Frequently Asked Questions
Here you can find some of the Questions Frequently Asked to the Growth and Skills Hubs.
Please contact us for any more questions.
How will Brexit affect the Growth & Skills Hub?
We have a contract to deliver the Growth Hub and the Skills Hub so for us, it is business as usual. We are committed to helping businesses in Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly and will continue to do so for the duration of the two projects.
I have received a letter about State Aid. Is this an invoice?
No. This is not a bill or an invoice asking for payment. It is a standard letter for information purposes, to show the value of the State Aid you have received. Although the support from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Hub and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Skills Hub is free to you, it does have a value that has been paid for by funders and this is the amount stated in your State Aid letter.
What is State Aid?
State Aid is defined on the Gov.UK website as “any advantage granted by public authorities through state resources on a selective basis to any organisations that could potentially distort competition and trade in the European Union”. In the context of the work we do, this broadly means any business support or grants, that have been funded by the UK government or the EU, that are designed to help improve a businesses’ position in the market.
Generally speaking, State Aid is not allowed in the EU because a business can receive support that give it an advantage over its competitors. Under the De Minimis regulation, however, businesses may receive State Aid up to the value of €200,000 in any rolling 3-year period without the need to formally notify the European Commission. If you are part of a group of companies, the €200,000 limit applies to all companies under the control of the parent company. So you will need to add all the State Aid received by each company in the group together, to get the total amount of State Aid received.
What Hub services make up the value of the State Aid?
The value of the assistance is made up of the business/skills review meeting, research into and/or contacting other providers to assess suitability of referral, making referrals to business support providers and follow up calls.
Who does State Aid apply to?
State Aid applies to any business or individual who benefits from a project that is funded by Government, European Union or charitable funds (such as the Big Lottery Fund) that has been designated as State Aid. The project should tell you whether their support is subject to State Aid and supply you with a letter stating this. By signing the client agreement, you agree to receiving State Aid.
You can find out more about State Aid on the Gov.uk website
When should I declare the State Aid I have received?
You should declare what State Aid you have received when you are asked to do so by any support or training provider. They will also need to know the date of any previous support and how much you received. This is because the support provider must ensure that you are below the €200,000 limit before they can offer you further help.
Why is there a value in Euros in my State Aid letter?
The State Aid is charged at the time of the intervention, in our case this is the time of the business or skills review. We are then required by the European Union to calculate the value of the aid and convert this into the equivalent amount in Euros via the conversion rates published by the European Commission
How are the Growth & Skills Hubs funded?
The Growth Hub is part funded with £2,435,909 from the European Regional Development Fund and match funded by Cornwall Council, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.
The Skills Hub is part funded with £1,560,000 from the European Social Fund and match funded by Cornwall Council and the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.
Do I have to pay State Aid back?
If you receive more than €200,000 of State Aid in any rolling 3-year period, you could be liable to pay back, with interest, the support that took you over the threshold limit. The rolling 3-year period is this financial year, plus the two previous financial years. We will work with you to help you understand what State Aid you may have received within that period to help avoid you paying back support.
How can the Growth & Skills Hub help me?
If you’re starting a new business or have an established small or medium sized enterprise (less than 250 employees), are based in Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly and have an ambition to grow or improve efficiency, then we can offer you support.
Give us a call and speak to one of our Navigators, who will get to know your business and your individual needs and check we can offer you support.
If you fit the criteria above, you will be referred to one of our Business Connectors who will spend more time face-to-face with you to look at your plans for growth, create a practical action plan and introduce you to the right business support for you.
Our specialist Skills Connectors on the other hand will offer you an informal skills health check to help you identify skills gaps, barriers to growth or areas of under performance that could be overcome with training and additional skills. They’ll then refer you to the most appropriate and cost effective training course, workshop or recruitment solution.
The support and/or training you undertake helps your business to get off the ground or to grow!
How long do I need to keep my State Aid paperwork for?
You need to keep your State Aid letters for 10 years from the date of the letter.
This is because:
- State Aid is calculated on a rolling 3-year period, i.e. this financial year and the two previous financial years.
- it may be needed as a record for future Government or European audits of the projects that you received support from.
Following any business support that is subject to State Aid, you should receive a letter from the provider confirming the date it was incurred and the amount in Euros.
Is the Growth & Skills Hub business support?
We are the first step to finding the right support for your business.
We are here to guide you to the right support or training opportunities from across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, regionally and nationally, but we do not provide direct business advice or deliver support activity.
Where can I find more information on State Aid?
You can find more information on State Aid at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/state-aid
What training and skills opportunities can you help with?
There are LOADS of training providers in Cornwall and even more courses and workshops on offer. Picking through them and working out which one is best for you is tricky business; it’s time consuming and hard work but the Skills Hub has got it covered.
We’ve got our finger on the pulse when it comes to what our universities, colleges, sector networks and private training providers have to offer, so can cut through the noise and take the stress out of the search. And the joy of being independent means that we are aren’t tied to any one training provider. Our service is unbiased and 100% focused on what is best for your business, so can point you in the right direction regardless of who is delivering the course or running the workshop.
Can you help with funding grants?
We can share our knowledge of available funding so that you know what options are available to you.
We know what’s what when it comes to eligibility for various funding pots so can signpost and support you. With us by your side you can be sure that your time isn’t wasted and that you are maximising opportunities.
What else does the Growth & Skills Hub offer?
By registering with the Growth & Skills Hub website you not only get access to a wide range of business information, but you can also create your own profile and business directory listing, share your own news and out the latest buzz in business. It all starts with registration. You have nothing to lose. So do it now!
If you'd like to find out more about how the Growth & Skills Hub can help your business, give us a call on 01209 708660 or request a call back via the Book your review button above.
Can you recommend commercial providers?
We are impartial so we can’t refer you to commercial organisations, however, take a look at our Business Directory where you can find companies offering some of the specialist services you may need. Also, if you are registered with us, you can add your own business listing so companies can find you!
What else can I do on this site?
By registering on the Growth & Skills Hub website you can:
- Create a business listing on the directory for some free publicity.
- Share your big news here on our site by uploading a story to our news & events page. It could even feature on our social media feeds and in our e-newsletter.
- Upload your event to our popular calendar and find out what else is going on around the county.
Who are you?
We are a team of experienced professionals with a wealth of knowledge and experience in business and skills support, communication and digital development.
We are working with businesses in Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly to help them identify the right support and skills development to start or grow their business.
Want to find out more? Give us a call on 01209 708660 or request a call back via the Book your review button in the menu.
You can also see who makes up the Growth & Skills Hub team in the About Us section.