Gloucestershire SME Grant Hub

The SME and Tourism Grant scheme logos displayed in a banner

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW PAUSED. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR UPDATES IF EITHER SCHEME REOPENS FOR APPLICATIONS

If you had any technical difficulties submitting the application form, please take a screenshot showing the error message, and the time-stamp you encountered it, and email to grants@thegrowthhub.biz. 

 

Update Log:                  Revision:
10.09.20

FAQs added

11.09.20 Eligibility of spend on social media updated
21.09.20 Addition of furlough staff in FTE count
21.09.20 Update on procurement best practice and submission of up to three quotes


 


 

GRANT SCHEMES

Find out what funding is available to you, and what the current status of each scheme is. 

SME RECOVERY GRANT SCHEME

Small and medium sized businesses will have access to grants to help them access new technology and other equipment as well as professional, legal, financial or other advice to help them get back on track.

The support will be fully funded by the government from the England European Regional Development Fund and distributed through The Growth Hub.

 

CURRENT SCHEME STATUS: APPLICATIONS OPEN 10AM SEPTEMBER 28TH

KICK-STARTING TOURISM GRANT SCHEME

The £10 million Kick-starting Tourism Package, will give small businesses in tourist destinations grants to help them adapt their businesses following the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses can use the funding to pay for specialist professional advice such as human resources, legal or financial expertise, to adopt new technology and online systems or to purchase new equipment. 100% of the money will come from government with no obligation for businesses to contribute financially.

The Kick-starting Tourism Package within Gloucestershire will be administered through the Growth Hub.

 

CURRENT SCHEME STATUS: APPLICATIONS OPEN 10AM SEPTEMBER 28TH

 


 

SCHEME FAQS

Get the answers to your questions here, and learn all you need to know about the funding that's available. 

WHAT ARE THE KEY DATES I NEED TO BE AWARE OF?

Applications will launch for both grant schemes on Monday 28th September at 10am. 

We anticipate that the demand will be high and expect a large volume of application submissions on launching. After the first 200 applications have been received, we will temporarily pause applications to allow us to make an initial assessment of the applications that have been submitted. 

Once the initial assessment has been completed, applications may re-open for either of the schemes if there are funds remaining, and this process will be repeated until all the funds are allocated. 

We will give one week notice prior to the grants reopening should there be funds available for further applications and will update the web page, as well as communicate any relevant dates via social media.  It is likely to be at least 2 weeks from closing the grant scheme before we announce the date of the second phase of applications.

HOW MUCH FUNDING IS AVAILABLE?

The grant is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for England, and in total, Gloucestershire has been allocated £464,655 with the breakdown of the grant as below:

  • £214, 655 for the Kick-starting Tourism Scheme
  • £250,000 for the SME Recovery Scheme

You may have seen in the press that grant allocations can be made up to the value of £5,000. Having reviewed this, we intend to open applications up to a value of £3,000 so that we can help as many businesses as possible. This will see us able to give out approximately 150 grants to businesses across both grant programmes.

AM I ELIGIBLE FOR THE GLOUCESTERSHIRE SME RECOVERY OR KICK-STARTING TOURISM GRANT SCHEME?

All applicants will need to confirm the following on the online application form:

  • Your business is based in Gloucestershire.
  • Your business is a small or medium enterprise (SME).
  • Less than 250 employees.
  • Less than €50m turnover or balance sheet of €43m.
  • Your business started trading before 1st March 2020.
  • Your business has been impacted by COVID-19.
  • The activity you are applying for, is to assist with your COVID-19 recovery plans and is not “business as usual” or related to personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing or other regulatory activity.
  • You would not be able to progress the activity without grant support.
  • The activity you seek the grant for has not started prior to the date of your application, and, will be completed by 31st January 2021 so that evidence of payments can be made to us before the end of February 2021.


