Enterprising Worcestershire Start-Up and Early Stage Business Full Eligibility and criteria

General  Business Eligibility Criteria

The Start-Up Grant programme is open to SME (see SME definition below) businesses and start-up enterprises in Worcestershire that have been trading for less than 36 months prior to the date the application is received.

The enterprise must be trading, or if start up intending to trade, 70% business to business.

The applicant must hold a business bank account (a ‘trading as’ account is acceptable).

The business must have the ability to make a ‘cash’ matched funding contribution of at least 50% of the total eligible costs of its project from its own resources.

The applicant must have a business plan / growth plan.

The applicant must have all the necessary permissions and licenses to operate their business.

The applicant must not have any other outstanding debts payable to partner Councils.

Businesses Not Eligible Under ERDF Guidelines

Provision of local social welfare facilities e.g. hospitals, nursing homes, fire stations, sports facilities, parks, public libraries.

Child-minding facilities including day nurseries (unless directly related to the objectives of the Operational Programme – OP)

Mobile infrastructure such as buses, boats and other vehicles cannot be funded with ERDF because of the possibility that the asset will be removed from the OP area and difficulties in ensuring that it will be used solely for the project.

Retail facilities. The general principle is that support for retail facilities will not assist economic development and that improved performance for one facility is regarded as displacing similar activity elsewhere.

Retail is defined as the provision of goods or services to the general public.  Provision of goods or services to businesses is not considered retail.

Standalone car parks are not eligible for ERDF.  Providing car parking may be eligible if it is part of a larger project for development of a site or premises.  The number of parking spaces should be based on the standards agreed by the local planning authority.  If there are more spaces than set out in the standard they will not be eligible for ERDF unless it can be evidenced that they are required.

Primary production, processing and marketing of agricultural products, which is supported through EAFRD.

Synthetic fibres sector (excluded by the General Block Exemption EC 800/2008).  Further explanation of the meaning of synthetic fibres sector can be found on the European Commission website at https://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/legislation/archive_docs/96c94_en.html – Code on Aid to the Synthetic Fibres Industry (1996, subsequently extended.)

Establishments providing generalised (school age) education should not be supported as this is a statutory duty on local authorities.

Banking and insurance companies should not be supported, as their activities are non-productive and support to one institution is likely to lead to displacement of jobs, except as a deliverer of services or match funding, for example as members of a VCLF consortium.  This would include insurance brokers who act as intermediaries and ‘sell’ insurance policies to businesses or individuals.

Possible Eligibility

Tourist infrastructure projects designed to attract or retain visitors from outside the area and which willsustain or generate local jobs and revenue by, for exa mple, increasing the use and/or provision of hotel bedrooms are eligible.

Facilities which primarily serve local people are not to be encouraged and evidence of expected use by visitors from outside the area is essential, provided that the state aid position can be managed.

Eligible Expenditure

Eligible expenditure can be defined as expenditure where the benefits last more than 12 months and can include:



Building work

Fixtures and fittings

Website construction


Logo design


And other similar one-off items that help with business start-up and early development

Ineligible Expenditure

The grant may not be used for:

Recurring revenue costs (including salaries, stock, rent, utility charges, subscriptions etc.)

Repaying existing loans or debt

The reimbursement of goods/services already purchased prior to the date of an offer letter

Items subject to hire/lease agreements

Mobile infrastructure

Services (such as solicitor fees, legal and insurance fees)


Road vehicles

Trailers and similar towable accessories

Activities that may bring Worcestershire County Council and its partners in disrepute

Any costs associated with statutory requirements – for example registering with statutory bodies such as the ICO

All grants are made at the discretion of Worcestershire County Council subject to availability of funding.  Grants will be limited to one per business and applications will be considered on a competitive basis.

Enterprising Worcestershire is a partnership between the Worcestershire District Councils, Worcestershire County Council and is receiving up to £1,076,647 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. For more information visit gov.uk/European-growth-funding.

SME Definition

The definition of SME’s eligible for the programme will be a business or company that:

  • Has fewer than 250 employees
  • Has either (a) an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million or (b) an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43 million
  • 25% or more of the capital or the voting rights are not owned by one enterprise, or jointly by several enterprises falling outside this definition of an SME.
  • Does not own more than 25% of the capital or voting rights in an enterprise falling outside of this definition of SME
  • Exceptions:  An enterprise in which more than 25% of the capital or voting rights are owned by a Venture Capitalist, Business Angel, Institutional Investor or Autonomous Local Authority may still be considered SMEs

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