FAQs

1. What is the Small Business Recovery Grant Scheme?

Grants between £1,000 and £3,000 will be available to small businesses across the Marches to help them recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The grant can fund professional help or small pieces of equipment or technology.

The work you are applying for must be directly related to helping your business adapt or recover from the negative impact of COVID-19.

2. How much can I get?

You can apply for a grant of between £1,000 and £3,000

3. What can I use the grant for?

The work you are applying for must be directly related to helping your business adapt or recover from the negative impact of COVID-19.

The work can include the purchase of:

  • 1-2-1 specialist advice to address immediate needs in response to the impact of COVID 19 e.g. HR, accountants, legal, financial, H&S, IT / digital or sector specialists etc.
  • Productivity improvements such as enhanced use of digital tools such as yield management software, mentoring, networking or other measures.  It could also support to develop innovative delivery in a socially distanced economy – for example, new ways of delivering cultural events and festivals that are so critical to the visitor experience;
  • Minor equipment that support the adoption of new technology/business processes or the adaption of existing technology/business processes in order to continue to deliver or diversify business activity in relation to COVID-19 (e.g. storage, processing machinery). 

Examples of specialist advice include:

  • Review of the business strategy
  • Strategic review of business models
  • HR, financial and legal advice
  • Coaching and mentoring in leadership and management development / Change management
  • Innovation strategy to adapt and diversify products/services
  • The introduction of new technology
  • Developing or revising marketing/digital strategies to reach new markets
  • Mitigating the impact of social distancing measures
  • Rebuilding a viable business model
  • Developing product offerings
  • Legal and environmental health compliance (this does not include purchase of equipment and consumables associated with PPE and social distancing measures)
  • Skills analysis and development plans
  • Workforce management
  • Employee engagement, welfare and wellbeing

Please note these are examples only and not an exhaustive list.

 

4. When will I be able to complete an on-line grant application?

The Grant scheme will be open to accept applications 9am Wednesday 14 October and will be closed 9pm Thursday 15 October 2020.

Based on the experience of other LEP areas, who have already launched the scheme, we are expecting a high volume of applications within the first two hours of opening the application website. If we receive a high volume of applications we reserve the right to temporarily close the website.

Grants will be awarded to eligible businesses who meet the criteria on a first come, first served basis.

Following an assessment, we may re-open for further applications if there are funds remaining and this process will be repeated until funds are allocated.

We will give one week notice if the grants reopen for applications and will update this web page as well as communicate the date via social media.

Funding has been allocated towards businesses operating in the Visitor Economy Sector and Wider Sectors in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. It has been estimated that each grant will average £2,500. The numbers of grants to be distributed in these areas has been calculated as follows, however the actual number will depend on the size of the grant awarded:

Numbers of grants to be awarded

Area

Wider Sectors

Visitor Economy Sector

Total

Herefordshire

48

25

73

Shropshire

63

33

96

Telford & Wrekin

55

28

83

Total

166

86

252

5. How much funding is available?

The Grant is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Marches LEP has been allocated £630,000 as follows:

Grant funding awarded

Area

Wider Sectors

Visitor Economy Sector

Total

Herefordshire

£120,000

£62,500

£182,500

Shropshire

£157,500

£82,500

£240,000

Telford & Wrekin

£137,500

£70,000

£207,500

Total

£415,000

£215,000

£630,000

6. How much can I apply for?

Grants are 100% of your eligible costs and you can apply for funding between £1,000 and £3,000. We are expecting awards to be made in the region of £2,500.

As part of your Recovery Project the grant can be used for the purchase of up to two items of equipment (where two comparable prices have been provided) and/or the delivery of a service (where two comparable full written quotations have been provided from VAT Registered contractors and/or from non VAT registered contractors, including contact details, address and web address). If you are not choosing the supplier with the cheapest quote you will need to demonstrate how the chosen quote offers the best value for money. All quotations and prices must be obtained after 6 October 2020.

If successful, the business will need to pay for the work or goods and then claim the money back once the project has been completed.

All items/specialist support must be eligible and be directly related to helping your business adapt or recover from the negative impact of COVID-19.

A key requirement is that you cannot start your project until a Grant Offer Letter has been received. We cannot fund any incurred expenditure for projects that have already started.

For administrative purposes all payments for purchases must be paid in full and upfront. We will 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. The bank statement must correspond with the supplier’s invoice.

We cannot accept payments that have been made by credit cards or any other alternative payment arrangements where payment is staggered and not paid in full.

7. How do I apply?

Links to the application forms will be provided when the Grant scheme is open to accept applications.

Within Part 1 of the application you will be asked if your business is a:

  • Visitor Economy businesses or
  • Business in the wider economy
  • Please ensure you select the correct application link for your business sector. For enterprises who operate in the Visitor Economy sector, 50% or above of your business activity must rely upon the Visitor Economy.

