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EASTERN AGRI-TECH GROWTH INITIATIVE

Published: 18 Feb 2014



EASTERN AGRI-TECH GROWTH INITIATIVE  
 
BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND KEY GUIDANCE FOR COMPLETING THE GRANT APPLICATION FORM 
 
1. The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative is designed to provide a significant boost to the food production, agriculture industry and research cluster by investing in new market and supply chain development, essential skills development and the development, application and commercialisation of Research and Development (R&D).  
 
2. The Agri-Tech Growth Initiative aims to create 365 local jobs over two years, starting from January 2014.  
 
WHAT FUNDING IS AVAILABLE? 
3. The Agri-Tech Growth Initiative has two main funds: 
• A £2m Agri-Tech Growth Fund which will provide grants of between £25,000 and £150,000 to enhance business and jobs growth, and support product development. The Fund is aimed at supporting improvements in agricultural productivity through the introduction of new products or processes and encourage improvements to existing product/ processes and energy efficiency.  
• A £540,000 R&D and Prototyping Fund which will provide financial assistance to attract innovative and novel technologies. Planned research critical to the development of new products or processes within the Agri-Tech sector can be supported with grants of between £10,000 and £60,000 to cover the costs of research and development. 
4. Both Funds will operate until 31 March 2015 (or sooner if the money has been allocated and spent). 
AM I ELIGIBLE TO APPLY? 
Agri-Tech Growth Fund  
 
5. The key eligibility criteria are as follows:  
a) Applications can only be accepted from a Small to Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) which must be a sole trader, partnership, limited company or not for profit business whose main business is in or related to the Agri-Tech sector, defined as follows: 
• a medium-sized enterprise employing less than 250 people and has an annual turnover not exceeding 50m Euro and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding 43m Euro.  
 
• a small enterprise employing less than 50 people and has an annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total not exceeding 10m Euro. 
 
• a micro-enterprise employing less than 10 people and has an annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total not exceeding 2m Euro.  
To help potential applicants work out what their equivalent annual turnover and balance sheet amounts are in GB Pounds, please use the web link below. This will give potential applicants the current Euro/GB Pound exchange rate in place at the time when applicants are considering applying for support. The currency converter box will show the current month and year. Click on the bottom drop down and scroll down the list of currencies until you find "GB Pound Sterling". Click on this and then click on the "convert" button. This will then show the appropriate rate. 
 
http://ec.europa.eu/budget/contracts_grants/info_contracts/inforeuro/inforeuro_en.cfm 
 
b) Applications will be considered from farmers, food manufacturers and retailers. This includes sectors such as food processing and food wholesaling, as well as related industries such as process engineering. The Fund is also aimed at businesses that are involved in technologies which have the potential of application to the food industry as the programme aspires to support innovation and its application to the food industry. Each applicant will be expected to provide a clear indication of the beneficial change to productivity.  
 
c) Applicants should be established in product markets that are likely to grow strongly in the medium term.  
 
d) Applications cannot be accepted from subsidiaries of large companies.  
 
e) Applicants must be intending to create permanent long term employment through new jobs, or protecting existing jobs at a rate of one job per £5,500 of grant aid given. 
 
f) The project and jobs created and/or protected with the funding given must be located within any of the following local authority areas: Babergh; Breckland; Broadland; Cambridge City; East Cambridgeshire; Fenland; Forest Heath; Great Yarmouth; Huntingdonshire; Ipswich; Kings Lynn & West Norfolk; Mid Suffolk; North Hertfordshire; North Norfolk; Norwich; Peterborough; Rutland; St Edmundsbury; South Cambridgeshire; South Norfolk; Suffolk Coastal; Uttlesford and Waveney. 
g) Grants of between £25,000 and £150,000 are provided up to a maximum of 25% of the total cost of the project. Applicants must be able to clearly demonstrate that they are able to provide the remaining 75% of the project costs from other sources of private sector investment, such as the company's own resources, commercial loans or other types of investment. Applications can only be made if the applicant is either already in discussions with financial providers or has the minimum 75% of match funding available. No application can be approved until all the required match funding has been secured.  
 
h) Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have been unable to secure all the funding they require from other financial sources, such as a loan or another grant scheme. 
 
i) Applications will only be considered if an applicant can demonstrate that the project is investment ready and backed by a sound Business Plan and Project Plan.  
R&D and Prototyping Fund  
 
6. The key eligibility criteria are as follows: 
 
a) The scheme is aimed at developing agricultural research and innovation. Applicants will be mainly research institutes and food manufacturers this includes sectors such as food processing and wholesaling; as well as related industries such as process engineering. It also includes businesses that are involved in technologies, which have the potential of application to the agriculture and food industries. Funding is reserved for novel or new commercial applications of research that are currently not viable under current research budgets or corporate R&D priorities. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that R&D/prototyping activities would not otherwise happen without financial assistance. Annex A to these guidance notes sets out what types of research are eligible for support.  
 
