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Business Growth Grant

Introduction

The grant will support local businesses and Inward investors to grow, prosper and be sustainable. Resulting in the creation or safeguarding of jobs throughout the County, therefore improving the local economy. Whilst priority will be given to the creation of new jobs, it is acknowledged that the safeguarding of jobs under the current economic climate is also extremely important and will be considered accordingly on a case-by-case basis.

The Fund will be a business grant scheme, which will include support towards capital expenditure projects and specialist revenue expenditure (not including ongoing running costs), where new jobs are a created and/or safeguarded because of the financial support.

The detail of the application guidance is in draft and is subject to change

The Offer

  • Grants available between £1,000 and £25,000.
  • Each grant award will be based on 50% of eligible costs or a maximum of £5000 per job *created and/or £5000 per job *safeguarded, whichever is the lesser. (At least one new job must be created and/or one full time equivalent (FTE) job safeguarded, in order to access the grant)
  • Any jobs being claimed as safeguarded will need to be forecasted as being lost within 6 months of application. This will need to be evidenced in detail within the application
  • Two part time jobs are considered as one full time equivalent. If you are only creating or safeguarding a part time job (Min. 16 hours per week) the grant will only be paid on a pro rata basis i.e., max of £2500 for a part time job
  • All jobs created as part of the grant must be claimed within 6 months of the date of final grant payment or 30th November 2024 whichever is the earliest date
  • We encourage that all jobs being created with the support of the grant to be paid the Real Living Wage. https://www.livingwage.org.uk/what-real-living-wage
  • If the business is applying for any other public funds such as Town Centre grants, the expenditure and outputs cannot be duplicated
  • It is important to note that grants are paid retrospectively, applicants must have the financial means to purchase the item(s) in full up front, and then claim the grant value from Powys County Council following the claims process (please see in the terms and conditions within this document)
  • Claims must be submitted within 4 months of the offer letter or by 30th September 2024 the latest whichever is the earliest date. To support cashflow, the grant team will consider the submission of two claims, but prior agreement must be sought from the Council.

Eligibility

The Powys Business Growth Grant is funded by the UK Government via the Shared Prosperity Fund and delivered by Powys County Council and as such is only available for application to new or existing businesses within the eligible sectors that are in or planning to locate within Powys. 

The grant will be open for applications between Monday 6th November, 2023 until Friday 15th December 2023 and Monday 1st April 2024 until Friday 10th May 2024.

Support is aimed primarily at existing businesses to be operating in or servicing the following growth and foundation sectors:

  • Advanced Materials and Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Creative Industries
  • Energy and Environment
  • Finance and Professional Services
  • Information Technology and Telecoms
  • Life Sciences
  • Food & Drink
  • Tourism
  • Retail
  • Care

Applications will however be considered on a case-by-case basis subject to their potential contribution and value to the local economy

The following sectors are ineligible for support: - primary agriculture production, forestry, aquaculture, fishing and statutory services e.g. Primary health and education

The Fund is available for businesses of all sizes which aim to implement their growth and recovery plans and must result in the creation and/or the safeguarding of jobs. Applicants must therefore demonstrate their growth plans (and provide evidence where applicable) within the application process.

All expenditure associated to the grant must be purchased and claimed within 4 months of the date of approval letter or no later than 30th September 2024, whichever is earliest. No extensions will be given for claims to be submitted. The proposed business and associated jobs must be created within 6 months of the final payment of grant or 30th November 2024 whichever is the earliest. Monitoring of the business and jobs created will take place and evidence will be required. Failure to achieve the committed outputs could result in the claw back of grant funds.

Upon giving reasonable notice, Powys County Council reserves the right to monitor and maintain evidence at 1, 3 and 5 years from the receipt of a grant application.

What you can use the grant for

The grant will apply to capital and/or revenue expenditure within an approved project and can include:

Capital expenditure:

  • Purchase of new or second hand equipment, e.g. plant, machinery, specialist equipment, etc. Please note plant could include items such as forklift trucks, telehandlers, excavators, etc. General vehicles such as vans and cars are not eligible.**see note below re: purchase of second hand items
  • Purchase and installation of equipment to create or enhance outdoor trading space, e.g., shelters, gazebos, etc. Please note you will need to provide evidence of the relevant permissions if appropriate, i.e., planning permission, licences, etc.
  • IT and Telecom hardware if linked directly to the delivery of the project

Specialist revenue expenditure:

