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Business Initiative

By Elsie Cunningham,2014-07-09 09:07
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Business Initiative ...

STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS SMALL BUSINESS GRANT ASSISTANCE

    GUIDANCE NOTES

WHO CAN APPLY

? New business starts (up to 6 months old)

? Small businesses employing less than 50 people and with a turnover of

    less than ?5m.

? Businesses located in the Staffordshire Moorlands District

? Can provide proof of need

? Both new and existing businesses can apply

    New Businesses Priority is for start-up businesses up to 6 months old that

    can demonstrate innovation and have the potential to create local high quality

    jobs. (For example: hand crafted items, restoration, new recipes for food

    products or new production methods, different ways of working for traditional

    business ideas etc.) Applications from businesses looking to export will also

    be encouraged.

    Existing Businesses Priority will be given to those that demonstrate

    innovation.(ie Research and Development, conservation or environmental

    projects, nature watch projects, new technology, new ways of production or

    selling, etc).and those which are tourism related (ie accommodation,

    attractions, retail, catering, activity providers, food and drink, arts and crafts)

    including activities linked to tourism or

Businesses must be able to demonstrate that the grant will help towards at least

    some of the following:

? Creating new jobs

    ? Business Innovation

    ? Sustaining or upgrading existing jobs

    ? Improving skills levels and wages

    ? Upgrading or improving quality of the tourism offer

    ? Expanding customer base or entering new markets

And that

    ? Assistance is needed. For a new business, a business plan and cash flow

    forecast will be required. For existing businesses, sight of the latest accounts,

    profit and loss and balance sheet will be required. The latest bank statement

    for the business may also be requested. A business advisor will be allocated to

    the business and will help with the application. They will need to sign-off the

    application before it can be submitted. If you can proceed with the project

    without a grant it will not be eligible for help see Terms and Conditions.

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    ? Your project will not have a negative environmental impact.

WHAT IS AVAILABLE

    ? Up to ?5000 for either a start-up business (those up to 6 months old) or for the

    improvement of an established business.

    ? Grants are offered at a maximum of 60% for start-up businesses and 40% for

    established businesses as a percentage of total project costs. For example, a

    start up business project costing ?4000 would be eligible for ?2,400 grant). ? Grants can be for capital or revenue projects.

    ? Grants are discretionary and will be considered/judged on merit against the

    grant scheme criteria.

WHAT CAN THE GRANT BE USED FOR

Any of the following, or a combination:

    ? Innovation projects eg, new production methods, research and development,

    new sales methods, modernising plant and equipment or diversification ? Innovative ICT projects (including website design) ? Equipment, plant and machinery and related installation costs, ? Promotional or marketing costs

    ? Refurbishment of premises (including architects or other professional fees but

    not statutory fees such as planning or building regulations), ? Moving to new premises in order to expand,

    ? Appropriate staff training,

    ? Disabled access and facilities for people with special needs (not statutory

    requirements),

    ? “Green” Initiatives eg energy saving, recycling, sustainability or

    environmental reviews,

    ? Interpretation and signing for tourism attractions, ? Upgrading of holiday accommodation, eg en suite facilities, wet weather

    facilities,

    ? Initiatives to help develop use of local foods and produce.

IT CANNOT BE USED FOR:

    ? Initial inspection fees for holiday accommodation (businesses must already

    participate in an approved scheme to be eligible), ? Statutory fees such as planning and building regulations, ? Hire purchase, leasing or rental costs,

    ? Ongoing maintenance and repairs,

    ? Towards purchase of land, building or vehicles.

    ? Projects already started/ongoing.

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HOW TO APPLY

    ? Your business plan or project must be discussed with, and supported by a

    business advisor or counsellor from one of the following recognised business

    support agencies (Business Initiative or Business Link, or for a tourism

    related business The Centre for Tourism Business Support see page one

    for contacts details).

    ? Read the guidance notes in full. Your project must match the criteria outlined

    and comply with the terms and conditions.

