A SELECTION OF OUR MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS THE VOUCHER SCHEME?
The Voucher Scheme programme on the Isles of Scilly is a £1.36 million investment fund, financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Financial support is available for businesses from a minimum of £1,000 to a maximum of £100,000.
Support will require some match funding by applicants the proportion of which will depend on your project plans and programme requirements.
IS THERE STILL FUNDING AVAILABLE FOLLOWING BREXIT?
Yes, as we already have a funding agreement in place between the Council, Government and the EU, we have been advised that this will be in place for the lifetime of the project (until 31 December 2018).
Therefore if you have a project idea we would be really keen to explore this.
WHAT ARE THE PROJECT AIMS?
Provide investments to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) leading to long term, sustainable business growth.
Support businesses to implement and realise their growth ambitions in line with the European Regional Development Fund England Operational Programme 2014 to 2020 and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Strategic Economic Plan and Island Futures Strategy.
Grow GVA and create additional jobs in supported businesses.
WHAT IS SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZED ENTERPRISE (SME)?
An SME is any business from a single employee/self-employed individual up to a maximum of 249 employees. SME businesses will have an annual turnover not exceeding Eur 50 million and/or a balance sheet total not exceeding Eur 43 million
The official definition splits SME’s into 3 types of business:
Micro (0 to 10 employees),
Small (11-50 employees), and
Medium (51-249 employees).
A split of this definition into micro, small and medium enterprises can be found HERE
All 3 types are eligible for Voucher Scheme support.
A firm that is part of a larger group may need to include staff headcount/turnover/balance sheet data from that group too.
WHAT CAN THE VOUCHER SCHEME FUND?
The costs of construction, acquisition or improvement to immovable property
The purchase of new machinery and equipment
Research, development, advice and product design. Including general costs linked to facilitating investments such as architect, engineer, consultation fees, feasibility studies and technical support or the provision of patents, licences, copyrights or trademarks
IT Solutions, including the sourcing or development of computer software or business websites
Environmental Measures: Energy-saving and resource efficiency equipment
Creation of quality, skilled jobs or apprenticeships
New business start up
WHAT CAN'T THE VOUCHER SCHEME FUND?
‘Business-as-usual’ operations or maintenance costs
Projects that demonstrate no potential for growth or productivity including simple business relocation
Retrospective investment (work already done or started)
Working capital, supporting wages, stock or training costs
Certain business sectors including: primary production; retail facilities; synthetic fibres; textiles and clothing; day nurseries; generalised school age education; fishery and aquaculture; processing and marketing of agricultural products
Farm or fishing businesses to actually farm or fish, but we might be able to add value (please ask for advice)
CAN THE VOUCHER SCHEME SUPPORT START-UP BUSINESSES?
Yes, where there is a strong business plan with clear links to business growth and job creation.
DO I HAVE TO REPAY THE FUNDING?
No, this is a grant payment direct into your business. However, successful applicants will be required to ensure that they achieve certain outputs for their business. For example: job creation, new to the market or firm products, creation of workspace, and/or increase in GVA (essentially business profit). These outputs will be closely monitored by the Voucher Scheme Team.
Grant recipients will be required to comply with the grant funding conditions. These do impose obligations on the recipient and where applicants breach these obligations they may not be eligible for the full payment of grant originally offered.
DO I NEED PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT TO COMPLETE AN APPLICATION?
Although there is no stipulation for professional input in completing an application, we do encourage applicants to take full advantage of their professional advisors and other business support contacts to ensure a high quality submission.
The Voucher Scheme Team can also work with the business to give advice and guidance to develop their proposals, giving them the best chance of success.
WHAT IS THE RETROSPECTIVE FUNDING RULE?
Retrospection i.e. any project where expenditure is started before ERDF approval is given is not eligible.
Projects will have a clearly declared start date, which is submitted as part of the application process, and any receipted expenditure that pre-dates the approval contract could void the whole project. The application of the retrospective funding principle is considered to be good programme management. This principle will be applied to all current and future applications and we always advise applicants to wait until receipt of a dated contract before commencing any expenditure related to the project.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
There is NO cost for the business to apply to the Voucher Scheme programme.
However, support will require some match funding by applicants the proportion of which will depend on your project plans and programme requirements.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
The application process is designed to be as business friendly as possible.
We anticipate that a quality application should take on average only 8 weeks from full submission to an investment decision.
However smaller application (less than £10,000 of funding support) should be able to be completed within 4 weeks.
WHAT ARE THE OUTPUTS?
Successful applicants will be required to ensure that they achieve certain ‘outputs’ for their business. These are results of the investment that show that there has been a growth benefit to both the business and the Islands economy as a whole.
For example: job creation, new to the market or firm products, creation of workspace, and/or increase in GVA (essentially business profit).
The impact of these outputs will be closely monitored by the Voucher Scheme Team.