THE BLACK COUNTRY BUSINESS FINANCE DIRECTORY

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1 THE BLACK COUNTRY BUSINESS FINANCE DIRECTORY

2 The Black Country Business Finance Directory LETTING GROWING BUSINESSES KNOW WHERE TO GET HELP WITH FINANCE FOR GROWTH 1

3 CONTENTS INTRODUCTION 3 LOCAL AUTHORITY BUSINESS SUPPORT 5 BLACK COUNTRY ENTERPRISE ZONE 7 GRANTS Business Start Up 8 Business Development 9 Creative Enterprises 10 Social Enterprises 11 Environment 12 Employing People 14 Exporting 15 Manufacturing 16 Research & Development 17 TAX RELIEFS AND OTHER INCENTIVES Corporate Tax Incentives 21 Capital Allowances for Plant and Machinery 22 Buildings 24 Specific Tax Reliefs 26 Small Business Rate Relief Scheme 28 LOANS Commercial Finance 29 Non-Bank Finance 33 Business Start-Up 35 Internet Based Borrowing Opportunities 36 EQUITY Private Investors 38 Investor Networks 39 Venture Capital 40 BLACK COUNTRY CORPORATE 46 FINANCE ADVISORS INDEX 49 This publication provides general guidance on sources of business finance and incentives for investment. Professional advice should always be sought before entering into any formal financial commitment. No responsibility can be accepted for any investment decision made solely on the basis of details of any scheme as summarised in this guide. Schemes and incentives described are subject to closure or to change at very short notice. Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership July

4 INTRODUCTION The aim of this directory is to summarise and provide contact details for important sources of business finance, and investment incentives for businesses based in the Black Country region of the UK. For over three decades the Black Country's economy has lagged behind the country as a whole. The area has suffered from low employment rates, low skills levels and lower business start-up rates. Investment and business development in the area is essential to achieve the long-term change required to transform the Black Country and achieve the thirty year vision of the Local Enterprise Partnership, and local businesses will need to aware of sources of finance. A report produced in March 2012 by a UK industry led working group entitled Boosting finance options for business stated that businesses are often not aware of the existence of most alternative sources of finance apart from bank loans. It continued Many businesses are confused by the large number of Government interventions supporting access to finance, and there are a bewildering number of acronyms and frequent changes in programme names and branding, combined with occasional tweaking of the terms of each scheme. Businesses do not have time to gain familiarity with the programmes or which Government department offers them and this also makes it harder for the banks who deliver many of these programmes as each change requires new processes and retraining across bank networks. Government should improve the scale and effectiveness of its communications. Businesses in the Black Country are adjusting to new economic conditions, and access to finance will be essential to the development of new technical and knowledge based firms. Through Black Country Reinvestment Society the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership has set up a working group in which financial institutions operating in the area can assess current credit conditions and provision of capital to local businesses. Its purpose is to provide a comprehensive picture of what financial products are available in the Black Country and inform companies what they can realistically access. Running Open Access to Finance forums in 2011/12 has created the opportunity for local businesses to meet financiers face to face for informal discussions. This directory gives an overview of national and local government grants, commercial and assisted loans, tax incentives and reliefs and opportunities for equity capital. As such, it is intended for use in Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell and Dudley by; Established businesses looking for finance to expand Business Start-ups Social enterprises with commercial growth potential Business Advisers will be a period of significant restraint of public spending, and this will have the consequence of reducing the amount and range of grant schemes. At the same time, there is commitment by central and local government to seek to increase access to finance for businesses through loans and equity in the desire to promote economic growth. The business tax regime will also be used to stimulate business investment. The main providers of external business finance remain high street banks. However, there are many organisations and tax incentives that help businesses and social enterprises with limited access to commercial finance. This guide has been designed 3

