Broadland Rural Business Builder Capital Grant

We have been allocated funding to help support some capital expenditure projects for businesses in areas of the district defined as rural by Department for Environment, Food and of Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The grant funding is provided by DEFRA under the Rural England Prosperity Fund.

Broadland District Council are directing that funding to help support businesses with capital investment in micro and small enterprises in rural areas. By capital we mean spending on lasting assets such as building or equipment. The scheme aims to encourage and support capital investment projects (costing more than £10,000) being made by businesses within the district by providing funding at the level of 50% of the proposed capital expenditure, up to a maximum grant award of £25,000. In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to consider a higher grant award for projects that aim to deliver significant outcomes.

Around which themes should a business develop a future expression of interest for funding support?

We will consider supporting capital expenditure projects that will deliver one or more of the following:

  • additionality in productivity in the business, or in the efficient use of resources
  • additionality in diversifying into new income streams (this is available to farm businesses, as well as other businesses)
  • additionality in the carbon reduction of the business, or other positive environmental impacts
  • additionality in making the business more resilient to natural hazards

By additionality we mean “the positive impact or outcome that would not have otherwise occurred without that capital investment”.

We operated a window from August 2023 to January 2024 in which we invited expressions of interest for funding under phase one of support under this scheme. We are open to receive expressions of interest under phase two from late March 2024 onwards while funding allows.

I’m interested in submitting an expression of interest, what do I need to know?

We would encourage businesses to be develop details of a project which they might want to seek support towards. In doing so we hope the following further information (which form part of our terms and conditions) will give an understanding of how we’re administering the scheme:

  1. Businesses will be invited to submit an expression of interest for funding support via a webform. Through this process we will collect basic information about the business and high-level details of the capital project expenditure.
  2. A case officer will be assigned to visit each business to build the business case for your project to be considered for funding. A request for funding will only be deemed to be complete when all information has been gathered to a standard that makes a robust and compelling case for support to decision makers.
  3. Grants will pay for 50% of the approved cost of the capital investment being made by the business up to a maximum amount of £25,000 per business in the Broadland District Council area, for example, the business would need to be making £50,000 or more of expenditure to secure the maximum grant available.
  4. The business case for projects of over £10,000 value will go to a panel of three senior officers working in Economic Growth/Finance to decide whether the council will support that project with funding, and which elements of proposed expenditure we will part fund. Limitations on funding available means that we do not expect to be able to support in all cases, and we may take into account the extent to which the business is already able to fund the project itself.
  5. Grants will be paid only in cases where we have approved that expenditure in advance in writing, and not for expenditure already made or for items bought prior to such approval. We pay retrospectively on production of receipts for the relevant purchases – showing proof of payment for items of expenditure.
  6. We will pay the costs including any VAT, except where the business is VAT registered, in which case, we will pay costs excluding any VAT.
  7. Under the requirements of our funding provider you will need to provide three quotes for any individual expenditure item of £2,500 or more. This is to demonstrate value for money. Our case officer will collect this evidence from you at a later stage and only once collected will the case be able to go forward for approval.
  8. Where the capital project will require planning consent, the case will only go forward for a decision on approval of grant funding where the applicant has already made a planning application (either full application or paid pre-application).
  9. Once the case officer has received all the information we require to take your case forward to panel we will schedule the case for consideration at an upcoming panel meeting and undertake to get you a decision on grant funding within six weeks.
  10. Where businesses (enterprises) are linked we will not be able to consider applications in respect of a business that is linked to another business already supported under the Rural Business Builder Capital Grant scheme. By linked we mean where in our view one or more of the following links exists: a) There is a director in common between both an enterprise that has already received support and one which is seeking support and/or b) One enterprise holds a controlling interest in the other, or is subject to a controlling interest of another enterprise that has already been supported.
  11. Where a business operates from the same property at which the business proprietor(s) reside we will not grant support capital works that in our view enhance the personal asset of a business proprietor.
  12. This is a discretionary grant scheme and as such the final decision whether or not to make a grant award will be at the discretion of the Council.
  13. Progress on your project will be monitored by the Business Builder team throughout – and possibly beyond - the period of its delivery. We reserve the right to visit any grant recipient to ensure the grant has been used for the purpose stated in the Offer Email, inspect records to show that costs have been evidenced and make a formal assessment of the impact of the project. Grant recipients are obliged to cooperate with this process.

Other terms and conditions which affect who may apply and how the scheme operates.

