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High Growth Innovation Fund - FAQs

Our detailed Application Guidance should answer any questions you have against the High Growth Innovation Fund, however we have answered some frequently asked questions below.

If we’ve missed anything or you have further questions please get in touch with the team using the contact form below and they’ll be happy to help.

We appreciate that “innovation” can mean different things to different people. Innovation activities within the region range from R&D-intensive fundamental science carried out through our leading universities, to agile SME product, process & service innovation.

For this fund we have restricted our scope to target innovation where impact can be realised by applicant SMEs within 6 months from the date of the award of grant funding.

We are open to projects from any sector, speciality or technology (except those specifically excluded in the eligibility criteria). We do not hold any pre-conceived ideas as to what proposed innovations look like, but we are clear that all proposals must look to:

  • develop a new product, process or service which help the applicant organisation adapt and grow despite a challenging economic landscape
  • deliver clear transformational benefits for the applicant SMEs and LCR economy
  • align to at least one of the City Region’s six strategic priority areas:
    – Open Health Innovation
    – Sustainable Industrial Future
    – Global Cultural Capital
    – Zero Carbon Economy
    – Tech for Good
    – Digitalisation

You can find lots of information in the LCR Social Value Framework

Projects may be longer than 6 months BUT the activities funded by the grant must be able to demonstrate deliverables within 6 months e.g., new product / service, new job created. The grant must be claimed at the end of this 6 month period due to ERDF grant funding coming to an end in 2023.

If you comply with the terms of your Grant Funding Agreement and use the Grant for the intended purpose, you will not have to repay it.

Only in certain circumstances.

  1. We will only cover those that can demonstrate to be project specific.
  2. This fund is not to be used as working capital for ‘business as usual’ operations.
  3. Our first preference would be for the SME to secure consultancy support.
  4. If consultancy support is not viable (e.g. consultants are not available to undertake the activity due to the cost or availability [which needs to be auditable), we may agree, on an exceptional basis, for ERDF to support SME staff salary on a fixed term basis but the SME would have to demonstrate the following:
  •  this was not for an existing staff member (if an SME already has the experienced staff in place, we would expect they would already have deployed them)
  • they do not have the necessary experience/skills in-house
  • that the targeted support the SME requires is for a specific purpose/project (not typical business as usual activity for an SME) and list the expertise/skills they require
  • the post was on a fixed term basis
  • the job specification would have to include the above points; and
  • they would need to ensure that they have recruited the post in an open, fair and transparent basis via the open market

Please note – you would need to ensure that there is an audit trail to evidence the above points.

Once successful applicants will receive notification from your allocated Account Manager.

You will then be able to begin procurement.

Once completed you will then receive your grant funding agreement which indicates:

  • when the project will start and finish
  • what the project deliverables will be

You will be issued with an advanced payment request form. By completing and submitting this form, applicants will be signing to say that their project will commence within 28 days. Upon receipt of the completed form, the Combined Authority shall pay 50% of the total eligible grant up front.

At the end of the project, the grant recipient should submit a final claim evidencing all spend on a defrayment basis, upon which, the remaining balance shall be paid.

Monitoring and evaluation is important to help ensure that we track the impact and effectiveness of the investments that we make through the High Growth Innovation Fund. This will help us to identify and understand which of our activities are working well and less well, so that we can continually improve and enhance our impact.

The main monitoring requirements are:

  • All grant recipients will be required to submit a delivery plan with the grant agreement
  • Recipients of more than £30,000 will be expected to send quarterly monitoring reports to the LCRCA in a prescribed format
  • All grant recipients will need to submit a final closure report at the end of their project (failure to submit the final closure report will trigger a clawback of funding).
  • Growth Platform or the Combined Authority may also contact grant recipients after the completion of the project to invite them to participate in research to inform a wider impact evaluation.

We will not sign bespoke NDAs for individual applicants.

All applications will be treated with an equal level of confidentiality.

All assessors will be required to sign a declaration of confidentiality and non-disclosure in relation to the information contained in all applications.

Combined Authority staff are already subject to a duty of confidentiality as part of their terms of employment.