Digital Innovation Grants

What is this for?

Digital Innovation Grants (DIG) are intended to support businesses to deliver  new digital projects that enable or accelerate the development of new products, processes or services, give access to new markets, helping to safeguard and create jobs. It isn’t intended to be used to fund a technology refresh, applicants must clearly evidence how the grant can add value to their business and help them grow and exploit new opportunities. Please note that Funding can only be issued to achieve ‘Additionality’ i.e. to add value. It cannot be used to merely replace old equipment or infrastructure, where no value is added to a firm’s current performance or capacity.

What is it going to cost?

  • The maximum amount of grant available is £10k.
  • Applications are invited from businesses with projects that have a total cost of between £3k - £50k.
  • Applicants must provide at least 50% match.
    • For example, a £3k project the applicant would receive £1.5k but must provide the other £1.5k of match funding.
    • For a £20k project the applicant would receive £10k the maximum grant allowed under this scheme but must provide the other £10k of match funding.
    • For a £50k project which is the maximum total project cost amount allowed under this scheme, the applicant would still only receive £10k but must provide the other £40k.

What we need from you

All projects supported by this grant need to be capable of completion by the end of September 2021 and will require proof of completion, spend and will be expected to report back to Business Doncaster on the benefits resulting from the investment. Please read the guidance notes in the drop down section below before starting to complete the application form to make sure that you can make the strongest application.

About the grant

Digital Innovation Grants (DIG) are for new digital projects that enable or accelerate the development of new products, processes or services, give access to new markets, helping to safeguard and create jobs. It isn’t funding for a technology refresh, applicants must clearly evidence how the grant can add value to their business and help them grow and exploit new opportunities.

DIG is funded by the Sheffield City Region (SCR) Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) and will be delivered across South Yorkshire on behalf of SCR by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council (BMBC), Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council (DMBC), Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) and Sheffield City Council (SCC).

To discuss your application please contact the relevant Local Authority.

  • Business Doncaster - Tel 01302 735555

How much grant is available?

  • The maximum amount of grant available is £10k.
  • Applications are invited from businesses with projects that have a total cost of between £3k - £50k.
  • Applicants must provide at least 50% match.
    • For example, a £3k project the applicant would receive £1.5k but must provide the other £1.5k of match funding.
    • For a £20k project the applicant would receive £10k the maximum grant allowed under this scheme but must provide the other £10k of match funding.
    • For a £50k project which is the maximum total project cost amount allowed under this scheme, the applicant would still only receive £10k but must provide the other £40k.

Who is eligible for the grant?

To be eligible for this grant:

  • Businesses with new digital projects that enable or accelerate the development of new products, processes or services, give access to new markets, helping to safeguard and create jobs.
  • You must be a business based in SCR.
  • You can be an SME (Small Medium Sized Enterprise) or a Large Business.
  • For applicants who have been trading for under 12 months additional verification checks will have to be completed by your Local Authority to examine the credentials and financial viability of the business.
  • Your business must not be in financial distress and have the resources to implement the project, and the ability to survive following the impact of COVID-19.
  • You must have a business bank account linked to the specific business applying for the grant. Grants will not be paid into personal accounts.
  • The grant is being awarded under the COVID-19 Business Grant Subsidy Allowance and by submitting this application you are electing to use this scheme.

What Expenditure is Eligible?

DIG will be offered to help fund digital business solutions for businesses that will provide business benefit and growth.  This may include, but is not limited to

  • Client Relationship Management systems
  • Cloud solutions
  • New software development
  • Remote monitoring and working solutions
  • Collaboration technologies
  • Large data transfer solutions
  • Live high-quality video streaming
  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
  • New laptops, desktops or tablet computers and other peripheral devices, e.g. printers.*
  • Development of apps
  • E commerce solutions.
  • Integration and consultancy costs

Below are a few practical examples of the types projects that would be welcomed but because of the nature of innovation, it would be too restrictive to provide a list of specific projects that would be eligible for a DIG. To address this, eligible costs will be those where satisfactory evidence can be provided to show the following:

  • The business problem/ issue faced by the SME that could be improved through an ICT innovation, including information about the area of the business that will benefit.
  • Demonstrate how the project will enable the business to introduce a new product or process innovation to market
  • Demonstrate how the project will make the business more productive
  • Demonstrate a step change that will help the business grow
  • Satisfy that the proposals are viable, offer value for money, are realistic and deliverable
  • *Please note that Funding can only be issued to achieve ‘Additionality’ i.e. to add value. It cannot be used to merely replace old equipment or infrastructure, where no value is added to a firm’s current performance or capacity.