5 specifically to provide information and contact details about sources of finance in as simple and clear a form as possible. A business owner should only decide to take up a loan, grant or investment after very careful consideration of the best funding solution in the long-term interests of the business. For any growing business a full business plan with detailed financial projections of future sales, expenses and profits, and a comprehensive marketing strategy, is an important management tool. It is an essential pre-requisite before applying for finance. Stewart Towe Chairman Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership THE BLACK COUNTRY LOCAL ENTERPRISE PARTNERSHIP The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (BCLEP) has commissioned this publication to enable business owners to find in one place a summary of the information that is essential to understand available financial options. The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership aims to create the conditions for enterprise to flourish resulting in greater economic prosperity across the Black Country area. It will do this through facilitation and co-ordination of actions by private, public and voluntary sector organisations with a focus on stimulating the drivers of economic development, education & skills development and infrastructure & environmental enhancements. The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership believes that businesses need better access to capital and investment funds and that that process starts with accessible information on what help is available. The guide has been compiled independently by Enterprise Links Ltd, a Black Country based business consultancy. 4

6 LOCAL AUTHORITY BUSINESS SUPPORT Local Government has a major role in economic development and enterprise and offer support for growing businesses that create jobs and wealth. This can come in many forms both financial and non-financial. Arrangements are often set up in response to need, and may last for a short time and be subject to detailed rules of eligibility. Most have the aim of reducing local unemployment. Black Country councils have created local small business loan funds in conjunction with the Black County Reinvestment Society. This section is a summary of the activity in each of the four councils in the Black Country, but it is strongly recommended that businesses seeking to expand contact their local council s business enterprise or economic development department. For information on council supported business support visit Below is an overview at the time of writing. It always best advice to contact the council directly for the most up to date information on business support. Dudley Dudley Council provides support to local businesses through its Dudley Business First service. The Dudley Business First team provides access to information and advice on land & property availability, public sector procurement opportunities, funding and grants, business to business opportunities and other relevant information about Dudley as a place to both live and work. The service is free and offers a tailored service designed to help business establish, grow, diversify or relocate in Dudley Borough. Dudley Business Loan Fund offers access to finance for new and existing businesses and social enterprises in the area. Call BCRS on For further information call Dudley Business First on or Sandwell Sandwell Council provides advice and support to local businesses, with a specific focus on access to finance, inward investment and business networking. Sandwell Council's Economic Regeneration and Skills Division employs Business Engagement Officers to provide information for and contact with the Council and the local business community. They can be contacted by phone on The council offers information services regarding planning issues, commercial property, development land and managed workspace. The Find it in Sandwell network enables businesses to meet suppliers and potential customers. 5

7 Sandwell Loan Fund can provide business finance for expanding firms. Call BCRS on Sandwell 's Youth Employment & Apprenticeship Team works with employers to source apprenticeship vacancies and mentoring support for both young person and employer The Team is part of the wider Think Local Employment Team and can be contacted on or For more information visit Walsall Walsall Council supports local businesses to grow and create new jobs through a portfolio of support services that include planning, recruitment, training, property and land development. Walsall Loan Fund assists businesses obtain access to finance for development. Call BCRS on To find local suppliers and look for business opportunities, visit its procurement portal at For information on Walsall Works, the Council s grants for employing young apprentices in Walsall visit For further information visit or telephone Wolverhampton Wolverhampton Council works with access2business and lighthouse to provide business support for people with disabilities and people entering the creative sector. Wolverhampton Telford Technology Corridor encourages high-technology business to develop in the area and encourages innovation, knowledge transfer, new enterprise and increased competitiveness. Wolverhampton Economic Partnership brings together the public and private sector to work together to achieve economic success. Find it in Wolverhampton promotes the products and services of local businesses. For more information call the economic development department on or visit Wolverhampton Business Solutions Centre is a single point of contact for businesses seeking advice on inward investment, skills development, recruitment, business startup and business regulations. Call or visit 6

