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15 September 2020

Kickstart Tourism and Restart and Recovery SME Grants Applications CLOSED

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Kickstart Tourism and Restart and Recovery SME Grants

Due to overwhelminginterest in our grants, the call for expressions of interest has now closed.Submissions will now be validated by Exemplas and those who are eligible willbe contacted. Once this process is complete, should there be a shortfall ofapplications, we may re-open the call

The Government has recently published two announcements about grant funding to help smaller businesses recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Kickstart Tourism Grant

Restart and Recovery SME Grant

Please note, grant payments will not be made until up to 10 weeks after the purchase of the item or service your business has paid and claimed for.

Register here for our newsletter to get the latest information on these and other funding schemes.

Our team are unable to provide further information about this scheme by telephone or email. All enquiries are being directed to this webpage.

Funding is extremely limited and we expect the scheme to be very popular, so expressions of interest (EoI) should be made as soon as possible after the scheme opens. We are not operating a waiting list so decisions will be made on a first come, first served basis. The gateway diagnostic will close when the expression of interest (EoI) limit has been reached.

There is no obligation for businesses to contribute financially as the grant is fully funded.

Further information to help you prepare to submit an expression of interest:

The Kickstarting Tourism and Restart and Recovery Grants have been created, specifically to help SMEs in the Enterprise M3 area to adapt and diversify following the impact of COVID-19. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), eligible SMEs can access grants of between £1,000 - £3,000 (up to £5,000 in exceptional circumstances) for specialist advice.

To be eligible for this grant:

  • You must be an SME (including third sector organisations, social enterprises and trading charities) based in the EM3 area (map below).
  • Your business needs to have been negatively impacted by COVID-19
  • Your business must have the ability to survive following the impact of COVID-19
  • Your business staff headcount must be below 250 FTE. Businesses with more than 250 employees will not be eligible.
  • Your business must have a balance sheet of below €43million.
  • Your business must have a turnover of below €50million.
  • If your business has received state aid in the last 3 years the total should not be in excess of €200,000. Businesses exceeding this level of state aid funding will not be eligible. Click here for more information on state aid.
  • Businesses operating in an excluded sector i.e. nuclear, tobacco, airport infrastructure (see ERDF regulation 1301/2013 Art 3(3), fishery and aquaculture sector, undertakings involved in the primary production of agricultural products, undertakings active in the sector of processing and marketing of agricultural products will not be eligible.

Expenditure eligibility:

The grant is available to help SMEs access one-to-one specialist advice to address their immediate needs. The grant must cover 100% of the cost of the service or product and cannot be used to part-fund expenditure.

Examples of eligible expenditure on professional services 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
  • Skills analysis and development plans
  • Workforce management
  • Employee engagement, welfare and wellbeing

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

Grants may also be used to purchase minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify. For example, a tourism business may need to purchase a second cash register to enable adequate social distancing in its gift shop.

Other examples of potentially eligible expenditure on equipment (where a Covid-19 related impact can be demonstrated) could include:

  • IT hardware to support home working
  • Software to enable secure remote working
  • Online sales/purchasing platforms
  • Equipment for remote working including desks, chairs etc.
  • Cloud based storage

Please note: if successful following a formal grant application, grant funding will be paid upon production of an invoice for the service or item you have procured.

What you'll need for your expression of interest (EoI):

You will need to have the following information to hand when completing the eligibility diagnostic:

  • Business name
  • Contact name
  • Email address or contact information
  • Trading address (incl. postcode)
  • Number of employees based on Full Time Equivalents
  • SIC Code/Nature of business
  • Balance sheet total for last financial year in euros
  • Turnover total for last financial year in euros
  • Net profit for last financial year in euros
  • The value of any state aid funding received within the previous 3 years (based on your business' financial year)

You can use this tool to accurately convert your figures from pounds sterling to euros

You will also be asked:

  • To provide a brief overview of the activities of the business, your products and services.
  • If your business is part of the Visitor Economy (for the Kickstart Tourism grant).
  • The current issues/challenges that you face and what support you are seeking.
  • Does your current business plan adapt and diversify in order to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic?
  • If you have reviewed information on other business support provision available and that this is the only provision that meets your business needs? You can find useful information on support available by visiting our Covid-19 page or the EM3 Growth Hub.
  • Are you currently accessing or in the process of accessing other business or grant support? If yes, which organisation are you working with?

Important note: it is anticipated that the call for expressions of interest will be open for a very short period before it becomes oversubscribed. Therefore, to ensure you have the best chance of submitting your EoI, please have the above information to hand before you enter the Gateway Diagnostic Tool.

How you'll be assessed:

Grants will be awarded on a first come first served basis. All decisions will be final, with no opportunity to appeal. Eligibility checks will also take the following into account:

  • Your potential to respond/adapt/strengthen from the impact of COVID-19
  • Your ability to identify opportunities to rebuild following the impact of COVID-19
  • Your ability to deliver within the timescales available (one month)

Do you think your business might be eligible for this grant?

If so, sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date ahead of the scheme opening.

What happens after expressions of interest (EoI) are submitted?

The lead partner in this project is Exemplas Ltd. Applicants who pass the gateway diagnostic on the Growth Hub website will be invited to send their details to Exemplas, who will be in contact with a full application form via email and will manage the rest of the application process.

Due to the high volume of EoIs expected, it may take up to 10 working days for full application forms to be sent. LEP or Growth Hub staff will not be able to provide an update on the status of your application.

Successfully submitting an expression of interest through the EM3 Growth Hub diagnostic tool does not guarantee that you will be successful in your application.

What happens if my business is successful in obtaining a grant?

If successful, you will receive the relevant documentation from Exemplas detailing the next steps. Please note, funds will only be paid upon production of an invoice for the service or item you have claimed against.

What if my business is not eligible or unsuccessful for a grant?

We are unable to provide individual feedback for each grant, however if unsuccessful you can contact Contact Us which has a dedicated team of experienced advisors who may be able to provide further advice.

Disability Notice:

If you have additional needs and require further assistance, please get in touch with us before 12pm on Monday 14th September. 

Terms and conditions:

  • Only one expression of interest can be made per business. Multiple attempts to apply may invalidate all expressions of interest for your business.
  • Grants must be claimed within two months of you receiving confirmation that your application has been accepted unless agreed otherwise.
  • Where possible we would encourage your business to involve the advice, expertise and support of an EM3-based supplier. You can find details of some suppliers on our Growth Hub website. Please note, this list is for information only, it is not exhaustive and does not represent an endorsement by EM3.
  • The grant must cover 100% of the service your business is procuring (up to a maximum total project value of £5,000). This grant cannot be used to part-fund expenditure.

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