Business Development Programme – Eligibility

The Business Development Programme (BDP) provides match funding for established and eligible ‘business to business’ SMEs who have plans to expand or create jobs.

Demand for the scheme, which launched in September 2012, has been such that lobbying by Birmingham City Council officials directly to government has led to more sectors becoming eligible.

For the rest of the scheme, which runs until June 2015, firms in more sectors who have expansion plans or are ready to safeguard existing jobs or create new ones will meet the qualifying criteria for funding.

The new sectors eligible are:

  • Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation
  • Freight rail transport (business from this sector should not have received more than €100,000 of State Aid in 36 months)
  • Computer consultancy
  • Information services
  • Legal and accounting
  • Management consultancy
  • Market research and public opinion polling
  • Translation and interpretation
  • Environmental consulting
  • Security and investigation
  • Call centres
  • Other business support activities

What is the Business Development Programme?

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funded Business Development Programme consists of financial assistance by way of a grant and coaching and mentoring. The programme aims to create more than 400 new jobs and safeguard more than 400 others.

Who can apply for the scheme?

The Business Development Programme, administered by Birmingham City Council on behalf of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), is available to businesses in the GBSLEP area that includes Birmingham, Bromsgrove, Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Lichfield, Redditch, Solihull, Tamworth and Wyre Forest authorities.

How can I apply?

The £8m Business Development Programme was launched to support existing small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) area.

For more information about the programme please visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/bdp or to apply for the coaching and mentoring scheme visit www.winningmoves.com/g200l

Entry criteria

Financial Assistance Scheme

Designed to help more than 200 qualifying existing small and medium-sized businesses to implement their growth and expansion plans. The scheme provides financial assistance to qualifying companies by way of a grant of between £10,000 and £15,000 against minimum project costs of £22,990. The grant award is available for 43.5 per cent of eligible project costs (maximum £15,000), subject to satisfying criteria and approval.

• The business must be profit-seeking and have been trading for more than 6 months.

• The business must be a small to medium sized enterprise (SME), ie

– have between 1-249 employees

– have an annual turnover less than £42m

– have a balance sheet less than £36m

– is less than 25% owned by another company or combination of other companies.

• The business’s premises must, or will be going to, pay its business rates to one of the local authorities within the GBSLEP area, i.e. Birmingham, Cannock, East Staffordshire, Lichfield, North Worcestershire (Bromsgrove, Redditch, Wyre Forest), Solihull or Tamworth.

• The business must be in an eligible SIC code and activity area.

• The business should not have received more than 200,000 euros of State Aid assistance in the last 36 months.

• Financial Assistance applications must be for business expansion projects costing a minimum of £22,990 and creating/safeguarding at least 1 FTE post.

• The business must have a current business plan if less than 2 years old.

Coaching and Mentoring Scheme – great200leaders

Businesses can also apply for coaching and mentoring which is available to 200 qualifying existing small and medium-sized businesses that can demonstrate growth ability. The 12 month programme consists of workshops, one-to-one mentoring, peer-group learning and expert support.

• The business should be profit-seeking and have been trading for more than 6 months.

• The business must be an SME (see above definition).

• The business’s premises must, or will be going to, pay its business rates to one of the local authorities within the GBSLEP area, i.e. Birmingham, Cannock, East Staffordshire, Lichfield, North Worcestershire (Bromsgrove, Redditch, Wyre Forest), Solihull or Tamworth.

• The business must be in an eligible SIC code and activity area.

• The business should not have received more than 200,000 euros of State Aid assistance in the last 36 months.

• The business must have a minimum turnover of £50k.

• The business must have the potential to increase turnover by a minimum of 15% per annum and/or increase employees by at least 5 FTEs in the next 3 years.

• The business must be able to commit to attending monthly workshops for at least 12 months.

• A matched contribution of £2k plus VAT will be required from participant businesses.

Exclusions include:-

Retail businesses, restaurants, food, drink and hospitality, finance, personal services, training and education, sports activities, banking and insurance companies – potential applicants can obtain more detailed information from relevant partners.