8 BLACK COUNTRY ENTERPRISE ZONE As part of the UK Government s economic strategy, and alongside the creation of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, a regeneration zone has been designated in two clusters of sites in the Black Country, and became live in April Enterprise zones offer businesses tax breaks and fewer planning restrictions. The cluster of sites adjacent to i54 Wolverhampton North includes where Jaguar Land Rover is building a 355 million engine plant on the 120 hectare i54 business park. The i54 site is by far the most significant greenfield business site in the subregion and is widely recognised to be exceptionally attractive for attracting high quality employment opportunities. This cluster also comprises the remaining development land and vacant buildings in the Wolverhampton Business Park, the surplus HS Marston land, Lupus and the Gateway. Overall, this area provides the potential to generate several thousand different types of skilled and semi-skilled jobs in key high technology sectors supplying high-end manufacturing companies. In Darlaston there is a cluster of sites either side of the M6, providing some 40 hectares of developable land. The development sites at Darlaston provide a location for supply chain businesses and just in time delivery of critical, engineering intensive components for the advanced engineering sector. Firms in the Black Country Enterprise Zone will also be able to claim capital allowances of 100 per cent, allowing them to offset the cost of tools and equipment against profits and reducing their taxable profits. Enterprise zones can provide businesses with a 100 per cent business rate discount worth up to 275,000 over a five-year period.all business rate growth generated by the zone for a period of at least 25 years will be kept by local authorities to spend on infrastructure to support employers. Local authorities can also apply for Local Development Orders to simplify the planning regime, and the Government will support plans to roll out super-fast broadband throughout the zone. For more information visit the web-site of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership or call

9 GRANTS (FINANCIAL SUPPORT THAT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE REPAID) Business Start-up New Enterprise Allowance New Enterprise Allowance is a regular payment made to people who have been unemployed for more than six months and claiming job seekers allowance (JSA), who go on to start their own business. They receive; Help and support from a mentor in setting up a business A tax free weekly allowance paid for the first 26 weeks of business, to help meet expenses duringthe time earnings are building up They can also take a loan of up to 1,000 to be repaid by up to three years at low interest. Once a person can demonstrate they have a viable business plan they will be able to claim a weekly allowance equivalent to JSA payments for 3 months, and then half that rate for a further 3 months. Black Country Chamber of Commerce delivers business advice to applicants and the Community Development Finance Association manages the loan element. Contact local jobcentre plus offices or visit or Access to Work support for people with disabilities In addition to advice and information, JobCentre Plus can pay an Access to Work grant towards the approved extra business start-up costs that arise from a person s disability. These are some of the types of support included are; support workers, special equipment required in work, adaptation to premises and extra travel costs There is no specific limit to the assistance, but an applicant will have to prove that they have a viable business, that the expenditure is necessary over and above normal business expenses and that they cannot fund it themselves. Applicants should contact a Disability Work Adviser at a local JobCentre Plus in the first instance. There is a contact centre for Access to Work in the West Midlands and the telephone number is or text phone or visit The Prince s Trust The Prince s Trust is a nationwide charity that helps disadvantaged young people (Aged 18 to 30) in many ways. The trust offers business support by way of training 8

10 and loans to young unemployed people to help them start a business. The trust can also offer Test Marketing Grants of 250 prior to business start-up. Contact or visit Business Development RBS NatWest Regional Growth Scheme The Regional Growth Fund is an initiative created by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. The Fund has been established to support local economies, to encourage investment in the private sector, by safeguarding existing jobs and creating new jobs. RBS Nat West have been allocated resources from the Regional Growth Fund to provide grant support between 2011 and 2014 to qualifying Small and Medium sized Enterprises located in England (excluding London and the South East). Support from the fund can only be made available if certain eligibility criteria are met and in conjunction with a commercial loan from NatWest or finance from Lombard. For more information visit or call HSBC Asset Purchase Scheme HSBC bank is also participating in the Government's Regional Growth Fund and will manage the delivery of 25million from the fund to support businesses that; have a turnover of less than 50million; and are recruiting new employees or are safeguarding existing jobs; and are purchasing new fixed assets such as machinery and vehicles. It aims particularly to help those areas and communities currently dependent on the public sector to make the transition to sustainable private sector-led growth. The 'Assisted Asset Purchase Scheme' enables qualifying businesses to obtain funding towards the acquisition of assets where they would not ordinarily have sufficient own funds for a deposit. It is available to HSBC customers. RGF monies take the form of a grant based on the size of business, the location that the asset will be employed, level of asset investment and the number of full time (or equivalent) jobs being created or retained. One job must be created or retained for every 25,000 of grant received, up to a maximum of 500,000. The majority of the finance must be via a loan from HSBC. For more details visit or call

