Expression of Interest Guidance Notes

Biorenewables Capital
Grant Scheme
Expression of Interest (EOI)
Guidance Notes
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What is the Biorenewables Development Centre?
The Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) is a not-for-profit company, based at the
University of York that helps businesses develop ways to convert plants, microbes and
biowastes into profitable biorenewable products. Using cutting-edge science and technology,
we bridge the gap between academia and industry to assist companies both in development
and scale-up of new greener processes and products. Established through a collaboration
between the world-renowned Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence and the Centre for Novel
Agricultural Products, our expertise, services, open-access facilities and access to over 100
scientists across the fields of chemistry and biology puts the BDC in a strong position to help
develop bio-based projects. Visit our website to learn more:
What is the Biorenewables Capital Grants Scheme?
The Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) has recently received approval and funding
from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for a new capital grants scheme, the
Biorenewables Capital Grant Scheme (BCGS), “the scheme”. The scheme has been
established to support eligible small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) working in the
biorenewables sector to invest in capital equipment to deliver growth through significant
innovative developments and pilot scale activities. The aim is to help foster ideas and
initiate new economic activity and develop the regional bioeconomy.
SMEs must be based in the Yorkshire and Humber region (excluding South Yorkshire).
How much is available?
Support can be paid at a grant rate of up to 64% on eligible capital costs of between £20,000
and £50,000. Therefore applications for grant investment should be for a maximum of £32,000
and minimum of £12,800.
Note the £32,000 grant ceiling applies per business per funding round.
Please note: grant funding will be provided in arrears and so the business must be able to fund
100% of the costs in the short term prior to grant payment being made.
What kind of projects will be covered?
The capital grants scheme will help develop innovate activity in the Yorkshire and Humber
region’s bioeconomy. The bioeconomy is defined as ‘the production of renewable biological
resources and their conversion into food, feed, bio-based products and bioenergy.’
The capital equipment purchased through this scheme should enable an SME to develop new
innovative products or processes. In particular funding will be used to purchase key pieces of
pilot-scale production equipment that enables an SME to test proof of concept on a limited
scale before committing to full scale industrial development.
Examples of the type of equipment eligible for funding:
Algae-based production facilities
Platform chemical pilot-scale manufacturing equipment
Microwave-based equipment to evaluate processing of food
Natural insecticide manufacturing pilot-plant
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Innovative anaerobic digestion pilot plant equipment
Section-by-section guidance
When completing this form, the SME is advised to refer to the information contained in Annex 1
at the end of the document. This shows the criteria by which submissions will be assessed and
may prove useful both as a checklist to ensure answers have been provided as well as
providing more clarity on the relative importance of the different aspects of the project proposal
in terms of how they will be judged.
Sections 1 & 2: Contact details and business information
Please complete this section in full, giving a good general description of your business activity;
this enables the BDC to correctly identify whether your business is in a priority sector. The main
point of contact should be the day to day project manager (if we need to request additional
information) however this form needs to be signed by your company budget decision maker,
preferably the Finance Director or Managing Director.
How to answer
Business name
Please provide the full registered
name of the business related to the
registered number.
Business address and
Please provide the full registered
address of the business related to
the registered number. If your
business has more than one site,
and this project will take place at a
different site address as to the
registered address, please state
this clearly.
Please tell us what your business
does. Please be specific, e.g. if
‘manufacturer’ please state what
products are manufactured.
Please tell us the date your
business was incorporated or the
date it started trading.
Please confirm your Companies
House registration number.
General description of
business activity
Date established/started
Companies house registration
VAT number
Please confirm if you are VAT
registered and your number.
Why we need this
If your business trades
under a ‘group’ and has
a different name, we
need to identify this for
eligibility purposes.
As above.
We need to ensure that
we work with
businesses that are in
an eligible sector.
Again this helps us to
ascertain if you are
This confirms that the
company exists and its
legal status
If you are VAT
registered you can reclaim VAT from HMRC,
so all grants paid will be
net of VAT. If you are
not VAT registered we
can pay VAT on your
grant claim.
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Section 3: SME eligibility
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of eligibility criteria. The eligibility criteria can be
complex and the BDC must satisfy itself that your project meets the funder’s rules. The final
decision on the eligibility of your business is the responsibility of BDC.
To be eligible for support from the BCGS your business must be:
Located in West Yorkshire, York and North Yorkshire or the Humber region. Businesses
in South Yorkshire are not eligible to apply.
Classified as a Small to Medium Sized Enterprise (SME)1 i.e.
- Have fewer than 250 employees
- Have an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million, or a balance sheet not exceeding
€43 million
Have received less than €200,000 of de minimis state aid funding and support in the last
3 years.
