UK Shared Prosperity Funding

Pembrokeshire Growth Fund: Guidance & How to Apply

1. Introduction

2. The Offer

3. Eligibility

4. What can you use the Grant for?

5. What you cannot use the grant for

6. Second hand equipment

7. Application and Assessment

8.Procurement rules

9. Welsh Language Standards

10. Subsidy Control

11. Post Completion - Terms and Conditions

12. Clawback of Funds

13. Data Protection

14. How to Apply

 

The information shown herein is for guidance only, and the Legal Terms and Conditions of the grant are set out in the Offer Letter of the approved applications. Guidance is still in draft and subject to change.

1. Introduction

As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting economic development and businesses throughout these challenging times, Pembrokeshire County Council are delivering the Pembrokeshire Business Growth Grant which is funded by the UK Government via the Shared Prosperity Fund.

The aim of the grant intervention is to strengthen local entrepreneurial ecosystems and support businesses at all stages of their development to start, sustain, grow and innovate, including through local networks.

The grant will support local businesses and inward investors to grow, prosper and be sustainable, resulting in the creation and safeguarding of jobs throughout the County and therefore improving the local economy. Whilst priority will be given to the creation of new jobs, it is acknowledged that the safeguarding of jobs under the current economic climate is also extremely important and will be considered accordingly on a case-by-case basis.

The grant will be open for applications between April 2023 and September 2024 or until the fund is fully allocated.

The Fund will be a business grant scheme, which will include support towards capital expenditure projects and specialist revenue expenditure (not including ongoing running costs), where new jobs are a created and/or safeguarded because of the financial support.

 The detail of the application guidance is in draft and is subject to change

 2. The Offer

  • Grants available between £1000 and £50,000.

  • Grants of up to £50,000 can be considered on a case-by-case basis for applications which clearly demonstrate innovation, Research and Development and/or future proofing projects linked to the local innovation strategy More information can be found in the Pembrokeshire Recovery and Regeneration Strategy.

  • Each grant award will be based on 50% of eligible costs or a maximum of £5000 per job *created and/or £5000 per job *safeguarded, whichever is the lesser. (At least one new job must be created and/or one full time equivalent (FTE) job safeguarded, in order to access the grant)

  • Any jobs being claimed as safeguarded will need to be forecasted as being lost within 6 months of application. This will need to be evidenced in detail within the application

  • Two part time jobs are considered as one full time equivalent. If you are only creating or safeguarding a part time job (Min. 16 hours per week) the grant will only be paid on a pro rata basis i.e., max of £2500 for a part time job

  • All jobs created as part of the grant must be claimed within 6 months of the date of final grant payment or 30th November 2024 whichever is the earliest date

  • We encourage that all jobs being created with the support of the grant to be paid the Real Living Wage (opens in a new tab) 

  • It is important to note that grants are paid retrospectively, applicants must have the financial means to purchase the item(s) in full up front, and then claim the grant value from Pembrokeshire County Council following the claims process 

  • Both claims must be submitted within 3 months of the offer letter or by 30th October 2024 the latest whichever is the earliest date. To support cashflow, the grant team will consider the submission of two claims, but prior agreement must be sought from the Council.

  • Maximum of two applications for the Business Growth grant will be considered with a maximum value totalling £20,000 grant per business, or £50,000 grant allocation per business for exceptional innovative proposals.

3. Eligibility

The Pembrokeshire Business Growth Grant is funded by the UK Government via the Shared Prosperity Fund and delivered by Pembrokeshire County Council and as such is only available for application to new or existing businesses within the eligible sectors that are in,  or planning to locate within Pembrokeshire. 