11 Creative Enterprises Arts Council England (West Midlands) The objective of the Arts Council is to support full time artists and art organisations. Grants can be made to individuals and organisations that use the arts in their work in England. They can be for research, marketing, new equipment touring, public art and commissioning. They cannot be for general running costs covered by other income, or for self-promotion. The arts council is facing a 29.6% cut in government funding between Nevertheless it will provide funding for a national portfolio of 696 organisations. It will concentrate on areas and communities across the country that have little or no access to high quality arts. National portfolio organisations will not be eligible to apply for the scheme Grants for the Arts, which will be extended and open up more funding to the small, new, community-driven arts enterprises and emerging artists. National Lottery funded Grants for the Arts are for activities carried out over a set period and which engage people in England in arts activities, and help artists and arts organisations in England carry out their work. Applications can be made on-line. Grants are linked to previous artistic achievement and current need and significance. For more information visit or call the West Midlands office on Creative England Creative England supports the growth of creative businesses and is also the body that distributes lottery funds for film activity. Creative England s three core film priorities for are 1 Film Culture: through support for education opportunities, and to integrate the unique resources of regional screen heritage into wider film provision 2. Talent Development: to fosters outstanding creative talent for film writers, directors and producers 3. Locations and Production Services :to maximise inward investment by promoting the English locations and support for film productions For more information on its grant aid visit Crafts Council The Crafts Council helps preserve crafts and skills that might die out without public support. This means that they can sometimes offer financial help or funding opportunities A recent example is Junction 2012 an urban arts festival organised by Wolverhampton Contemporary Art Forum. Proposals were invited from Midlands 10

12 artists working across all media for craft installations in businesses and venues in the Chapel Ash district. For more information about the work of the Crafts council please contact or visit Sport England Sport England helps people and communities across the country develop sporting habits for life, and invests in organisations and projects to get more people taking up and continuing to play or excel at their chosen sport. In the Olympic year 2012 Sport England is launching funding programmes open to a wide range of organisations. These include sports clubs, voluntary or community organisations, local authorities, schools, colleges and universities. Funding programmes are; Small Grants - funding awards of between 300 and 10,000 to not-for-profit organisations to help more young people (14+) and adults take and keep a sporting habit for life. Sportsmatch- funding awards to not-for-profit organisations that have secured sponsorship to deliver new community projects for young people (14+) and adults to take up sport for life. Priority is given to applications seeking to match sponsorship from the commercial sector. Awards of between 1,000 and 100,000 can be made to match funding from no more than five sponsors, with each sponsor contributing a minimum of 1,000. Sport England also provides funds towards protecting playing fields, facilities and sport in the community. For more information visit or call Social Enterprise UnLtd UnLtd provides practical and financial support to social entrepreneurs in the UK. Support is packaged as an award in two levels funded by the Millennium Commission. Only individuals, not organisations are supported. Level 1 awards can be between 500 and These are designed to help with the running costs of a new idea that once off the ground that will improve people s lives in disadvantaged communities. Level 2 awards can be between 10,000 and 15,000. These are designed to support the development of projects that benefit the community, or can fund the living expenses of award winners so they can devote more time to their project. For more information visit or call for the West Midlands office. 11

13 Big Lottery Fund The big lottery fund makes grants of millions of pounds every year to good causes. The money goes to community groups and to projects that improve health, education and the environment. Charities, social enterprises and not for profit organisations can apply Current programmes include; Awards for All - grants of 300 to 10,000 to help improve local communities. Reaching Communities -revenue, buildings and small capital projects from 10,000 to 500,000 for deprived areas. Village SOS - grants of between 10,000 and 50,000 to help communities develop plans for enterprising community projects that will answer a local need or improve services for local people, from community-run shops and pubs to energy or transport schemes, craft or food projects. Fair shares - projects in communities that have not received a fair-share of lottery fund in in the past For more information visit or call BIG Invest Big Issue Invest is the social investment arm of The Big Issue newspaper. It helps scale up social enterprises, charities and socially driven businesses throughout the UK by offering loans and investments from 50,000 to 1 million. It is led by social entrepreneurs and experienced social financiers. Organisations that can seek funding are those involved in job creation, community development, education, health, social inclusion or the environment. Loans can be used for working capital, premises or equipment. Visit for more information, and call to discuss eligibility and loan/investment terms. Environment Department of Energy and Climate Change funding for innovation The UK Government must meet a challenging future climate change goal of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by DECC has an Energy Innovation policy which aims to: reduce the cost of existing low-carbon technologies develop new technologies to give the UK a portfolio of energy sources and make best use of our natural resources; and 12