? Obtain at least 3 estimates for each of the project items on which you are

    seeking grant (this should be for the full project and not just the 60% or 40%

    grant assistance).

    ? Complete and give the application form together with your estimates to your

    business advisor. If possible complete the form electronically.

    ? Your business advisor will complete the assessment form. All forms are

    submitted to an independent grant panel, chaired by the District Council.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

    ? You will receive a letter acknowledging receipt of the application, normally

    within 5 working days of receipt.

    ? Your application will be considered by a grant panel who will make a

    recommendation to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.

    ? A decision letter, or a request for further information, will be sent, normally

    within 21 working days of receipt of the application.

    ? Once in receipt of an approval letter you can proceed with the project.

    ? When the project is complete/the purchase has been made, a copy of the paid

    invoice(s) must be submitted to the Regeneration Manager. If there are any

    queries on the invoices you will normally be contacted. Otherwise you will be

    paid within 14 days of receipt of the invoices.

    ? You have up to 6 months from the date of the approval letter to claim the grant.

    ? The District Council will make a review of the outcome of the project, or

    Business Initiative, acting on its behalf, 6 months, 12 months and 18 months

    after the grant has been paid to you in order to see how the project has

    progressed. This will also be an opportunity for you to discuss any new

    business proposals or other business issues with your business advisor.

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    TERMS & CONDITIONS

1. Applicants must show that the business, and the project, for which grant is

    sought are viable. The business counsellor must be confident of this when

    submitting the application.

2. You must show that you need support for the project from the District

    Council. And you are not able to proceed at all without help.

3. The Council’s grant is only available where no other grant applies.

4. All projects must show a benefit to the local economy. This may be in the

    form of new jobs or by demonstrating innovation, better performance or

    productivity. Other benefits could include enhancing the appearance of

    premises visible to the public and measures to reduce pollution and/or

    energy efficiency.

5. Projects which are eligible for other grant assistance available from the

    District Council (or to which the District Council makes a contribution), will

    not be able to apply for both grants towards the same project.

6. Applications will not be processed unless a Support Form completed by a

    business counsellor from a recognised agency supports them. There will

    be no exceptions to this.

7. All Business Grants are given at the discretion of Staffordshire Moorlands

    District Council. If your application is refused you will be informed of the

    reasons in writing. The Council’s decision is final. There is no appeal

    system.

8. If you start the project (e.g. pay for any equipment) before you receive the

    grant approval letter, this will be regarded as showing that you did not

    need the help towards those costs, and it will not be eligible for the grant.

9. Where you are creating new jobs through the project you will be expected

    to recruit people who live in Staffordshire Moorlands wherever possible.

10. If the grant helps towards printing of promotional literature, you will be

    expected to acknowledge the District Council’s assistance by including a

    statement on the leaflet that; “This brochure has been produced with

    help from Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.”

11. Grants are payable only for the purpose stated in the grant approval letter

    and up to the amount agreed, and against paid invoices. Grants must be

    claimed within 6 months of the date of the grant approval letter or the

    grant will not be paid.

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12. You must ensure that you comply with all relevant statutory requirements,

    including planning permission and building regulations. Projects that do

    not comply will not be eligible for grant.

    13. Successful applicants will be expected to participate in the Council’s Direct

    Debit scheme for payment of Business rates.

14. Businesses receiving grant are expected to operate good business

    practices. These include having acceptable health and safety standards;

    equal opportunities practices; complying with the DDA, paying normal

    rates for the industry (at least the national minimum wage rates), allowing

    employees access to trade union membership; and regularly reviewing the

    environmental impact of the business, whilst actively making

    environmental improvements wherever possible.

15. Individual businesses can receive up to ?5,000 in total in grant. This can

    be applied for in stages. For example, a business that had a start-up grant

    of ?3,000 can apply for an expansion grant up to a maximum of ?2,000 if

    they fulfil the criteria.

If the applicant ceases to trade for any reason within eighteen months of

    receiving any grant, the grant will become repayable on a pro-rata basis

    (100% within first six months; 50% within 12 months and 25% within eighteen

    months.)

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