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Enterprise Capital Funds

Enterprise Capital Funds are financial schemes established by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in the United Kingdom to address a market weakness in the provision of equity finance to UK small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

British Business Finance Limited invests into funds on terms that improve the outcome for private sector investors when those funds are successful. It does this by taking an agreed prioritised return of 3–4.5% which is paid regardless of a fund’s performance. This investment ‘encourages venture capital funds to operate in a part of the market where smaller businesses are not able to access the growth capital they need.’

The ECF was first announced in the 2010 Budget. It was aimed at SMEs with high growth potential and provided £37.5 million in equity finance; £25 million from government and £12 million from private coinvestors. In October 2013 the operations and staff of the delivery agency for the ECF finances were transferred to the British Business Bank.

In the Autumn Statement 2014 the ECF received an additional £400 million in funding to expand the programme. The FSB welcomed this, saying that it would provide much needed cash for small businesses. A 2009 National Audit Office report into venture capital support for small businesses found that businesses in receipt of ECF money reported high levels of satisfaction with them. 90% of recipients would recommend the fund to others.

In 2015 the British Business Bank had a capital commitment to the ECF of £195 million. In February 2016, it stated that it had invested over £295 million across more than 225 companies. Businesses wishing to apply for equity funding under this scheme should approach the fund managers. This can be done through the British Business Bank homepage. The website also has guidance about the investment process and seminars for prospective fund managers.

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£8.5m of EU Rural Funding released for the South East LEP Area

European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development Fund (EAFRD)

  1. An Open Rolling Call under EAFRD Sub-Measure 4.2 (Food Processing Grants) – Up to £3.7m is being made available under this Call, which closes on 31st January 2018. Grants of between £50,000 and £1m are available to good quality eligible projects in the SELEP area. Projects can submit an Expression of Interest at any time before the closing date. The Call documents and instructions on how to apply can be accessed HERE. This is a national Call taking place across England. Details of the local priorities for the SELEP area can be found on page 52 of the Call Handbook. Projects will be expected to make a contribution to both national and local priorities.
  1. An Open Rolling Call under EAFRD Sub-Measure 6.4 (Rural Business Development) – Up to £2m is being made available under this Call, which closes on 31st January 2018. Grants of between £50,000 and £170,000 are available to good quality eligible projects in the SELEP area.  Projects can submit an Expression of Interest at any time before the closing date. The Call documents and instructions on how to apply can be accessed at HERE. This is a national Call taking place across England. Details of the local priorities for the SELEP area can be found on page 52  of the Call Handbook. Projects will be expected to make a contribution to both national and local priorities.
  1. An Open Rolling Call under EAFRD Sub-Measure 7.5 (Rural Tourism Infrastructure) – Up to £2.6m is being made available under this Call, which closes on 31st January 2018. Grants of between £50,000 and £170,000 are available to good quality eligible projects in the New Anglia area. Projects can submit an Expression of Interest at any time before the closing date. The Call documents and instructions on how to apply can be accessed HERE.  This is a national Call taking place across England. Details of the local priorities for the SELEP area can be found on Page 58 of the Call Handbook. Projects will be expected to make a contribution to both national and local priorities.

Anyone interested in developing projects in response to these Calls is the invited to attend the SELEP EAFRD events which are currently being planned in local areas following our launch event on Thursday 2nd February 2017 (which is now fully booked). RPA staff will be on hand an each of the events to advise and support project applicants.

The dates of the local events are:

  • 15 March 2.00 – 5.00 at Plumpton college
  • 22nd March 2.00 –5.00 at Chelmsford racecourse
  • The date and venue of the Kent and Medway event is still being finalised.

For further information please contact Lorraine.George@eastsussex.gov.uk or stuart@ruralsectorsolutions.co.uk who will be able to provide advice and support in shaping your proposal in line with programme requirements. The national press release from the RPA launching these Calls can be found HERE.

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Red Zebra Community Solutions

(Red Zebra was previously CADVAS, the local Council for Voluntary service and Whitstable Volunteer Centre)

Red Zebra is a local infrastructure organisation, working with residents and organisations to improve opportunities and services for people in the community.

We do not deliver ‘front-line’ services, but work in partnership with others to improve their effectiveness and impact. As a local charity, we can offer creative and innovative solutions and take a flexible approach in all we do. For example, we are acting as the lead organisation to enable the Community Chefs to deliver their First Service programme in Thanet and Herne Bay, funded by the DWP Flexible Support Fund.

