Senior associate at Stephens Scown LLP says that grants in Cornwall provide a great opportunity for businesses – but it’s important to do the right due diligence first.
There are grants available which can help a business grow in numerous ways – for example to fund the opening of a new office or warehouse, or to meet the expenses involved in expanding the workforce.
Many of these grants are advertised by Cornwall Council, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, BIS (the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) or DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government).
However, the grants are not simply ‘free money’ with no strings attached. State aid rules, which prevent public hand-outs from giving a competitive advantage to one organisation over others will apply; and as with any financial deal, there are conditions that need to be met. If you don’t do so, some or all of the money could potentially be clawed back.
But with careful project planning and the right due diligence, there is no reason why a grant involving state aid should not run smoothly.
It’s really no different to entering into any other financial deal. As a business, you wouldn’t dream of not taking legal advice on a debt or equity investment. In the same way, when considering an application for aid you should take advice too and get that advice as soon as possible.
This is to ensure that:
- Your business is eligible to receive the aid
- You have correctly interpreted the amount of aid you can receive so that you don’t fall short
- Your project is properly planned to ensure you can apply the funding correctly
- You can comply with the procurement requirements during the course of the project
Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure you meet all the requirements. Although different funding entities will give you differing levels of support or guidance, they will not give you explicit sign-off that your application is legally compliant with European state aid rules or any applicable funding requirements.
That’s why obtaining legal advice can be worth it many times over.
At Stephens Scown, our corporate team of lawyers will be more than happy to help you through each step of the process to make sure everything is in order and bring you peace of mind.
Our corporate team advises on grant due diligence, corporate transactions including business acquisitions and disposals, fundraising and company reorganisations. If you have any queries then please do contact on 01872 265100 or by email email@example.com.