For your project to qualify for Invest to Grow funding, you will need to demonstrate that it meets the following criteria:
- It will create new jobs or safeguard existing positions in your company
- It will increase the scope or scale of your company activity
- It will improve the company’s performance
- It has not commenced and will not be achievable in the timescales proposed without Invest to Grow support
Introduction to Invest to Grow funding
Invest to grow provides businesses to access funding support, resulting in business growth and innovation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Read these frequently asked questions about the Invest to Grow programme.
What is Invest to Grow?
The Invest to Grow Programme provides loans and grants to support private sector businesses across the East Midlands to innovate, grow, adapt and create jobs. The programme aims to generate economic activity by investing in enterprise growth and to promote the creation of new jobs and the safeguarding of existing positions.
Projects will need to demonstrate that other avenues of support and funding have been explored and why Invest to Grow funding is vital to the project going ahead.
Who can apply?
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), large enterprises, sole traders and partnerships located in the East Midlands.
What projects will Invest to Grow support?
Funding is available for projects that will create new jobs and where these jobs can be sustained for a minimum of three years (five years for large organisations). Projects are welcomed that create higher-skilled jobs (at or above NVQ level 4).
The types of project that Invest to Grow may support include:
- Development or improvement of products and related services
- Expansion or upgrading of business premises, machinery and/or equipment
- Innovation in products, processes and systems that will result in business and supply chain efficiency, growth and profitability
The programme is aimed at a variety of sectors including:
- Manufacturing (eg transport equipment and food and drink)
- Life sciences
- Creative industries
- Low carbon
Invest to Grow does not support any companies which are business to consumer (B2C) focused, or in the professional services, farm-based agriculture and retail sectors.
What costs can I apply for?
- Purchase of land and buildings
- Refurbishment, fit-out and/or adaptations of land and buildings
- Plant and machinery costs
- Equipment costs
- Product development costs
All project costs must be exclusive of VAT.
Invest to Grow does not support the purchase of vehicles, stock or ongoing operating costs.
What conditions are attached to any support towards land and building costs?
Project costs relating to land and/or building costs for the occupancy and use of the Invest to Grow applicant will only be considered for predominantly loan funding. Please be aware if your funding application is approved you will be required to provide all the necessary security documentation (i.e. certificate of title, planning permission) prior to the issue of final contracts.
How much can I apply for?
The minimum award size is £15,000, for which the minimum project cost must be £50,000. The maximum award size is £250,000, subject to availability of funding at the time.
Loans and grants (or a blend of both) remain available. The majority of awards are a mix of loan and grant. Applications where the loan amount requested is higher than the grant amount will stand a greater chance of being successful.
Loans will be provided at an interest rate dependent on the creditworthiness of the applicant and the level of collateralisation. This will be determined as part of the final due diligence exercise which follows the in-principle funding offer from the Strategic Investment Panel. Security of a sufficient value to cover the full value of the loan is likely to be required. This may be in the form of a legal charge over property and/or other fixed assets owned by the applicant.
Please note current demand and competition for the Invest to Grow funding is high and not all applications will be affordable. Each funding request will be judged on its own merit depending on the availability of funding at the time.
What is the criteria for asset purchases?
All asset purchases forming part of project proposals must be located within the East Midlands and be retained by the applicant organisation for a minimum of 3 years (5 years for larger enterprises). The tracking of this will form part of the ongoing project monitoring process.
Are there any conditions attached to submissions where the applicant company is part of a wider group?
Yes. A key criterion for the Invest to Grow programme is that the applicant organisation must be the one that is incurring the project expenditure, retaining ownership of the asset(s), creating the jobs and realising the growth that will come from the successful delivery of the project.
If this is not the case (e.g. a holding company is intending to purchase some of the assets), please ensure you speak to an Invest to Grow Fund Manager before submission of an Expression of Interest form, since this may render your project ineligible for our funding support.
What is the application process and timeframes?
