New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (New Anglia LEP) is working in partnership with new Anglia
Growth Hub, Finance East and Suffolk County Council to deliver the highly successful Growing
Business Fund (GBF). This funding programme provides direct grants to local businesses intending to
grow and create new jobs.
The Growing Business Fund offers grants between £25,000 and £250,000.
There are no formal deadlines for grant applications, which can be submitted at any time.
All enquiries regarding the Growing Business Fund should be directed to:
New Anglia Growth Hub
Tel.: 0300 333 6536
E-mail: [email protected]
New Anglia LEP covers Norfolk and Suffolk; it is very supportive of the development of businesses
across the two counties and offers a range of support in the form of various grants and loans.
Businesses also have free access to New Anglia Growth Hub services, whose qualified advisers will
visit your business to meet you, one to one, and provide business advice, offer suggestions and
signpost to help (if needed) to grow your business.
One of New Anglia LEP’s most successful and flagship initiatives, The Growing Business Fund has
awarded just over £ £29.5m in grants to 284 projects generating £219.6m of private match funding
and creating 3,226 jobs. The process is very simple, and provided you are eligible and able to work
with us, we can award a grant within a few weeks.
After an initial discussion with the New Anglia Growth Hub and completion of an Expression of
Interest form, a full due diligence audit will be carried out by Finance East, an independent financial
company. Then your application will be considered by an independent panel who meet monthly. They
award the grants, subject to their full discretion.
After the grant is awarded you will be assigned a case worker from Suffolk County Council who will
support you throughout the claims process.
We suggest that you read these guidelines and talk to a Growth Hub adviser at the earliest
opportunity, even if you are not sure if this is the most appropriate route for you. Our advisers will le to
signpost other options if the Growing Business Fund is not suitable.
If you intend to make a formal application to the Growing Business Fund, you must read and
ensure you understand all the content of this Guidance.
You will be asked to sign a declaration to this effect
Please note, we cannot be held responsible for any advice on eligibility
you may receive from third parties.
Legal Status
Grant applicants may be sole traders, partnerships, limited companies, social enterprises,
not-for-profit businesses, and registered charities, so long as they are engaged in an
economic activity.
Established Businesses
The GBF aims to support established businesses that are ready to
grow and expand further. Grants are available to start-up businesses or those in the
very earliest stages of trading with evidence of a strong potential to trade immediately.
Business Sectors
The GBF is open to applicants from different business sectors, although there are some
exceptions beyond our control, such as, businesses involved in primary agriculture and
horticulture, fisheries, aquaculture, forestry, steel, synthetic fibres, retail (including farm
shops and post offices), pubs and hotels, care sectors, health and medical services,
financial services, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers, haulage (not vehicles) passenger
transport, education, estate and employment agencies are also not eligible.
Business Size
The GBF is able to support Micro, Small and Medium
businesses. For more details of these size definitions, visit:
Amount of Funding Available
The table below gives more detail on the maximum levels of grant funding available:
Business Size
Maximum Grant Award
(Usually based on data as at the end
(all grants awarded will be in the range £25,001 to
of your last financial year)
Micro - fewer than 10 employees,
Usually up to a maximum of 20% of total
and annual turnover or annual
expansion costs
Balance Sheet total not exceeding
Small - fewer than 50 employees,
Usually up to a maximum of 20% of total
and annual turnover or annual
expansion costs
Balance Sheet not exceeding
Medium - fewer than 250
Usually up to a maximum of 10% of total
employees and annual turnover
expansion costs or in some cases 20% if
not exceeding €50m or annual
awarded under minimis
Balance Sheet total not exceeding
Sustainable Businesses
The GBF supports growing and expanding businesses wanting to
continue their development. You must be able to demonstrate that your business is viable,
has good growth potential and will be self-sustaining in the long term. The GBF cannot
support businesses whose balance sheets indicate present or recent trading difficulties.
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Your proposed expansion must be taking place in, or you must at least have a business
base in, either Norfolk or Suffolk. We are particularly keen to support businesses
considering expanding and relocating to Norfolk or Suffolk.
New Job Creation
Your expansion plans must include the creation of new employment unless you are
expanding and increasing your productivity, please see 2.7.
The new jobs must be permanent new positions in the business and expected to last at
least twelve months.
Your planned expansion must be based in or at least managed
from Norfolk or Suffolk
You will be required to create at least one new job for each £20,000 of grant awarded, or
for new Apprentice positions, one for each £10,000 of grant - the actual grant is not for
the jobs themselves but is to support other investment which leads to job creation.
