Black Country Transformational GOLD

Capital and Revenue Grants for transformational projects by SMEs in the four Black Country Local Authority areas supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Black Country Transformational GOLD (BCT GOLD) is an ERDF funded grant scheme providing match funded grants to help SMEs in key sectors to grow and create jobs so that they add value to the region’s economy.

The scheme is designed to assist SMEs deliver transformational projects, with the aid of ERDF support. Transformational projects are assessed on the impact of the grant support across the business, including overall performance and job creation.


Black Country Transformational Gold (BCT GOLD) can provide capital and revenue grants of 30% of total transformational, job creation project costs.

The grants available range from £1,500 to £9,000. Higher value grants to support a small number of exceptional transformational projects may be awarded at the discretion of the independent Investment Decision Group.


We can only accept applications submitted directly by the business applying for the grant, and we will only correspond directly with the person that submits the application. We cannot therefore accept applications submitted by a third party. Any applications received directly from a third party will be returned. This does not mean that you cannot engage the services of a third party to help you prepare an application.

Complete and submit an Expression of Interest form using the link below.

SMEs who submit eligible Expressions of Interest will be assigned a Business Adviser who will offer support through the formal Full Application process.

Full Applications will be assessed by the Investment Decision Group, which comprises private and public sector representatives with a wealth of experience in assessing funding applications.

Download Expression Of Interest Form


Applicants MUST:

1. Pay rates to one of the four Black Country Local Authorities:

  • Dudley
  • Sandwell
  • Walsall
  • Wolverhampton

2. Trade in one of the following Key Sectors:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Business Services
  • Building Technologies
  • Environmental Technologies
  • Transport Technologies
  • Life Sciences
  • Social Enterprises trading in one of the above sectors

3. Qualify as an SME:

  • Annual turnover of less than €50m (approx. £42m)
  • A balance sheet value of less than €43m (approx. £36m)
  • Employ fewer than 250 people
  • Be less than 25% owned by another company or combination of companies

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will businesses still be eligible to apply even if they have received grants from other sources?

Businesses can apply to BCT Gold subject to State Aid rules which are that they should not have received public funding of more than €200,000 (£175,000) over the previous 3 years, where a business is part of a group of companies then this figure applies to the group as a whole. It is important that businesses obtain legal advice regarding the amount of State Aid they may have received over previous 3 years.

Guidance regarding the State Aid regulations can be found at

2. Are start-ups eligible to apply to BCT Gold?

No, applicants must have been trading for a minimum of 2 years. To find out assistance available for start-ups go to

3. Does ERDF support retail businesses?

ERDF does not support Retail businesses, only business 2 business (b2b) enterprises are eligible.

Retail businesses are ineligible unless they also have a significant b2b element in addition to retail and then the grant could only support the b2b aspect of the business.

4 .What does the business have to contribute to receive a grant?

The grant is provided on the basis that it accounts for 30% of eligible project costs up to the maximum sums allowed within the scheme, the remaining 70% is contributed by the business. Grants range from £1,500 to £9,000. The decision to award a grant is made by the Investment Decision Group (IDG), the membership of which includes representatives from Barclays, BCRS and Santander, all of whom are highly experienced in assessing applications from businesses for funding.

It is important to note that the grant is paid on the basis of defrayal which means that the business incurs all the project costs and pays the suppliers in full and then claims back the grant proportion. Businesses will need to provide invoices and bank statements to evidence that their supplier invoices have been paid in full.

5 . What is the definition of an SME?

BCT Gold is for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) only. An SME is a business that has:

  • An annual turnover of less than €50 m (approx. £42m)
  • A balance sheet value of less than €43 m (approx £36m)
  • Employs less than 250 employees
  • Is less than 25% owned by another company or combination of other companies , where a business is more than 25% owned by another company or combination of companies then the group as a whole must satisfy the above criteria to be considered a SME.

6. Do businesses need to have been rejected financial assistance by banks in order to apply for a grant?

No, this is not a requirement.

7. Is there a minimum grant?

Yes, the minimum grant is £1,500 and a minimum project value of £5,000.

8. If my application is successful when will I receive the grant and can it be paid in instalments?

Successful applicants will have a maximum of 90 days from the date of the Grant Offer Letter/Contract in which to complete their project and submit all the evidence required to claim the grant; failure to adhere to this time frame may result in the grant offer being withdrawn. The grant cannot be claimed in stage payments or instalments.

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