The Innovator's Guide to CPCA's Growth Works Programme
Growth Works is a government-funded business growth service that has been set up to support the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority. Growth Works offers a range of learning and consulting programmes with the objective of creating jobs and economic growth in the region.
With a focus on the small- to medium-sized enterprise (SME), Growth Works also offers grant funding to pay for services or capital purchases that will accelerate growth. Funding is typically available to a maximum contribution of 50% of a project’s expenditures with no maximum levels of funding. Grant amounts are awarded based on the number of jobs created as a result of the business’ growth. Funding is usually combined with some kind of strategic business consultancy, with a team of Growth Coaches available to provide tailored support.
The Short Version
- Growth Works provides two types of grants: Revenue Grants and Capital Grants.
- Capital grants provide matched funding for capital investments from £25k-£150k.
- Revenue grants will average approximately £6,500, matched at 50% by the SME for a total investment of approximately £13,000.
Grants and Eligibility
Growth Works provides two types of grants to address the unique needs of eligible SMEs: Revenue Grants and Capital Grants. As a regional business growth service, participating businesses must be located in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough and be SMEs, defined as:
- 3–249 employees
- Assets less than €43m (approx. £38m)
- Annual revenue less than €50m (approx. £44m)
Capital Grants are competition-based and are targeted at Growth Coaching customers. These grants provide matched funding for capital investment (machinery, building space, some software licenses) from £25k–£150k and are calculated at ~£7k per job created. Further details on applications and criteria are not available because Growth Works is not accepting applications for Capital Grants at this time. However, its website notes that the new application period will be “open soon.”
Revenue Grants are matched funding for strategic growth support where the business selects both the support they need and their service provider. Services might include professional services, marketing consultancy, mentoring and coaching, or leadership development. Support for capital investment and everyday production costs including wages for existing and new staff, vehicles, or financial costs (e.g., bank charges, overdraft or loan interest payments) are ineligible.
Businesses must demonstrate that the grant will assist in the growth of jobs, revenue, productivity, efficiency or profitability. The average grant will be for approximately £6,500, matched at 50% by the SME for a total investment of approximately £13,000. Larger grants, resulting in greater job creation, are considered. Grants are paid after services have been delivered, the supplier has been paid and proof of payment is submitted.
Further to the eligibility criteria above, applicant businesses must be autonomous, i.e., do not have a holding of 25% or more in any other business and are not 25% or more owned by any business or public body. Some business sectors are ineligible for European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant support, including:
- Fisheries and aquaculture
- Primary production, processing and marketing of agricultural products
- Coal, steel and shipbuilding sectors
- Synthetic fibres
- Generalised school age education
- Banking and insurance
Because Revenue Grants are funded by the ERDF, there are some arcane rules around procurement of funded services for Non-Contracting Authorities (most small, private businesses) and others for Contracting Authorities (public organisations). There is also a €200,000 limit within a three-year period on the amount of government-funded business advice and other grants that business can receive.
These rules are laid out in more detail in the Revenue Grants Terms and Conditions document.
Four Stage Approval Process
- The application form is submitted and reviewed against the programme criteria by an assigned Business Growth Consultant;
- The Growth Works Programme Director will then review the application and make a decision about whether to approve or reject;
- The Growth Coaching Managing Director provides final approval and sign off. An application may be deferred pending further information or revision, in which case applicants will be notified and asked to consider re-submission following suitable changes; and
- The Grant Offer Letter is issued to confirm the terms and the value of the Growth Works grant.