Growing Business Fund Grant Panel Meeting Minutes (Confirmed)
Wednesday, 03 March 2021 | 10.00am - 12.30pm
Held via conference call on Microsoft Teams
Present - Panel:
Mike Burrows (MB)
(Chair)
Martin Ince (MI)
Martin Ince Communications
Jackie Potter (JP)
Micropress Limited
Paul Stewart (PS)
Center Parcs
Dominic Keen (DK)
Britbots
Daryl Griffiths (DG)
Burnett Barker Solicitors
Dr Sumathi Sundram (SS)
S&V Consultants Limited
Kathy Atkinson (KA)
Kettle Foods Limited
In attendance:
Julie West (JW)
New Anglia LEP
Rose Joy (RJ)
New Anglia LEP
Barry Henson (BH)
Suffolk County Council
Stuart Ager (SA)
Finance East
Amanda Castell (AC)
Finance East
Neil Sargent (NS)
Finance East
1
Welcome and Introductions
MB welcomed members to the meeting. Meeting quorate.
2
Not present on telecon call
Apologies received: Chris Dashper, New Anglia LEP; Jason Middleton, New Anglia LEP and Jai Raithatha, Suffolk
County Council
Not present on the call: Roberta Willner, Norfolk County Council
3
Declarations of Interest and GDPR
None declared.
4
Meeting Minutes: Panel Meeting held on Wednesday, 13 January 2021
Meeting notes approved.
State Aid regulations: BH provided update.
Government did issue guidance on State Aid regulations, however this guidance is not comprehensive, as
government has launched a consultation on the question of public subsidy. The consultation runs to the end of
March 2021, after which they will assimilate the results, and make final decision, therefore have an interim
situation. In consultation with the SCC legal team, and MHCLG, it has been agreed that for GBF we continue with
the existing State Aid regulations i.e., the use of De Minimus as before and/or main GBER articles, until
government determines exactly what it wants to do.
With regards to the two grant approvals in January, SCC have sent draft Offer Letters to the businesses, so that
they can see the content of the Offer Letters and making the point that the grant offer is subject to State Aid
regulations. SCC now confirming these Offer Letters.
Page 1 of 7
Project updates: BH provided update.
Supersips Limited - SCC put the two recommended Conditions in the Offer Letter.
Lockwood Packaging Limited - AC provided update. Regular updates were requested but unfortunately no further
information has been received from Lockwood Packaging Limited to date.
5
Application Ratification (1)
(1) Sands Agricultural Machinery Limited - Agreed to support.
£400,000 - GBER
21 new full-time jobs, including two apprentice positions, to be created.
NS provided background information on the grant application. Panel noted the application was deferred
at the January 2021 meeting, pending receipt of further information, and is now being re-submitted for
approval. Project details remain the same, although breakdown of costs/quotes has been updated.
Key points of note: (1) Lockwood Packaging Limited now have Confirmed Planning Permission and have
given assurance that all Planning Permission conditions are in hand. (2) cost quotes have been updated
and Panel noted the total project costs had increased. If grant approved, BH requested the revised
breakdown of total project costs is put on the approval form so that SCC can include the higher figures in
the Offer Letter. Noted the grant amount will remain the same, despite the change in total project costs.
(3) NS has received clarification from the company on the pension schemes.
5
New Applications for Approval (3)
(1) Bacton Transport Limited - Agreed to support.
£86,800 - GBER
11 full time jobs to be created.
Query raised over whether a haulage business is eligible. BH confirmed the grant application is eligible, as
the costs are related to infrastructure of the business and its premises, not the nature of the business.
NS provided background information to the grant application. Panel noted relocation to a new site is
required as old site not fit for purpose. General discussion took place on ability to leave current site/leases.
NS confirmed the business did not anticipate any problems vacating the existing premises.
BH raised queries on (a) the IT costs as can only support hardware items. NS confirmed all IT costs in the
breakdown were hardware items. (b) the inclusion of project management fees and professional fees as
these are not capital items . General discussion took place on eligible legal fees. Panel agreed these types
of fees have been supported previously and therefore eligible for inclusion in the costs.
JP queried inclusion of solar panels on expenditure list and queried whether there was a better grant for
the purchase of the solar panels elsewhere. General discussion took place on availability of environmental
grants and GH awareness of these schemes.
Action:
JW to put note in the Newsletter regarding how the GH Advisers approach grants.
Panel noted the ‘green agenda’ is going to be an important consideration going forward.
(2) Sharp Systems Limited - Agreed to support.
£107,272 - GBER
6 full-time jobs to be created.
NS provided background information to the grant application. A straight-forward application by a
well-established business, in a key sector. A good fit for the GBF scheme.
Page 2 of 7
(3) Jaffa Imports Limited - Agreed to support.
£37,792 - GBER
2 full-time jobs to be created
AC provided background information to the grant application. Reference made to a grant award in 2015,
but unfortunately the premises fell through. Panel noted business growth is restricted by current premises
and the proposed move will help them to grow. AC had discussion regarding business efficiency, but the
business feels its first step is to move to bigger premises, before looking at efficiency measures. Panel
made the observation that the new jobs are low paid. AC received assurance from the business that
Brexit has not made any significant impact to their business. Future planning encouraged and Panel
suggested the business would benefit from accessing ongoing business coaching.
JW suggested Business Resilience & Recovery Consultancy and will ask the GH Adviser to go and talk to the
business and offer this support in order to help them rethink their future plans. JW outlined scheme to the
GBF Panel - https://newanglia.co.uk/eu-exit/guidance-for-smes/
DG suggested it would also be worth mentioning the Small Business Charter who are offering a Small
Business Leadership Programme - https://smallbusinesscharter.org/
6
Small Grant Scheme (SGS) | Growth Through Innovation Fund (GTI F) Updates
Grants generally have seen a slowing down in applications since Christmas.