Examples of potential projects could include:

A manufacturing business investing in a new digital printer to rapidly bar code all manufactured items, which will allow it to update its online inventory and improve efficiency in the production process.

A business investing in a new smart technology for its vehicles, which provides real time intelligence on the location of delivery vehicles for clients and more accurate information about delivery timescales.

A business investing in a new fully e-commerce enabled website, which links through to its stock control/inventory system, allowing the firm to increase its customer base and offer a seamless user experience.

Other conditions to be aware of

Other conditions relating to the use of the grant include:

  • Funding will only be provided for the acquisition of assets i.e. not for leasing or hiring equipment or on-going revenue expenditure (including digital marketing/advertising, etc.).
  • Only one application, per business.
  • Applicants will be given until the end of September to complete their investment. After this time, the relevant Local Authority reserves the right to cancel the grant or reclaim any advance payment
  • Grants can be for either one technology solution or a bundle of solutions. Nevertheless, quotations will be required for each solution.
  • Each Local Authority reserves the right to cancel a grant once issued to an applicant, if we suspect fraud has been committed.
  • Under no circumstance will grants be paid directly to a supplier.
  • Grants will not be paid to applicants who have a ‘relationship’ with the supplier(s).
  • There is no automatic right granted to applicants, to appeal the decision about an application. The grant panel’s decision is final.

How do I apply for the Grant?

Complete the DO IT ONLINE button link below.
  • If you have a registered disability and require additional support, please state contact Business Doncaster
  • A Business Advisor can be allocated to your business if required to discuss your application.
  • A Business Doncaster Adviser will contact the business with the result of the panel.
  • If successful, a Business Doncaster Adviser will talk through how to claim the grant.

How are grant applications assessed?

  • As soon as your Local Authority has received your application, they will undertake an eligibility review of your proposal based on the details and the supporting information that you provide. You may also be asked for additional information during this process, to enable an assessment of, for example, eligibility, financial viability etc.
  • Your application will then be submitted to a local assessment panel who will consider each proposal against the aims of the grant scheme and make a final decision.
  • Your Local Authority Grant Panel will review the answers against the sub criteria of each questions and the impact the intervention will have on the business and wider economy.
  • Each partner will aim to issue successful applicants with a Grant Offer letter within 10 working days of the closing date – however this may take longer if applicants are required to provide any further clarification / information.
  • The Grant Offer letter will need to be signed and returned to accept the terms of the grant. Please be aware, full compliance with the eligibility criteria does not guarantee that your application will be successful, as grants are discretionary.
  • If the Local Authority Programme Management teams are not fully satisfied that a submission is legitimate, they withhold the right to decline the application.

How do I claim the grant?

  • If your grant is approved, your business advisor will contact you and you will be issued with a formal Offer Letter that will include information about your grant offer and eligible project costs, conditions of the offer and information on how about payment.
  • Once you have formally accepted a grant offer, you can begin expenditure on the project. It is important to note that costs incurred before the acceptance of the offer cannot be supported.
  • Proof of expenditure will be required:
    • Invoice(s) for all items being claimed from the supplier of goods and/or services to the business.
    • Copies of invoices and bank statements of the applicant business confirming payment (documents must be certified as true copies of the original documents, dated, and signed).
    • If you pay your suppliers using a credit card, a certified redacted business bank statement showing full payment to the credit provider.
  • You must not defray any expenditure until you have received a signed offer letter.
  • If the cost of your quote changes between application and the receipt of an offer letter you must inform your local authority before you purchase the cost/equipment.
  • Each Local Authority reserve the right to visit any grant recipient to ensure the grant has been used for the purpose stated in the Grant Agreement, inspect records to show that costs have been evidenced and make a formal assessment of the impact of the project. Grant recipients are obliged to cooperate with this process.

Application process

  Digital Innovation Grant Application Process flowchart

Timeframe

  • Applications Accepted:  17th May 2021 to the 28th May 2021
  • Assessment and Decision:  Up to 10 working days from the application being received, unless further information is required from the applicant
  • Offer Letter Submitted:  Up to 10 working days from application assessment and decision
  • Monitoring:  The applicant must maintain, retain and make available on request all original project documentation until at least December 2028 for external audit purposes, which is a condition of accepting the grant. 

Completing the application form

Please use the information in this section to answer each question in the application form as fully as possible.

Section 1: Applicants Details

  • Please provide details of your business, including details of the primary contact for the project. This should be the person the Project Administrators will contact any questions.
  • We require details of all active Directors so we can discount any potential links between applicants and suppliers.
  • The Business Address must be where the activity is taking place.
  • If you have a registered disability and require additional support with your application, please indicate in this section.
  • If you have had any ‘state aid’ within the last three years, please indicate this in the table provided.