You must preferably be classified as an ERDF Priority Sector, which are as follows:
- Advanced Engineering & Materials,
- Creative and Digital New Media,
- Food and Drink,
- Chemicals,
- Environmental Technologies,
- Healthcare Technologies,
- Financial and Business Services.
Other non-priority sector businesses can be supported, but must be delivering an economic
We cannot support grant applications for:
Renewable energy installations.
Transport such as cars, vans or boats.
An organisation to respond to a statutory legislative change.
Some micro rural enterprises are not eligible under ERDF and are supported under
The scheme is not appropriate for those working within the biomedical sector for example and
more generally not appropriate for any biosciences businesses other than those working on
innovative activities linked to bio-based materials.
Section 3 must be completed with reference to the registered company applying for the grant.
How to answer
What is your annual
Please state the most
recent annual turnover
figures available to
your business.
Why we need this
ERDF funding criteria limits
our funding to SMEs and to
be considered an SME you
are required to have less
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Value of balance sheet
Please state the most
recent annual balance
sheet figures available
to your business.
How many employees do
you have?
Please state the total
number of full time
equivalent employees
you have in your
than 50 million Euros in
turnover (approx. £43m).
ERDF funding criteria limits
our funding to SMEs and to
be considered an SME you
are required to have less
than 43 million Euros in
turnover (approx. £37m).
ERDF funding criteria limits
our funding to SMEs and to
be considered an SME you
are required to have less
than 250 employees.
Section 4: Equal opportunities information
ERDF rules request that we ask for this information for programme monitoring purposes.
Section 5: Where did you hear about the Biorenewables Capital Grant Scheme?
Please state how you became aware of the grant scheme, as this will help us assess the
effectiveness of our marketing.
Section 6: Project summary
a) Please tell us the title of the
Please provide a brief
history of the business
and the market you are
operating in.
Please summarise your
project highlighting any
feasibility work already
undertaken and the
current status of the
Define the reason for
undertaking the project,
including key objectives
for the project.
What do you consider to
be the ‘innovative’ aspect
of the project?
How to answer
Please provide us with a
brief ‘one line’ project title
Please outline the sector
and market you are
working in and your track
record? i.e. what do you
sell, are your markets
local, regional, national.
Do you export?
Please summarise how
you have developed your
project ideas to date, and
confirm that you have
additional evidence to
provide at application
Why we need this information
This will be used to identify the
This helps us to better
understand the background to
the proposal and the benefits it
may have
Please explain how this
project fits with your
businesses key strategic
objectives, and explain
why this grant is required.
This could be the
development of a new
product or new
development processes.
The innovation should be
We expect the businesses to
have clear business rationale for
this project.
We would like to know how long
you have been considering this
project, its current status and to
understand better the context of
your project idea.
The BDC receives funding from
ERDF for innovate activity, so all
projects supported must
demonstrate they fit this criteria.
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What capital items are
you seeking ERDF grant
support for?
Define the timescales,
including the period over
which the project will be
a) installed/established
and b) be operational:
when from and for how
Summarise the total
project cost and the
maximum amount of
funding requested (up to
64% of total cost). Detail
how much will be
contributed by the
business and/or secured
from a third party, as
in terms of the process
and/or the product that is
being produced.
What will the ERDF grant
funding be used to buy?
Please give specific
details of each capital
If known, please give
dates, or estimated
Where known, please
provide breakdowns for all
sources of finance you will
use to match fund this
project. For loans and
other 3rd party funding can
you confirm that these are
already approved. If they
are not already approved,
please indicate their
current status.
Some capital items are not
eligible for ERDF funding (e.g.
BDC grant funding needs to be
applied for, spent and claimed
within strictly defined
timescales. A project that
cannot realistically meet the
current call for applications may
be deferred. It is also to
manage the BDCs cashflow risk.
We need to know your
timescales at the outset so that
we can forecast and budget for
your requirements.
We need to be clear that the
company has sufficient funds to
cover the match funding
required. HP and asset
management finance are not
acceptable sources of match
Section 7: Project outputs
Please identify any estimated outputs you expect as a result of implementing this project. If
successful at full application stage your project officer will confirm the verification evidence that
is required and this will form part of the grant agreement.
Jobs created :
Job safeguarded
A job is counted as being created when the job is a direct
consequence of the project intervention. Jobs needs to be a
new, permanent, and expressed as a full time equivalent
(based on 37 hours – e.g. 18.5 hours would be classed as a
0.5 FTE job) The post must also be filled.
A job is counted as safeguarded if the company can show
that the job would have been lost if the funding had not gone
ahead, However, the evidence required by ERDF to prove
the initial risk is extensive2 and we would recommend that
companies only use this output in exceptional circumstances.
Need to show all forward financial projections, contingency plan for redundancies and to show that the specific jobs listed are at
risk. This is generally by showing employees have been received official notification of possible redundancy.