The grant will be open for applications between April 2023 and August 2024 or up until the budget is fully allocated

Support is aimed primarily at existing businesses to be operating in or servicing the following growth and foundation sectors:

  • Advanced Materials and Manufacturing

  • Construction

  • Creative Industries

  • Energy and Environment

  • Finance and Professional Services

  • Information Technology and Telecoms

  • Life Sciences

  • Food & Drink

  • Tourism

  • Retail

  • Care

Applications will however be considered on a case-by-case basis subject to their potential contribution and value to the local economy, e.g. creation of jobs in the county’s primary and secondary town centres, rural areas, link to key strategic projects.

The following sectors are ineligible for support: - primary agriculture production, forestry, fishing and statutory services e.g. Primary health and education

The Fund is available for businesses of all sizes which aim to implement their growth plans and must result in the creation and/or the safeguarding of jobs. Applicants must therefore demonstrate their growth plans (and provide evidence where applicable) within the application process.

All expenditure associated to the grant must be purchased and claimed within 3 months of the date of approval letter or no later than 30th October 2024, whichever is earliest. No extensions will be given for claims to be submitted. The proposed business and associated jobs must be created within 6 months of the final payment of grant or 30th November 2024 whichever is the earliest. Monitoring of the business and jobs created will take place and evidence will be required. Failure to achieve the committed outputs could result in the claw back of grant funds.

Upon giving reasonable notice, Pembrokeshire County Council reserves the right to monitor and maintain evidence at 1, 3 and 5 years from the receipt of a grant application. 

4.  What can you use the grant for? 

The grant will apply to capital and/or revenue expenditure within an approved project and can include:

Capital expenditure:

  • Purchase of new or second hand equipment, e.g. plant, machinery, specialist equipment, etc. Please note plant could include items such as forklift trucks, telehandlers, excavators, etc. General vehicles such as vans and cars are not eligible.**see note below re: purchase of second hand items

  • Purchase and installation of equipment to create or enhance outdoor trading space, e.g., shelters, gazebos, etc. Please note you will need to provide evidence of the relevant permissions if appropriate, i.e., planning permission, licences, etc.

  • IT and Telecom hardware if linked directly to the delivery of the project

Specialist revenue expenditure:

  • Specialist / technical training (not necessarily accredited)

  • Commissioning / Installation of Machinery

  • Specialist software

  • Production of websites, e-commerce/ online shops, apps, etc.

  • Websites and ecommerce development associated to the grant must be produced bilingually

  • Promotion and Marketing materials as part of a full marketing plan (assessed on a case-by-case basis)

  • All marketing and promotional material must be produced bilingually

  • Specialist Consultants (assessed on a case-by-case basis)

  • Quality Assurance Certification (assessed on a case-by-case basis)

  • Charges associated to the delivery of any capital equipment

5. What you cannot use the grant for

Ineligible expenditure includes: 

  • General revenue expenditure such as, staff costs or any other taxes, hire purchase/lease purchases,

  • Major building works

  • Repair, maintenance, and decoration costs,

  • Replacement fixtures and fittings, furniture, and general office equipment etc.

  • Contingency fees and costs which were committed or spent before the offer and acceptance of the grant.

  • General Vehicles such as cars and vans

  • Working capital costs such as stock, rent, rates, administration.

  • Membership & affiliation to governing bodies

  • Costs of work being carried out as a legal statutory requirement, inc. planning permission.

  • Feasibility studies

  • If the business is VAT registered, then VAT will be ineligible. VAT will be payable in cases of non-VAT registered companies.

  • No expenditure should be incurred before grant approval as the grants cannot be awarded retrospectively.

  • Cash purchases will not be considered for grant payment.

  • Items purchased through lease purchase, hire purchase, extended credit agreements/finance leases will not be considered for grant funding.

  • Professional fees associated with general business consultants including business plans/ BID writing and any fees associated in completing an application for grants purposes 

6. Second hand equipment

The purchase costs of second-hand equipment are eligible for grant under the following conditions: -

  • The seller of the equipment shall provide a declaration stating its origin, and confirm that at no point during the previous seven years has it been purchased with the aid of national or European grants;

  • The price of the equipment shall not exceed its market value and shall be less than the cost of similar new equipment, and

  • The equipment shall have the technical characteristics necessary for the operation and comply with applicable norms and standards, e.g., Health and Safety

7. Application and Assessment

All completed applications will be considered on first come first served basis until the total fund is fully allocated.

