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Small Firms

Volume 201: debated on Friday 20 December 1991

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many schemes his Department runs to provide help or finance for small firms; and if he will list them.

[holding answer 18 December 1991]: My Department runs or supports 40 schemes which provide help or finance and for which small firms are eligible. Of these, some are exclusive to small firms whilst others are open to companies of all sizes.

Scheme

Eligibility

Level and type of assistance

Single Market Campaign (Help for representative organisations)Independent business support organisations, such as trade associations and chambers of commerce, whose principal activity is the provision of services to firms.Up to 50 per cent, of costs for two years of recruiting extra member of staff; applications closed 31 March 1991. Fifty per cent, of costs of attending single market related training courses; database; and help with specialist seminars/workshops.

Managing into the 90s

Managing into the '90sAll firms.Spread of best practice mainly directed at smaller and medium sized firms. Advice/info on self-help to improve management practices.

The Environment

Environmental Enquiry PointAll BusinessesAdvice on environmental issues. Free if answers involves four hours work or less. At WSL charge out rates if more.
DEMOS (DTI Environmental Management Options Scheme)Companies (single or consortia) demonstrating best environmental practice.Grant aid up to 50 per cent, of eligible costs.
ETIS (Environmental Technology Innovation Scheme)Normally consortia of United Kingdom companies, research organisations or HEIs looking to research and develop new environmental technology.Grant aid up to 50 per cent, of eligible costs.
EuroenvironAt least one United Kingdom company looking to research and develop new environmental technology with at least one EC or EFTA partner.Grant aid up to 50 per cent, of eligible costs.

Regional

Regional Selective Assistance (RSA)Available to manufacturing and some service sector projects in Assisted Areas. Project must create or safeguard jobs, and satisfy other scheme criteria including viability, need and national and regional economic benefits.Grant, payable in instalments. Amount offered is negotiated as the minimum necessary for the project to proceed.
Regional Enterprise GrantsAvailable to businesses employing fewer than 25 for manufacturing and some service sector projects in the Development Areas and the Intermediate Areas in South Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Plymouth and Fife.Grants for investment and innovation projects investment grants: 15 per cent, cost of fixed assets (max. £15,000) innovation grants: 50 per cent, of project costs (max. £25,000). Only one innovation and one investment grant per business (or group).

Exports

Export Intelligence ServiceUnited Kingdom producers of goods and services.Market Intelligence available world-wide at commercial rates.
Market Information Enquiry ServiceUnited Kingdom producers of goods and services.Provision of customer specific information from overseas posts. Charges according to time taken to complete work.
Export Representative ServiceUnited Kingdom producers of goods and services.Provision of customer specific information from posts on overseas contacts. Charged according to time taken to complete work.
Overseas Status Report ServiceUnited Kingdom producers of goods and services.Provides a report on an overseas organisation. Charged according to time taken to complete work.
Export Marketing Research SchemeAvailable to producers of goods or services of mainly United Kingdom origin with less than 200 employees.DTI pay up to half the cost, up to a grant of £20,000, for the commissioning of professional consultants to undertake research, support for "in-house" studies and DTI pay up to one-third of the cost of purchasing published research. Support is also available to Trade Associations on a sliding scale.
New Products from Britain ServiceProducts and processes must be British and new to target markets.Service helps test and promote new products overseas. Charge £60 for first market, thereafter £30 per market targeted.
Overseas Trade FairsUnited Kingdom manufactured goods.Subsidy—Exhibitors charged 50 per cent, of DTI costs at a maximum of three participations in each market (five in Germany, USA and Japan). Thereafter payment is at full DTI cost. Also travel grant available for events outside western Europe.

Scheme

Eligibility

Level and type of assistance

Outward MissionsUnited Kingdom producers of goods and services.Subsidy—Support of first three occasions in a market and half the rate for the fourth visit (Japan full rate up to five visits). Also travel grant for one company representative. Note: Scheme not available for western Europe.
Overseas Seminar SchemeUnited Kingdom producers of goods and services.Subsidy—Participants charged 55 per cent, of estimated costs. Travel grants available outside western Europe.
Store PromotionsUnited Kingdom producers of goods and services.DTI supports overseas stores with financial assistance towards costs of expenses incurred in promoting the event.
Inward MissionsThe host should be a group of United Kingdom companies who represent their industry.Subsidy—Travel to the United Kingdom (50 per cent, or 75 per cent.), travel in the United Kingdom 50 per cent., interpreters 50 per cent., accommodation and a reception 50 per cent.

Consultancy Help

Consultancy HelpFirms with fewer lhan 500 employees.A free business review and up to 15 days subsidised consultancy. DTI pays 50 per cent., or two thirds is Assisted Areas and Urban Programme Areas.

Enterprise and Education

Teaching Company SchemeAll companies, no restrictions on size.TCS helps to stimulate collaboration between industry, academia, provides industry based graduate training and facilitates technology transfer. Companies contribute between 30 per cent, and 75 per cent, of direct costs depending on size, with public sector funding making up the balance.

Inner Cities

Task Force Development Fund (TFDF)Firms should be within a task force area and have up to 25 employees; funding is on a "last resort" basis.Grants of up to £4,000 and loans of up to £10,000. £1·1 million levered in from private sector.