You will also need to confirm:

  • You have a business bank account, or bank account used for your business activities separate from your personal accounts and are able to provide evidence of this if requested.
  • You understand you will need to supply a quote, by email, to evidence the funds you have requested within 24hrs of your application being submitted.
  • You confirm that your business has no relationship or conflict of interest with the supplier(s) of the products/services provided.
  • If successful, you understand that you will need to provide full evidence via paid invoices, bank statements and/or receipts, in order to claim back the grant payment.
  • If successful, you are able to cashflow the project spend until the grant is paid and you understand this could take up to 4 weeks from submission and verification of evidence.
  • The total grant award will not take you over the State Aid de minimus limit of €200k in three consecutive fiscal years.

Some businesses are not eligible for ERDF support, and therefore, are not eligible for these grants. For example, we cannot accept applications from businesses who operate in the following sectors:

  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Processing and marketing of agricultural products
  • Shipbuilding
  • Schools/school age educational establishments
  • Insurance companies
  • Primary production, Coal or steel, Synthetic Fibres
  • Banking

If you are not sure if your business is eligible please contact us on grants@thegrowthhub.biz before the application window opens.

 

Kick-Starting Tourism Grant Scheme only:

This grant fund is for businesses that contribute to or support tourism within Gloucestershire.  You will need a SIC code as part of your application. This list below details the eligible standard industrial classification of economic activities (SIC) codes for the tourism grant.

  • 49100 Passenger rail transport, interurban
  • 49320 Taxi operation
  • 49390 Other passenger land transport
  • 50100 Sea and costal passenger water transport
  • 50300 Inland passenger water transport
  • 51101 Scheduled passenger air transport
  • 51102 Non-scheduled passenger air transport
  • 55100 Hotels and similar accommodation
  • 55201 Holiday centres and villages
  • 55202 Youth hostels
  • 55209 Other holiday and other collective accommodation
  • 55300 Recreational vehicle parks, trailer parks and camping grounds
  • 55900 Other accommodation
  • 56101 Licensed restaurants
  • 56102 Unlicensed restaurants and cafes
  • 56103 Take-away food shops and mobile food stands
  • 56210 Event catering activities
  • 56290 Other food services
  • 56301 Licensed clubs
  • 56302 Public houses and bars
  • 68202 Letting and operating of conference and exhibition centres
  • 68209 Other letting and operating of own or leased real estate
  • 77110 Renting and leasing of cars and light motor vehicles
  • 77210 Renting and leasing of recreational and sports goods
  • 77341 Renting and leasing of water transport equipment
  • 77351 Renting and leasing of air transport equipment
  • 79110 Travel agency activities
  • 79120 Tour operator activities
  • 79901 Activities of tourist guides
  • 79909 Other reservation service activities
  • 82301 Activities of exhibition and fair organisers
  • 82302 Activities of conference organisers
  • 90010 Performing arts
  • 90020 Support activities to performing arts
  • 90030 Artistic creation
  • 90040 Operation of arts facilities
  • 91020 Museum activities
  • 91030 Operation of historical sites and buildings and similar visitor attractions
  • 91040 Botanical and zoological gardens and nature reserve activities
  • 92000 Gambling and betting activities
  • 93110 Operation of sports facilities
  • 93199 Other sports activities
  • 93210 Activities of amusement parks and theme parks
  • 93290 Other amusement and recreation activities

If your business does not fit into the list above but you believe contributes to, or supports, tourism you can still apply for the grant.  You will be asked to explain why you think your business qualifies for the grant as part of your application.

HOW MUCH MONEY CAN MY BUSINESS APPLY FOR?

You may have seen in the press that grant allocations can be made up to the value of £5,000. After reviewing Gloucestershire’s allocation and the current demand, we intend to open applications up to a value of £3,000 so that we can help as many businesses as possible. This will see us able to give out approximately a total of 150 grants to businesses across Gloucestershire.

Please note that, if successful, you will need to fund the project and claim the approved costs back after it has been completed.

HOW LONG WILL THE GRANTS BE AVAILABLE?

The website will open for applications on Monday 28th September at 10am.  

After the first 200 applications have been received, we will temporarily pause applications in order to make an initial assessment of the applications received.  We anticipate that demand will be high and the initial tranche of applications will be filled shortly after applications open.

