There’s a lot of support available for small to medium sized businesses in Cornwall, including funding for business development projects offered by BIG Productivity.
BIG Productivity is an investment programme that aims to create jobs throughout Cornwall by gap funding growth projects with national and international potential.
With a £3.15 million fund supplied by the European Regional Development Fund, BIG Productivity is the third phase of BIG funding that plans to create more than 175 skilled jobs in the region. And for those looking for more than just funding, BIG Productivity also offers a unique advisory service designed to help businesses find the solutions they need.
If you’re exploring your options for support in Cornwall, here’s everything you need to know about BIG Productivity.
The fund is designed to support a wide range of industries throughout Cornwall, but is specifically targeted at businesses wishing to increase productivity or facing a distinct operational challenge. Businesses applying need to showcase the challenge they’re looking to solve and prove they can create employment with the funding.
These challenges can be anything from raising capital to purchase new machinery, to figuring out the logistics of exporting to a new market. For example, the fund enabled engineering technology company RAM Gasket Solutions to purchase a computerised cutting and routing twin head table to improve the efficiency of its production line, and create prototypes of new products – creating new jobs in the process.
The fund can support small businesses and startups to more established medium sized businesses. The programme can also support businesses looking to relocate and establish a presence in Cornwall too.
There are select industries that BIG productivity can’t support however – including specific areas of retail, tourism, and education – so it’s important to check the eligibility page before you apply.
BIG Productivity isn’t just about grant funding. Alongside the fund, the Programme offers a dedicated advisory service with the capacity to support 30 businesses with their challenges.
Like the fund, the advisory service is aimed at businesses that have a distinct challenge they’re looking to solve. Businesses using the advisory service will get a tangible result at the end, too – which can be anything from a bespoke report that helps the business identify where they can make productivity optimisations, or a clear strategy for their next product launch.
In addition, if you’re a business that hasn’t figured out the distinct challenge you need to solve, BIG Productivity can guide you to another support body in the region like Oxford Innovation for more dedicated operational support.
BIG Productivity can support up to 45% of a project’s cost for small businesses, and up to 35% for medium businesses – with funding ranging from £2,500 to a maximum of £150,000.
The fund has a simple, easy-to-approach application process that can be completed in its online portal. The process involves two key stages (Expression of Interest and Full Application). The Application form is divided into 4 distinctive parts:
Part one: Describe your project, and how the fund will help you increase productivity within your business.
Part two: Provide an accurate summary of how much your project is going to cost, with quotes from your suppliers.
Part three: Show how the project will fit within your financial profile, and prove you have the funds you need to commit to the investment.
Part four: Share your equal opportunities and sustainability policies to see if you meet BIG Productivity’s eligibility standards. If you’re a startup that doesn’t have these policies in place yet, BIG Productivity can signpost you to obtain support.
The length of time between the application and funding awarded depends on the quality of information provided during the application process.
The BIG Productivity fund is available until June 2022. It’s still accepting applications, but it’s already committed over £1 million – so be quick if you want to be considered.
If you’re interested in applying for the BIG Productivity fund, you can find out more on the website. And if you’re unsure whether your business would be suitable, the fund’s advisors are more than happy to help – just email at BIGTeam@cornwalldevelopmentcompany.co.uk, or call on 01872 322368.
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