Small Grant scheme - JW provided update.
The Panel noted the award of three grants in the month of January 2021, totalling £48,240 (Grants Awarded) and
£266,171 (Total Project Cost). One grant withdrawn - COVID related. See Annexe 1.
Growth Through Innovation Fund (GTIF) - JW provided update.
Progressing steadily. The Panel noted the award of one grant and an increased grant award in the month of
January 2021, totalling £23,650 and £54,400 (Total Project Cost). See Annexe 2.
7
Funding, Updates and Jobs Creation
Growing Business Fund (GBF) - JW provided update.
At the LEP Board last week they had approved £2.15m for the next 12 months, so its ‘business as usual’, but with
the following changes to the GBF criteria:
Grant value capped at £250k instead of £500k.
A 3-year limit - the business needs to have 3 years between grant applications and a box will be added to
the GBF application form to identify this.
Action:
JW to update details on the websites to reflect the changes in criteria.
JW to revise the GBF application form to include previous grant award box.
General discussion took place on the lower grant amount for GBF now that SGS is coming to an end.
GBF Panel meetings - JW will send out diary dates up to Christmas 2021.
Action:
JW to seek clarification from JM/CD on the minimum grant size for GBF
applications grants.
Visitor Economy Grants (VEG)/Wider Economy Grants (WEG) - JW provided update.
WEG scheme now fully committed, but still have approx. 20 VEG grants available, so currently trying to generate
interest.
BR&R Consultancy - JW provided update.
Scheme has been busy - details outlined to the Panel. Running about 35 projects currently.
Page 3 of 7
Business Growth Programme - JW provided update.
Focus is now on how to continue the Programme going forward, as Start-Up provision finishes at the end of August
2021, continuation of the Growth Hub needs to be sustained and some of the grants are running out of funding
like SGS.
Business Resilience & Recovery (BR&R) - BH provided update.
Programme was intended to be a short-term assistance programme because of COVID-19 impact with an end date
of June. However, there is still quite a bit of money in the pot and the LEP have agreed to extend the BR&R
programme and keep it running until all the monies have been used up. Approx. £1.5m still unallocated.
BH provided updates.
Since the Panel met in January, there has been positive movement on all the schemes.
Growing Business Fund - have paid out £2.7m in this financial year, which leaves only £90k of the original
allocation of funds for this year, so it has worked out well in terms of spend. Currently have a Claim in progress for
£80k which will pretty much wrap up the original £2.79m. Still have a few grants that have not yet Claimed, which
with today’s approvals of just over £600k, gives a total commitment of just over £1m which conveniently allocates
the additional £1m from the LEP, so GBF will be starting the new financial year on 01 April with the £2.15m.
Small Grant Scheme - have paid out another 11 grants since January, making the overall Programme total 327
grants paid. Total paid out has passed £3.45m, with a further 45 grants committed but not yet claimed, totalling
£371k, leaving £43k left in the pot. BH made observation that this figure can go up as well as down, as some are
claiming less than the original grant award which puts monies back into the pot which means we can keep
approving SGS grants for the time being, to pick up the slack.
Growth Through Innovation Fund - ‘ticking along nicely. Have 2-3 applications being looked at currently. 10
payments have been made, totaling £145k, with another 21 grants approved, totalling £362k. So just over 25% of
the £2m has been allocated. The scheme has gone more slowly than expected but still has two years to go.
Business Resilience & Recovery - the total is going up all the time.
117 grants have been approved, which is just
over £4.5m. Have closed 61 grants to date which illustrates just how much the scheme was meant to be a short-
term programme. Still £1.5m left in the pot to be allocated, which will now run until the monies run out as
mentioned earlier. Panel noted this will affect Suffolk County Council (SCC) and potentially Finance East (FE)
team’s workflow considerably and BH anticipates SCC will still be working on BR&R into next year closing off the
ones that are approved over the next few months.
Jobs creation - still seeing jobs created and in the last two months have seen another 25 on main scheme and 3 on
the SGS. So total now stands at 2,422 for GBF and ‘old’ SGS and 150.5 for SGS, respectively.
General discussion took place on jobs. SCC still monitoring new jobs by using pay roll records. Very encouraging.
8
GBF pplications ‘Pipeline’
JW reported through the GH have approx. £1.2m of interest.
Finance East have three potential applications to bring to Panel but all still early days in the enquiries. General
discussion took place.
9
PR and Marketing
JW provided update.
Marketing ongoing. JW Referenced Agri-Tech grant in the paper:
https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/business/poortvliet-farms-wins-agritech-grant-for-potato-store-7790126
Panel noted promotion of the GBF grants had been on hold until confirmation of the additional monies had been
given by the LEP Board, but now confirmation has been received, will go ahead, and promote GBF once again.
Page 4 of 7
10
Any Other Business
Retirement - SA announced that this was his last meeting on the GBF Panel as he was retiring next Tuesday, 09
March 2021. Successor not yet appointed; therefore, NS and AC will continue in the interim. MB gave thanks on
behalf of the Panel to SA for his significant contribution to the GBF Panel.
Date of next meeting - Panel noted the April Panel meeting to be moved from 07 April to 14 April to avoid the
Easter break.
The meeting closed at 11.15am.
Meeting via conference call on Microsoft Teams
Wednesday, 14 April 2021 | 10.00am - 12.30pm
Page 5 of 7
Annexe 1
New Anglia Small Grant Scheme projects
Approved in December 2020
Page 6 of 7
Annexe 2
New Anglia Growth Through Innovation Scheme projects
Approved in December 2020
Page 7 of 7