Please note that we will also consider the level of salary and type of job created, and a
new job must be paying at least the minimum wage; we will also be seeking evidence of
future increases in that pay (to be shown in the financial forecasts). It is expected that new
jobs will be created within twelve months of grant approval and be directly related to your
expansion plan.
Where there are new jobs they must result in an increase in overall staff numbers
Any new jobs should last at least 12 months
Jobs created prior to formal Approval of your Grant cannot be counted towards your
agreed target
You must create net new jobs, i.e., an overall increase in your staff numbers when
compared to the number of staff employed at the date of your grant application. Please
note that new jobs created can only be counted if they are created after the date of
approval of your grant.
New Apprenticeship positions are welcomed, but only if they are not supported by any
European, Government or Public funds, are expected to last at least twelve months and
are expected to lead to full time, long term positions in the business.
A new Full-Time job is defined as one of at least 30 hours per week, with Part Time
positions being 15 - 29 hours per week. Two such Part Time positions may therefore
count as one Full-Time equivalent position.
Please note - seasonal and ‘zero hours’ jobs cannot be considered.
Routine replacement for staff leaving also cannot be considered.
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Safeguarding of Jobs
We may be prepared to consider applications for funding which safeguard jobs
rather than create new ones. In this instance as a business, you must clearly demonstrate
one or more of the following:
Significant contract loss
Job numbers are in decline.
An adverse trend in turnover versus profit
The business sector as a whole is in difficulties.
That you can demonstrate diversification into a new service or product
In all cases your business must have the potential to be viable in the medium to long term
Please talk to your Growth Hub adviser to discuss, this list is not exhaustive.
Readiness of the Planned Expansion
New Anglia LEP wishes to support expansion that is ready to commence immediately.
after Grant Approval. Where needed, you must provide confirmation at the time of your
application that all necessary planning permissions and any other permits and licences
to operate, are actually in place or confirmation that they are not required
If a grant including property expenditure is approved, it is also expected that:
Freehold property should be in the name of the trading business - we will not support
property Holding Companies, or property in the names of Directors / Owners, or in
their pension funds
If rented, the Lease should have a minimum of three years unexpired term
All necessary planning permissions, permits, and licences must be in place.
Your expansion plan should be ready to begin.
Funding for Your Expansion Plan
Grant applications can only be considered when you are able to provide confirmation that
all the remaining funds needed for your expansion plans are in place. You will be
expected to provide clear evidence of this, including an email funding agreement in
principle, or finance Offer Letters, Bank statements, etc.with your application.
Simple ‘quotations’ for finance are not sufficient.
Some of the most common sources of additional funds are shown below, but this list is not
intended to be exhaustive, and other funds may be acceptable:
Bank or Asset Finance;
Company funds;
Director / Partner / Owner or private individual contributions; evidence of
funds being available will be required
Private or personal investment;
Private or personal loans;
Venture capital investment.
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Please note that future cash flow or profit, or “in-kind” support which does not represent
actual funds are not eligible, nor can we allow any other grants or funding from Public
Sector sources (UK Government, European Union, Local Authorities etc.)
Need for Grant Funding
Your grant application must also, explain why you require a grant, what difference
it will make to your business, and why you have been unable to obtain all the finance you
Why do you require a grant, and what difference will it make to your business?
Have you maximised other funding sources before making a grant application?
need for your expansion. This is important, as grant funds cannot be used to support
expansion plans where other funding appears to be available, or where the expansion
would proceed regardless.
Increase in Productivity
It is possible to apply for a grant to increase productivity and efficiencies due to
innovation, new equipment or working methods, and without necessarily employing
additional staff. In this instance we would expect you to provide robust measures and later
evidence of how that increase in productivity or outputs might take place before the panel
meeting. Each business will have its own measurement, for instance, you may measure
sales per employee, speed of output, or sales per space, turnover per employee.
We will expect to see robust forecasts indicating future growth and evidence of an order
You will also need to provide written confirmation that your business (at Group level if
appropriate) has not closed down the same or similar activity in the European Economic
Area in the two years prior to your application for grant funding, and you do not have plans
to close such an activity in the two years following completion of the new expansion.
Please note, further restrictions may apply if you make an investment within three years
from the start date of the expansion in another investment in the same local area, i.e.,
Norfolk or Suffolk.
*a new establishment is a new place of business which is intended to be stable, regular
and to continue for an indefinite period. Usually this would require the place of business
to be fully functional, autonomous and self-standing (although it may share back office
functions such as IT and HR)
** a new activity is an activity which does not fall under the same four-digit NACE or SIC
code as the activities previously undertaken at the establishment, or by the business in
the local area.
