and £3,000. The money can be used for:
- Special Consultancy
- Minor items that are an adoption of new technology that support the day to day running of the organisation.
- Minor items that are an adaption of existing technology that supports the day to day running of the organisation
The funds being made available come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with no business financial contribution necessary. Both tourism and non-tourism based businesses are eligible for support.
There is a comprehensive set of FAQs containing relevant information to help prepare an application at the following link.
The help available is as follows:
- Grants of up to £5,000 will be available to cover approved activity costs. These can be claimed back upon the project’s completion.
- The money can be used for the following activities:
- Specialist consultancy/advice.
- Minor items that are an adoption of new technology that supports the business delivery in response to COVID-19.
- Minor items that are an adaption of existing technology that supports the business delivery in response to COVID-19.
Guidance and application forms (online and form) can be found via links at webpage. Key features include:
- These grants are 100% funded by ERDF and no match or repayment is required
- The grants are available for the amount of £1,000 to £3,000 or £5,000 for exceptional circumstances
- You will need to demonstrate how the COVID-19 situation has impacted the business and how this grant will help to make positive change in order to help business survival and job safeguarding
- Clear articulation of what the business plans to do (the project) and how the project is a step change from existing operations (a point of difference or additionality) are the key to a successful grant application
- The business must be registered and trading as of 1st February 2020
- The business must be based in Dorset and have a registered or trading address in Dorset LEP area
- Some sectors ineligible – see Guidance for a list and contact details for queries
- Grants can be used for:
- 1-2-1 specialist advice which SMEs could call on to address their immediate needs in response to the impact of COVID-19 e.g. HR, accountants, legal, financial, H&S, IT / digital or sector specialists etc
- For the visitor economy, this could also include productivity improvements such as enhanced use of digital tools such as yield management software, mentoring, networking or other measures
- It could also support to develop innovative delivery in a socially distanced economy – for example, new ways of delivering cultural events and festivals that are so critical to the visitor experience; and / or
- Purchase of minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify in response to COVID-19
The grants will be available to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which have been affected following the Coronavirus pandemic.
The grants will predominately be between £1,000 and £3,000 and the money is a 100 percent government grant containing no obligation for businesses to contribute financially.
Businesses can use the funding to pay for the following activities:
- Access to specialist professional advice e.g. human resources, accountants, legal, financial, IT / digital, etc…and/or the
- Purchase of minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify
Grants specifically designed for businesses looking to purchase equipment or services to support their recovery/diversification/re-purposing during the pandemic and build resilience into their businesses as they move forward.
Businesses will be encouraged to source products and services from within Wiltshire as SWLEP looks to share a vision of retaining these funds in the region and contribute further to the ongoing recovery efforts of the business community.
What to do now?
If you have a project in mind that you feel fulfills the criteria set out by your Growth Hub I would suggest your next steps depend on whether your Growth Hub is currently open for applications:
Closed – due to open/ reopen – register your interest/ leave your contact details with that Growth Hub and then start to collate the information for an application and be prepared to act swiftly when scheme opens/ reopens
Open – get your application in…
PKF Francis Clark and how we can help
We have prepared a brochure giving examples of work that we can help you with using this grant (see further below).
If you are interested, please do not hesitate to contact me or your usual PKF Francis Clark point of contact.
To borrow text from the Dorset Growth Hub, the key is going to be:
• You will need to demonstrate how the COVID-19 situation has impacted the business and how this grant will help to make positive change in order to help business survival and job safeguarding
• Clear articulation of what the business plans to do (the project) and how the project is a step change from existing operations (a point of difference or additionality) are the key to a successful grant application