14 make the UK a better place to create new low carbon technologies and develop associated businesses DECC support aims to bridge the lengthy gap (often around 10 years) between a technology being ready and it being widely deployed. Research Councils, the Technology Strategy Board, the Carbon Trust and the Energy Technologies Institute are also involved in supporting technology research, development and demonstration. DECC s support for energy innovation tends may comethrough direct funding for demonstration and pre-commercial deployment or the removal of barriers to development such as planning issues. For more information visit or call Renewable Heat Incentive The Renewable Heat Incentive is designed to help the UK reduce carbon emissions and hit its EU renewable energy targets. The Department for Energy and Climate Change is responsible for the policy and regulations underpinning the scheme. The RHI supports generators in non-domestic sectors (industrial, commercial, public sector and not-for-profit) and producers of biomethane. For more information visit the Department of Energy and Climate Change website. or call Feed In Tariff Community groups and small business that install low carbon electricity generating technologies will be eligible to receive Feed-in-Tariffs. This incentivises the installation of small scale, low carbon electricity generating technologies. Each installation will qualify for a payment for each kilowatt of energy they produce and a further payment for each kilowatt exported to the grid. Tariffs vary by technology and by size of installation. For a current list of tariff levels refer to the Department of Energy and Climate Change website or call Plug in Car/Van Grant To encourage the use of electric cars and vans by consumers and business, the government has extended to 2015 the provision of grant of 25% up to 5,000 towards the purchase of ultra-low carbon vehicles. This up-front grant and low running costs make electric cars and vans a more attractive option for businesses. To be eligible cars and vans must meet performance criteria on safety, range and tailpipe emissions. For further details of the cars and vans under the scheme visit 13

15 Employing People Apprenticeships These are work-based training programmes, which lead to nationally recognised qualifications. An apprentice can be a new or existing employee. Funding is available to train apprentices, and the scheme can be a benefit to businesses and trainees. Apprenticeships are designed by the Sector Skills Councils, while the National Apprenticeship Service helps to fund the training. Depending on the sector and job role an Apprenticeship can take anything between one and four years of on the job training to complete. Employers can discuss their exact training requirements with an Apprenticeship representative via the National Apprenticeship Service. A representative will then identify a training provider and advise on the recruitment process, and the employer selects the candidate they require. The National Apprenticeship Service will provide up to 40,000 Apprenticeship grants to small and medium sized employers recruiting 16 to 24 year olds with a value of 1,500 to encourage new employers to take on new apprentices. The 1,500 is in addition to the training costs of the Apprenticeship framework which are met in full for young people aged 16 to 18 and 50% for those aged 19 to 24. Apprenticeship funding levels are up to 100% of the cost, depending on sector and the age of the candidate. This is paid directly to the organisation that provides and supports the Apprenticeship; in most cases this will be a learning provider. The apprentice minimum wage ( 2.60 per hour April 2012) applies to both time working, and time spent training that is part of the Apprenticeship. Local authority support may also be available, as in Sandwell where the Youth Employment & Apprenticeship Team works with employers to source apprenticeship vacancies. (See Page 7) For more information on taking on an apprentice visit or call (Employers Help Line) Youth Contract Wage Incentives As part of the Government s Youth Contract announced in April 2012 wage incentives worth up to 2,275 each, will be available for employers who can offer a job lasting at least 26 weeks to a long tern unemployed 18 to 24 year-old from the Government s Work Programme. The wage incentive will be available to employers who hire someone for 16 hours or more each week. There will be a part-time rate of 1, for work between 16 and 29 hours and a full time rate of 2,275 for 30 hours or more. This will be paid 26 weeks after the employee starts work. Small businesses (less than 50 employees) can also claim a part payment 8 weeks after the employee starts work. Wage incentives will be primarily available to private, voluntary and community sectors and social enterprise employers. Any employer interested in offering work to 14

