Coast to Capital business growth grants and confidential factoring

A couple of pointers for businesses this week - Coast to Capital business growth grants and confidential factoring.

Coast to Capital business growth grants

First up is the Coast to Capital Business Growth Grant. I have recently been appointed to the Panel of Assessors and attended my first meeting last month. Two things struck me: firstly, the quality and depth of the applications – where the proposals were extremely well presented and all four of them were very supportable - and secondly, why had I not come across it before in South London, and what could be done to raise its profile here?

So this is the start of my raising awareness campaign for what I think is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to grow with the right support.

Grants of between £5,000 and £100,000 will be available to eligible businesses and may be spent on a wide range of eligible items including, research and development, innovation and product/service development, breaking into new markets, skills development, plant and equipment, business premises and other capital items.

To be eligible businesses must:

  • Show how the grant will lead to new jobs
  • Be able to demonstrate that they have explored fully other sources of funding without success
  • Show other investment alongside the grant – they will provide up to 25% of the project for grants of £100,000 or under and you will need to provide the remaining 75%; and they will provide up to 20% of the project for grants over £100,000 and you will need to provide the remaining 80%. Other forms of investment could include retained profits, loans, equity finance or investment funds
  • Show how the proposed new activity is additional to existing business activity and to the local economy
  • Have premises in or be planning to create new jobs in the Coast to Capital areas: West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, Croydon, Lewes, Tandridge, Mole Valley, Epsom and Ewell, Reigate & Banstead

You must also be planning at least one of the following:

  • To grow your business by 20% over the next 3 years
  • To employ new staff
  • To introduce new goods or services or other innovation
  • To exploit leading edge technology
  • To break into new markets, both in the UK and overseas
  • To develop and market low carbon and environmental goods and services
  • To supply goods and services to one of the major environmental projects in this area including the Sussex Energy Saving Programme and Off-Shore Windfarms.

For local businesses, to my mind, this is a fantastic opportunity to get the right level of funding to grow with a solid foundation – rather than ‘just making do’ or cutting corners because you haven’t quite got enough money.

For the banks, it should be a source of support actively encouraged – for the right propositions – particularly where they are not able to lend as much as the client needs. It isn’t designed to take the place of bank lending, as this source needs to be accessed first, but should work hand in hand for the extra 25% of the project cost that may be more difficult for them to support.

For accountants, it should be another source of funding that they know about – and can recommend to their clients.

Confidential factoring

One of the biggest considerations for a business looking at debtor funding, was the fact that their clients would know about it. Well State Securities have come up with a new product to overcome this. I met up with Bob Crumbley and in a nutshell:

  • They chase the debts in the client’s name – confidentially
  • All letters and customer statements go out on the client’s headed paper
  • They provide a unique telephone number for calls
  • A bank trust account is created in the name of the company
  • Funding against invoices for up to 120 days

This will also be available for insolvency pre packs - where normally a confidential facility is not available.

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