Once this initial assessment has been completed the website will re-open for further applications should there be funds available.  This process will be repeated until all the funds are allocated.

HOW DO I APPLY?

Applications will be completed online on the Growth Hub website.  At 10am on Monday 28th September, the link to apply will be at the top of this page.

CAN I APPLY FOR BOTH GRANTS?

No, you are only able to apply to one of the grant funding streams. At the beginning of the online application you will be asked if you are applying for the SME Recovery scheme or Kick-starting Tourism scheme. If you are a business in the visitor economy sector, we highly recommend you apply to the Kick-starting Tourism scheme.

WHAT CAN I USE THE GRANT FOR?

The eligible activity for tourism and SME recovery applications are the same:

  • Purchase of specialist consultancy/advice.  Please note that the grant cannot be used to fund training.
  • Purchase of minor equipment that supports the adoption of new technology or business processes in order to continue to deliver or diversify business activity in response to COVID-19.
  • Purchase of minor equipment that supports the adaptation of existing technology or business processes in order to continue to deliver or diversify business activity in response to COVID-19.

These grants cannot be used to:

  • Support businesses to fund the payment of wages.
  • Purchase equipment and consumables associated with PPE and social distancing measures.
  • Fund activities which would contradict, duplicate or undermine HM Government domestic initiatives.
  • Fund building work.
  • Fund training.
  • Purchase capital items over £3000.
  • Fund retrospective activity or purchases.
CAN THE GRANT BE USED FOR SOCIAL MEDIA, ADVERTISING OR MARKETING?

The grant can cover the use of social media as a sales platform. You must be able to demonstrate the impact of COVID 19 on your business which has prompted the requirement to review existing social media usage or use social media for the time. It can also be used for more general online marketing spend but you must show why COVID 19 has prompted the requirement to review or implement online marketing.

The grant can also cover the purchase of mainstream advertising in press/radio. Again, you must show why this is in response to COVID 19 and the associated change of strategy, new product launch, or new audiences that need to reached. A grant to support business as usual activity will not be deemed eligible.

DO I NEED QUOTES FOR THE ACTIVITY I WANT TO FUND VIA THE GRANT?

Yes, you will need to provide quotes for all services or purchases of equipment or technology that you want to fund. Screenshots of online catalogues are acceptable. In line with best practice, you should source up to three quotes where practicable which you can include on submission of your application for review. 

When you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation email, you will need to respond to this email with your quotes attached. Acceptable file formats are Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, PDFs, PowerPoint Presentations, JPG or PNG image files.

DO I HAVE TO USE GLOUCESTERSHIRE SUPPLIERS?

You can use any supplier you want to, so long as they are a business and the service or product is eligible for grant funding, and is relevant to the recovery needs of your business. Additionally, you will need to confirm that the supplier is independent of you and your business, and that there is no conflict of interest.

However, we do encourage all applicants to consider Gloucestershire suppliers where possible to further boost the recovery of the county. Our Business Directory is a great place to start.

I HAVE ALREADY STARTED/COMPLETED MY PROJECT. CAN I APPLY FOR THE GRANT TO COVER THESE COSTS?

No, the grant cannot retrospectively fund activity that has already started.  Your application must include a quote for the activity you wish the grant to fund but you cannot commission the work until your application has been confirmed as successful and you have received an offer letter.

DO I HAVE TO PUT ANY OF MY OWN MONEY IN?

No, you do not have to contribute financially, the grant will fund 100% of eligible costs up to £3,000. 

However, if your total project costs exceed £3,000 you will need to fund any costs over that value. This could be if the project the grant covers, forms part of a larger project within your business. For example, you could be planning a redesign of your website costing £5,000, and are applying for £3,000 to cover an element of this. In this instance you can apply for a maximum of £3,000.

Please note upon confirmation of a successful application, you will need to fund the project and claim the costs back after it has been completed.

WHO DECIDED THE ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA?

The grants are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and are governed by the regulations of that funding.  Eligible activity has been determined by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government as the Managing Authority for ERDF.

