Mayor James Palmer today launches a region-wide campaign urging companies caught in the grip of the pandemic to apply for Covid-19 grants to help them ‘build muscle’ for better times
Mayor launches £2.3 million war chest for post-virus business
The Mayoral Combined Authority through its Business Board – which acts as Cambridgeshire & Peterborough’s Local Enterprise Partnership – is urging companies to sign up online and check if they qualify for the resilience awards.
The ‘Covid-19 Capital Grant Fund’ offers grants from £2k to £150k for new capital investment projects – the object being to help qualifying companies strengthen their capacity to survive the emergency and bounce back strongly when it passes.
Examples of investments which could attract such grants are buying new kit, building new extensions, the updating of production lines, IT infrastructure, and upgrading logistics.
Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Mayor James Palmer said: “Thousands of businesses are fighting for life and the Combined Authority is here to help them get through this. For many, hard cash to strengthen their ability to bounce back is what they most need, so we’ve revamped our scheme for small capital grants to make it more useful to smaller businesses struggling to adapt to an environment that’s changing so horribly fast.
“This measure will help some businesses win a fight in what looks like a long war for many. Much more will need to be done and the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority will be on hand to direct businesses towards the support available, and to make sure their concerns are heard at the highest level of government.
“This is about acting for recovery and making the region sustainable again, it’s about using this dreadful enforced downtime to build muscle for the future. What’s on offer for firms who fit the criteria is immediate capital investment to help them adapt, alter direction, or equip for the post-Covid-19 world. We have to help business resilience, prepare for regrowth, develop new activities in new areas, and seize new opportunities that will bring people’s jobs back and secure them for the future.”
The campaign kicks off with a far-reaching email campaign inviting companies on the Combined Authority database to sign up to check whether they are eligible to apply for a grant. There will also be a social media campaign to ensure as many businesses as possible check their eligibility.
“The government can provide cash loans to help companies keep afloat in the short-term, but the Combined Authority is looking further ahead, offering practical assistance to companies as they adjust to build their future beyond Covid-19 - cash to fix your assembly line, help you convert your restaurant into a takeaway delivery business, or help you switch your production line to support short-term demand issues. It’s about adapting not just to survive but to strengthen – so it could help you re-purpose your entire business,” said Mayor Palmer.
Where companies do not fit the criteria for these particular grants, they will be signposted to other support resources, including Cambridgeshire & Peterborough’s Growth Hub, for which they may be eligible.
Eligible applicants are Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the designated area. An SME is any registered limited company with fewer than 249 employees, a turnover not exceeding 46 Million Euros, and a balance sheet that does not exceed 46 Million Euros.
The eligibility area is the county of Cambridgeshire, and the district council areas of Cambridge City; South Cambridgeshire; Huntingdonshire; Fenland; East Cambridgeshire; Peterborough City; Rutland; West Suffolk; North Hertfordshire; Uttlesford; Lincolnshire – South Kesteven, South Holland; Kings Lynn and West Norfolk.
Information applicants provide is commercially confidential.
All applicants must show evidence of income generation, by accounts, and a forecast to show cashflow after the grant has been paid.
Eligible projects will involve outright purchase of capital equipment – not Hire Purchase, Lease Purchase or any type of Credit Sale.
· For grants of £2,000 - £49,999, up to 80% of the equipment costs will be funded
· For grants of £50,000 - £150,000, up to 50% of the equipment costs will be funded
Applications for equipment costing less than £4000 in total will not qualify. The grant is capped at £150,000, even if the total project costs exceed £300,000. EU rules and regulations still apply - the EU state aid rule, De Minimis, still apply.
Applications for revenue expenses such as salaries and consultancy fees will not be eligible.
Applications will be processed as fast as possible but may take several weeks from receipt of fully completed paperwork to communication of a decision.
Successful applicants must demonstrate how the purchase of grant funded equipment will protect or create jobs
Whilst the grant can pay up to 80% of the total project costs, it is a requirement that at least one job is created or safeguarded for every £25,000 (or part thereof) grant funding.
The Combined Authority is made up of eight founding members across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Each partner is represented by their leader at Combined Authority meetings.