Eligibility Guide

To receive a grant, you must be:

  • A small or medium enterprise (SME – less than 250 employees, annual turnover less than €50m and annual balance sheet less than €43m ) with existing operations in County Durham or planning to locate new operations in County Durham.

  • A new SME registered with HMRC and/or Companies House, within 12 months of making an eligible application and the project must be based in or locating in County Durham.

  • Eligible to receive European Regional Development Funding (ERDF).  SMEs in the following sectors are not eligible for this Fund:
     

    • Agriculture

    • Fishery and aquaculture

    • Retail Banking

    • Insurance

    • Tobacco and tobacco products

    • Construction or decommissioning of nuclear power stations

    • SMEs which meet the State aid definition of “an undertaking in difficulty” are no longer excluded. ERDF rules allow such SMEs to be supported where State aid regulations permit

  • Planning an eligible project.  The following activities are not eligible for this Fund:
     

    • Provision of local social welfare facilities e.g. hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, fire stations, child-minding facilities, sports facilities, parks, public libraries.

    • Building and renovation of housing.

    • Major infrastructure in private sector ports.

    • Provision of public services or activities to supplement public services e.g. social housing, school age education.
       

  • Planning an investment involving eligible expenditure (see below for details) of at least £100,000 to expand existing operations in County Durham or establish new operations in County Durham, leading to the creation of additional employment in County Durham.
     

  • Planning to create additional employment commensurate with the level of grant awarded (guideline: 1 net additional full-time job per £10,000 of grant).
     

  • Able to cash-flow the entire investment, as grants are paid in arrears. Grants may be paid in instalments, based on eligible expenditure incurred and defrayed.
     

  • Able to finance the balance of the investment cost, as grants are typically 20% to 45% of the eligible expenditure. Small companies (less than 50 employees and annual turnover and balance sheet of less than €50m) may apply for up to 45% of their eligible expenditure and medium-sized companies up to 35%, in accordance with the State Aid Regulations. The grant must be the minimum necessary for the investment to go ahead (see below).
     

  • Able to complete the investment, including incurring and defraying enough eligible expenditure, by 30 June 2023.
     

  • Able to achieve the agreed increase in employment by 30 June 2023.
     

  • Able to maintain the additional productive capacity created by the investment for a minimum of 5 years following the completion of the investment; and:
     

    • where the grant is used to purchase premises, these must be retained for a minimum of 15 years;

    • capital works on a site owned by the grantee must also be maintained for a minimum of 15 years;

    • where the grant is used to acquire premises under a lease, these must be retained for a minimum of 5 years;

    • capital works on a leased site must be maintained for a minimum of 10 years;

    • plant, machinery and all other tangible assets must be maintained for a minimum of 5 years.
       

  • Able to maintain the employment created by the investment for a minimum of 3 years following the creation of the posts.
     

  • Able to show that the investment would not lead to the displacement of economic activity or employment in other businesses in the area.

What types of expenditure are eligible?

 

  • Grant support may only go towards capital expenditure to which no legally binding commitment has been made and which leads directly to the expansion of an operation in County Durham or the establishment of a new operation in County Durham.
     

  • ERDF procurement rules apply to all expenditure.
     

  • Eligible expenditure may include any of the following items:
     

    • Land and buildings (land costs cannot exceed 10% of the total eligible investment cost and professional fees should not exceed 12.5% of the total eligible works cost)

    • Premises lease costs

    • Premises fit-out costs

    • Plant, machinery and other capital equipment

    • Revenue costs directly associated with a capital investment, where eligible under ERDF rules (e.g. professional fees, installation costs, software licences etc.)

 

Additional eligibility criteria:

 

The amount of grant applied for must be the minimum necessary for the investment to go ahead.  Applicants must be able to demonstrate that either they have exhausted all alternative sources of funding or that there is a credible reason why external funding cannot be used instead of a grant.

 

Grants may only be awarded where there is credible, verifiable evidence of one or more of the following:

 

  • That the investment would not go ahead without grant support.
     

  • That the investment would not go ahead at the scale proposed without grant support.
     

  • That the investment would not go ahead within the timescale of this programme (1 April 2019 to 30 June 2023) without grant support.
     

  • That the investment would not take place in County Durham without grant support.

     

 

CONTACT US

Give us a call, email us or complete the enquiry form.

0191 716 1006

or

07443 231 757

countydurhamgrowthfund@weareumi.co.uk