b) Applications can only be accepted where the planned innovation/research activity will be carried out within any of the following local authority areas: Babergh; Breckland; Broadland; Cambridge City; East Cambridgeshire; Fenland; Forest Heath; Great Yarmouth; Huntingdonshire; Ipswich; Kings Lynn & West Norfolk; Mid Suffolk; North Hertfordshire; North Norfolk; Norwich; Peterborough; Rutland; St Edmundsbury; South Cambridgeshire; South Norfolk; Suffolk Coastal; Uttlesford and Waveney. 
 
c) Grants of between £10,000 and £60,000 are provided up to a maximum of 50% of the total project cost. Applicants must be able to clearly demonstrate that they have secured the required 50% match funding from other sources of private sector investment, such as the company's own resources, commercial loans or other types of investment. Applications can only be made if the applicant is either already in discussions with financial providers or has the minimum 50% of match funding available. No application can be approved until all the required match funding has been secured. 
 
d) Applications will only be considered if an applicant can demonstrate that the project is investment ready and backed by a sound Business Plan and Project Plan. The business plan must include confirmation that the applicant business has a management team with relevant background and that appropriate Intellectual Property Rights have been or are in the process of being secured.  
 
PROJECT PROPOSAL 
 
7. For both the Agri-Tech Growth Fund and R&D and Prototyping Fund, projects must be capable of bringing significant improvements in agricultural/food production. 
 
8. Applicants will be expected to provide a clear explanation about the project and an indication of the beneficial change and impact that the project will bring to productivity in agriculture and food production. 
 
9. Applicants must explain why the grant is needed and what would happen to the project if funding was not provided and what the impact would be on their business and the sector if the project did not proceed.  
 
JOBS (FOR GROWTH FUND ONLY) 
 
10. Applicants must provide: 
a) the number of new jobs that will be created as a direct result of the investment project; and, 
b) (where appropriate) the number of jobs that will be protected as a direct result of the investment project.  
 
11. Protected jobs are those jobs that will be maintained as a direct result of the project. Jobs can only be considered protected where there is a real threat that they will be lost in the near future if the project does not proceed. Jobs created/protected (even where these have the same job title) should be entered on separate lines. 
 
12. The number of jobs should be based on a Full-Time equivalent which is equal to one Full-Time job or two Part-Time jobs where: Full-Time= 30 or more hours per week; Part-Time = more than 15 hours, but fewer than 30 hours per week.  
 
13. Each job should be included for the two years that we would expect the job to be maintained. Where jobs are maintained for longer than two years and beyond FY 2018/19 please record this in the narrative box below the table on the application form. 
 
14. We would also like to know whether the new and and/or protected jobs are skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled positions and what type of new skills will be created by the project. The National Vocational Qualification levels set out in the table in Annex B to these guidance notes might be a helpful reference point.  
 
HOW DO I APPLY? 
 
15. All applicants for either Fund must complete the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) which will determine whether you are eligible to apply for financial support. If after completing the PQQ you are eligible, you will be sent an application form (via email) and invited to apply. 
 
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY APPLICATION? 
 
16. Your application form will be should be sent to Cambridgeshire County Council's Enterprise & Economy Team (CCC). Depending on the location in which the project will take place, a team of skilled project assessors from either CCC or Norfolk County Council will assess your application on behalf of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership and New Anglia LEP. Our assessors will review your information and ask any further questions they may have.  
 
17. The assessment may require a visit to the premises of the applicant business/organisation by one of our team. 
 
18. If the project meets the criteria set out above and the application completes the assessment, it will be passed to our Investment Panel (Panel) to review. The Panel will review the application and pass it on to our Agri-Tech Programme Delivery Board (Board) with a recommendation to either approve or decline. The Board will make the final decision whether to support the application or not. Both the Panel and the Board include business people with experience and knowledge of the food industry, including research, farming and food processing. 
 
19. We will notify you of the Board's decision whether to support or decline your application. If your application is approved we will finalise due diligence and provide you with an agreement to review and sign before the project begins. This agreement will set out the key milestones and the dates for you to claim your funding. If your application is unsuccessful, we will contact you to let you know why your application has been declined.  
 
20. We will also inform you if your proposed project does not meet the criteria (as set out above), at either the Pre-Qualification stage and during the assessment. Please note that applications that do not meet the criteria will not be submitted to either the Panel or the Board. 
 
21. We aim to reach a decision about your application within 45 working days from receiving a full application with all supporting documentation.  
 
22. We will keep you informed of progress with your application throughout the process. 
 
WHO SHOULD I CONTACT TO DISCUSS MY APPLICATION? 
 
In the first instance you should contact Martin Lutman, Agri-Tech Project Manager, on 01223 967009 or 01733 602009, or via email at info@agritechgrants.co.uk 
 
Alternatively you can contact the Economic Development Team at your Local Authority. 
 
WHO SHOULD I SEND MY APPLICATION TO? 
You should email an electronic copy of your application to  
andrew.poulton@cambridgeshire.gov.uk and also post a copy to: 
 
Andrew Poulton  
Economic Strategy and Partnerships Officer  
Enterprise and Economy Team 
Cambridgeshire County Council 
Shire Hall 
Cambridge CB3 0AP  
 
Courtesy of: www.yourlocalenterprisepartnership.co.uk

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