I AM A NEW BUSINESS THAT STARTED OPERATING AFTER 1ST MARCH 2020. DO I QUALIFY FOR A GRANT?

The grant scheme has been established to help Gloucestershire businesses recover from the impact of COVID-19.  As your business was not trading before the coronavirus pandemic, the impact cannot be evidenced and therefore you are not eligible for this grant.

You can access support from the Start and Grow Enterprise project, visit their website to find out more.

I HAVE MORE THAN ONE BUSINESS, CAN EACH BUSINESS APPLY FOR A GRANT?

In principle yes, provided that the businesses are separate legal entities and delivering different activities, however, we would need more information to confirm this. Please contact grants@thegrowthhub.biz with details of your businesses before the application window opens.

DO I NEED TO REGISTER ON THE WEBSITE OR DO ANYTHING AHEAD OF APPLICATIONS OPENING?

We recommend you read through the Application Form FAQs so you can prepare the information you need in advance. You do not need to register an account on the website in order to make an application. Any further updates will be posted here in the first instance, and shared on our social media platforms. 

HOW DO I CONTACT YOU IF I NEED TO SPEAK TO SOMEONE ABOUT MY APPLICATION OR ASK QUESTIONS?

You can contact the Growth Hub via grants@thegrowthhub.biz to ask questions regarding the scheme, however, these FAQs have been collated to give you as much information as possible so please read them thoroughly in the first instance.

If you are currently receiving support from a Business Navigator or Guide, you can also discuss the scheme with them.

Due to the volume of applications we are anticipating, we cannot provide a status update on your submitted application.

I NEED ADDITIONAL HELP FOR MY BUSINESS – WHERE CAN I GET FURTHER SUPPORT?

You can contact The Growth Hub to find out what other support may be available to your business.  We have a full schedule of online workshops, 1-2-1s, and direct business support available via our Business Navigators and Business Guides. To apply for support for your business, click here.

WILL I RECEIVE AN EMAIL TO CONFIRM THE APPLICATION HAS BEEN RECEIVED?

Upon submission of your online application you will receive a confirmation email. This email will contain the reference number for your application, and you must reply to this email with your quote evidence, in order to complete your application.

WHAT IS THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS FOR SUCCESSFUL APPLICATIONS?

Applications are assessed against a series of eligibility criteria, for the applicant business, and the activity they want the grant to fund.  Successful grants will be awarded on a first come, first served basis, until all the grant money has been allocated.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO APPROVE MY GRANT APPLICATION?

We anticipate processing applications and issuing a decision within 15 working days of receiving the application.  Successful applications must be fully and correctly completed, with the supporting evidence provided, including quotations for the funded activity for an Offer Letter to be issued.  We expect high demand and grant processing may take longer depending on the number of applications received.

WHEN WILL I RECEIVE THE GRANT IF MY GRANT APPLICATION IS APPROVED?

The scheme makes payment to successful applicants in arrears, after they have accepted the offer and have purchased and received the support or items that the grant has been approved for.  In all instances, we need to see copies of supplier’s invoices and a copy of the statement from the dedicated bank account for the business, evidencing that payment has been made to the relevant suppliers.  You have 10 working days from the date of the offer letter to accept your grant offer (via electronic signature) and all activity and claims must be completed by 28 February 2021. Once a complete claim has been submitted and approved, with all relevant evidence provided, payment should be made within 20 working days.

WHAT HAPPENS TO MY APPLICATION IF I DO NOT PROVIDE ALL THE REQUIRED INFORMATION?

Your application will be rejected. You will be contacted by our team to let you know that we are unable to process your application due to missing information.  You will be advised that if you still wish to apply for a grant, you can do so but will need to submit a new application with all the required information.

This means that you will effectively join the back of the queue.  Grants are offered on a first come, first served basis, and only to applicants who submit a complete and eligible application.

HOW SHOULD I PAY MY SUPPLIERS?

Wherever possible, electronic payments should be made from your bank account to the suppliers. On occasions where this is not possible, payments by cheque or business debit cards are permitted. If cheque payments are made, please note you will be required to submit a photocopy of the cheque with your supporting information.

