(this list is indicative not exhaustive)
Grants for capital investment either from the United Kingdom or the European Union are almost invariably connected to the creation or sustaining of employment. It is therefore essential that you specify how many new jobs are to be created or, as a minimum, how many old jobs will be protected. Capital grants are usually only available where there will be regional or national benefit as a result of the project.
Capital investment grants typically run at between 10% and 20% of the project value and/or between £2,500 and £7,000 per job created. These grants are an exception to the rule that grants are not location specific as they are highly location specific.
Nevertheless, through a combination of Department for Business , Innovation and Skills and EU sources over 31% of the UK is eligible by location for top level assistance. SMEs are theoretically eligible throughout England (Scotland, Wales and NI are separately administered) but in many regions the total support available is so small as to make the assistance pointless in practice. Application procedures for these grants are complex and extended not least because the BIS are reluctant or unwilling to publish the exact conditions applying to the grants offered. Moreover, there are marked regional variations between different LEP offices and how they apply the guidelines and rules. The use of a consultant is recommended in order to maximise the grant and to succeed in a reasonable time frame!
Export grants normally take the form of subsidised assistance or the provision of free services. There are over 15 different schemes ranging from exhibition attendance subsidy to the provision of a grant for market research or subsidy in finding new agents or distributors. In most instances assistance is readily available and application is very simple.
Generally, training assistance is provided through Skills Funding Agency.. Application is normally straightforward. Assistance will take typically the form of payment of a percentage of employment/training costs but conditions are strict and restrictive. There are numerous EU schemes but they usually involve transnational training. High level engineering training is well supported.
Research & Development is strongly grant aided both by the United Kingdom government and the European Union. Support, typically, runs at between 30% and 50% of total project costs but can be considerably higher . These grants are therefore very valuable. Support may be for basic or applied R&D and demonstration schemes. Research areas supported are normally specified by the grantor (top down support) but there are exceptions especially for SMEs. Collaboration, often transnational is a feature of most EU financed grants.
The key factor is the degree of innovation which is proposed. This can vary from the elucidation of a fundamental scientific problem to the application of a known technology in a novel fashion. Eligible costs usually include salaries, consumables, IPR protection, capital expenditure, consultancy and justifiable overheads. Eligible costs in major R&D projects may run to millions of pounds and thus the grants too.
R&D grants are complex in their administration, particularly if EU based, and even in the United Kingdom most grants are awarded on a competitive or challenge basis with success rates at 15-25%. Success rates for EU grants for SMEs have recently been in the 6-13% range (2014-15). Consultancy assistance with grant applications is highly advisable if the application is to be successful and to obtain the maximum grant whilst saving management resource. Please click here for further details.
There is some £4 billion worth of grants available for rural development throughout the UK between the period 2014 and 2020. (This is quite apart from the Common Agricultural Policy monies whose figures are so large as to be incredible.) In England this money is distributed on a regional basis for farmers by Department for Farming, Enviroment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) covering such matters as Countryside Stewardship and the Rural Development programme. Additionally The Growth Programme supports rural business development , food processing by SMEs and tourism via the Rural Payments Agency working with LEPs who will have formulated a separate plan as to how to spend the money to the benefit of their rural economy. Recently these grants, exceptionally, have theoretically been increased to 100% of the project costs but the grants are discretionary and therefore levels of 50% to 60% are much more likely to be awarded. Grant applications are for the most part cumbersome and requiring detailed business planning and consultancy assistance is recommended for capital intensive projects.
There is substantial support, not surprisingly, for the conservation and management of energy, the generation of energy by renewables, R&D into sustainable energy generation and support for environmental or ‘cleantech’ technologies at all R&D levels. Much of this is centrally dictated and thus purposes supported are often narrowly defined at any one time. Nonetheless anyone involved in the industry should check to see if their projects meet the current purposes by completing the enquiry form on this site. .
The EU has such diverse grants and funding schemes whose aims and objectives are so broadly drawn that almost any project you could conceive could be eligible for funding. In practice of course this is not the case but such diverse matters as fishery, product marketing, bringing together peoples over national boundaries, rural development, every known form of R&D, energy, ‘cleantech’, sustainable production, trans-national training, youth training, anti-discrimination measures , justice programmmes., healthcare creative europe programmes are but the tip of an exceptionally large grant iceberg. In fact, however, much of the money is channeled through national organisations and thus loses its EU identity by the time it is available to businesses or commercial organisations through national bodies. If, however, your project does not fall into the key project areas defined above it is always worth completeing our enquiry form if your project is worth> £100,000.