Grants4Growth is a capital grant scheme which is being delivered across the East of England. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and comes to an end in March 2015. Bedfordshire has not received as many grants as the other counties so I am trying to get the word out there and get grants to businesses investing in growth here. Since I came into this role, 50 Bedfordshire businesses have enquired, lots of applications are underway and 3 have been approved.
So what is this Grants4Growth? It is a capital grant that can cover up to 28% of a total investment in equipment. It excludes ICT and agricultural equipment but includes business vehicles, lighting, kitchen equipment, heating and production line tools and equipment.
Who can get the grant? Any independent SME in Bedfordshire and Luton that is investing in their business are eligible. It includes start up businesses and community and voluntary organisations that undertake economic activity. Businesses need to generate growth, create or protect jobs and enhance resource efficiency through the investment.
So what is the process to get a grant? The grants are funded by European Regional Development Fund supported by SEMLEP – the Local Enterprise Partnership that covers Bedfordshire and Luton. There is a simple enrolment form and 5 page application form – accounts and quotes for the investment need to be supplied with the form. My help as the Bedfordshire Business Broker is available to smooth this along and then the application is considered by a weekly grants panel.
How is the grant paid? The grant is paid by a cheque according to the terms in the offer letter. It is only paid once the business has made the payment and received the goods. Claims need to be made by March 2015.
So who is getting the grant? – in the last few weeks 3 companies have received awards:
A golf club has received funding for a log cutter to use fallen trees on the golf course for log drying and sales – this will protect ground staff jobs over the winter
A hair salon has received a grant to allow growth into bigger premises to meet growing demand – new staff will be taken on in all parts of the hair and beauty business
A manufacturer of high grade pipes is investing in a new production line to meet demand for a particular specification of pipe, leading to new jobs and potential 24 hour production.
There are 7 other applications in development – could your Bedfordshire or Luton business be the next one? Do check out the Grants4growth website www.grants4growth.org.uk/register or call me on 07960 224568.
Judith Barker, Broker for Bedfordshire.