When opening the application link, there is an initial eligibility questionnaire that will take you to the full application should your business be eligible.

You will need to have the following information to hand when completing the eligibility questionnaire-

  • Company number (if applicable)
  • Business name
  • Business address including postcode
  • Details of your dedicated bank account for your business which has the same name as the business applying for the grant
  • Principal activity of business/ SIC code
  • Date began trading
  • Name and contact details of the person applying on behalf of the business
  • Staff headcount
  • Turnover at the end of the last financial year
  • Company VAT details or Unique Tax Reference if you are not VAT registered.
  • Details of any previous De Minimis State Aid support

As part of the full application you will need to provide details about your business and the project for which you are seeking funding, this includes details of;

  • Ownership and shareholders
  • The impact of COVID- 19 on your business
  • Proposed project details including value, start and end dates
  • If the grant will help you retain or employ and/or if it will assist you to introduce a new product or service to your business or to the wider market

You will need to submit two full written quotes from suitable suppliers with your application (emailed price from a supplier, pdf of a direct tailored quote). These quotes must be dated after 6 October 2020. If you are not choosing the supplier with the cheapest quote you will need to demonstrate how the chosen quote offers the best value for money.

If you are obtaining a price from a web-site it should clearly show the item, its cost, the web address of the supplier and a date that the screen shot was captured.

The quotes/prices should be dated after 6 October 2020 and stand to 31 January 2021 or until the project is completed.

For administrative purposes all payments for purchases must be paid in full and upfront. We will 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. The bank statement must correspond with the supplier’s invoice.

We cannot accept payments that have been made by credit cards or any other alternative payment arrangements where payment is staggered and not paid in full.

 

8. Can I apply for both grants?

No, only one application can be made per business.

9. I have more than one business, can each business apply for the grant?

In principle, yes, provided that the businesses are separate legal entities and delivering different activities.

10. What is the criteria to be able to apply for The Marches Business Recovery Grant scheme?

As part of the application process, applicants will need to confirm the following before accessing the Full Application:

  • The business base is located within the administrative areas of Herefordshire, Shropshire or Telford & Wrekin
  • The business must have been trading for 12 months or more
  • For enterprises who operate in the Visitor Economy sector, 50% or above of your business activity must rely upon the Visitor Economy
  • You will need to provide your Company Registration Number and VAT Number or Unique Tax Reference if you are not VAT registered
  • The business falls within the definition of a Small or Medium Enterprise. (A SME is defined by the European Commission as having less than 250 persons employed and an annual turnover of up to EUR 50 million, or a balance sheet total of no more than EUR 43 million).
  • The grant will assist with the business COVID-19 recovery plans and is not ‘business as usual’ or related to personnel protective equipment (PPE) social distancing or other regulatory activity
  • The project has not already started and will be completed and all costs paid by 31 January 2021
  • You employ less than 10 Full-time Equivalent employees
  • You have dedicated bank account for your 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.
  • To comply with the State Aid De Minimis Regulation you must declare that you have not received more than €200,000 Public Funding to your enterprise in the last three years
  • The business falls into a Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code https://onsdigital.github.io/dp-classification-tools/standard-industrial-classification/ONS_SIC_hierarchy_view.html. The list below provides (SIC) codes for Visitor Economy businesses that are able to apply to this Grant scheme:

Visitor Economy SIC Codes

 

SIC Code

Description

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

 

Applicants from the following sectors are eligible to apply for this funding:

  • Hospitality
  • Travel &Tourism
  • Sports & Leisure
  • Entertainment & Arts
  • Food & Drink
  • Retail & Wholesale
  • Aviation & Supply Chain
  • Advanced Engineering & Manufacturing
  • Horticulture & Viticulture
  • Health & Life Sciences.

We cannot accept applications from businesses who operate in the following sectors:

  • Fisheries and agriculture
  • Processing and marketing of agricultural products
  • Shipbuilding
  • School/school age educational establishments
  • Insurance companies
  • Primary production, coal or steel or synthetic fibres
11. What are the terms and conditions of the Grant?
  • Only one business can apply per application. Multiple attempts to apply may invalidate your application
  • As part of the application, work must not have started on the project or goods been purchased
  • Applications must be fully and correctly completed with the supporting evidence provided
  • Your project should start in November and be completed, including Grant claimed, by 31 January 2021. The sooner you complete your project and provide your claim, the sooner we will be able to process your claim and pay your grant
  • The grant must cover 100% of the service your business is procuring (up to a maximum total project value of £3,000). This grant cannot be used to part-fund expenditure above £3,000
  • The grant is recoverable from the applicant if it is proved that their application and/or claim contained false or fraudulent information
  • The project must clearly address the impact Covid-19 has had on the business
12. What information will I need to hand when I complete the application?