Each application will be assessed against the outputs and outcomes of the grant project, i.e. 

  • Value for money / grant per job created ratio and private sector investment levered by the grant as well as the viability of the business plan.

  • Jobs created

  • Jobs safeguarded

  • Number of businesses engaged in new markets

  • Number of new products to market

Initially an applicant is required to submit an expression of interest. The expression of interest will then be assessed for eligibility purposes and if approved you will be invited to submit a full application.

Each applicant will then need to complete and return the following:

  • Completed Application Form,

  • At least 2 full years historical accounts and recent management accounts, if available. If a business has not been trading for 2 years, management accounts and or income & expenditure summary must be provided from the trading start date up to application date

  • 2 years projected forecasts (cash flow and/or profit and loss)

  • Written Quotations (please see below for guidance)

It should be noted that the Pembrokeshire Business Growth Fund is a discretionary grant and is subject to approval by Pembrokeshire County Council. Each application will be assessed by a panel which meet monthly to consider applications meet the standard by the given deadline.

Please Note - Applications will need to be proceedable before they are presented to panel so essential requirements such as match funding, planning permission (where applicable), etc. must be confirmed before the grant team will prepare the application for consideration at panel.

8. Procurement Rules

When procuring works, goods and services, applicants are expected to conduct the process in a manner which ensures openness, value for money and fairness and must follow the procurement procedures as they are outlined in this section.

Up to £4,999.00 (value excl.VAT)

  • A minimum of 3 quotes must be received and retained.

  • Best value for money must be obtained and reasonable care taken to obtain good, services or works of appropriate quality at a competitive price.

  • Records of decision making must be retained for audit and claim purposes.

Requirement: All

£5,000.00 - £24,999.00 (value excl.VAT)

  • A minimum of 3 written Quotations must be sought from competitive sources. The quotes must be based on the same specification and evaluated on a like for like basis.

  • A documented record of the quotes sought, the evaluation process and the decision to award must be recorded.

Requirement: All

Tender Procurement Process for Contracts or Items valued in excess of £25,000

 For use with SPF Anchor Grant Schemes within Pembrokeshire <£100K Grant

This guidance in intended only for contracts or single items valued above £25,000 where a % of the total value is to be reimbursed by SPF Grant via Pembrokeshire County Council.

The following requirements must be followed for the purchase of  goods or services, valued between £25,000 - £4,104,393, exclusive of VAT, in order to demonstrate full and open competition

You must demonstrate you have used open and fair practices by using a competitive tendering exercise for all works, goods and services that are included in the project for which you intend to claim grant support within the cost range above.

Initially three competitive quotes will be required prior to grant approval to show indicative costs of the scheme.

If the value of a single contract or item is greater than £25,000 an open tender process must take place to ensure a fair and open competition. This must take place after the award has been approved but before the commissioning of the works.

Your intention to procure a contract or items greater that £25,000 must be advertised in regional or specialist press stating a deadline for tender submissions and giving an opportunity for companies to tender. The minimum deadline should be 14 days from the date of publication, however this could be longer if the items are specialist or complex, or you consider a longer notice period appropriate (The costs of tender process can be included in your grant award if the maximum thresholds for that particular grant scheme are not reached).

The Invitation to Tender (ITT) documents must be issued to all companies that respond to the contract notice.

The ITT must be issued within 5 days of receipt of a request for the documentation and issued electronically in the case of a short 14 day notice period.

Once the contract has been advertised, you can also approach Suppliers directly but evidence must be provided that demonstrates which suppliers were approached and asked to tender; this must include the date they were contacted and who in the company the enquiry was sent to.