  • Specialist / technical training (not necessarily accredited)
  • Commissioning / Installation of Machinery
  • Specialist software
  • Production of websites, e-commerce/ online shops, apps, etc.
  • Websites and ecommerce development associated to the grant must be produced bilingually
  • Promotion and Marketing materials as part of a full marketing plan (assessed on a case-by-case basis)
  • All marketing and promotional material must be produced bilingually
  • Specialist Consultants (assessed on a case-by-case basis)
  • Quality Assurance Certification (assessed on a case-by-case basis)
  • Charges associated to the delivery of any capital equipment

What you cannot use the grant for

Ineligible expenditure includes:

  • General revenue expenditure such as, staff costs or any other taxes, hire purchase/lease purchases,
  • Premises improvement / minor building works
  • Repair, maintenance, and decoration costs,
  • Replacement fixtures and fittings, furniture, and general office equipment etc.
  • Contingency fees and costs which were committed or spent before the offer and acceptance of the grant.
  • General Vehicles such as cars and vans
  • Working capital costs such as stock, rent, rates, administration.
  • Membership & affiliation to governing bodies
  • Costs of work being carried out as a legal statutory requirement, inc. planning permission.
  • Feasibility studies
  • If the business is VAT registered, then VAT will be ineligible. VAT will be payable in cases of non-VAT registered companies.
  • No expenditure should be incurred before grant approval as the grants cannot be awarded retrospectively.
  • Cash purchases will not be considered for grant payment.
  • Items purchased through lease purchase, hire purchase, extended credit agreements/finance leases will not be considered for grant funding.
  • Professional fees associated with general business consultants including business plans/ BID writing and any fees associated in completing an application for grants purposes

Second hand equipment

The purchase costs of second-hand equipment are eligible for grant under the following conditions: -

  • The seller of the equipment shall provide a declaration stating its origin, and confirm that at no point during the previous seven years has it been purchased with the aid of national or European grants;
  • The price of the equipment shall not exceed its market value and shall be less than the cost of similar new equipment, and
  • The equipment shall have the technical characteristics necessary for the operation and comply with applicable norms and standards, e.g., Health and Safety

Application and Assessment

All completed applications will be considered on first come first served basis until the total fund is fully allocated.

Each application will be assessed against the outputs and outcomes of the grant project, i.e. 

  • value for money / grant per job created ratio and private sector investment levered by the grant as well as the viability of the business plan to support the start-up and sustainable growth plans.
  • Jobs created
  • Jobs safeguarded
  • Number of businesses adopting new or improved products or services
  • Number of businesses engaged in new markets
  • Number of businesses adopting new to the firm technologies or processes
  • Number of businesses with improved productivity
  • Number of R&D active businesses
  • Increase in number of innovation active SME's
  • Number of new products to market

The Local Authority has committed to become net zero carbon by 2030 and is keen to promote sustainable business practices through its funding programmes. As part of the application, you will be asked how your business demonstrates a commitment to sustainable development and sign up to the Welsh Government Green Growth Pledge. https://businesswales.gov.wales/green-growth-pledge-0

Initially an applicant is required to submit an expression of interest. The expression of interest will then be assessed for eligibility purposes and if approved you will be invited to submit a full application.

Each applicant will then need to complete and return the following:

  • Completed Application Form,
  • At least 2 full years historical accounts and recent management accounts, if available. If a business has not been trading for 2 years, management accounts and or income & expenditure summary must be provided from the trading start date up to application date
  • 2 years projected forecasts (cash flow and/or profit and loss)
  • Written Quotations (please see below for guidance)
  • Welsh Language Standards
  • Environmental / Sustainability Policy - Applicants will need to outline the ways in which the business is committed to reducing its impact on the environment.

It should be noted that the Powys Business Growth is a discretionary grant and is subject to approval by Powys County Council. Each application will be assessed by a panel which meet monthly to consider applications meet the standard by the given deadline.

Please Note - Applications will need to be proceedable before they are presented to panel so essential requirements such as match funding, planning permission (where applicable), etc. must be confirmed before the grant team will prepare the application for consideration at panel.

Procurement rules - Getting quotes

Purchasing goods, services or works

When procuring works, goods and services, applicants are expected to conduct the process in a manner which ensures openness, value for money and fairness and must follow the procurement procedures as they are outlined in this section.

Think Powys First

We encourage you to explore the marketplace to establish if there are any businesses within Powys that can provide the goods / service that you are seeking to purchase and include them in your invites to quote.  Powys County Council and businesses operating within the County have a big role to play in the economic recovery of Powys and local supply development is fundamental.

Procurement Thresholds

The precise procedures to be followed will depend upon the size of the order or contract to be let. Powys County Council (PCC) operates a graduated set of procedures which recognises the need to lighten administrative requirements for contracts involving smaller amounts.

Welsh Language Standards

The Welsh Language Standards Compliance Notice places a statutory requirement on Powys County Council to ensure that all grants it awards has a positive effect on opportunities for persons to use Welsh, and the Welsh language is not treated less favourably than English.

