What is an SME?

An SME is a small to medium sized organisation which meets the following criteria:

  • Employs fewer than 250 employees
  • Has an annual turnover not exceeding €50m and/or
  • Has a balance sheet not exceeding €43m

For further details, please visit- http://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/business-friendly-environment/sme-definition_en

Where do companies need to be located?

SMEs need to be located in or have an operating base in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Black Country LEP.

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP covers-

  • Birmingham
  • Solihull
  • Wyre Forest
  • Bromsgrove
  • Redditch
  • East Staffordshire
  • Lichfield
  • Tamworth
  • Cannock Chase

The Black Country LEP covers

  • Dudley
  • Sandwell
  • Walsall
  • Wolverhampton
Which companies are eligible?

To be eligible for any of the available support, companies need to meet the following criteria:

  • Employ less than 250 employees
  • Have an annual turnover of not exceeding €50 million and/or an annual balance sheet not exceeding €43million.
  • Be based in GBSLEP- (Birmingham, Solihull, Wyre Forest; Bromsgrove; Redditch, East Staffordshire; Lichfield; Tamworth and/or Cannock Chase) or Black Country LEP (Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton)
  • Have received no more than €200,000 of de minimis State Aid in the past 3 years.
Which sectors does the project aim to support?

The project is aiming to support all manufacturing sectors but particularly seeks to work with high
energy users such as

  • chemical engineering
  • foundries
  • metal cutting
  • construction
  • logistics
  • manufacture of paint
  • cement
  • petrochemicals
  • varnishes and similar coating
  • printing ink and mastics.
  • restaurants
What can the grants be spent on?

Eligible activities

  • Replacement of specific machine and equipment for achieving energy efficiency
  • Replacement of boiler and furnace
  • Altering conversion technology (e.g. equipment, machineries, tools etc.)
  • Project cost for installing solar and/ or biomass power energy sources
  • Machine layout alteration for efficient material flow
  • Installing telematics for monitoring and controlling fuel consumption
  • Installing telematics for monitoring and controlling refurbished engine health during operations so as to enhance life of the engine and prevent breakdown
  • Software and hardware for energy efficiency and carbon footprint calculations
  • Introducing new catalyst in the chemical process to enhance energy efficiency
  • Analysing feasibility of adopting renewable sources of energy
  • Software and hardware installation for logistics optimisation
  • Software and hardware for inventory management
  • Software and hardware for forecasting
  • ERP implementation for process reengineering
  • Other IT solutions for process optimisation
  • Technical analysis for adopting energy efficiency
  • Product and process redesign with energy efficiency.
Are there any activities which will not be supported by the grant?

For further details, please contact the Low Carbon SMEs Team

How much does it cost the company?

Advice is available at no cost to the beneficiary company. Match funded grants are available to eligible SMEs. Companies will be required to pay 50% of the total project cost.

  • Transition areas
    East Staffordshire
    Cannock Chase
  • More developed areas
    Wyre Forest
Is there a deadline for applying for a grant?

For Further details on the current deadline, please contact a member of our team.

Please call us on 0121 204 4610/4248 or  Email-smelowcarbon@aston.ac.uk

What is the process for choosing a supplier to deliver the project?

Companies need to comply with the following process when choosing a supplier.

  • 5/6 potential suppliers need to be identified.
  • Clear Terms of Reference for the project need to be prepared and sent to the identified suppliers.
  • A minimum of 3 quotes need to be received.
  • A checklist for evaluating the quotes needs to be drafted.
  • The scoring criteria for evaluating the quotes should be applied.
  • A justification for why a supplier has been chosen needs to be provided.

For any further details, please contact a member of the Low Carbon SMEs Team.

When do companies receive the grant?

Once the Low Carbon SMEs project team has given approval for the grant, the SME needs to choose a supplier to deliver the project, following the required process.

  • When the project has been delivered, the supplier will invoice the SME in full.
  • The SME will pay the invoice in full.
  • The SME should then send a copy of the invoice with evidence of payment to the project team.
  • Aston University will then pay the ERDF grant value agreed in the grant contract.
  • This will be paid within ten working days of the evidence being received and verified.