TT136: Business Grants

April 22, 2009

What Are Business Grants:

Grants are a form of financial assistance available to businesses to support their expansion, modernisation, rationalisation and diversification. Known as Grants for Business Investment (GBI), they are available throughout the UK for capital projects. Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) administer the process of application for grants and their subsequent monitoring. In the south east of England the most likely RDAs you might deal with are the East of England Development Agency, the London Development Agency and the South East England Development Agency.

Where Do I Have To Be To Qualify:

There are two types of grant arrangement, one for businesses in Assisted Areas and another for those outside such areas.

In an Assisted Area, grants are available to any size of business, subject to certain criteria. The smaller the business the larger proportion of the capital expenditure may be eligible for a grant.

Outside such areas the grants are only available to SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). Again, the smaller the business, the larger the proportion of capital expenditure that may be eligible. A small entity must have a headcount of less than 50 and turnover or balance sheet total of under €10M. A medium sized enterprise must have a headcount of under 250 people, turnover of under €50M or a balance sheet total of under €43M. The following table shows the proportion of capital expenditure that may be allowed;

Enterprise size Large Medium Small
Assisted areas 10-15% 20-25% 30-35%
Non-assisted areas n/a 10% 20%

What Are The Key Requirements:

The project:

  • Requires the grant to make it happen, or without grant the project would only go ahead on a smaller scale, or within a longer timeframe;
  • Involves capital expenditure;
  • Creates new jobs or safeguards existing ones which would otherwise be at risk;
  • Will created or safeguard jobs where the majority require qualifications of level 2 NVQ (or equivalent) or above;
  • Will secure increased productivity;
  • Is proposed by a business that is viable and can become self sustaining within a reasonable timeframe;
  • Generates regional and national benefits;
  • Be mainly financed from private sources.

Eligible Expenditure:

  • The cost of the tangible or intangible assets directly relating to the investment project; or
  • The wage & salary costs of the employees who fill the jobs created, calculated over a two year period; or
  • In Tier 2 areas only (a particular subset within the Assisted Areas as defined), a combination of both.

(In the case of a grant based on the wage and salary costs of jobs created, the jobs must be created within three years of the completion of the investment project and must be maintained for a minimum period of five years after completion of the investment project for a large enterprise or three years for an SME.)

Size Of Grant:

The amount of assistance that may be available ranges from £10,000 to £1,999,999. Applications for grants for £2 million and above are handled directly by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) in London.

What Is The Application Process:

This will include:

  • Application Forms
  • Business Plan
  • Supporting documentation
  • Accounts
  • Evidence of funding

Other Grants:

There are also grants available for certain research & development work on technologically innovative products or processes, plus some under the Rural Development Programme for England.

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