Ensure you have the following information available:

  • General business information e.g. registered address and trading start date
  • Company Registration Number or Unique Tax Reference (UTR)
  • VAT Number (if registered)
  • Details of the dedicated bank account for your business (which has the same name as the business applying for the grant). You will be asked to upload a bank statement from the period April 2019 to 23 March 2020 and a bank statement from the period April 2020 to September 2020. The bank statements must demonstrate the financial impact you have suffered. The bank statement must show the business name, sort code and bank account number (this must be for the same name as the business applying for the grant)
  • Information on your business turnover in the last financial year and estimated turnover for this financial year
  • For enterprises who operate in the Visitor Economy sector you must include what percentage of your business activity relies upon the Visitor Economy
  • Number of employees & full-time equivalents
  • Number of jobs that will be safeguarded as a result of the grant
  • Two recent comparable quotes/prices (dated after 6 October 2020) for the service and/or purchases of equipment/technology to be funded. Full written quotes must be from VAT registered contractors and/or from non VAT registered contractors where contact details, address and web address have been provided.
  • State aid information relating to how much public funding your business has received in the last three years
  • Details of other COVID-19 business support you have received.
13. What can the funding be spent on?

The grant can be used for the delivery of a service (where two comparable full written quotations, have been provided from VAT Registered contractors and/or from non VAT registered contractors including contact details, address and web address) and/or for the purchase of two items of equipment (where two comparable prices have been provided for each item of equipment). The work can include:

  • 1-2-1 specialist advice to address immediate needs in response to the impact of COVID 19 e.g. HR, accountants, legal, financial, H&S, IT / digital or sector specialists etc.
  • Productivity improvements such as enhanced use of digital tools such as yield management software, mentoring, networking or other measures.  It could also support to develop innovative delivery in a socially distanced economy – for example, new ways of delivering cultural events and festivals that are so critical to the visitor experience;
  • Minor equipment that support the adoption of new technology/business processes or the adaption of existing technology/business processes in order to continue to deliver or diversify business activity in relation to COVID-19 (e.g. storage, processing machinery).
    14. What can’t the funding be spent on?

    The Small Business Recovery Grant cannot be used to:

    • Support businesses with working capital i.e. stock
    • Support businesses to fund the payment of wages
    • Purchase of 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 professional fees or capital items over £3,000
    • Fund retrospective activity or purchases.
    15. Do I have to use local suppliers?

    No. 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. However, you will need to confirm the supplier is independent of you and your business and there is no conflict of interest.

    16. When do I pay the supplier?

    All expenditure will need to be paid before you can claim your grant.

    For administrative purposes all payments for purchases must be paid in full and upfront. We will 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. The bank statement must correspond with the supplier’s invoice.

    We cannot accept payments that have been made by credit cards or any other alternative payment arrangements where payment is staggered and not paid in full.

    17. What if I am having problems with my supplier?

    You will be wholly responsible for ensuring the work you commission is carried out to specification and is of a satisfactory standard. The agreement will be between you and your supplier. We cannot be held responsible for any issues or the quality of the work.

    18. What if my project cost more than £3,000?

    The grant must cover 100% of the service your business is procuring (up to a maximum total project value of £3,000). This grant cannot be used to part-fund expenditure.

    If your project is more than £3,000 you may be eligible for other funding support. More details of finance and funding available to businesses in The Marches can be found on the Marches Growth Hub website.

    19. Can I claim the VAT?

    VAT Registered Businesses

    You will not be able to claim the VAT element though the Small Business Recovery Grant.

    The maximum amount of grant that can be claimed is £3,000. The grant covers the net cost of items for businesses that are VAT registered.

    Businesses that are Not VAT Registered

    You will be able to claim the VAT if your business is not VAT registered. Therefore, the maximum you will be able to claim is £3,600 consisting of £3,000 plus 20% VAT of £600. 

    Please note you will not be eligible to claim the VAT back from HMRC in the future if it has been paid by the Small Business Recovery Grant.

    Checks will be made to ensure the VAT status of applicant businesses; incorrect information may lead to your application being declined.

    20. I am a sole trader, can I apply?

    Yes.  As long as you are based in Herefordshire, Shropshire or Telford and Wrekin and have a unique tax reference you are eligible to apply.

    All businesses must have a dedicated business account.

    21. What does ‘dedicated business account’ mean?

    Businesses that have a separate business bank account:

    • The account will need to have the same name as the business applying for the grant
    • The account holds only business-based transactions and is kept separate from any personal payments or receipts.

