At the beginning of 2014 the Government launched the Growth Voucher Scheme, a brand new advice programme aimed at encouraging SMEs to grow their business. The scheme will run until March 2015.
Magee Gammon is approved to provide advice under the Growth Voucher programme.
This government programme has been designed to help small businesses get expert advice on:
- finance and cash flow
- recruiting and developing staff
- improving leadership and management skills
- marketing, attracting and keeping customers
- making the most of digital technology
How can businesses apply to join the scheme?
- Eligible businesses (see overleaf eligibility criteria) who would like to take part in the scheme need to apply online https://www.gov.uk/apply-growth-vouchers.
- Businesses will then be asked to carry out a business advice assessment either by meeting an adviser or completing an online questionnaire.
- After completing the assessment, applicants will be given a suggestion about what type of advice would most appropriate to the current needs of their business, although they have the final decision. Once a decision has been made the voucher can not be changed. At this stage applicants will be told whether or not they have been allocated a voucher.
Eligible applicants will be randomly chosen to receive a voucher for up to £2,000 to help finance specialist business support.
Successful businesses will have to match the amount with their own funds. Successful applicants will be able to select a Growth Voucher adviser to work with from those listed on the Enterprise Nation Marketplace. They will pay for the services provided directly to their chosen adviser in full and claim 50% back from the government. Applicants can pay more than £4,000 to their chosen adviser, but will only receive back from the Government up to a maximum of £2,000 under the scheme.
As part of the scheme successful applicants will be asked to take part in surveys to find out how the programme has helped them.
- Applicants will be advised to find a suitable supplier via Enterprise Nation’s Marketplace https://marketplace.enterprisenation.com/
- Once a supplier has been chosen the participant will make their own arrangements to receive the advice. The participant must agree a price for the advice and check it is suitable to be subsidised using a Growth Voucher.
- After the supplier has been paid for the advice businesses then submit a claim for the subsidy under the Growth Voucher scheme. Proof that the invoice has been settled and details of advice received will be required. Claims should be paid within 30 days of receipt.
What kind of advice can Magee Gammon provide under the Growth Voucher Programme?
The Growth Voucher programme will match small businesses seeking advice with businesses that give in-depth strategic advice in 5 key areas (see above).
Under the scheme applicants can approach Magee Gammon to provide advice on:-
- A financial health check – consultancy to review the financial health of the applicant’s business and developing a strategy for growth.
- Cash flow and credit management.
- Basic business planning for debt finance.
- Enhanced business planning and evaluation for equity finance.
- Strategic management accounting.
Growth Vouchers should be used for strategic advice, so the activities funded by thescheme should result in securing long-term change in the business, its operations and its capabilities.
Can the growth voucher be used where the chosen supplier has an existing relation with the participating business?
Where there is an existing relationship between the chosen supplier and the participating business the business can apply for a growth voucher as long as they meet the eligibility criteria (see below) and the supplier is an approved supplier under the scheme.
If they are granted a voucher it can be spent with the supplier so long as they haven’t provided the business with any strategic advice in the last 3 years such as developing a financial strategy for growth.
A business must:
- have 49 employees or less (including any employees of companies that own a stake in the business)
- be registered in England
- have been trading for at least one year
- not have paid for business advice in the last 3 years
- be independent (ie no more than 25% is owned by other businesses or organisations)
The following information will need to be provided to complete an application:
- Companies House registration number or unique tax reference
- registered business address
- business turnover details
- VAT registration number (if you’re registered)
- PAYE number (if you have one)
- contact phone number
- email address
Full details of the terms & conditions of the scheme can be found at https://www.gov.uk/apply-growth-vouchers