The Tender documents must contain all the necessary information for the supplier to be identified including address, contact details and Company Registration Number (VAT Number if applicable). The cost of an item procured from the supplier cannot be broken down into smaller amounts to avoid using the correct competitive tendering requirement. An agreed contract or a submitted quotation/tender cannot be split and individual items taken out of the contract or out of the quotation to be provided separately. This becomes a new purchase and the competitive tendering requirements must be applied again.

Conflict of Interest - Any perceived or actual conflicts of interest between you and the suppliers that are asked to provide quotes/tender - for example getting quotes from related companies, must be explained in the competitive tendering supporting documentation. Where conflicts potentially exist mitigating action must be taken and documented.

You must put in place a process which assesses the merits of the tenders on an impartial basis: (business case, with a genuine pre-estimate of cost and need). The contract description must be non-discriminatory; you cannot refer to a particular brand, qualification, certification, specific origin or trademark. You must make it clear that equivalents will be equally valid. You must ensure there is no direct or indirect discrimination of bidders. All information must be provided up front, including estimated value where possible, in the instructions to bidders / specification / advert / contract notice. You must make available the same information about the contract opportunity to all interested parties.

The selection process to select the winning tender received must be considered fairly and the reason(s) why a particular supplier was chosen must be recorded in writing. We would expect you to select the cheapest tender as your award may be based on the cheapest of the three quotes given at the approval stage. If, in exceptional circumstances, you do not use the cheapest competitive tender you must provide a written explanation setting out the rationale and reasons why the selected supplier has been chosen. Depending on the reasons for declining the cheapest quote, you may be expected to pay the difference between the cheapest quote and the chosen quote.

Avoiding conflicts of interest in procurement

We recognise it is possible applicants or persons connected with them (such as relatives, business partners or friends) may wish to tender for a contract being offered by the applicant.

This is acceptable, but applicants will need to ensure that the tendering process is undertaken in an open, transparent and in a fair manner, as outlined above, which does not give one person or company tendering any advantage over another, which arises from the process. If an applicant / developer or any person connected with them, has an interest in any of the potential bids for a contract offered:

  •  That applicant/developer, person or party with an interest must outline that interest in writing.

  • That person or party with an interest should take no part whatsoever in any of the tender evaluation procedures.

9. Welsh Language

Where the Funding includes or relates to the provision of services or written materials (including signage and information published on-line) in Wales, they must be provided in such a way as to not treat the Welsh language less favourably than English, in accordance with the Welsh Language Measure (Wales) 2011.

 10. Subsidy Control

You will be expected to inform us with your application form of any grants and other support you have received from the public sector over the last 3 financial years.

This scheme is covered by the current UK Government Subsidy Control Act (2022). The total amount of Minimum Financial Assistance (MFA) received over a rolling period of three fiscal years should not exceed £315,000 per business*. If you have received any other financial assistance in the past 3 financial years please describe the support in the box below. It is the responsibility of the applicant to monitor the level of MFA received; you will be asked to declare that this has not been exceeded in the event of an offer being made. [* The MFA financial threshold applies at company group level.]

All bids must also consider how they will deliver in line with subsidy control as perUK Government guidelines (opens in a new tab)

Where applicants do not adequately demonstrate that the proposed project is compliant under the UK Subsidy Control Regime it may be considered ineligible, and your application could be rejected.

11. Post Completion - Terms and Conditions

It should be noted that the Pembrokeshire Business Growth Fund is a discretionary grant and is subject to approval by Pembrokeshire County Council.

The grant may be recovered should the business cease to trade, relocate or the items purchased as part of the grant are sold on within 5 years of award.

Limited Companies must use the business bank account to purchase all the items associated to the grant. It is encouraged for Sole Traders and partnerships that all goods purchased in relation to the grant are purchased using the business bank account.

It is important to note that grants are paid retrospectively, so applicants must have the means to purchase the item(s) in full up front, and then claim the grant value from Pembrokeshire County Council.

Should the application be successful, the grant money is paid direct into the bank account of the applicant business. This is based on receipt or evidence of purchase and defrayment i.e. original or on-line printed bank statements and original invoices to confirm expenditure.