    Businesses that use their personal bank account for business transactions:

    • The account must be used for both personal and business use
    • You will be asked to upload a bank statement from the period April 2019 to 23 March 2020 and a bank statement from the period April 2020 to September 2020. The bank statements must demonstrate the financial impact your business has suffered. All business transactions will need to be highlighted on the bank statements to enable an assessment to be made.
    • You will be required to describe the impact COVID-19 has had on your business and it is important, as part of this response, you explain the business figures in the bank statements provided
    • The bank account provided must be used to pay your relevant suppliers
    • Grant payment will be paid into the bank account provided
    • For all businesses using a personal bank account, assessment will be made on a case by case basis
    22. Can I change supplier or the project once I’ve received my grant approval?

    If you wish to change suppliers you will need to reapply as your application was accepted based on the information you submitted at the time of application. Please note we cannot guarantee that you will be able to submit a new application due to the limited number of applications we can accept.

    Should anything change than we will need to re assess our decision based on the new information.

    23. Can I change what I want to spend my grant on after I have received my Offer Letter?

    If you want to change the work for which you have been awarded funding for, you will need to reapply as your application was accepted based on the information you submitted at the time of application. Please note we cannot guarantee that you will be able to submit a new application due to the limited number of applications we can accept.

    Should anything change than we will need to re assess our decision based on the new information.

    24. How do I contact you if I need to speak to someone about my application or ask questions?

    Due to the limited capacity of staff available and the high volume of grants expected we have tried to include all the questions that businesses might ask in this FAQ.

    If your query is not addressed here please email the Growth Hub in your area using the links below.  Please note that the national Business Support Helpline cannot answer questions around applications to this fund. 

    Due to the volume of contact we may receive we cannot provide a status update regarding your submitted grant and we cannot guarantee how long it will take us to respond to queries. 

    Shropshire

    Herefordshire

    Telford & Wrekin

    25. How long does it take to know the outcome of my grant application?

    We anticipate processing the applications and issuing a decision within 20 working days. We expect high demand therefore grant processing may take longer. It is critical that businesses supply all the information that is requested.

    26. If I am successful, when will I receive the grant?

    Successful applications will receive a Grant Offer Letter. Work cannot commence until a Grant Offer Letter has been received. 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 31 January 2021. Once a complete claim has been submitted and approved, with all relevant evidence provided, payment should be made within 10 working days.

    Grant will be paid in arrears. You will only be able to claim your grant when all the work has been completed and paid and the payment has left your bank account.

    Only one grant claim can be made.

     We will 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. If you are installing equipment we will need to provide a photograph of the equipment in situ.

    27. If I am turned down for a grant, can I appeal?

    Due to the small level of funding for grants available and the high volume of applications anticipated, there will be no appeal process.

    We anticipate that demand for Grants will be high, so we are operating on a first come first served basis. If your application is eligible, complete and in order then the application will be progressed, however this does not guarantee that funding will be awarded. If your application is not complete it will be rejected. If further funding becomes available you will be able to re-submit your application at this stage.

    The onus is on the applicant to complete the application correctly, provide the necessary information and demonstrate that it meets the requirements of the Grant scheme.

    28. 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.

    29. What happens after I submit by application?

    Applications will be reviewed for completeness and if all the required information has been provided, they will then be assessed. We will contact you within 20 working days to let you know if your application has been successful or not. If you are successful, we aim to notify of an award and issue a Grant Offer Letter within 20 working days of receiving the application. We will continue to process applications until the funding allocations are fully committed as soon as this happens, we will close for applications.

    You must not start work until you receive a Grant Offer letter.

    If you do not answer all applicable questions or do not provide supporting information, then your application will not be assessed.

    We anticipate that demand for grants will be high, so we are operating on a first come first served basis. If your application is eligible, complete and in order then the application will be progressed, however this does not guarantee that funding will be awarded. If your application is not complete then, as stated above, it will be not be assessed. If further funding becomes available you will be able to re-submit your application at this stage.  

    30. The General Data Protection Regulation

    The data we collect is for the purposes of the Marches ERDF Business Recovery Small Grant Scheme which is a business support programme to help SME’s overcome the impacts of COVID-19. The programme requires your data to be added to the Telford and Wrekin Council CRM Database called Evolutive. 

    We will use the information you supply:

    • Telford and Wrekin Council use in its role of Accountable Body for the scheme;
    • To provide business support to you and make referrals to partners and other providers of relevant services as appropriate;
    • To share with Shropshire Council / Herefordshire Council / the Marches Growth Hub;
    • MHCLG (or their sub-contractors) and/or BEIS.
    • This information will be used to evaluate this project and to report to the European Regional Development Fund for monitoring and evaluation purposes.

    Your details will be stored securely and retained until 2033 in compliance with ERDF requirements and the General Data Protection Regulation. We will only use your data for this programme and not for marketing or commercial purposes.

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