We provide a range of services that enable people to be involved and active in their communities and to remain independent in their own homes.

We provide information, advice and support to voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises (VCSEs) both established and emerging, in the Canterbury district and across East Kent.

Find Out More

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Innovation: Apply for a Funding Award

If you want to develop an innovative product or service, you may be able to apply for a funding award between £25,000 and £10 million.

Innovate UK runs funding competitions which can help you develop your idea and make it successful. These competitions are open for projects led by any UK based companies. Innovate UK awards funding to the winners of these competitions.

Watch the video below to find out about Innovate UK’s application process.

Click HERE to find out more and for more information on how to apply. You can apply for funding if you are a UK based business. All kinds of businesses can apply – from pre-startup and new companies to large multi-nationals.

The Power to Change

Supporting community businesses across England

The Power to Change is a new, independent charitable trust, set up with a £150 million endowment from the Big Lottery Fund.

The Power to Change has been inspired by the real-life stories of successful community businesses around the country. In the face of tough economic times, there are hundreds of examples nationwide of people coming together to improve their local areas. From community-owned pubs and sports clubs to community-managed woodlands and parks, these enterprises are working for the benefit of local people.

The biggest of its kind in Europe, the Power to Change will help more of these amazing community enterprises to succeed. Funding and support will be available to organisations at each stage of their journey to becoming a sustainable community business, from inspiring and nurturing ideas to scaling up and expansion. The Trust will also play a broader national leadership and advocacy role to increase awareness of the social and economic benefits of community enterprise.

In the coming months, the Power to Change will operate an initial grants programme for existing community businesses already making a difference in their local communities. Find out more at www.thepowertochange.org.uk 

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Free support for businesses to overcome the rising cost of transport and travel

Sustrans is enabling small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in Canterbury to take advantage of a new one-to-one support service to help them rethink the way they travel for business and reduce their costs.

With almost half of SMEs (45%) spending more than 10% of their annual budget on business travel*, the rising cost of transport and travel is having a significant impact on their bottom line.

With funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Kent County Council and support from Canterbury Connected Business Improvement Bid and Canterbury City Council Business and Regeneration Team, this service will help to reduce car use and encourage smarter working and smarter, cleaner travel for more business journeys in Canterbury.

Even small changes can lead to significant business savings. Measures such as online journey planning, video conferencing and working on the move can win back valuable work time and increase productivity. Incorporating more active travel like walking and cycling into daily routines can lead to healthier, happier and more productive staff.

The free support from a dedicated adviser starts with a full appraisal of current travel needs. This leads on to tailored business travel planning including advice on grants and funding and the development of activities, information and travel initiatives for staff, for example bike loans or personal journey planning.

David Robert, Sustrans Project Officer, said:

“The project has already engaged a number of businesses in East Kent. This includes funding eco-driving for Thanet Community Transport Association, installing cycle storage at Stonelees Golf Centre and supporting The Turner Contemporary to meet sustainable practice in line with Arts Council Guidelines. I am pleased to now be able to offer my free service to Canterbury businesses.”

The project builds on Sustrans’ extensive experience of working with businesses to change travel behaviour. Evidence shows that for every 100 employees engaged, Sustrans projects generate a reduction in 24 sick days each year.

There are limited places available on the programme, so interested SMEs are being urged to get in touch quickly. This scheme is available to organisations with less than 250 employees who are based in Canterbury, Thanet and Sandwich.
For more information, contact David Robert, Sustrans Project Officer, Workplaces on 07768 034729 david.robert@sustrans.org.uk

Better Business Finance

Better Business Finance provides impartial information and support to businesses and entrepreneurs looking to develop and grow; whether the business is seeking finance, or starting out or exporting abroad, BBF is here to help.

It was set up by Barclays, HSBC, RBS, Lloyds and Santander in 2011 and is managed by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) in collaboration with its business and finance partners.

BBF was created to bring to life the recommendations of the Business Finance Taskforce, which was set up by the major banks to work together to help support the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses who are vital to our economy.

