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Innovation Programme FAQs

We’re able to offer 40% of the value of your project, and the maximum project value is £50,000, therefore a £20,000 grant. Project values must range between £5,000 and £50,000.

An SME a is small or medium sized enterprise. As defined by the EU funders, ERDF, it is also a business with fewer than 250 employees, and a turnover of less than €50 million, or a balance sheet total of less than €43 million.

Innovative projects – your business must be able to demonstrate that you have an innovative idea, that is new to your business or to the market. It can be used for the development of products, processes and services within most sectors. New technology is often the core of the project, however, existing technology may be utilised in an inventive and pioneering way.

The grant cannot fund:

  • The development of brochure websites and mobile apps
  • Capital items including machinery and equipment.
  • ‘Off the shelf’ software including CRM systems.
  • Running costs including salaries & wages.
  • Marketing

The first step is to get in touch with our Innovation Advisers (Gillian Middleton and Debbie Simpson) who will organise a ‘fact finding’ chat. Once we’re in agreement that the project fits eligibility criteria we’ll send you an application form. We’re here to help and guide you through the process.

Yes:

  • Your business must be trading primarily ‘business to business’.
  • Your business must be at least 12 months old, however, if you are a new start up developing a highly innovative commercial product then chat to us about potential support.
  • The funds are to be used to pay specialist suppliers, that is, external expertise therefore not employed by you.
  • Must be able to demonstrate a commercial route way.
  • Proof that the business is viable and not in difficulty.

Our Advisors will guide you through the process, a Contract will be drawn up. After you have paid your supplier the agreed sum, you can then claim back 40% of the net costs.

The Innovation programme will run until June 2023, but first come – first served!

The funds are what we call ‘defrayed’ which means the company pay their suppliers up front and claim the money back from the project. Therefore the need to be investment ready protects both the supplier and the business.

As an ERDF programme we are limited to revenue expenditure and not capital. Therefore, eligible costs would include external consultancy and prototyping. Unfortunately any tangible items such as machinery and equipment are not supported.

To be eligible for funds you need to be trading 12 months or more and will be required to provide audited or management accounts to prove financial status.

The easiest way to differentiate between the two roles is that a specialist is a mentor and has the responsibility to impart knowledge, expertise and guidance to help a company to shape and learn from their innovation (e.g. an innovation coach).

Whereas a supplier is a ‘doing’ role, they offer a broad range of services that will enable the company to implement their idea (e.g. engineering, design or software development).

Get in touch

Supporting a wide range of sectors, the Innovation Team will guide you through the grant application process. They will also help you to structure an innovation project which aims to provide your business with a competitive edge and growth potential.