UK Shared Prosperity Funding

Pembrokeshire Start Up Fund - Guidance and how to apply

1. Introduction

2. The Offer

3. Eligibility

4. What is the Grant for?

5. Outputs

6. Second Hand Equipment

7. Application and Assessment 

8. Procurement Rules

9. Welsh Language

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 their ongoing commitment to economic development and supporting businesses Pembrokeshire County Council are delivering the Pembrokeshire Business Start Up Grant which is funded by the UK Governments 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 aim of the Start Up Fund is to support the creation of new businesses in the County, resulting directly in the creation of jobs, therefore improving the local economy.

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 £1,000 and £10,000.

  • Each grant award will be based on 50% of eligible costs OR a maximum of £5000 per job created whichever is the lesser. (At least one new job must be created to access the fund) The business owner can be included as a new job

  • The minimum grant award is £1000 (based on at least one new job created) and the maximum grant award per business is £10,000 (based on at least 2 jobs being created)

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

  • The fund will support new entrepreneurs with their business start-up aspirations by providing financial contribution towards capital expenditure projects and/or specialist revenue expenditure, which will either enable further capital investment projects or a specific business start-up proposal which may involve high revenue costs.

  • 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

  • Each business can only apply for the Start Up Fund once but may apply for the Pembrokeshire Business Growth Fund for separate projects if they grow the business and create further jobs. The outcomes from the start up fund, i.e., commencement of trading and jobs created must be delivered before the application for the growth fund can be considered.

  • 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

  • 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 (please see in the terms and conditions within this document)

  • Both claims must be submitted within 3 months of the offer letter or by 30th October 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.

3. Eligibility

The Pembrokeshire Business Start Up Grant is funded by UK Government via the Shared Prosperity Fund and delivered by Pembrokeshire County Council and as such is only available for application to groups or individuals with viable new businesses proposals to be located within Pembrokeshire and will be operating within or servicing one of the eligible sectors. The grant is only available for prestart businesses (not yet trading)

The grant will be open for application between March 2023 and August 2024 or until the fund is fully allocated.

Support is aimed primarily at new 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

  • statutory services, e.g., Primary health and education.

All expenditure associated to the grant must be purchased and claimed within 4 months of the date of approval letter or no later than 30th September 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 you can 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

  • Fixtures and fittings, furniture, and general office equipment etc. as part of a new office or office move

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,

  • General Vehicles

  • Premises improvement / minor building works.

  • Repair, maintenance, and decoration costs,

  • Replacement of existing fixtures and fittings.

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

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

  • Certificates, licences, membership & affiliation to governing bodies, etc.

  • 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 fund in 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 to support the start-up and sustainable growth plans.

  • Number of jobs created

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 must complete and return the following:

  • Application Form,

  • Business plan (the business plan should include a section on how the business is implementing sustainable business practices)

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

It should be noted that the Pembrokeshire Business Start Up 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 which 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 - Getting quotes

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.

For Grants 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. 

£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

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 Standards

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 

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*.  It is the applicant's responsibility to monitor the level of Minimum Financial Assistance received. You will be asked to PLACE 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 per UK 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 Start Up 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 which are associated with 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.

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. a) there has been an overpayment of funding;

  2. b) 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::

  • Within 1 year - Funding to be repaid in full

  • Within 2 years - 80% of funding to be repaid

  • Within 3 years - 60% of funding to be repaid

  • Within 4 years - 40% of funding to be repaid

  • Within 5 years - 20% of funding to be 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.

  • 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.

Expression of Interest form - Apply here

ID: 9830, revised 14/05/2024