Start-Up Business Grants – Guidelines for Applicants The Scheme The scheme is designed to encourage business start-up and self-employment within South Bedfordshire. This will be done through the provision of discretionary grants and business support. How much will we fund? Grants are available up to a maximum of £500 of eligible costs. Where possible, you should also be investing your own resources into the business. You must be able to demonstrate the need for the grant and show that traditional sources of funding have been applied for and exhausted. Evidence of unsuccessful loan and/or grant applications will be required. Only one start-up grant can be awarded per business. Please note that the grant is discretionary and subject to the availability of funds. Who can apply? Grants are only available to people who live in South Bedfordshire. Your business must be new or been trading for less than twelve months. All business sectors will be considered, except those deemed to be detrimental to the area or those that may bring the name of the Council into disrepute. What can you use the grant for? Grants are only available for capital expenditure, for example: - tools - machinery - ICT equipment - Office equipment Grants cannot be used for cash flow related expenditure, general running costs, or for paying off existing debt. How to apply You must submit a completed application form. This should be sent to: Donna Wilkinson South Bedfordshire District Council The District Offices, High Street North Dunstable Bedfordshire, LU6 1LF On receipt of a completed application form, an appointment will be arranged for applicants to meet with a business advisor who can assist with the completion of a business plan. How your application is assessed Your application will be checked to see if it meets the criteria outlined above. If the criteria are met, you will be asked, with assistance from a business advisor, to complete a business plan. You will then be invited to meet the Grant Panel. This will be an informal meeting, enabling you to talk about your business idea, and address any questions the panel may have. The Grant Panel consists of representatives from Wenta, South Bedfordshire District Council and a local business. The Panel will make the decision on whether or not to award a grant. The decision of the panel is final. To avoid any conflict of interest, where a member of the panel already knows the grant applicant, a replacement panel member will be sought. Applicants will be informed by telephone of the panel’s decision by the end of the next working day. This will then be followed by written confirmation of the decision. Successful Applicants Successful applicants will be required to return a declaration form. Payment of the grant will be made retrospectively on return of the declaration form and evidence of expenditure (for example, receipts, copies of paid invoices). Successful applicants will be required to accept the training and support recommended by the panel. A business advisor will also support applicants for twelve months following the award of the grant. Your name or business name may be used in our publicity material. If you do not get a grant Unsuccessful applicants will be offered feedback on why their application was not successful and will receive advice on where to access further business support. Repayment of Grants Repayment of the grant will be demanded if it is found that any false declarations have been made. Repayment may also be sought if: - the business ceases to trade - the business moves out of the area - the business disposes of the grant funded asset(s) - the business fails to provide the necessary monitoring information Further advice If you have any questions about the application, please contact Donna Wilkinson on 0845 849 6291.
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