Steven Mugglestone

The more I learn, the less I know

Key business grants & funding that are still available

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Key Business grants and funding that are still available

As a brief review and to help SMEs, we have identified a number of key grants and grant funding initiatives that are still available to SME businesses.

Technology Strategy Board and R&D

The Technology Strategy Board has started a new scheme which offers funding to SMEs to engage in R&D projects in the strategically important areas of science, engineering and technology, from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge.

Open from 4 April 2011, the Grant for Research and Development (Grant for R&D) scheme supports R&D projects which offer potentially significant rewards and could stimulate UK economic growth. In contrast to the Collaborative R&D programme, Grant for R&D funding is available to single companies.

Smart

Smart (previously known as Grant for Research and Development) is a Technology Strategy Board scheme offering funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to engage in R&D projects in the strategically important areas of science, engineering and technology, from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge.

The Smart scheme will support R&D projects which offer potentially significant rewards and could stimulate UK economic growth. In contrast to the Collaborative R&D programme, Smart funding is available to single companies.

We use the European definition of SME.  There are three types of grant are available:

Any UK SME working in any sector may apply; applications are accepted on a rolling basis for assessment by independent experts.

Smart replaces the Grant for R&D scheme previously offered by regional development agencies. The scheme works alongside existing programmes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Proof of market grant

This grant enables companies to assess the commercial viability of a project, through:

  • market research
  • market testing and competitor analysis
  • intellectual property position
  • initial planning to take the project to commercialisation, including assessing costs, timescales and funding requirements.

Projects will last up to 9 months, have a maximum grant of £25k, and up to 60% of total project costs may be funded.

Proof of concept grant

SMEs may use this grant to explore the technical feasibility and commercial potential of a new technology, product or process, including:

  • initial feasibility studies
  • basic prototyping
  • specialist testing and/or demonstration to provide basic proof of technical feasibility
  • intellectual property protection
  • investigation of production and assembly options.

It also includes pre-clinical research studies for healthcare technologies and medicines, including target identification and validation.

Projects will last up to 18 months, have a maximum grant of £100k, and up to 60% of total project costs may be funded.

Development of prototype grant

This funding is used by companies to develop a technologically innovative product, service or industrial process, and can include projects such as:

  • small demonstrators
  • intellectual property protection
  • trials and testing, including clinical
  • market testing.

Projects will last up to 2 years and have a maximum grant of £250k; up to 35% of total project costs for medium enterprises, or up to 45% for small and micro enterprises, may be funded.

Further information

All pre start-ups, start-ups, and small and medium-sized businesses from all sectors across the UK may apply for the Smart programme.

In future we may also run themed competitions using the Smart scheme, aligned with our priority investment areas.

Please note that the Guidance for Applicants have been updated and a new rule has been introduced from the open of Round 5. An individual business may only submit one project application per category (eg proof of concept) per round. If more than one application per category is submitted in a round only the first application submitted will be considered for funding.

http://www.innovateuk.org/content/competition/smart.ashx

The New RGF Grant Scheme with Bank Lending

The government has also announced details of the new Regional Growth Fund Grant Scheme which seeks to provide businesses with a grant amounting to 20% of the funding needed for a project, with the two major banks, RBS and HSBC providing the remainder as lending.

Full details of £95m of the government’s banking RGF assistance can be found on the BIS site at: http://lnkd.in/8R4wJV

The Regional Growth Fund (RGF) scheme is a £1.4bn fund operating across England from 2011 to 2014.  It is administered by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills:  http://www.bis.gov.uk/

Given the discussions that we are having with banks and that the total grant fund has been capped at £95million, we believe that small and medium sized businesses should act now and secure this major funding initiative before it runs out.

The Fund objective is to stimulate private sector investment by providing support for projects that offer significant potential for long term economic growth and the creation of additional sustainable private sector jobs – especially in areas which are currently dependent on the public sector.

RBS Group has secured £70m and HSBC has secured £25m of RGF to distribute to eligible customers.  This is open to customers acquiring eligible assets via a NatWest/RBS/HSBC loan and also through Lombard on a lease purchase agreement.

The scheme is designed to support the purchase of assets by providing a supplementary deposit contribution – this will take the form of a grant.

  • The minimum amount of RGF that can be applied for is £5,000
  • The maximum amount is £500,000 per customer group (i.e. including any group companies)
  • The RGF element cannot exceed 20% of eligible costs
  • This minimum amount to be funded after customer deposit and RGF is £25,001.

As the RGF element is a grant, no repayment is required unless the customer breaches any of the RGF criteria.

We are advising our current and future clients to contact us now to discuss how they can benefit from this valuable business initiative.


Steven Mugglestone BA FCA
,
Finance Director Services
McGregors Corporate, Entrepreneurial Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers
…….Really good for your business

McGregors Corporate are a Member of Probiz Tax, providing Innovative Tax Solutions to Owner Managed Businesses.

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T: 0845 519 5659                T: 0121 236 3317
steven@mcgregorsbirmingham.co.uk

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Written by Steven Mugglestone

February 13, 2012 at 10:11 am

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