In exceptional circumstances, where other payment options are not possible, the use of a business credit card can be approved. However, to claim this against the grant, you would need to show the balance having been paid in full and the payment to the card provider leaving your business bank account.

Payments through PayPal are accepted only if the payment is taken directly from the business bank account, i.e. you can evidence the individual invoice amount leaving the bank account.  You are not able to pay an invoice using PayPal if you are using existing funds in a PayPal account, as each expenditure item must be evidenced back to the dedicated bank account. 

Under no circumstances are payments by cash for invoices acceptable.

DO I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL I HAVE SPENT ALL THE GRANT MONEY AND HAVE MY EVIDENCE TO SUBMIT A CLAIM?

We are expecting most projects to submit one claim on completion of the whole project, for the total grant award value.

However, you can make separate claims depending on the activity specified in your offer letter.

Example:

  • Grant Offer was for £3,000 total activity, split between:
  • Specialist consultancy/advice                     £2,000
  • Purchase of equipment/technology          £1,000

You can make two separate claims if each claim has all the supporting evidence, i.e. one for specialist consultancy/advice and one for equipment.

DO I HAVE TO PAY THE GRANT BACK?

The grant is recoverable from the applicant if it is proved that their application and/or claim contained false or fraudulent information.

IF I AM TURNED DOWN FOR A GRANT, CAN I APPEAL?

Applicants can ask The Growth Hub to review their decision if they think that:

 

  • the decision was based on an error of fact;
  • The Growth Hub made a procedural error in processing the application.

Applicants must make this request within 5 days of receiving the decision letter by emailing grants@thegrowthhub.biz.

WHAT IS THE GROWTH HUB?

The Growth Hub is a Gloucestershire-wide network of business centres, where you can get free help and support to help your business grow. As well as direct consultancy and advice, The Growth Hub also offers online events and workshops, and much more.

It's our mission to make free business support accessible for every Gloucestershire business. You can apply for support here, view our online events here, or just drop us an email at talktous@thegrowthhub.biz to chat about your business.

 


 

APPLICATION FORM FAQS

The fast-track to a successful application. These FAQs cover everything you need to know to complete the application form, including key questions, and information to prepare ahead of time. 

 

CAN I SEE THE QUESTIONS IN PREPARATION FOR MY APPLICATION?

Please carefully review the eligibility criteria on this page before starting to prepare your application. If you’re not sure if you’re eligible, please email grants@thegrowthhub.biz before you start any preparations.

You can begin preparation for when applications open, by gathering the information below.

  • General business information like registered address and trading start date
  • Type of business
  • Company Registration Number or Unique Tax Reference
  • VAT number (if registered)
  • Relevant SIC code for your business
  • Business turnover for the last financial year
  • Business turnover for the current financial year to date
  • Number of staff, FTE, in your business
  • Number of jobs safeguarded as a result of the grant
  • Number of jobs created as a result of the grant
  • Summary of what your business does, maximum 100 words
  • Completion date for the project
     

Prepare answers to the following questions (it is important that you give enough detail to demonstrate to the need for this grant):

  • How has your business been affected by COVID-19? 300 words maximum
  • A breakdown of the services and items you want the grant to fund, with associated costs. Costs should be provided net, if you’re VAT registered.
  • How will the grant funded activity help your business recover from the impact of COVID-19? 300 words maximum

Additional information to help you prepare your application can be found on this page.

CAN I SAVE MY APPLICATION AND COME BACK TO IT?

No, you cannot. We recommend you review the guidance on this page, and prepare the information you will need to submit ahead of applications opening at 10am on the 28th September 2020. This will allow you to provide accurate information, in a timely manner, when applications open.

WHAT IS A UNIQUE TAX REFERENCE (UTR)?

Unique Taxpayer Reference numbers (or UTRs) are up to 10-digit codes that HMRC use to uniquely identify you or your business whenever they are dealing with your tax.  You will have a UTR number if you submit a self-assessment tax return. You can find a lost UTR here: https://www.gov.uk/find-lost-utr-number

WHAT IS MY COMPANY REGISTRATION NUMBER?

