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Business Sustainability Challenge

Funding Available: £10,000 to £50,000

Open

Who is eligible to apply: SME businesses operating in the horticultural and plant-based food and drink sectors.

Opening date: 01.03.2024 End date: 30.04.2024

Grant Information

Are you ready to take on the Growing Kent & Medway Business Sustainability Challenge?

Local innovation with a big impact: funding to support sustainability in horticultural and plant-based businesses 

Apply for a grant worth between £10,000 and £50,000.  

The second round of our Business Sustainability Challenge is now open.  

On this page: 

  • What is the Business Sustainability Challenge
  • Who can apply 
  • How to apply
  • About your project 
  • Guidance and Supporting Documents 
  • Key facts

Information about the eligibility, scope and how to apply were shared at an online briefing on 1st March. If you missed the briefing, you can watch again here: 

 

What is the Business Sustainability Challenge?

We are looking to fund innovative ideas, processes, or technologies to support sustainable production, products and packaging in the horticulture, food and drink supply chain. 

Grants worth between £10,000 and £50,000 for short-term, high-impact, innovative projects are available.  

The project could lead to the sustainable improvement of your operations within the horticulture, food and drink supply chain, or help to create viable circular economies in the Kent and Medway region. 

Proposals demonstrating collaboration between businesses are encouraged. 

Contact our team using the form at the bottom of this page if you’d like to discuss your project idea or application.  

Who can apply? 

Your business must operate in the horticultural and plant-based food and drink industries, or propose a project which will positively impact these sectors. 

You can apply individually but we encourage collaborative applications between businesses. 

The lead applicant must be a Kent or Medway-based micro, small or medium sized business. At least 75% of project activity needs to take place in the Kent and Medway region. You must also demonstrate impact on the Kent and Medway economy. 

A grant of 50% of the eligible project costs will be reimbursed at the end of the project. You (and if applicable your partners) will need to co-invest a minimum of 50% of the total project cost through match funding. 

If you’re unsure whether you are eligible to apply, speak to our team.

How to apply 

You will need to start your application by creating an online account. We will then send you the full application form, which will need to be submitted by midnight 30th April 2024. 

Please note we will only accept one application per business. This is a competitive process.

Our team can support you throughout the application process. Email [email protected] for help.  

About your project 

Your project idea must be innovative. It can relate to any part of the horticultural, and plant-based food and drink supply chain. Examples of the types of projects relating to sustainability and circular economies are provided below. This list is not exhaustive. 

  • Moving towards net zero carbon emissions targets 
    • Testing and implementing innovative solutions to reduce emissions from your business(es) 
  • Improving resource sustainability
    • Selecting more sustainable resources
    • Finding ways to ‘close the loop’ on otherwise wasted resources 
  • Minimising waste and maximising recycling 
    • Finding alternative uses for waste or by-products instead of sending to landfill or incineration 
  • Procure food ingredients from sustainable sources
    • Replacing animal proteins with alternative protein sources 
  • Use natural resources efficiently
    • Reduce fossil fuels
    • Optimise water use
    • Reduce pollution of waterways
    • Maintain soils
    • Increase biodiversity 
  • Sustainable packaging
    • Optimising packaging use
    • Using recycled materials 
  • Reduce food waste
    • Extend shelf-life 

Our previous winners were announced in October 2023. 

Watch: winning projects from round one of the Business Sustainable Challenge grant

 

If you’re unsure whether your project idea would be eligible, speak to a member of our team who can help. Email [email protected] to arrange a chat. 

 

Guidance and Supporting Documents

               

Frequently Asked Questions 

Competition Overview

Guidelines for Applicants

Eligible Cost Calculator*

Other useful information

*Please note, if you have more than five partners on your project, you will need to complete an extended version of our Eligible Cost Calculator. Click here to download the larger file. 

Key Facts 

Scope

Your project idea needs to be innovative and fit within the scope of the competition.  

This grant scheme is not for capital projects. Grants can be used to contribute towards the cost of capital items based on their usage within the project 

Finance and funding 

You and your collaborators (if applicable) need to co-invest a minimum of 50% of the total project cost through match funding with eligible costs (e.g. staff time, travel, raw materials, capital usage costs). 

This funding scheme can therefore support proposals with total project costs of between £20,000 and £100,000+. 

The grant will be paid in arrears upon completion of the project. You will need to provide proof of payment to be reimbursed.  

Subcontractors are allowed up to 30% of project costs. 

Collaborative projects 

If you’re applying with one or more partners, please note: 

  • Your partner business can be any sized UK-registered business 
  • Large businesses cannot draw from the grant 
  • A lead partner will sign the funding agreement on behalf of the collaborating businesses 
  • We recommend you develop a collaboration agreement at the start of the project, prior to the generation of any intellectual property. 

Further information 

Grant recipients will be expected to contribute to our social value goals 

This grant scheme is a competitive process – only the best applications will be funded 

This competition provides funding in line with the UK's obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control. Further information about which can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent guidance from the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). 

Please use the form below if you have any questions about our Business Sustainability Challenge, or would just like to discuss your application before you get started.  

Apply now
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