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European Grants & Funding

As a member state the UK is able to share additional resources provided by the EU, which complement those government initiatives already in place. For employers these are broadly similar to the UK Government's own schemes, or those it administers on behalf of the EU.

These comprise financial support for capital investment, aid for research & development, and additionally schemes with long term aims to improve local infrastructure, training, and employment opportunities. (Initiatives are also aimed at certain non manufacturing or commercial sectors, for example arts, media, cultural and architectural heritage, social programs, and sport, but these are presently beyond the scope of GRA's pages).

In order to assist SMEs get help securing EU funds, the Small Business Service (SBS) has published a new guide on 1st July 2002 to help UK SMEs tap into European Union funding programmes.

The handbook, called 'Access to EU funding', describes the types of loans and grants available in Europe, and indicates which offers small firms should apply for. The guide is tailored to small companies in a range of industries, so that firms can identify the deals most relevant to them.

The categories include, rural businesses, research and development, and information technology.
The guide can be acquired by calling 0870 150 2500.

The basis of most EU grant funding is through the encouragement of collaborative partnerships with other EU firms or academic organisations, the EU funding information sites are also excellent places to find such partners.

SUBSIDIARITY It should be noted that the principle of subsidiarity applies to the relationship between member states and the EU, so that if an objective can be reached at a lower level, a higher authority may not intervene. Therefore despite the belief that there are many 'Euro-grants' available, in reality unless the circumstances match a very specific criteria this is often not the case.

The following is a brief outline of some of the fiscal support available to public bodies.

EUROPEAN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND (ERDF) assists less favoured regions and concentrates on productive investment, infrastructure, and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) development grants covering capital investment and innovation such as EGS, AIG, IFG and SMART are all part financed by the ERDF, although administered by UK Government, Welsh Assembly Government or Scottish Parliament.

EUROPEAN STEEL AND COAL COMMUNITY (ECSC) provides aid through soft loans with the aim of increasing efficiency in the coal and steel industries and mitigating the effects of industrial restructuring in coal and steel areas.


The EU regards Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (companies usually employing under 250 employees and less than 25% owned by an other organisation) as a great source of employment generation with currently 63% of the community workforce employed by SME's. European Union support for SME's is given by:

BUSINESS CO-OPERATION NETWORK (BC-NET) a computerised network, which seeks to put SME's in touch with a business in other member states for the purpose of industrial, commercial, technical, R&D or financial partnership.

EURO INFO CENTRES (EIC's) hold more detailed information on all European matters. Their aim is to meet industry's information requirements on EU issues, to assist and advise with business participation in EU activities, and to create a network of partners providing information about national and local regulations of interest to companies.

BUSINESS AND INNOVATION CENTRES (BIC) provide basic business support services and business/management training. They provide support for selected projects in starting up new businesses and developing existing SME's. Topics covered include technical approval, marketing strategy, business appraisal, and development of business skills.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT is encouraged in required areas of activity by those who already engage in R & D on a full time basis, research organisations and higher education institutes, as well as by giving incentives to manufacturers and other businesses to become involved. This is achieved through the Fifth Framework Program (FP5).

EUREKA is another European initiative which aims to facilitate collaborative R&D projects between European companies, research and technology organisations and higher education institutions. It is designed to complement the EU's R&D programs. Eureka projects benefit from enhanced project status, Europe-wide publicity, partner finding networks, and contacts with UK Government.

COST is an ongoing vehicle for technological collaboration enabling participants to undertake research in areas of common interest and to share the total results. The principle behind joining a program is the mutual benefit to be gained, the projects are self funded.

For those seeking EU funding, it will be a matter of patient research, requiring them to trawl through the mass of information available, and GRA can do no more than offer some pointers on its own site to try to signpost some sources as good starting points of where to look.

GRA does not normally work on EU grant application or assist in finding funding for such projects, outside of the UK schemes. However do contact us if you feel we could be of assistance - remember we always like a challenge.


News of Europe (5)


Setting sail for EUROPE?

Floating away on the holiday tide to spend your euros? Take the new 'Access to EU funding' booklet with you.

Originally published July, 2002 it describes the types of loans and grants available to small firms in a range of industries, from which to identify those most relevant to you. The guide can atill be obtained free of charge by calling the DTI on 0870 150 2500.

New EU states to have 'second division' status?

Latest estimates by the European Commission are that it may ultimately cost as little as £3 billion a year in net transfers for the entire new entry of 10 states: Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus and Malta. The figure - described as "peanuts" by a Brussels think-tank - is less than 0.05% of the £6 trillion economy of an enlarged EU and less than 4% of the Brussels budget.

Wake up call on EU expansion

EU Expansion means"500 million potential customers for UK business said Europe Minister Peter Hain and Competition Minister Melanie Johnson today warning that that Britain risks loosing out on trade, jobs and prosperity if business doesn't properly prepare for EU enlargement.

British firms miss billions in EU grants

SMALL firms are losing out on billions of pounds of European grants because the government is not applying for them, according to a special report by a group of Conservative MEPs.

   All main grant aid areas now covered in the UK by GRA's final appointments of AAD's

GRA is now in an excellent position to respond quickly to all enquiries for assistance with final appointments to the North West, and West Midlands areas to complete its team of seven Area Applications Directors now in place throughout the UK.


Selected GRA site registered users are are to be offered a NEWS ALERTS service be launched in the near future.. Let us know if you wamt to be included.

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