Time is running out for businesses to get their hands on £10,000 EU grants to help them pay for vital equipment.
More than £670,000 from the Small Equipment Grant pot has already been paid to businesses in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire, helping to create more than 70 jobs.
Cash is still available from the SEG project but programme manager Caroline Cattle says the deadline for applications is January 31 2023, meaning businesses need to act quickly to take advantage.
The grant scheme is supported by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and its business support arm, the Marches Growth Hub, and receives European Regional Development Fund assistance.
“SEG money has already helped 91 businesses in the Marches to buy vital equipment to help their businesses grow and develop, but this money isn’t going to be around for much longer,” said Caroline.
“A grant of up to £10,000 could make all the difference to a small or medium sized business and could be the difference between being able to expand and just standing still.
“I would urge all SMEs in the Marches area to consider what a grant could do to help you and get those applications in as soon as possible before all the money is allocated.”
Examples of businesses which have successfully accessed SEG include:
– Herefordshire high-quality dog food business Finer by Nature created two new jobs after putting its £7,834 grant towards a variety of equipment needed to produce a new range of dried treats, including a sausage-based product, meat shapes and biscuit-based treats.
– Award-winning bakery ingredient specialist Kudos Blends, from Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire, used its £8,160 grant to help buy a texture analyser, which provides objective data about the consistency and texture of baked products, leading to the appointment of at least one new member of staff.
– Newport design and print company AYP Ltd used its £10,000 grant to help buy a new digital die cutter, allowing it to expand and offer more services to clients. Managing director Martin Hall – who founded the business with his wife Sandra in 2006 – said the grant was crucial in helping the company to invest in its future and offer a wider range of services to both new and existing customers.
Grants are available to cover up to 50 per cent of the total eligible project costs of new equipment that will create new jobs, boost productivity or develop new products and services.
Eligible projects must lead to the creation of at least one part time job within six months of the equipment being installed and/or the development of a new product or service to be provided to other businesses. The overall number of jobs or products and services created will be taken into account when assessing how much grant money will be awarded.
Grants are for between £1,000 and £10,000, but retrospective applications won’t be accepted.
Because of restrictions imposed by the ERDF, the scheme is not available to retail businesses, restaurants, drinking establishments and fast-food takeaways, online retail or rental businesses, farms involved in primary production, or local social welfare facilities.
Details of the scheme are available through the Marches Growth Hub here.
Herefordshire Council is the accountable body for the scheme.