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Businesses created:
Increased sales:
Reduced costs:
When a new business starts trading in the region and is
sustained for at least 12 months as a direct result of the
project intervention.
Value (£m) of annual sales increase attributable to new
product/service introduction.
For example, this could either be reduction in utility costs or
waste management (landfill costs)
Section 8: State aid
How much de minimis state
aid has your business
received in the last three
How to answer
Please state how much de
minimis state aid your
business has received over
the last three years.
Why we need this information
ERDF funding criteria limits
funding to SMEs and a
business that has received
more than 200,000 Euros in
state aid over the last three
years is ineligible for further
Section 9: Data protection
Please read the data protection statement carefully and only sign section 10 if you fully agree to
the terms.
Section 10: Declaration
Please ensure that you sign and date to confirm that you have read and understood the
guidance, we need to ensure that you fully understand what you are applying for and that you
believe you are eligible. This should be signed by the budget holder, either Finance Director or
equivalent, or Managing Director. We require all of our documentation to have an actual
signature, please ensure you print out your forms and post them in to the BDC. To facilitate
your application we can receive pdf copy by email but please ensure you also post the originals
to us.
Next steps
Please return your signed EOI by email or post using the contact details below. These will then
be assessed within 2 weeks of submission. If your project is eligible and meets the scope of the
BCGS you will then be invited to submit a full application.
Vicky Wren
ERDF Project and Contracts Manager
Biorenewables Development Centre
The Biocentre
York Science Park
YO10 5NY
Tel: 01904 567825
Email: [email protected]
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Annex 1: Assessment of applications
To provide transparency and clarity on how submissions will be assessed, this section details
the criteria used for both Expressions and Interest and Full Applications. This should provide
the SME with an understanding of what assessors are looking for and the relative importance of
each response that the SME provides.
Expressions of Interests
EOIs are assessed against a checklist of criteria to ensure that both the proposed activity and
SME are eligible to receive grant funding through the scheme. The key checklist questions of
the checklist are as follows and it worth companies making sure that the answer to all these
questions is ‘yes’.
Is the project within the region? (Yorkshire and Humber, excluding South Yorkshire)
Is the applicant in an eligible sector (not primary agriculture)?
Is the applicant an SME (based on turnover and employees)?
Is the project above the minimum grant project threshold of £20,000 and below £50,000?
Is the company’s financial situation stable? (an initial financial check will be completed
through Companies House).
Is this an innovative project that will deliver growth in the biorenewables sector?
Has the applicant identified the capital items to be funded? Are these eligible?
Does the project have a suitable level of outputs for the level of grant requested?
Is the SME within the De Minimis limit (both now and if we provide the grant requested)?
Full applications
Should a project pass the EOI checklist it will then proceed to full application stage. Full
applications are assessed at monthly panel meetings consisting of technology and business
experts using the following scoring criteria. Each criteria will be marked out of 10 and the
scores will be weighted by the figures in brackets. This weighting highlights the relative
importance of each criteria.
Clarity of Proposal (5%) How clear is the project proposal? Are you sure exactly what
the SME is proposing and do you believe the SME has fully thought through the activity?
Quality of Evidence (10%) How good is the evidence provided? This includes evidence
of costs, sales projections, potential markets. Is there clear evidence to support the
economic case for the proposal?
Fit with SME Business Plan (5%) Is the project part of the company's medium to long
term plan? Or are they simply chasing funding?
Innovation of Proposal (20%) How innovative is this (given BDC ERDF Project is an
innovation project).
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Fit with BDC Objectives (15%) Is this the type of project it would be appropriate for the
BDC to work on given its biorenewables focus?
Quantity of Outputs (10%) How many ERDF outputs are being proposed and are they
achievable given the proposed project?
Quality of Outputs (10%) What level are the ERDF outputs at (i.e. high paid job as
opposed to junior administrator)?
Overall Value for Money (15%) How many outputs are being proposed for the ERDF
funding proposed?
Project Risk - SME (5%) What risk is associated with the SMEs financial position,
management and technical capacity?
Project Risk - Activity (5%) How risky is the project itself. Given that the activity should
be innovative some risk is expected, but too much is an issue. E.g. risks could include the
need for planning permission.
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Annex 2: Glossary of terms
Bio-based = based on biological materials or processes.
Bioeconomy = the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food,
feed, bio-based products and bioenergy.
Biorenewable resources = organic materials of recent biological origin [not fossil fuels, but
includes wood].
Feedstocks = are inputs (raw materials) into industrial processes. For BGCS this refers to biobased feedstocks.
Innovation = a new method, idea, product or service. Innovation in relation to the BCGS needs
to be a process or product that is new to the company.
Pilot scale = to test (a scheme, project, etc.) on a small scale before introducing it more widely;
to conduct preliminary trials of; to try out.
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