Frequently asked questions…
Applying for The North East Business Support Fund is incredibly simple, but here are some of the most frequently asked questions that we receive.
Can I have more than one grant from the North East Business Support Fund?
No – in general, you can only get a grant from the fund once in each ’round’ of funding (approximately every 2-3 years) although sometimes you might be able to complete a second project if you didn’t use the maximum grant allocation towards your first project.
If you’re based in Northumberland or Tyne & Wear and had a Covid Response Grant in 2020/21, you won’t be eligible for an NEBSF Grant as they were funded from the same source.
Do I get the grant money once my application is approved?
No – you’ll need your provider to complete the project, you’ll pay them in full and then claim your grant back from us.
Can I buy equipment with the grant?
No – the North East Business Support Fund cannot provide funding for equipment, only towards external expertise such as business consultants, marketing experts, web designers/developers, etc.
Does my business need to be a limited company to apply?
No – we can take applications from most business types, including sole traders, limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships.
Does my business need to have a minimum turnover?
No – there’s no minimum amount that your business needs to turn over to be eligible, but you’ll need to demonstrate the affordability of the project in your figures. Our eligibility team will review your application and might ask for further evidence (business plans, forecasts, etc) to determine whether your business is eligible for a grant.
Can a charity apply for funding?
It can, as long as at least 51% of it’s income comes from ‘commercial’ sources – for example providing services paid for by customers. If donations, grants or other funding make up more than 49% of a charity’s income, they would not be eligible for a grant.
Do I have to get three quotes/proposals for the project?
No, you don’t have to for this grant – although we’d really recommend speaking to more than one provider to get comparisons of what they can do for you and the cost.
Should I start my project before I apply?
No – the North East Business Support Fund cannot support projects that have already started (or that have been completed) – please do not start your project or make any payments until you have signed your funding contract.
How long does it take to get a decision on my application?
We normally aim to review your application within 10 working days to check if you are eligible for a grant – you can help to speed up the process by completing the application form with as much detail as you can.
Can I use a provider who isn’t based in the North East?
Yes – you’re free to choose whichever provider you’d like to do the work for you (subject to the restrictions below) and they can be based anywhere in the world.
Are there any restrictions on which provider I can use?
There is only one restriction and that is that they cannot be legally linked to your business – for example a shareholder in your limited company or a director of another business that you are also a director of.
Can you help me to find a suitable service provider?
We can – although we don’t ever recommend particular providers, we do keep a register of businesses that might be suitable and can give you their contact details so that you can get in touch.
How long do I have to complete my project?
Your funding contract will be for three months – this means from the date you sign your contract, you’ll have three months for your provider to complete the work, for you to pay their fees in full and submit your grant claim to us. In exceptional circumstances and at our discretion, the contract duration can be extended.
Can I have more than one activity supported via the Grant?
Yes – if you want to have two pieces of work (financial planning and a marketing strategy, for example) completed by two different providers, that’s no problem at all. You’ll need to provide proposals from both providers so that the two projects can be included on your contract paperwork.
What happens if there is a delay in the delivery of my project?
If there is an unforeseen and unavoidable delay in the completion of your project that means you will not be able to claim your grant before the contract end date, you’ll need to let us know as soon as you can – do not wait until the end of your contract.
If we agree that the situation was unavoidable, we will consider whether it is possible to extend your contract to give you enough time to finish.
How quickly will my grant be paid once I make my Claim?
From the date we approve your claim (when you’ve supplied us with all of the required documents), we’ll pay the grant directly into your business bank account within 20 working days.
Can I claim for the VAT element of my providers invoice?
No – you can only claim your grant against the net amount (the amount excluding VAT) of your provider’s invoice. For example, if your provider is VAT registered and their invoice to you was £5,000 + VAT, you would pay them £6,000 (£5000 plus 20% VAT) and, if your grant level was 40%, your claim to us would be for £2,000 – 40% of £5,000.
Can I claim my grant in stages?
No – even if you agree to pay your provider in stages as the project progresses, you’ll only be able to claim your grant once all of the work is complete and you’ve paid your provider in full.