Below are answers to ten of the most frequently asked questions for the IRF. Answers to all frequently asked questions can be found here.
1. Can IRF funding be used to cover retrospective costs?
No. Any IRF funding awarded to an applicant must be used to purchase goods or services that have not already been purchased.
2. How does this scheme differ from previous grant schemes?
Previous East Devon COVID-19 grant schemes were survival focussed. This new IRF scheme is different. It focuses on promoting recovery, with emphasis on new and existing high value employment, business innovation and a green and inclusive economy.
3. Can an applicant submit a full bid application without submitting an expression of interest?
No. An applicant cannot submit a full bid application without submitting an expression of interest first. Once an expression of interest has been approved by the Council, the applicant will be invited to submit a full bid.
4. How will the grant amount for a particular applicant be determined?
The applicant will request a grant amount in the application form that is based on the estimated total cost of their proposed project. Copies of quotes/estimates must be provided to evidence those costs.
5. How can I submit a collaborative bid?
Collaborative bids can be submitted the same way as an individual bid, by submitting an expression of interest form online. A collaborative bid will need a project lead to apply on the behalf of all the collaborating partners. All partners must be eligible for IRF funding, as outlined in Section 3 of the Policy document.
6. Do projects need to make a financial return to the business or organisation?
Not necessarily. Businesses seeking to fund a new innovation, expand into new markets to adapt to changing market conditions are expected to outline how an IRF award will make a sustainable financial return to the business. Other types of projects, such as purchasing products to make a business carbon neutral or help to alleviate local poverty are not required to demonstrate a financial return, but will be appraised using other indicators.
7. Do applicants need to pay back the grant?
No. Only in cases where a grant was paid in error, or where the terms and conditions outlined in the Funding Agreement have not been met, will the Council reclaim the funds.
8. What is a Funding Agreement?
Before any funds can be awarded, applicants must sign a Funding agreement to ensure the business agrees to use the IRF grant payment to deliver the specific project milestones, sub-tasks and outcomes detailed in their application. The Funding Agreement will be provided to the applicant by email. If the application contains a match funding commitment, the applicant will also need to supply a separate legal agreement committing them or their funding provider to this spend.
9. Can the self-employed, sole traders and those without property costs apply?
Yes. Businesses that do not have fixed property costs or employees are still able to apply, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. This includes those who run their business from home or on a mobile basis.
10. How can a project create new employment without directly funding a salary?
Although IRF funding cannot be used to directly pay a salary or substitute lost income/wages, it can be used to purchase goods and services that will lead to additional employment. For example, the proposed project may be to expand the business or to diversify, with project costs enabling the business to purchase new tools and equipment that will require additional workers to operate them.