Section 2: Assessment

  • There are 4 questions to answer in section 2. For the panel to get a good understanding of the project a comprehensive answer is required for each question. This is a competitive process and there is a finite amount of money available therefore you will be in competition with other businesses for the funding.
  • Due to the short timeframe applications will be processed on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
  • The x4 Questions will be scored on a ‘yes / no’ basis i.e. has the applicant addressed the sub criteria in each or not. Economic impact will also be taken into consideration as well as the potential step change the intervention will have on the growth of the business.
  • To help answer the questions guidance is provided below to help you focus on the information that is required.
  • Please note that this isn’t a government discretionary grant therefore providing minimal information will not be accepted.

Question 1 - What is the project?

Information required

  • What are you looking to acquire with the grant funding?
  • What is the objective of the project? - Explain as expressively as possible the ultimate, "big picture" vision and purpose of your completed endeavor.
  • Describe how the grant will contribute to the development or creation of new products or services.
  • Explain why grant funding is needed, with reference to the viability of the project with or without grant funding.

Examples of the types of project and interventions that are allowed can be found on "What Expenditure is Eligible?" section above.

Question 2 – How will this project help the growth of your business?

Information required

  • Outline the problem(s) currently being faced by your business.
  • Highlight how the investment in ICT / Innovation will help resolve the issues.
  • Describe the area of the business that will benefit and the wider impact this will have on the business.
  • Evidence how the investment is aligned to the companies overarching growth strategy.

Question 4 - Can you explain the rationale behind your chosen supplier/provider, demonstrating the chosen supplier’s experience and/or value for money?                     

Information required

  • Satisfy that the proposals are viable, offer value for money, are realistic and deliverable
  • Highlight which supplier(s) you have approached and why.
  • Detail the quotes received and the reason why a specific supplier was chosen. If you have an existing relationship with the supplier, please state what this is.
  • If only one supplier has been approached explain why.

Applicants who are Directors and/or have an existing formal relationship with a supplier will be rejected.

For more advice on procurement please see the "Procurement Guidance" section below.

Section 3: Privacy Policy

  • This is for information only.

Section 4: Declaration

  • Please read indicate that you have agreed to the terms and conditions of the scheme and sign the box below. Electronic signatures are acceptabl

Procurement Guidance

  • The basis of procurement regarding products or services supported by grant award from this programme is one of ‘business choice’. This means that you as the business decides who your preferred supplier is. You will only be required to provide a copy of the quotation of your preferred supplier for your grant request to be considered.  However, as a matter of good business practice we would suggest that you may want to seek alternative quotations to ensure you are going to get best value.
  • It is both the business, and Programme Management team’s responsibility to ensure that best value is being obtained from public funds and the team do reserve the right to seek further information from you to confirm your decision.
  • The quotation of the preferred supplier must be adequately detailed and fully align with the information on your Grant Application form.
  • It is not permissible for any arrangement to be made between yourselves and the provider organisation which may be seen as any form of ‘payment offset’ for example credit notes or related financial transactions which in any way reduces the Gross Cost of the products or services, or in any way reduces the net contribution you are making to these costs.
  • For successful grant applicants, there is a requirement for them as part of the grant claim process to demonstrate full payment before making their claim. This means that any form of lease or hire purchase agreement will not be acceptable.

Document Retention

  • You will be required to retain documentary evidence of the support received, and to provide certified copies of this evidence to the Local Authority to claim the grant and to retain originals which if required must be made available for inspection by an auditor.
  • You must retain the original documentation about the grant until you are advised otherwise. In the event that your business ceases trading within this period, the documentation must be passed to your Local Authority Programme Management Team.
  • The evidence to be retained includes:
    • The grant offer letter;
    • Any agreement between yourself and the service provider detailing the type of support being provided, the timescale for delivery and the total cost, including VAT;
    • The original invoice from the service provider;
    • The bank statement(s) showing payment of the total cost of the service to the provider;
    • Procurement evidence.

You will also need to save a copy of the Subsidy Control Form below, edit it and then upload it into your application as part of one of the questions.

Subsidy Control Form
Download (153KB - DOC)

What you should expect from us

Your application will be treated as being commercially sensitive and will be score/assessed within a week of the closing date. You will be notified by email of the outcome of your application and if successful this would allow you to start the project in advance of receipt of our funding agreement documentation.

More information

 If you need any help or advice to complete this application then please contact Tim Hazeltine in the first instance on tim.hazeltine@doncaster.gov.uk

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Last updated: 26 May 2021 10:19:45