  1. The scheme looks to support existing Broadland businesses located in the Broadland District Council defined “rural” area (where they are in business premises or operating from a home address), or a business setting up in business premises in that area and works with us to provide a robust and compelling case for support.
  2. The business must have its principal business base in the defined rural area of Broadland District Council area. Please see a a map of the Broadland area. Where the business address is within an area circled in red, or on the Norwich city side of a red line it will not qualify as being in a rural area. For Broadland the areas around the Norwich fringe that do NOT qualify are parts of Hellesdon, Drayton, Taverham, Thorpe Marriott, Old Catton, Sprowston, Thorpe St Andrew, St Andrews Business Park/Broadland Business Park/Meridian Way..
  3. The Council has agreed with DEFRA that we will be providing Capital grants for small-scale investment in micro and small enterprises in rural areas. For this reason, we cannot accept applications from businesses that are too large to qualify as small and medium-sized enterprises (SME*). *An SME is defined as businesses which: (i) have fewer than 250 employees; and (ii) have a turnover of less than €50m or a balance sheet total less than €43m.
  4. The project will need to be deliverable within the timescales the funding is available. For any project to be supported from 2024/25 funding the project and all requirements of the scheme will need to be completed by 15 February 2025 (and ideally earlier)  – including supply of all receipts, information on project outputs/outcomes, compliance with promoting visibility of funding source etc.
  5. The support is open to businesses in all business sectors (including agricultural businesses looking to diversify into new income streams).
  6. The business must operate on a full-time basis.
  7. The support through this particular scheme will not generally be available to town or parish councils, charities or community interest companies. Exceptions may be made for charities or community interest companies where the organisation is employing staff and a business case can demonstrate an impact on wider growth, diversification or jobs.
  8. We will not be able to support businesses with any expenditure already incurred before we decide that we can support the project and have communicated that approval to you in writing.
  9. Only once approval in writing has been provided that a project will be supported will any funding be reserved for that project, until that point funding may run out. Funding will be reserved in the order that cases progress satisfactorily to approval, and not in date order of submission of expression of interest.
  10. We will only consider funding capital projects of businesses that are fully complying with all regulatory services (including but not necessarily limited to: licensing, planning, environmental protection, food safety) and are not in arrears with payment required to be made to the council (for business rates, Council Tax – for a home based business, commercial waste collection, or commercial rent if a tenant of the Council). This means that for any existing business use of the premises you must have properly explored with the relevant service directly whether appropriate planning consents are in place, and whether the premises should be subject to business rates – if you have not done so we will make those enquiries prior to approval and it will slow down your case progressing which may mean that funds run out before we can reach approval stage.
  11. Grant funds are limited and subject to approval and availability. There is no automatic eligibility so please don’t assume your request will necessarily result in a funding award.

Evidence and documentation for your application

You will need to provide various pieces of information to complete your expression of interest but those will be limited to:

  • a copy of the most recent year-end accounts or profit and loss statement. Where some time has elapsed since these were produced, we may come back to you to request more up-to-date figures.
  • proof of Broadland District Council business address (for example business rates bill or tenancy agreement), or where trading from home address a Council Tax bill (and if you are not the bill payer a form of photographic ID will be required such as driving licence or passport). 
  • high level details of your capital expenditure project, the approximate cost, how you have arrived at that cost, and how the project will deliver additionality in your business.
  • as part of your application process, you will be asked for your Companies House registration number and your VAT number, if VAT registered. Where there is not a limited company in place we will need to see evidence of your HMRC UTR number. Your expression of interest will not be able to be completed without one of these.

What are we likely to consider in evaluating the case for providing any funding support?

We are seeking expressions of interest as we are only going to be able to support a relatively small number of projects. We will be evaluating projects and in doing so the Council will:

  1. Identify your business background, how long you have been trading and the business status or entity.
  2. Assess the financial health of your business from bank statements, audited accounts and companies house data.
  3. Evaluate your plans, expected outcomes and any market research you have undertaken.
  4. Consider projected project timelines, establish need for planning consent, licensing, long lead times for equipment.
  5. Be keen to support projects that create additional jobs.
  6. Assess what additional benefits the project will deliver, such as increased turnover, reduced energy costs, better productivity.
  7. Look for evidence of sustainability of the business model going forwards.
  8. Assess the matched funding you have available and its source.

In a competitive process we reserve the right to prioritise those applications which in our view have the greatest merit, with the best projected overall outcomes.

Submit your expression of interest here

Economic Development

Telephone: 01603 980441