16 an year old can register their interest with a Work Programme provider in the Black Country. These are; EOS Visit or call Pertemps People Development Group on or call Newcastle College Visit or call Graduate Advantage Internships Internships offer Graduates work experience, and businesses valuable help and expertise. Graduate Advantage is funded and supported by ten West Midlands' Universities, based at Aston University and part-funded by the European Union. The West Midlands is the only region in England to have this kind of service and access to graduates from a wide range of degree disciplines. Employers are provided with free recruitment, payroll and HR services and employers are saved national insurance contributions. Internships can be paid or voluntary, but there is no funding for wages. For more information visit or call Exporting UK Export Finance This is the UK export finance guarantee department. It insures UK exporters against non-payment by overseas buyers, guarantees bank loans of overseas buyers taking out loans to buy UK goods or services, shares credit risks with banks and insures UK investors in overseas markets against political risks. It offers the following services; Buyer and Supplier Credit Facilities Lines of Credit Export Insurance Policies Overseas Investment Insurance Policies Debt Conversion Scheme Letter of Credit Guarantee Scheme Export Working Capital Scheme Foreign Exchange Credit Support Scheme There are guides to and application forms for all the above schemes on or call UK Trade & Investment Support for West Midlands Exporters UKTI is the Government s agency that aims to help British businesses grow by trading internationally, and boost exports. 15

17 The agency provides expert trade advice and practical support to UK companies wishing to enter or expand in overseas markets. It has 2,400 staff and a presence in 96 countries. It is designed to help and support exporters at every stage of development. Through a range of specific services, including participation at trade fairs, outward missions and market intelligence, it can help a business succeed in foreign markets and comply with overseas regulations and business practice. UKTI offers support that includes; International trade advisers Training and guidance for exporters Introduction to overseas markets Help with trade visits, trade fairs and exhibitions Business opportunity alerts Access to aid-funded markets Political and economic information Black Country businesses that want to trade and invest overseascan contact the Central Support Team on and will be introduced to the local International Trade Team.Within the West Midlands region, UK Trade & Investment services are delivered through West Midlands Chambers of Commerce LLP as a single point of contact and contracting on behalf of the six Chambers of Commerce within the region. For more information visit or contact Manufacturing Manufacturing Advisory Service (West Midlands) The Government s Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to help manufacturing businesses streamline processes, reduce waste, become more energy efficient and improve and grow. Consultants from an industry background work with businesses on a grant subsidised basis to implement change and improvements to increase their profitability. MAS offers a free helpdesk to answer questions on a wide range of technical issues or could spend up to 2 hours researching production problems. Tel: A free manufacturing review can be arranged to assess the areas of opportunity within a business. MAS also offers grant aided subsidised consultancy for manufacturer sat two different levels: Up to 1,000 and 50% subsidy towards basic improvement projects Step-Change up to 3,000 and 50% subsidy towards more complex projects Services are free to manufacturing companies employing up to 250 employees, but charged at commercial rates to larger businesses. MAS has a West Midlands office at Wolverhampton Science Park, Creative Industries Centre. Tel: or visit 16

