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Somerset Growth Accelerator Fund Grant Scheme

by opportunitydiary

Application Deadline: Monday 11 April, 2022

Grants are being made available to Somerset SME businesses (Small and Medium Size Businesses of up to 250 employees) to support the growth of eligible organisations to help drive economic recovery post Covid and support Somerset’s ambition to become net zero by 2030.

Applicants can apply for:

  • Grants of between £25,000 and £50,000 with the applicant expected to match fund 25% of the project costs
  • A few grants will be made available in the region of £100,000 for exceptional cases where the applicant can demonstrate the activity will be transformative and act as catalyst for growth, with the applicant expected to match fund 50% of the project.

We are expecting projects to have been completed by March 2023 but demonstrating sustainable impact into future years.

The funding scheme has the following key themes:

  1. Business Growth – Generate rapid business growth and additional high value employment opportunities within growth sectors that will contribute to the priorities and outcomes of Somerset’s Growth and Recovery Plan
  2. Business Resilience – Increase long-term sustainability and business resilience against the impacts of COVID and climate change through development of new products or innovation, entering/adapting to new markets or working practises and diversification and increased efficiencies.
  3. Capacity Building – investment in training, development and upskilling including apprenticeships, graduate jobs and T level qualifications within activity and future business planning.
  4. Wider Economic Benefit – Providing a wider benefit to Somerset’s economy and other businesses including using local supply chains and purchasing plans, local recruitment and peer mentoring
  5. Low Carbon Economy – Decarbonisation of business practice, process and supply chains, introduction of new technologies, work practices and cultural change supporting Somerset’s response to the climate emergency and a commitment to Somerset’s 2030 Net Zero target.

We anticipate that applications will cover a wide range of potential projects and whilst not wishing to be too prescriptive, we have prepared a set of guidelines (link) which explains what we are looking for and also explains the application process in more detail.

Eligibility

To be eligible applicants you must:

  • Be a small or medium sized businesses or social enterprise based in Somerset
  • Be an established, financially viable business with 2 to 3 years of financial accounts, available on request
  • Be able to evidence potential for rapid business growth, benefit to the wider Somerset economy and a commitment to low carbon business practices
  • For the larger grants, in the region of £100k, applicants must clearly demonstrate they are part of Somerset’s key economic priority sectors and that the activity will deliver significant wider economic and environmental benefits contributing to Somerset’s Recovery and Growth Plan and Climate Emergency Strategy priorities and outcomes

Application Procedure

For grants between £25k – £50k there will be a 2-stage process:

  1. Expression of Interest – including basic organisation details and an overview of proposed project activity, costs and timescales to confirm eligibility
  2. Full Application and supporting evidence – including detailed project activity, milestones, outputs and expected expenditure

For grants in the region of £100k there will be the third stage:

  1. Discussion and/or presentation of project plan to a Board of relevant stakeholders who will recommend and advise on the project activity

Applicants applying for grants in the region of £100k grants are advised to contact acceleratorfund@somerset.gov.uk in the first instance to arrange a discussion of your project plan.

The call for Expression of Interests (online form) will open from Tuesday 15 March 2022 until Monday 11 April,  after which point the applications will be assessed and successful applicants invited to submit a Full Application within 6 weeks.

The number of grants available under this scheme is limited, so the grant assessment process is competitive.  A second funding window will be considered if necessary.

Official Website: Somerset Growth Accelerator Fund Grant Scheme

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