I was lucky enough to receive European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant funding via Tees Valley Combined Authority to help with my new website. I thought it might help if I wrote a bit about the experience to share with any others who are thinking about applying for grants and wondering about the process.
Step 1: Register Your Interest
The first step was to register my interest via the Tees Valley Business website.
Step 2: Email for overview of project
Once I’d registered my interest, I received an email from Tees Valley Business asking for some more information.
It said: “In order to progress your EOI and allocate to a Growth Consultant, please would you provide some further detail relating to your specific Business Growth Fund enquiry i.e. what you require grant funding for and how this will grow the business / improve productivity, etc.”
I replied, explaining why I thought the business needed a new website and what benefits I thought it would provide.
I then got a reply from Tees Valley Business acknowledging receipt of my email/expression of interest and advising that there was a 2-3 week delay due to large demand.
Step 3: Telephone call
I received a telephone call from a Business Growth consultant who was very helpful. He asked me a bit more about my business and plans. When I said that the aim of the website was to grow the business enough that I’d require a new staff member, he encouraged me to also put in a grant application to cover a new laptop in anticipation of the increased staffing.
He then emailed me details of the growth fund and asked for me to reply with information about the company including year end, date started trading, annual turnover, number of staff, estimated project costs, etc.
Step 4: Application process triggered
Once I’d replied with all the required information I had a message to say the application process had been triggered.
Step 5: Submit application
I got quotes from suppliers for the website and the laptop. The quote must be on the suppliers company letterhead and show their logo.
Fellow Darlington Business Club members helped me with both of these:
LemonTop Creative for the website.
Resilient Business Systems with the Laptop.
The application was then submitted online together with quotes from the suppliers.
The application team came back with a few questions but I was able to answer these with help from Steve Gill at LemonTop and Michelle Read at Resilient.
Step 6: Offer letter
I received an offer letter from Tees Valley Business offering me 55% funding towards the website and laptop. This could be signed and accepted via their online hub.
The process up to this point took about 4 months.
Step 7: Get the work done
This is the exciting bit!
Once the offer was received and accepted, I was able to ask Michelle to order the laptop and Steve to start work on the website.
I am over the moon with how the website looks.
Step 8: Make the claim
Once the laptop was purchased and the website ready, it was time to make the claim.
I emailed Tees Valley Business and they sent me access to the online portal.
I had to submit invoices, bank statements showing the invoices being paid plus 7 days transactions either side, photographs of the laptop, and a short claim form.
Once that was done, the monies were paid out to me within a week.
This is a very worthwhile process and I am very grateful for the funding I received.
If anyone is looking at grant funding and would like a chat about it, just let me know, I’d be happy to help.