Applicants will be expected to set out their commitments to the Welsh language in their answer to the questions on the application form and, once agreed with the grant officer, they will be included as terms and conditions for the successful applicant.

Subsidy Control

This scheme is covered by the current UK Government Subsidy Control Act (2022).

The total amount of Minimum Financial Assistance (MFA) received over a rolling period of three fiscal years should not exceed £315,000 per business*. If you have received any other financial assistance in the past 3 financial years please describe the support in the box below. It is the responsibility of the applicant to monitor the level of MFA received; you will be asked to declare that this has not been exceeded in the event of an offer being made.

[* The MFA financial threshold applies at company group level.]

All bids must also consider how they will deliver in line with subsidy control as per UK Government: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/subsidy-control-regime

Where applicants do not adequately demonstrate that the proposed project is compliant under the UK Subsidy Control Regime it may be considered ineligible, and your application could be rejected.

Post Completion - Terms and Conditions

It should be noted that the Powys Business Growth Fund is a discretionary grant and is subject to approval by Powys County Council.

The grant may be recovered should the business cease to trade, relocate or the items purchased as part of the grant are sold on within 5 years of award.

Limited Companies must use the business bank account to purchase all the items associated to the grant. It is encouraged for Sole Traders and partnerships that all goods purchased in relation to the grant are purchased using the business bank account.

It is important to note that grants are paid retrospectively, so applicants must have the means to purchase the item(s) in full up front, and then claim the grant value from Powys County Council.

Should the application be successful, the grant money is paid direct into the bank account of the applicant business. This is based on receipt or evidence of purchase and defrayment i.e. original or on-line printed bank statements and original invoices to confirm expenditure.

Any deviations to the application in terms of suppliers and expenditure must be requested to the grant team prior to purchase. Failure to seek approval may result in the grant not being paid for those items.

Photographic evidence of all items associated to the grant will be required to support the claim. In some instances, a site visit will be required.

The applicant must accept the terms and conditions of the grant by completing the Notification of Approval and Terms & Conditions within 30 days from receipt. All expenditure associated to the grant must be completed within 4 months of the date of approval letter or 30th September 2024 whichever is the earliest date. No extension will be given for the submission of the claim

The job(s) created and/or safeguarded associated to the projects must be achieved / sustained within 6 months of the final payment of grant or March 2025 whichever is the earliest date. Monitoring of the business and jobs created and/or safeguarded will take place and evidence will be required. Failure to achieve the committed outputs could result in the claw back of grant funds.

For all grant purposes monitoring of the claim and evidence will take place with prior notice at 1, 3 and 5 years from the date of award of the grant.

Should the project not proceed within the period stipulated in the offer of grant, the offer of grant will automatically lapse. 

Any variation to the Terms & Conditions set out in the Approval Letter must be requested and agreed

Cash purchases will not be considered for grant payment. 

Items purchased with credit cards are eligible, but applicants will need to evidence the transaction on their credit card bill. ** Limited companies must use the business credit cards to purchase items associated to the grant rather than personal cards of the director(s).

Grants will not be offered or paid if the business or applicant is in arrears with any payment to any of the participating local authorities operating the scheme.

Claw Back of Grant Funds

Funding shall be withheld and/or, insofar as payment has been made, the grant recipient shall repay funding either in whole or in part, including if:

  1. a) there has been an overpayment of funding;
  2. b) during its economic life, the project undergoes substantial change defined as being used for purposes other than those specified in the application, or, having a change of owner without notifying Powys County Council.

The economic life is the period up to 5 years from date of the final payment of grant and repayment of funding will be required as follows:

Within 1 year        Funding to be repaid in full

Within 2 years        80% of funding to be repaid

Within 3 years        60% of funding to be repaid

Within 4 years        40% of funding to be repaid

Within 5 years        20% of funding to be repaid

After 5 years        No funding to be repaid

The above are minimum repayment requirements

If the jobs are not created and/or safeguarded, then the County Council has the right to reclaim the grant in part or in full.

The grant must be repaid in full on demand if: -

  • the applicant is found to have made any misrepresentation in connection with the application.
  • the applicant has breached the provision of condition above.
  • the assets and property (if applicable) are not fully re-instated within 12 months of any occurrence giving rise to loss of or damage to the property.

How to Apply

Before we ask you to make a full application, you will need to submit an expression of interest which outlines your business proposal and costs.

You will need the following information:

  • Your details
  • Business details and description of its main activity
  • Indicative project costs
  • Details of any additional funding / finance

Expression of Interest Form Business Growth Grants Expression of Interest Form