Accessing GBI funding for your business

Please note that Yorkshire Forward is not accepting any new grant applications,  at the present time.

Government has required us to substantially reduce our expenditure and as a result we have embarked on a comprehensive project review, including how we provide financial support for the region's businesses.

We appreciate this may cause some uncertainty, particularly if you have an application underway; if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact your usual Agency contact.

GBI Funding

Companies of all sizes, partnerships and sole traders may be eligible for a Grant for Business Investment (GBI), available for projects in qualifying areas. Most manufacturing businesses are eligible to apply for a grant, as are businesses in service industries which supply a national, rather than local, market. Applicants can be companies, partnerships or sole traders.

If you are investigating potential funding support for your project, please contact Business Link Yorkshire to discuss all potential options available.

What is a GBI?

These are discretionary grants designed for businesses which would like to invest in an Assisted Area (Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3), but need some financial help to go ahead. Assistance may be provided to:

  • Expand, modernise or reorganise an existing business
  • Upgrade a business by introducing technological or other innovative improvements into the business process  
  • Enable a business to take the step from development to production.

Please note that all GBI awards are taxable. It is essential that you make no commitment to the project prior to an offer of grant being made, as this would make your application ineligible.

Examples of GBI funding

Hundreds of companies have been awarded GBI funding, which the amounts ranging from a few thousand pounds to over £1 million, depending on the indiviudual project. Examples of companies that have been awarded GBI funding can be found here.

Size of grants available

In each case, the amount and terms of GBI assistance will be negotiated as the minimum necessary for the proposed project to go ahead. The minimum grant available is £10,000. Levels of support can be substantial, and will depend on the quality of the project and its impact on productivity and skills.

How the grants are made

Funding is normally paid out in instalments, upon achieving fixed capital expenditure and job targets, which are laid out in the formal offer of grant support. These targets will be agreed with you during the appraisal of your application, and are usually arranged to coincide with the project’s anticipated progress.

Eligibility criteria

There are 9 key criteria to consider before making an application (see below). Please do not make an application until you are sure your project meets these criteria.

  • Location—Please be absolutely certain that your project is in an Assisted Area. To check whether your location falls within an assisted area, please visit the BIS website and enter your postcode. This will identify assisted areas for Tier 1 and Tier 2. If you are an SME (Small or Medium sized Enterprise) , and are not located in Tier 1 or Tier 2, then support is available within Tier 3 areas. 
  • Need—You must be able to prove that a grant is essential in order for your project to go ahead as planned. This might be to reduce the risks associated with the project, to influence the choice of a mobile project’s location, or for some other reason. There must be no prior commitment to the project, otherwise it will be difficult to gauge the need for assistance. Also, the project appraisal must have been completed and a formal offer of assistance issued before any applicant enters into a commitment to proceed with the project.
  • Type of investment—The project must involve expenditure on fixed assets, such as property, plant and machinery. The working capital spend on a project does not directly qualify, but can be taken into account when establishing the need for assistance. Assets can be purchased outright or by finance lease or hire-purchase terms. Some property leases and certain costs of a non-recurring nature (such as patent rights and professional fees) might also be eligible. Your project will be monitored for at least 5 years after its completion, through the completion of the investment and beyond, to ensure that the conditions of the offer have been maintained.
  • Jobs & skills—If you are looking for financial support of £100,000 or more, your project must create new jobs or safeguard existing jobs. The more your project will increase skills and the more it involves investment in the skills base, the more value will be placed on this criterion when considering your application. 
  • Viability—Your project should be viable and should help your business to become more competitive. The project will normally be expected to become profitable within three years.  
  • Quality—The majority of financial support is focused on high-quality, innovative, knowledge-based projects which provide skilled jobs. Apart from a small proportion of cases that have significant employment benefits, the emphasis is on raising productivity and improvement in the skills base. A number of factors may be assessed to help us determine the quality of projects, for example:
    • The level of wages: as compared to the average for the sector and region

    • The R&D content: is there any research and development investment involved in the project?

