COVID Small Business Grants FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions for the COVID19 Small Business Grants

aka ERDF Specialist Grants


Who is eligible to apply for an ERDF Specialist Grant?

  • Businesses with fewer than 250 employees
  • Small, medium or micro (turnover less than €50 million)
  • Small, medium or micro (balance sheet less than €43 million)
  • Trading for at least 1 year
  • Businesses must have a registered post code within the Black Country LEP area
  • Businesses who can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis
  • Businesses who can demonstrate a clear need for specialist advice and support in order to aid their recovery from covid-19 affects and/or;
  • Business who can demonstrate the need to purchase minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify in response to COVID 19

NOTE: BCLEP Growth Hub will prioritise applications from companies where the request will make a meaningful impact


Can you provide feedback on why the application was rejected?

  • Unfortunately, we cannot provide detailed feedback on each application as we do not have the resources available to undertake this task. However, we have provided a dedicated resource for the most common reasons why applications were unsuccessful available here


Can I re-apply in round 2 if I was unsuccessful in Round 1?

  • Yes. However, please review the guide on most common reasons for rejection to ensure you have corrected any short-comings in your previous application. 


I wanted to apply for both consultancy and equipment, why can’t our business get both?

  • Due to how the grant is being distributed we have stipulated that it can be used either for IT equipment/software or consultancy. We have also asked for you to select one of the 2 options on your application form.


If I am unable to provide 3 quotes will this go against me?

  • Yes due to the stipulations of the ERDF funding they have stated all applications must have 3 quotes  that clearly show what is being purchased and the price total.
  • Click here for a step-by-step guide on quotations and how to submit them successfully.


I have a hospitality business, can I apply?

  • No, you should apply for the specific Visitor Economy grants delivered by BENT's and the City of Wolverhampton Council, please click here to find out how you can apply.
  • If you're unsure whether you are eligible to apply for these grants, please visit Companies House and look up your 'nature of business' SIC code.
  • A full list of eligible SIC codes can be found by clicking here.


Can a business receive more than one grant from this programme?

  • No, it is one specialist grant per business.
  • If they have multiple businesses, each business will be considered separately; however, bearing in mind that the money needs to go as far as it possibly can within the business landscape. This means that it would be considered an extremely unique circumstance should one business owner get a grant for multiple businesses.
  • If a business has had ERDF grants in the past their business is still eligible to apply.


Where does a business go to apply for the Specialist Grant?


What expenditures are ineligible to receive specialist grant funding?

  • Activities not eligible under the project’s Priority Axis or activities covered by other Priority Axes (although expenditure for operations for fostering crisis response capacities shall be eligible); This refers to activities falling outside of the projects scope and/or activities that are covered by other projects in the region.
  • Use of ERDF funding to support with working capital (i.e. ongoing salary costs)
  • Funding to businesses for the payment of wage subsidies except where such arrangements are already agreed activities under the project, for example as part of a defined knowledge transfer/ graduate placement or comparable project workstream;
  • Purchase of equipment and consumables associated with PPE and social distancing measures;
  • Activities which would contradict, duplicate or undermine HM Government domestic initiatives.
  • Businesses who are not in compliance with state aid rules


What evidence/documents do I need to provide?

  • Evidence of 3 quotes from similar service providers or suppliers to show value for money
  • 2 bank statements (1 from 2019 and 1 from April 2020 onwards)
  • All company details
  • If the business is successful, then they will need to provide an invoice with account details for the supplier. Any equipment purchases or specialist services contracted must be cash-flowed by the applicant and then claimed back.


How long will it take before a decision is made on my application?

  • The assessment committee will aim to make a decision within 15 working days of the application closing date. However, due to the high volume of applications received, and office closures over the Christmas/New Year period, Round 2 Applicants will not be notified on an outcome until mid-late Janauary at the earliest.


Who makes the decision on my application?

  • The BCLEP Growth Hub assessment committee. 


Is there an appeals process?

  • No, due to the small sums we are dispersing there is not an appeals process. 


If my application is successful, how long will it take to receive the money and who will it come from?

  • From the day the successful applicant sends the BCLEP Growth Hub their invoice and evidence, it could take anywhere from 5-10 days from that point for the money to reach their specified service provider or supplier. (Note: it could take anywhere from 10-30 days if they must complete a new supplier form for Wolverhampton City Council).
  • The payment will come directly from Wolverhampton City Council into the successful applicant’s bank account.


Do I have to prove what I have spent the grant on, and if so, how do I do this?

  • The successful applicant will need to cash-flow the purchase and then provide proof (e. bank statement) before a grant payment will be made to reimburse them.
  • If contracting a specialist service provider, evidence will need to be submitted which shows the service has been provided and completed before the grant payment is made.


Do I need to provide cashflow/ forecasting information?

  • No


Will I have to pay any of this back?

  • No, subject to the fact that the applicant has been truthful on their application and not misrepresented the purpose for the funds in any way.


How long will the fund be available – is there a closing date, or first come first served?

  • The fund will be split into 2 rounds.
  • The first round launched on November 10th and closed on November 13th.
  • The second round will launch at 12pm on Monday 14th December and remain open until the maximum number of applications are received.
  • The applications will be assessed on a first come first served basis.


How much money is in the fund?

  • £501,214.55 – allocated grant pot for SMEs adversely affected by Covid-19 and seeking specialist advice and/or minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify.
  • Visitor Economy - £188,607.04
  • Wider Economy - £312,607.51


What can the money be used for?

  • Access to specialist professional advice e.g. human resources, accountants, legal, financial, IT / digital, etc or the
  • Purchase of minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify


If I have been refused the discretionary grant, does this make me ineligible? Or is this separate?

  • This fund is separate from the discretionary grant fund; therefore, being ineligible for the discretionary grant fund does not automatically render you ineligible for this grant fund.
  • A business is able to apply even if they have had other grants in the past, however, we will prioritise applications from companies where the request will make a meaningful impact.