Eligibility for start-up small to medium enterprises

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Businesses from all sectors are eligible for consideration, except for:

  • charities
  • those of a political or religious persuasion
  • activities involving pornography or clairvoyance
  • any business activity that is illegal or deemed unsuitable for public support by Birmingham City Council

Training and skills development are also ineligible because provisions for these activities will be supported through different funding routes.

Grants are restricted to 1 grant for 1 small to medium enterprise (SME).

  • For Birmingham, Solihull MBC and Shropshire based businesses, this is a Capital only grant programme.
  • For Cannock Chase based businesses, both capital and revenue expenditure are eligible for consideration.

Using consultants or third parties to complete the application form is an ineligible cost.

To be considered for the West Midlands SME Grant Programme (WMGP), you must be able to answer "yes" to all of the questions below by the time you submit your application.

  1. Are you a brand-new start-up, or have you been trading for less than 12 months based in Birmingham Cannock Chase or Solihull only?
    • a start-up is a brand new or newly emerged business venture set up by an individual founder or entrepreneur to develop a viable business model to meet a marketplace need or problem
  2. Can you provide evidence that you have registered your business?
    • if you are a limited company, you must be registered with Companies House
    • if your business is a partnership, you must have a copy of your Partnership Agreement
    • if you are a sole trader, you must be registered as self-employed with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
  3. Do you have a project which will grow your business, resulting in jobs being created within 6 months from the start of your project?
    • your project must create at least 1 full-time job that lasts for a minimum of 12 months
    • if you are a new start-up and you are the individual founder or entrepreneur, then you may be able to count as the job creation - however, if you have already registered your business before applying for a WMGP grant, you will need to create at least 1 further new job
    • Note - job creation is not a mandatory requirement for business based in the Solihull MBC area.
  4. Can you provide a business plan? This must include:
    • an executive summary
    • background on the owner
    • products and services
    • market research and strategy
    • strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) and competitor analysis
    • pricing strategy
    • profit and loss accounts and cash flow forecasts for 2 years
  5. Can you deliver your growth project in 3 months after receiving your grant offer?
    • priority will be given to investment ready projects which can be completed within 3 months
    • applicants must be able to financially complete their projects within 3 months from when they accept the funding agreement, including spend, defrayal and claiming the grant
    • for high value, more complex projects, project timescales are subject to negotiation
  6. Are your business rates payable to the Birmingham City Council, Cannock Chase Council or Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council local authorities?
  7. Do you have a cash match?
    • cash funding is the difference between the grant you are seeking and the remaining cost of your project
    • all applications must provide cash funding which can be sourced from the private sector, but not other public sector funding, asset finance or similar financial products involving a financial arrangement where an item is paid for in instalments
    • loans, overdrafts, savings or company funds are considered to be eligible cash matches, and these must be secured and in place before the approval of a WMGP grant
  8. Can you obtain at least 3 competitive quotes for each item* above £2,499, along with the relevant evidence by the WMGP procurement guidance?
    • quotes for project expenditure should not be from people or businesses connected to your business, directors or shareholders
    • only 1 quote is required for items up to £2,499
    • *1 item or the sum of many items from 1 supplier
  9. If you are a Birmingham or Solihull based business, are you prepared to undertake a free diagnostic appointment with the GBSLEP Growth Hub?

If you answered “yes” to all the questions above, then if you are a Birmingham or Solihull based business, you should complete the GBSLEP diagnostic form before contacting a GBSLEP Growth Hub business advisor to arrange a free diagnostic appointment.

Combined logo for Birmingham City Council, Solihull MBC, Shropshire Council and Cannock districk Council

Page last updated: 19 July 2024

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