18 Supply Chains The Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain initiative has a fund of up to 125 million from the UK Government s Regional Growth Fund from which will be provided a flexible package of grants and loans with the aim of helping existing supply chains of advanced manufacturing companies grow and achieve world class standards. This can encourage major new suppliers to set up and manufacture in the Black Country. The Supply Chain Improvement Programme (West Midlands) can support a development project where a host company automotive manufacturer works with a group of other West Midlands based suppliers with less than 250 employees to improve performance and competitiveness. Grant aid of 40,000 to 100,000 can support a project lasting 9 to 12 months, monitored and evaluated by the Manufacturing Advisory Service. Visit for more information. Research & Development The Small Business Research Initiative The SBRI programme uses government procurement to drive innovation. It provides opportunities for innovative companies to engage with the public sector to solve specific problems. Competitions for new technologies and ideas are run in specific areas and aim to engage a broad range of companies.sbri enables the public sector to engage with industry during the early stages of development, supporting projects through the stages of feasibility and prototyping. For more information visit the Technology Strategy Board website at or call Catapult Innovation Centres A network of world-leading centres to transform the UK s capability for innovation in seven specific areas and help drive future economic growth.the seven areas are: high value manufacturing, cell therapy, offshore renewable energy, satellite applications, connected digital economy, future cities and transport systems. Catapult centres can create a critical mass for business and research innovation by focusing on a specific technology where there is a potentially large global market and a significant UK capability. These centres will be an important part of the UK's innovation system allowing businesses to access equipment and expertise that would otherwise be out of reach, as well as conducting their own in-house R&D. They will also help businesses access new funding streams and point them towards the potential of emerging technologies. For more information visit the Technology Strategy Board website at or call

19 The Smart Programme Small to medium-sized enterprises in any sector can apply for funding from the Technology Strategy Board's Smart Programme (previously known as the Grant for Research and Development and originally called the Small firms Merit Award for Research & Technology). Grants are available for research and development in the area of science, technology or engineering, and be likely to produce significant commercial returns. Funding is only open to single companies. There are three types of grant: Proof of Market - funding for market research and testing, competitor analysis, intellectual property issues and planning costs associated with taking the product or service to market. A grant of up to 25,000 is available as long as this accounts for no more than 60% of the total project cost. The project must last no longer than nine months. Proof of Concept - funding for feasibility studies, prototyping, testing, protection of intellectual property and analysis of likely production techniques. A grant of up to 100,000 is available as long as this accounts for no more than 60% of the total project cost. The project must last no longer than 18 months. Development of Prototype - funding for demonstration models, protection of intellectual property, and any trials or testing required. A grant of up to 250,000 is available as long as this accounts for no more than 35% of the total project cost for medium-sized businesses, and no more than 45% for small businesses. The project must last no longer than two years. For more information visit the Technology Strategy Board website at or call Collaborative Research and Development The Technology Strategy Board provides grants for Collaborative Research and Development to help develop the knowledge for new products and services, to cut the cost of bringing research to market. Competitions for funding are run in specific sectors listed in the paragraph below. Eligible projects must involve two or more collaborators, at least one of which is from a business. A grant of between 25 per cent and 75 per cent of the total costs is available. The Technology Strategy Board has identified specific focus areas which include high value manufacturing, advanced materials, biosciences, electronics, photonics and electrical systems, information and communication technology, and nanotechnology, medicines and healthcare, energy generation and supply, transport, environmental sustainability, the built environment, creative industries and high-value services. Visit the Technology Strategy Board website at or call

20 Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is a UK-wide programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK Knowledge Base. A Knowledge Transfer Partnerships come together to identify innovative solutions leading to increased sales and access to new markets. There are three main partners: Company partner - this is usually a company (including not-for-profit) but in some cases it can be a health or education organisation or Local Authority. Knowledge-base partner - this is a higher education institution (e.g. university), college or research organisation (public or privately funded) KTP Associates Each partnership employs one or more high calibre associates that are usually recently qualified people transferring the knowledge the company is seeking into the business via a strategic project The outcome will often be that businesses can increase sales and profits and associates are offered full time posts with companies in the partnership they have worked with. Funding can be provided from any of a range of organisations including; Technology strategy board, Arts & humanities research council, Engineering and physical sciences research council, Medical research council, Biotechnology and biological sciences research council, Natural environment research council or the Department of health. For more details visit or call National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) Nesta is a charity independent of Government that provides investments, grants, research, networks and skills to enable scientific and creative projects happen. It works in partnership with innovators, companies, community organisations, educational establishments and investors. Nesta is independent of Government, and has received funding from the National Lottery. The aims of the Nesta trust in is to focus on Economic Growth Public Services Creative Economy Nesta invests in early stage companies involved in innovative projects and contributing to knowledge and the good of the community. It makes both Venture and Impact investments and has built a portfolio of projects to reinvest in good works. It has programmes supporting community-led innovation, innovation in giving and prototype services for local media. For more information visit or call

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