You can find your Company Registration number here: https://www.gov.uk/get-information-about-a-company

DO I NEED TO PROVIDE A UTR OR A COMPANY REGISTRATION NUMBER?

You will have a UTR number if you submit a self-assessment tax return. You will have a Company Registration number if you are registered with Companies House. You only need to provide either a UTR or a Registration number.

WHAT IS MY TRADING START DATE?

Your trading start date is when your business became operational and started to generate sales.

WHAT IS A SIC CODE?

A SIC code is a five-digit Standard Industrial Classification code and is used to identify and categorise the principal business activities of companies operating within the UK. You can search for your SIC code on the GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/standard-industrial-classification-of-economic-activities-sic

WHAT DOES FULL TIME EQUIVALENT MEAN?

The calculation of full-time equivalent (FTE) is an employee's scheduled hours divided by the employer's hours for a standard full-time working week. For instance, for an employer who has a standard 40-hour working week:

  • Full time employee who works 40 hours per week is 1.0 FTE
  • Full time employee who works 40 hours per week for 6 months a year is 0.5 FTE
  • A part time employee that does 20 hours a week would be 0.5 FTE.
  • A part time employee that works 12 hours a week would be 0.3 FTE

If you have staff on furlough at the time of your application, they should be included in your overall FTE calculation. 

WHAT IS A SAFEGUARDED JOB?

A safeguarded job is one that was at risk at the time of applying for the grant but which is anticipated to remain in existence 6 months after receiving support. This includes both part-time and full-time jobs, which should be recorded relative to full-time equivalent (FTE).

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY A DEDICATED BANK ACCOUNT FOR MY BUSINESS?

For the purposes of these grants, a dedicated bank account is one that holds only business-based transactions and is kept separate from any personal payments or receipts.

WHAT INFORMATION DOES MY QUOTE HAVE TO INCLUDE?

A quote for services or product purchases to be funded by the grant should include:

  • Supplier business name and address
  • Applicant business name and address
  • Description of activity/service/product
  • Total net cost of activity/service/product
  • Date the quote was provided (please be aware this activity cannot have already been commissioned or started)

Screenshots of online catalogues should clearly show:

  • The item
  • The web address of the item
  • The date that the screen shot was captured.

The acceptable file formats for a quote are Word document, Excel spreadsheet, PDF or PowerPoint Presentation, JPG or PNG image file.

Upon submission of your application you will receive an email to which you will need to respond, attaching your quote documentation and your unique application reference number in the subject heading.

WHAT IS AN OFFER LETTER?

If your grant application is successful, you will receive an Offer Letter detailing the amount, timescales as well as the terms and conditions of the grant.  This is a legal document and you must sign and return it (this will be done electronically) to state that the details are correct and that you agree to the terms and conditions of the grant offer.

WHAT IS STATE AID?

State Aid is defined on the Gov.UK website as “any advantage granted by public authorities through state resources on a selective basis to any organisations that could potentially distort competition and trade in the European Union”.  This broadly means any business, training support or grants, that have been funded by the UK government or the European Union, that are designed to help improve a businesses’ position in the market.

State Aid is not allowed in the EU because a business can receive support that gives it an advantage over its competitors.  Under the De Minimis regulation, however, businesses could receive State Aid up to the value of €200,000 in any rolling 3-year period without the need to formally notify the European Commission.  If you are part of a group of companies, the €200,000 limit applies to all companies under the control of the parent company - so you will need to add all the State Aid received by each company in the group together, to get the total amount of State Aid received.

You can find more information on State Aid at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/state-aid

WHAT DO I NEED TO DECLARE WHEN IT COMES TO STATE AID?

You will be asked to self-declare that you have not received State Aid over the value of €200,000 in any rolling 3-year period.

If you believe you have received more than €200,000 in any rolling 3-year period please email grants@thegrowthhub.biz before applications open.

 

 

 

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