  • Training and development - is there high-quality training for staff, including the provision of skills beyond job requirements?
  • National & regional benefit—The project should contribute positive benefits to both the regional and national economies. Applications will be assessed for their impact on existing investment within and outside of the region
  • Other funding—Most of the funding for the projects should be met by the applicant, or come from other sources in the private sector, such as a bank loan, lease finance, and/or equity finance. Additional public-sector assistance may be available, but should be cumulated with the GBI grant to make sure that the total value of aid for the project complies with European Commission regional aid limits.

Ineligibility

  • The European Commission restricts aid to certain sectors, such as iron and steel, coal, synthetic fibres, vehicles, and agriculture and fisheries
  • Similarly, support is not available for projects in sectors of the economy which are already fully served, as this will lead to overcapacity, which damages productivity
  • Projects which simply transfer jobs from one part of the country to another, with no significant increase in employment or growth in output, are also ineligible. However, projects which deliver new technologies and processes to these sectors may be considered on a case-by-case basis
  • Support is not available for projects likely to lead to the displacement of similar employment already present in the Assisted Area
  • Projects involving local services, such as retail outlets or restaurants, would be considered ineligible for support.

Applying for GBI grants

When making a funding application, you will need to provide information regarding the size of your market and your existing and expected market share. You will also be asked for details of your main customers and competitors, including their locations.

Considering your application

Once we have received your full application, we’ll be able to decide who will consider your grant request—based on the amount applied for. The grant requested should be the minimum to secure the project.

  • Grant requests below £250,000 will be appraised within the GBI team
  • Grant requests between £250,000 and £2m will be appraised at the Regional Industrial Development Board
  • Grant requests over £2m will be appraised centrally by BIS in London.

Grant requests under £2m will be handled by an appraisal officer at Yorkshire Forward, who may wish to visit your project’s location and discuss your application with you. At this stage, other government departments may be asked to provide advice on your application. For example, checks may be made at Companies House and with the Insolvency Service. We may also share information, as required by European Commission.

Timescales

  • For grant requests below £250,000, you should receive a decision within 20 working days, provided your application is fully completed and accompanied by all the supporting information
  • Grant requests between £250,000 and £2m may take longer to assess, but we will aim to take account of your project’s needs. Applications will only be sent to Regional Industrial Development Board (held monthly) once the appraisal officer is satisfied that the application is complete, eligible, and has proven the need for a GBI award
  • For grant requests above £2 million, once an application has been received by BIS an appraisal officer will be allocated and you will deal directly with BIS. The GBI team at Yorkshire Forward will prepare the regional case for your application.

How the grants are made

If your application is successful funding is paid out in instalments, upon achieving fixed capital expenditure and job targets, which are laid out in the formal offer of grant support. These targets will be agreed with you during the appraisal of your application, and are usually arranged to coincide with the project’s anticipated progress.

The claims process for GBI grants

If your application for funding is successful you will be allocated a monitoring officer, who will advise you of the next stages in the process. This will not be the person who considered your application, but the GBI team will tell you who it will be.

The first stage for successful GBI projects is the offer letter. This lays out the details of key ‘triggers’ on defrayed capital expenditure, job creation and/or safeguarding jobs. Once you have started the project and have reached the trigger for the release of the first instalment, you should contact your monitoring officer, who will tell you about the claim process.

Submitting a full claim

Once your monitoring officer has confirmed that your claim can be accepted, the following information should be sent to them at Yorkshire Forward:

  • Completed claim form
  • Independent auditors’ report
  • Audited accounts
  • Management accounts
  • Group accounts (where necessary).

Following the receipt of a full claim, our GBI team will respond within 30 days. To help them process the claim quickly, it is important that you supply all of the required information. It may be necessary for the monitoring officer to visit your company to complete the claim.

Project delays

Please note before submitting a claim that each project has a No-Obligation-to-Pay Date (NOPD) within the offer letter. If a claim is received after the NOPD, there is no obligation on the part of Yorkshire Forward to pay the claim. Therefore, it is extremely important that you tell your monitoring officer about any potential delays, or any changes or developments, in your project.

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