Any deviations to the application in terms of suppliers and expenditure must be requested to the grant team prior to purchase. Failure to seek approval may result in the grant not being paid for those items.

Photographic evidence of all items associated to the grant will be required to support the claim. In some instances, a site visit will be required.

The applicant must accept the terms and conditions of the grant by completing the Notification of Approval and Terms & Conditions within 30 days from receipt. All expenditure associated to the grant must be completed within 3 months of the date of approval letter or 30th October 2024 whichever is the earliest date. No extension will be given for the submission of the claim

The job(s) created and/or safeguarded associated to the projects must be achieved / sustained within 6 months of the final payment of grant or March 2025 whichever is the earliest date. Monitoring of the business and jobs created and/or safeguarded will take place and evidence will be required. Failure to achieve the committed outputs could result in the claw back of grant funds.

For all grant purposes monitoring of the claim and evidence will take place with prior notice at 1, 3 and 5 years from the date of award of the grant.

Should the project not proceed within the period stipulated in the offer of grant, the offer of grant will automatically lapse. Any variation to the Terms & Conditions set out in the Approval Letter must be requested and agreed

Cash purchases will not be considered for grant payment. 

Items purchased with credit cards are eligible, but applicants will need to evidence the transaction on their credit card bill. ** Limited companies must use the business credit cards to purchase items associated to the grant rather than personal cards of the director(s).

Grants will not be offered or paid if the business or applicant is in arrears with any payment to any of the participating local authorities operating the scheme.

Businesses can apply for 2 Pembrokeshire Business Growth Grants for 2 separate projects for which the outputs must not be duplicated.

12. Claw Back of Grant Funds

Funding shall be withheld and/or, insofar as payment has been made, the grant recipient shall repay funding either in whole or in part, including if:

  1. There has been an overpayment of funding;

  2. During its economic life, the project undergoes substantial change defined as being used for purposes other than those specified in the application, or, having a change of owner without notifying Pembrokeshire County Council.

The economic life is the period up to 5 years from date of the final payment of grant and repayment of funding will be required as follows:

Date of disposal of asset and funding repayments

  • Within 1 year - Funding repaid in full

  • Within 2 years - 80% of funding repaid

  • Within 3 years - 60% of funding repaid

  • Within 4 years - 40% of funding repaid

  • Within 5 years - 20% of funding repaid

  • After 5 years - No funding to be repaid

The above are minimum repayment requirements

If the jobs are not created and/or safeguarded, then the County Council has the right to reclaim the grant in part or in full.

The grant must be repaid in full on demand if:

  • The applicant is found to have made any misrepresentation in connection with the application.

  • Ceases to trade

  • Is a significant change from the details you provided in your application

  • Sells any items purchased with grant money

  • Changes ownership

  • Moves out of Pembrokeshire or is sold

13. Data Protection & Privacy 

Pembrokeshire County Council is the data controller for the personal information you provide on this form. Your information will be used in the exercise of our official authority and will not be used for any other purpose. Please note that we may check the data you provide here against other Council and UK Government datasets in order to verify your application and prevent fraud. For further information on how Pembrokeshire County Council handles your data, please see our corporate privacy notice.

The personal information we have collected from you will be shared with fraud prevention agencies who will use it to prevent fraud and money-laundering and to verify your identity.If fraud is detected, you could be refused certain services, finance, or employment. Further details of how your information will be used by us and these fraud prevention agencies, and your data protection rights, can be found by visiting: CIFAS (opens in a new tab)

14. How to apply

Before we ask you to make a full application, you will need to submit an expression of interest which outlines your business proposal and costs. You will need the following information:

  • Your details

  • Business details and description of its main activity

  • Indicative project costs

  • Details of any additional funding / finance

You can find the form in the link below.

Pembrokeshire Expression of Interest Form

ID: 9829, revised 27/03/2024