The Invest to Grow programme operates a two-stage application process beginning with the submission of an Expression of Interest (EOI) form. If this is successful you will be invited to submit a more comprehensive full application. Once completed full application forms and supporting documentation have been received you will be allocated to the next available Strategic Investment Panel meeting, where your funding request will be presented by a member of the team. Subject to receiving in-principle funding approval from the panel, a final due diligence exercise will need to be completed before the formal offer and contracts can be issued.
Due to the current high demand for funding, applicants should allow a minimum of 3 to 6 months for the progression of applications through the entire Invest to Grow process. As each project will be different, your Invest to Grow contact will provide clearer updates on the timescales once your full application has been received.
Do I have to secure match funding?
All funding applications will be assessed against Invest to Grow criteria with each applicant normally required to provide funding for a minimum of 80% of the total project costs. This will need to come from private sector sources such as a bank loan, asset finance, company funds or a director's loan.
What are the job output requirements for my project?
We only accept project proposals where jobs are going to be created and/or safeguarded. The value for money of jobs created and/or safeguarded against the funding amount requested is a key consideration for the Invest to Grow programme and its Strategic Investment Panel.
Jobs created must be sustainable for a minimum of 3 years. Only direct jobs realised or safeguarded within the applicants' organisation and based within the East Midlands region will be considered. To ensure job creation output targets are achieved a net increase in the overall company headcount is required from the submission date of the full application. Please note zero-hour contracts are ineligible.
Can I start the project before I apply to Invest to Grow?
A full application to Invest to Grow must be submitted and an in-principle offer issued before work or expenditure on the project can begin. If work on a project started (i.e. orders for equipment, offers on a property, recruitment of a new starter) before this date, then it is potentially ineligible for financial support.
Where does the project need to be located?
Invest to Grow is only able to support projects located within the East Midlands. This includes all assets purchased on projects and staff recruited.
Please note for Invest to Grow purposes North-East Lincolnshire is included in this region.
Are there any costs involved in applying for Invest to Grow funding?
Invest to Grow does not charge an arrangement fee. However, approved projects may be subject to due diligence costs prior to the issuing of contracts. This is payable by the applicant in advance of the due diligence work commencing.
Whilst applicants are not charged for the drafting of Invest to Grow contracts and security documentation, applicants will be charged any additional fees incurred with solicitors as part of the contracting process where the applicant is seeking clarification or alterations to any of the clauses contained in the precedent agreements or security documentation. These costs must be settled before any funding can be released.
What is the process for releasing funding following project approval?
Once an in-principle funding offer is made by the Strategic Investment Panel, applicants are required to undertake a due diligence exercise to provide more detailed information (e.g. latest financial and project forecasts, evidence of private sector match funding, evidence of state aid compliance), prior to entering into formal funding contracts with the University of Derby.
Upon receipt of the fully signed contracts and successful registration of any security (if applicable), loan funding can be released. Grant funding is drawn down upon evidence of defrayal of the eligible project expenditure items and completion of the necessary claim documents.
Please note due to the re-circulating nature of the scheme, funding may not always be available to applicants at the exact time it is requested. It will be important to discuss with the Invest to Grow team, the timing of your funding release, once funding has been approved.
How to Apply
To find out more about the programme and to receive a copy of our Expression of Interest form and Frequently Asked Questions, please complete the form below:
Quotes from our partners:
“Whilst Invest to Grow helped us to grow the business, it also supported us through the early part of the Covid-19 crisis and put us in a great position moving forwards.”
Reg Rudd, Chairman of LTT (Links Labels & Tapes)
“Working with Invest to Grow has broadened our knowledge of the University and how we can engage with it. It has been a really good experience working with Nic and the team, which has led to us developing a broader relationship with the University in other areas.”
Andy Flinn, CEO of RDS Global
“It was a good experience working with the University of Derby regarding Invest to Grow. We have also subsequently had positive experiences of working with its careers department and now employ a number of the University’s alumni.”
Peter Evans, CEO of Orderly