You may have already seen our posts regarding this but if not the Government has made £20m of funding available to boost small businesses recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic.
How much is the Recovery Grant?
It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The eligible SMEs can access grants of between £1,000 – £3,000 (up to £5,000 in exceptional circumstances) for specialist advice.
There is no obligation for businesses to contribute financially as the grant is fully funded.
First come, first served
Given the current state of the economy, the scheme is guaranteed to be very popular. Therefore, funding is extremely limited.
Expressions of interest (EoI) should be made as soon as possible after the scheme opens.
There is no waiting list so decisions will be made on a first come, first served basis.
The gateway diagnostic will close when the expression of interest (Eol) limit has been reached.
Each Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area has different guidance, start and closure dates. You can find your local LEP details here.
If successful, how long will the business have to wait to receive the grant?
Grant payments will not be made until up to 10 weeks after the purchase of the item or service the business has paid and claimed for.
The business will be paid upon production of an invoice for the service.
Who is eligible for this grant?
Though this might vary from one hub to another many state that to be eligible for this grant you:
- Must be an SME (including third sector organisations, social enterprises and trading charities) based in Berkshire.
- Needs to have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
- Must have the ability to survive following the impact of COVID-19.
- Staff headcount must be below 250 FTE. Businesses with more than 250 employees will not be eligible.
- Must have a balance sheet of below €43million.
- Must have a turnover of below €50million.
- If the business has received state aid in the last 3 years the total should not be in excess of €200,000. Businesses exceeding this level of state aid funding will not be eligible.
What expenditure is eligible?
The grant is available to help SMEs access one-to-one specialist advice to address their immediate needs. The grant must cover 100% of the cost of the service or product and cannot be used to part-fund expenditure.
Examples of eligible expenditure that you could potentially provide them yourselves:
- Review of the business strategy, including strategic and business plans (using Clarity)
- Coaching and mentoring in leadership and management development / Change management
- The introduction of new technology – apps to help with forecasting, cashflow and budgeting, for example
- Developing or revising marketing/digital strategies to reach new markets
- Rebuilding a viable business model
- Skills analysis and development plans
- Employee engagement, welfare and wellbeing
Please note these are examples only and not an exhaustive list.
What will they need for their expression of interest (EoI)?
Each LEP has their own guidance, start and close date so please follow the link above for specific details and contact your local hub directly if you have any queries. We know that some hubs are opening on 15 September so we suggest you act fast if this of interest.
How will businesses be assessed?
Key eligibility checks will also take the following into account:
- Their potential to respond/adapt/strengthen from the impact of COVID-19
- The ability to identify opportunities to rebuild following the impact of COVID-19
- The ability to deliver within the timescales available (one month)
Due to the high volume of EoIs expected, it may take up to 10 working days for full application forms to be sent. LEP or Growth Hub staff will not be able to provide an update on the status of your application.