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New Anglia wishes only to support well considered expansion plans which lead directly to
business growth and/or job creation, not simply expenditure on routine improvements and
upgrades which are incidental to expected growth in business. We will only consider costs
which are directly related to expansion plans.
The table below outlines the main investments which can and cannot be included in
overall expansion plans, and those costs which are specifically eligible for grant
Please note that grant awards in respect of expenditure relating to property
whether on construction, purchase, or improvement will be limited to 10%
Our strong preference is to support equipment and other expenditure which
focuses on improving productive capacity, rather than simple expansion of
Acceptable costs
Premises (construction,
But not the purchase of your current leased
purchase, extension,
premises, improvements required to simply
eligible for grant
comply with national or EU standards, or
routine refurbishment. Investment Property
purchase cannot be funded
Fixtures and fittings, furniture
Some fixtures and fittings may be regarded as
property improvements
Plant and equipment,
machinery, tooling
IT Equipment, software,
Marketing, including costs for
Must be related to the expansion plan and not
overall costs,
participation in trade fairs
a general running cost or regular advertising
but may not be
Creation of a new website
Not routine maintenance / updates
eligible for grant
related to the proposed
Professional fees (legal,
Not consultancy related to your grant
(Micro, Small
planning, architectural etc.)
application, tax consultancy, or regular legal
and Medium
Recruitment costs for new
staff related to the proposed
Commercial vehicles,
For use within the business only. Must be an
including second hand
outright purchase from a bona fide business
with a VAT receipt.
Only where essential for new staff to become
effective in the business, and where provided
and invoiced externally.
Not training that is carried out simply to
comply with national mandatory standards e.g.
health & safety, first aid etc.
Only where a one-off addition to stock is
deemed essential to the expansion
Other costs may also be
Depending on the details of your expansion
Ineligible project
Research and Development
Working capital / routine
Including costs such as rent, rates, utilities,
operating costs
current and new personnel wages and other
VAT cannot be included in any of your costs, unless you are unable to reclaim it.
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No spend prior to the date your grant is Approved can be
allowed against your overall expansion costs
Do not start your expenditure until you have received
and formally accepted your Grant Offer
Please note that NO expenditure on your expansion plan is permitted before the
date of your grant Approval.
This is checked very carefully against invoice dates and Bank statements or other
payment evidence, during the Claims and Monitoring period (see Section 4.5). Any
expenditure which is found to have been authorised or actually incurred prior to your
Grant Approval will be deducted from your overall expansion costs, and your grant will be
reduced as a result. You are strongly advised not to commence your expenditure until you
have received and formally accepted your Grant Offer.
New Anglia LEP is working in partnership with Growth Hub (GH), Finance East (FE) and
Suffolk County Council (SCC) to deliver the GBF The diagram below outlines the GBF
grant application process:
4.1 Enquiry
Businesses wishing to apply for a GBF grant award should first contact
the New Anglia Growth Hub (see the contact details on page 1).
A Business Growth Adviser will arrange to discuss your expansion plans with you.
If your intended expansion appears to meet the main eligibility criteria for the GBF, your
Adviser will help you to complete an Expression of Interest form
This form must NOT be handwritten.
4.2 Expression of Interest
Your Expression of Interest form will enable us to further assess your eligibility for grant
support. A hard copy of the form, with original handwritten signature must be provided to
the Growth Hub. Please note that completion of an Expression of Interest form must not in
any way be taken as an indication that a full grant Application will be approved.
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Application and Assessment
Your Expression of Interest form, when fully completed will be passed to FE
an external organisation engaged by New Anglia LEP to fully assess grant applications
and make recommendations to the Grant Panel.
FE will work with you during the assessment stage of your grant application. They will
send you a formal Application form for completion, and request supporting information in
order to properly assess your expansion plan and its suitability for the GBF. Supporting
information will include, but not be limited to, details about your business, its Directors /
Partners / Owners, its shareholders, business plan, and both historic and forecast
financial performance.
Your Application may be sent to FE electronically in the first instance, however, a
hardcopy with original signatures must be provided. Your Application should be signed in
accordance with your normal signing arrangements, i.e., the usual number of owners,
directors or shareholders. FE will undertake a detailed assessment of your proposed
expansion based on the Application Form and the supporting information provided. If
necessary, you will be asked to supply further information.
An assessment will also be made of the competition in your sector and the extent to which
your expansion might affect other similar businesses. Applications which appear to
duplicate or take business from other businesses locally will in general not be supported.