What are the BBF’s objectives

Better Business Finance has three core themes at its heart:

  • Improving customer relationships by providing mentoring support, along with information on exactly what help and what finance is available, and by working with Professor Russel Griggs on the appeals programme
  • Improving access to finance, including creating new finance options like the Business Growth Fund, and building strategic partnerships with finance organisations such as Business Angels and CDFIs, with whom the banks run a referral process for when traditional bank finance is not appropriate.
  • Improving transparency, which includes helping businesses, explaining processes, listening and working with partners to improve service delivery in banks. This theme also includes conducting and commissioning research to help inform business policy and banking services

For more information visit Better Business Finance

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Small Business Boost

The Small Business Boost economic growth fund covers the Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet areas. It is funded by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund scheme and managed by Kent County Council working in partnership other public and private sector partners. The scheme is part of the Expansion East Kent initiative.

The Small Business Boost scheme offers 0% interest loans between £2,000 and £50,000 to help start-ups, small businesses and social enterprises in the eligible areas, who are seeking to develop new or expand existing products or services, where these will lead to sustained employment.

Eligibility

You can apply for investment support from Small Business Boost if you meet the following criteria:

  • New business: Have you been in existence for less than 6 years?
  • Type: Are you a sole trader, partnership, limited company or a not-for-profit business located or seeking to locate in Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Shepway or Thanet ?
  • Amount: Are you seeking a loan between £2,000 and £50,000?
  • Size: Do you currently have fewer than 50 employees?
  • Location: Are you seeking to provide employment – either by creating or safeguarding jobs in Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Shepway or Thanet?
  • Dividends: Your business has not yet paid out a dividend.

Further details and how to apply

 

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Growth Vouchers – helping SME’s access strategic advice

The Growth Vouchers scheme is set to help SME’s access strategic advice to grow their businesses and offers up to £2000 match funding along with a free initial business consultation.

The scheme is a pioneering initiative by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills to discover the kind of advice businesses need, and give them the opportunity to obtain this expert advice to accelerate their growth. The application process is simple and is made online at: www.gov.uk/apply-growth-vouchersOnce an application has been made a local Business Advisors will arrange a completely free diagnostic consultation with you to discuss your business and your growth plans, which will help define the actions and advice needed to reach your business potential.

Your business could be eligible if:

– It’s based in England

– It has fewer than 50 employees

– It has not paid for strategic advice in the past 3 years

– Has traded for at least a year.

Vouchers worth up to £2,000 will then be allocated on a lottery basis for those who sign up for the programme to help them pay for strategic private sector advice in the following areas:

– Raising finance and managing cash flow

– Marketing, attracting and keeping customers

– Making the most of digital technology

– Improving leadership and management skills

– Recruiting and developing your staff

Following a successful award applicants then contact the Enterprise Nation Marketplace, www.marketplace.enterprisenation.com. Enterprise Nation Marketplace allows users to search for an approved, accredited supplier who can provide strategic advice in one of the five areas.

The Growth Voucher programme is a pioneering government research project run by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Behavioural Insights Team at the Cabinet Office and is run as a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT). It aims to test how external advice can help small businesses overcome barriers to growth and examine what role Government should play in this space.

All businesses taking part in the programme will be participating in the largest business research project ever initiated by government. It will produce real comprehensive evidence on which future policy will be built, as well as benefitting the businesses involved.

Enterprise First, www.enterprisefirst.co.uk was established in 1981 and has been providing impartial advice, information and support to start-ups, as well as new and existing businesses ever since. We offer a range of free support including confidential advice sessions with our experienced business advisers, practical workshops on marketing and finance as well as a useful library of documents on our website and links to other useful organisations.

As a member of the Cavendish Consortium, www.cavendishconsortium.co.uk they are also delivery partners for the following national programmes: Ready for Business, Virgin Start Up Loans and Growth Vouchers. Based in Aldershot, they cover the South East region.

For more information please contact Sheryl Tipton at sheryl.tipton@enterprisefirst.co.uk

Tel: 0800 652 6254 

Web: www.enterprisefirst.co.uk

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Sustainable Routes – the grant that helps cut travel costs

Sustainable Routes offers a grant of £1,000 to help businesses cut travel. The grant is match-funded, and available to all SMEs in the South East of England.

The project has been running for 6 years, and has helped over 2000 businesses in the South East of England with advice on Sustainable Transport. Over 700 businesses have received grants from the project.

Here are a few examples of how the grant has been used by SMEs:

  • Laptops for employees to work remotely
  • Server upgrade to support remote working
  • Bicycles, storage and showers to encourage active travel
  • LPG vehicle conversions

Click HERE to visit the Sustainable Routes website for more information.