How good is your funding application?

Top Five Elements of a Good Application

  • Guidance notes for thespecific fund have been read and adhered to
  • Application is complete,consistent and well focused
  • All additional informationis submitted on time
  • The Business Plan is wellstructured and tailored for the specific fund
  • Makes a strong case forinvestment - they are all competitive funds

Top Five Most Common Mistakes...

  • Incomplete / inconsistent /hurried application
  • Not submitting supportingevidence such as business accounts, CVs and a business plan
  • Match funding not secured oridentified
  • Seeking funding for existingworking capital costs
  • Project and job creationaims do not align with financial projections

Solent LEP Funding Q&A's

Is my business in the Solent LEP area?

The Solent LEP strongly recommends potential applicants check that they are situated in the area eligible for funding before applying. 


Geographical Eligibility

The primary focus of SolentLEP funding is to help established SMEs or start-up businesses which are operatingand creating jobs in the Solent LEP area. 

Please note that the Marine and Maritime fund is also open to businesses located in the New Forest District Council area.

If your registered businessaddress is outside of the Solent LEP area, but your premises are within the Solent LEP area and you are creating jobs within the Solent LEP area, pleasehighlight this on your application form.

Solent LEP Area

postcode checker

This site's Search tool 'Tell us about your company' will confirm whether or not your business location, or proposed business location, is within the Solent LEP area. Please enter your postcode in the postcode checking utility: What is your location?

Is my enterprise an SME?

In addition to the staff headcount ceiling, an enterprise qualifies as an SME if it meets either the turnover ceiling or the balance sheet ceiling, but not necessarily both:

SME Qualification

These ceilings apply to the figures for individual firms only. Enterprisesmust also not be more that 25% owned by another organisation.  A firm that is part of larger group may need to include staff headcount/turnover/balance sheet data from the rest of the company.

Further information is available in this User Guide to the SME Definition.  The Annex contains further information on SME Qualification and model SME Declaration Forms (pp 46-54).

What are the State Aid regulations? 

Public funding from Solent LEP Funds will only be available where it is compatible with EU State aid regulations and applicants should be aware that their proposal will be scrutinised accordingly. Potential applicants should take account of this when considering the development of proposals.

To qualify for funding, you must have received less than the ‘de minimis' aid (State aid) award than the €200,000 ceiling over a 3-year fiscal period and ensure that the funding (if granted) does not breach this limit. 

De minimis aid is used to describe small amounts of state aid that do not require European Commission approval:

  • The total de minimis aid which can be given to a single recipient is €200,000 over a 3-year fiscal period. 
  • The maximum de minimis funding any single recipient can receive is €200,000 (cash grant equivalent) over a 3-year fiscal period. 

The sterling equivalent is calculated using the Commission exchange rate applicable on the written date of offer of the de minimis funding.

Larger grants above €200,000 offered by the Solent Growth Fund would constitute aid under the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER).

Further information can be found on GOV.UK -

What is the Due Diligence process?

Aprocess of due diligence is carried out by Portsmouth City Council on behalf ofSolent LEP, whereby the council checks the applicant's company details, publishedaccounts and credit ratings to note any risks associated with the project.

The purpose of due diligence is to independently verify information and consider any other information relevant to the decision-making process. 

In normal circumstances, if an applicant's company is in good health and their project is sound, they should pass due diligence.