The overall assessment of your Application is likely to involve at least one meeting with
the owners, directors or shareholders of your business, and a visit to your premises.
You will be expected to progress to the full Application stage within three months
from the date your Expression of Interest EOI Form is accepted by the Growth Hub.
Any longer and you may have to resubmit a new Expression of Interest form.
Once assessment of your Application has been completed, FE will prepare a Report and
recommendation and this will be submitted to the Grant Approval Panel which will take a
final decision on your grant Application. Each application is considered on its own merit
Grant Panel
All eligible Applications are considered by a Grant Panel, which meets
monthly. Details of the panel can be found here
Please note, your Application will NOT be considered by the Panel until we have
received your original signed hardcopies of both the Expression of Interest and
Application Forms.
The Panel will consider the Report prepared by FE and will reach a decision on your grant
request based on the information provided and the extent to which your expansion plan
meets the main objectives of the GBF.
The Panel’s final decision on your Application and will be communicated to you as soon
as possible by phone and email.
Should your Application be rejected by the Panel, an explanation will be given.
Please note there is no right of appeal against the Panel’s decision. New Anglia LEP is
prepared to consider representations from unsuccessful applicants only if they feel that
their Application has not been handled in accordance with the process outlined in this
Guidance document.
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Offer Letter
If your grant Application is approved, SCC, New Anglia’s partner organisation undertaking
the management of grants, will send you a formal grant Offer Letter that will include the
The amount of grant you have been offered and the State Aid regulations under
which it has been approved;
Conditions of the Offer - both Standard Conditions and any requested by the Panel;
The job creation requirements and other results that must be achieved;
How to submit Claims and Monitoring returns, how to obtain your grant funds, and
the final date by which you must claim the grant;
Details of the overall agreed expansion expenditure, and those items specifically
eligible for the payment of grant;
How your project will be monitored by SCC, and contact information for your grant
Caseworker at SCC;
A Grant Acceptance Form which needs to be signed and returned to SCC;
SCC will also arrange to visit you to discuss the Offer Letter in detail, to ensure that you
fully understand the Terms and Conditions of the grant, the process for Claims, and so on.
Once your grant has been approved, you may start spending money on the agreed
expansion costs and grant eligible items categories, but not before. Breaches of this
condition is likely to result in your overall expansion costs, and grant, being reduced or
even withdrawn.
The Offer Letter, Standard Conditions, Grant Acceptance Form and any other
attachments sent to you, form the Grant Agreement between you and SCC. This is a
legally binding Agreement, and you should ensure you read and understand all the
content. The Grant Acceptance Form should be signed in accordance with your business’
usual signing arrangements.
Grant Claims, Payment and Monitoring
You will be expected to complete and submit Claim and Monitoring Forms to SCC to
evidence progress with your expansion plan and job creation, and to enable the agreed
grant to be paid. The Forms must be supported by the following documents:
Receipts or bank statements showing these invoices have been paid;
Any other evidence required by SCC;
You will be expected to provide evidence for the total expansion expenditure in due
course, not just the grant-related items, although you are not expected to wait until it has
all taken place before you claim the grant.
You will also be asked to complete an Asset Register Update Form for all capital
purchases, such as buildings or items of equipment, where individual items cost £5,000 or
more and have a useful life of at least one year.
To evidence the creation of the agreed jobs, you will be asked to supply signed Contracts
of Employment and produce “before” and “after” extracts from your payroll records
showing that the new staff are being paid and represent increases to your overall staff
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Your expansion plan will be monitored by SCC until all the agreed spend has taken place,
the new jobs have been created, or jobs safeguarded, and any other agreed actions have
been taken; however, SCC may continue monitoring your plan after that, if deemed
necessary, and will arrange this separately if required. You must assist SCC with any
evaluation of your expansion plan and the use of the grant which they are required to
undertake under the terms of the grant programme.
SCC will also, at a suitable point in your expansion, undertake at least one monitoring visit
to your business. This is likely to be towards the end of your plan, when evidence of the
increased productivity, expansion, spend, and job creation will again be assessed.
Your expansion plan will be considered to be finally complete when all expenditure has
Taken, all required outputs have been achieved, a monitoring visit has taken place and all
outstanding queries, if any, have been resolved.
You must keep a satisfactory record of all your expenditure on the plan, and of any fees,
costs or other payments made to staff. SCC may ask to see your records at any
reasonable time, and you must comply with any such request. You must keep the records
for ten years beyond the monitoring period.
