The Government has recently published two announcements about grant funding to help smaller businesses recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic: The Kickstart Tourism Grant and the Restart and Recovery SME Grant
These grant schemes will open on Tuesday 15th September 2020 at midday (12pm).
Whilst the deal will be slightly different across the country these are the basic requirements.
Who is eligible for this grant?
To be eligible for this grant:
- You must be an SME (including third sector organisations, social enterprises and trading charities)
- Your business needs to have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
- Your business must have the ability to survive following the impact of COVID-19.
- Your business staff headcount must be below 250 FTE.
- Your business must have a balance sheet of below €43million.
- Your business must have a turnover of below €50million.
- If your business has received state aid in the last 3 years the total should not be in excess of €200,000.
- Businesses operating in an excluded sector i.e. nuclear, tobacco, airport infrastructure (see ERDF regulation 1301/2013 Art 3(3), fishery and aquaculture sector, undertakings involved in the primary production of agricultural products, undertakings active in the sector of processing and marketing of agricultural products will not be eligible.
What expenditure is eligible?
The grant is available to help SMEs access one-to-one specialist advice to address their immediate needs. The grant must cover 100% of the cost of the service or product and cannot be used to part-fund expenditure.
Examples of eligible expenditure on professional services include:
- Review of the business strategy
- Strategic review of business models
- HR, financial and legal advice
- Coaching and mentoring in leadership and management development / Change management
- Innovation strategy to adapt and diversify products/services
- The introduction of new technology
- Developing or revising marketing/digital strategies to reach new markets
- Mitigating the impact of social distancing measures
- Rebuilding a viable business model
- Developing product offerings
- Legal and environmental health compliance
- Skills analysis and development plans
- Workforce management
- Employee engagement, welfare and wellbeing
Grants may also be used to purchase minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify. For example, a tourism business may need to purchase a second cash register to enable adequate social distancing in its gift shop.
Other examples of potentially eligible expenditure on equipment (where a COVID-19 related impact can be demonstrated) could include:
- IT hardware to support home working
- Software to enable secure remote working
- Online sales/purchasing platforms
- Equipment for remote working including desks, chairs etc.
- Cloud based storage
What will you need for your expression of interest (EoI)?
You will need to have the following information to hand when completing the eligibility diagnostic:
- Business name
- Contact name
- Email address or contact information
- Trading address (incl. postcode)
- Number of employees based on Full Time Equivalents
- SIC Code/Nature of business – If you don’t know your SIC code you can find it here.
- Balance sheet total for last financial year in euros
- Turnover total for last financial year in euros
- Net profit for last financial year in euros
- The value of any state aid funding received within the previous 3 years (based on your business’ financial year)
What else will you need to know?
You will also be asked:
- To provide a brief overview of the activities of the business, your products and services.
- If your business is part of the Visitor Economy (for the Kickstart Tourism grant).
- The current issues/challenges that you face and what support you are seeking.
- Does your current business plan adapt and diversify in order to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic?
- If you have reviewed information on other business support provision available and that this is the only provision that meets your business needs? You can find useful information on support available by visiting our COVID-19 support pages.
- Are you currently accessing or in the process of accessing other business or grant support? If yes, which organisation are you working with?
Important note: it is anticipated that the call for expressions of interest will be open for a very short period before it becomes oversubscribed. Therefore, to ensure you have the best chance of submitting your EoI, please have the above information to hand before you enter the Gateway Diagnostic Tool.
How will you be assessed?
Grants will be awarded on a first come first served basis. All decisions will be final, with no opportunity to appeal. Eligibility checks will also take the following into account:
- Your potential to respond/adapt/strengthen from the impact of COVID-19
- Your ability to identify opportunities to rebuild following the impact of COVID-19
- Your ability to deliver within the timescales available (one month)
What happens after expressions of interest (EoI) are submitted?
Due to the high volume of EoIs expected, it may take up to 10 working days for full application forms to be sent. LEP or Growth Hub staff will not be able to provide an update on the status of your application.
Successfully submitting an expression of interest through the Growth Hub diagnostic tool does not guarantee that you will be successful in your application.