HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR APPLICATION AND AVOID COMMON MISTAKES

When we receive your full application we need to check that your project is financially viable, that you can successfully deliver the project and its outputs and that you need a grant to make the project happen.  On the regulatory side we need to check that procurement rules are met, that your project will not significantly affect other businesses and therefore will help to grow the economy of Cornwall, that your business and what you are seeking funding support for are eligible, and that all legal consents are in place.

Comprehensive guidance notes are provided (LEADER G20) with your invitation to submit a full application.  You must read this document and follow what it says; any aspects that are not complied with will mean your application cannot be appraised or could be rejected.

Here are some common mistakes and some guidance on improving your application.  Getting it as right as you can first time will mean your application can go through the appraisal process quicker.

Procurement

Common mistakes with quotes are that they:

  • are not dated or they have expired because they were only valid for a set period of time
  • do not show the applicant’s name and address (or email address)
  • do not show complete supplier’s contact details. We also need their VAT number.

Quotes need to be like for like; we cannot assess value for money if the specifications are dissimilar.  Quotes from manufacturers, distributors or agents are all acceptable; you don’t have to submit quotes from one type of supplier.

Before you request quotes it is best to draw up a specification, whether it be for a piece of equipment or building work.  A specification doesn’t have to be detailed provided it sets out, comprehensively, what you need; if you then receive quotes with slightly different products or services we can usually accept them as it is the suppliers’ solution to your requirements.  If you wish to send out invitations to tender we have some guidance we can send you.

Cash flow

The cash flow is important in helping us asses the viability of your project.  It needs to cover the activities of the whole business.  The opening balance should reflect the level of cash in the business at the time the application is submitted, 8 weeks need to be left between claim submission and receipt of the grant, and VAT should be included in the project costs (whereas the grant will be excluding VAT if you are VAT registered).  Salaries need to include any jobs that will be created by the project and shown at the appropriate expenditure time and tie in with the figures in the Outputs table.

Outputs

LEADER requires delivery of ‘direct’ outputs; these are listed in the Outputs spreadsheet.  Any other outputs are ‘indirect’ and are not recorded in the Outputs spreadsheet; you would not be penalised if you were not able to deliver indirect outputs.

In completing the dates in the columns of the spreadsheet Year 1 should start with the month after you have financially completed your project.  The baseline year and should be the current year.  For all years the start and finish months should be the same for each year.  The output in each following year is the increase on the previous year only; not a total of the existing year.  Figures should tie in with the cash flow and the outputs stated in the application form.  We need to check the Full Time Equivalents and related salaries so we need hourly rates and hours worked entered in the application form.

Milestones

Milestones are incorporated into your contract should you be offered a grant.  They need to include not only the main stages of your project but should also include your claim dates and the dates you expect to achieve your outputs.

Finally, a word about deadlines for submitting your full application.  We give you 4 months to submit your application but we understand that circumstances might mean you are unable to keep to this deadline.  Contact us and we can discuss a revised submission date.  You can submit at any time during this 4 month period, you do not need to wait until the end.  Whenever you submit your full application we need 8-12 weeks to appraise it.  This timeframe is not guaranteed as it depends on the quality and completeness of your submission and the number of other applications we are appraising.   Following appraisal applications then go to the Local Action Groups for a decision so it you need a decision by a certain date work back 12 weeks from the meeting date and that should give you a good guide to the date you should submit by.