If you have already received a grant or grants and would like to submit another application
for funding for further expansion, this is acceptable, as long as you can demonstrate that
the previous expansion plans have been fully completed as expected, and all conditions
have been complied with, including job creation.
A new expansion plan must not duplicate any previous application(s) and the additional
funding to be used must be different to that used as part of your previous application(s).
Now that we have limited grant funding there must be a lapse of at least 3 years
between applications: priority will be given to first time applicants.
Successful grant applicants will be expected to acknowledge as widely as possible the
support and involvement of New Anglia LEP in their expansion plans.
The New Anglia LEP logo must appear on all publicity related to the expansion, such as
websites, site boards (where applicable), leaflets / brochures etc. You must use the
following wording: ‘This expansion was supported by New Anglia Local Enterprise
Partnership through the Growing Business Fund’
New Anglia LEP must approve, in advance, any publicity or other material to be released
to the media in connection with the grant. New Anglia LEP also reserves the right to refer
to any individual business, and the funding offered, in any of its own publicity material.
New Anglia may also prepare a Case Study for its website and / or a Press Release for
local media on your expansion, in order to help to promote the grant programmes. You will
be expected to assist and provide New Anglia with relevant information, including
photographs, logos, quotes etc. New Anglia may also publish your business name, the
amount of the awarded grant and brief information about your expansion, in any overall
summaries of grants awarded.
Brief details of the grant will appear in minutes of the GBF panel meeting which are held
on the LEP website
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General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Freedom of Information Act 2000
New Anglia LEP is the `Data Controller’ for ‘New Anglia Business Growth Programme’
(including the Growing Business Fund) related personal data and controls and processes
personal data (including sensitive special data) under the lawful bases of Article 6 (1) (e)
and Article 9 (2) (g) of the European Union ‘General Data Protection Regulation’ (2016/679).
New Anglia LEP and its partners (Finance East and Suffolk County Council) will use the
information you provide to assess your grant Application, to administer and analyse
applications, and for research purposes. We may give copies of all or some of this
information to individuals and organisations we consult with when assessing applications,
administering the grant programmes, monitoring projects and evaluating funding processes
and impacts. These organisations may include accountants, external evaluators and other
organisations or groups involved in delivering the grant programmes.
We may use personal information provided by you in order to conduct appropriate identity
checks. Personal information that you provide may be disclosed to a credit reference or
fraud prevention agency, which may keep a record of that information.
If you provide false or inaccurate information in your Application or at any point in the life
of any grant funding, we award to you and fraud is identified, we will provide details to fraud
prevention agencies, to prevent fraud and money laundering.
Data is recorded on the ‘New Anglia Business Growth Programme’ Customer Relationship
Management System (CRM) which is shared with ‘New Anglia Business Growth
Programme’ partners (New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Nwes, Menta, Suffolk
Chamber of Commerce and Finance East) and Norfolk and Suffolk local authorities.
Data may be shared with ‘New Anglia Business Growth Programme’ partners as well as
the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and to the Department for
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for the purpose of supporting your
business/organisation and for reporting and statistical analysis.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000
Data recorded by the ‘New Anglia Business Growth Programme’ is subject to the
Freedom of Information Act 2000.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives members of the public the right to request
information that is held. This includes information received from third parties, such as,
although not limited to, grant applicants, grant holders, contractors and people making a
complaint. If information is requested under the Act it will be released, subject to some
exemptions, although you may be consulted first. If you think that information you are
providing may be exempt from release if requested, you should let us know when you
As a Public Authority, SCC is subject to the provisions of the Act. As part of SCC’s duties
under the Act it may be required to disclose information forming part of any contract to
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anyone who makes a reasonable request. SCC has absolute discretion to apply any
exemptions under the Act.
The Freedom of Information Act recognises that there will be valid reasons why some kind
of information may not be disclosed, such as if its release would damage commercial
interests or if it would contain personal information about another individual. SCC is not
obliged to deal with vexatious or repeated requests or, in some cases if the cost exceeds
an appropriate limit. Information supplied for the purposes of evidence of supporting
information for GBF that any applicant wishes to remain confidential must be clearly
marked as confidential. This marking will be considered in the event of a request under the
Freedom of Information Act, but the preservation of confidentiality cannot be guaranteed
due to the statutory obligations of the Public Authority.
In addition, information will be supplied for statistical purposes to the Ministry of
Communities and Local Government and to the Department for Business, Energy and
Industrial Strategy
The LEP’s Privacy Policy, which sets out how we use and protects any information that
you provide to the LEP and its delivery partners, can be found on the LEP’s website and is
also available upon request.
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