Oil and Gas Business Support Scheme
New Anglia LEP is responding to the current downturn in oil and gas prices though the introduction of two schemes to support the sector. The long term objective is to restore participating companies to a position of stability/sustainability, and ideally to set a growth trajectory. The key aim is to help each participating company to survive the current downturn. Participating companies that meet the eligibility criteria will be able to access grant aid, so they can bring in specialist support to help their company.
The first scheme is led by Norfolk County Council and comprises a business counselling and health check service to help local companies in that sector adapt to and cope with the effects of the downturn. The scheme is aimed at companies which can show that at least 50% of their turnover is associated with or derived from the oil and gas sector. Companies will need to demonstrate that they have a business model that gives reassurance that a viable business can be maintained in the longer term. It is not designed to intervene in insolvency situations. The consultancy service will work with eligible businesses to provide a specialist coach to help them through the next 1-3 years, and to emerge ready to take advantage of the projected upturn in the industry. This could be through one or more of a variety of interventions including:
- Development of new technology or innovation
- Identification and mobilisation into new (overseas) markets
The size of grants awarded depends on the size of the company, and it is expected that companies are expected to make at least a 50% contribution. The maximum size of grants awarded is as follows:
- For 1-4 employee business – £600 + VAT
- For 5- 49 employee businesses – £1500 + VAT
- For 50 to 249 employee businesses – £3000 + VAT
To be eligible for assistance, any company must be registered in the UK and have a base in Norfolk or Suffolk. The company must be a Small or Medium Enterprise as defined by the EU.
As part of the process, a diagnostic exercise will be undertaken, to determine the eligibility of the business and identify what type of support they require. Referrals to the scheme will come from the New Anglia LEP Growth Hub, who will designate two dedicated advisors, to act as the gateway for the scheme.
Growing Business Fund
Any business undertaking the above consultancy is then eligible to submit an application for a grant under the umbrella of the Growing Business Fund (GBF). This is a separate fund to our mainstream GBF and is a dedicated pot of monies to provide support grants of between £25,000 and £200,000 to businesses in the Oil and Gas Sector seeking to diversify. For grants up to £100,000, there is no requirement for job creation (normally 1 job per £10,000 granted), however, any jobs which are created will be monitored as part of the project.
Small (including Micro) sized businesses may apply for a grant of up to 20% of the total project cost needed for investment, to be used to leverage funding from other sources, such as banks and other financial organisations. Medium sized businesses may apply for up to 10% of the total cost of the expansion project.
Businesses based in an Assisted Area in either Norfolk or Suffolk may be eligible for the following levels of grant funding:
– Small (including Micro) businesses – up to 30%
– Medium sized businesses – up to 20%
– Large businesses – up to 10%
To be eligible for grant funding, applicants must meet the following essential criteria:
- Be a trading enterprise;
- Be based in Norfolk or Suffolk;
- Be ready to invest or expand in the local area;
- Be able to evidence secured match funding from private funds;
- Additional criteria apply to Large businesses.