COVID-19 Process and Organisational Improvement Grant

News article

NOTE: The Process and Organisational Improvement Grant closed to applications at midday on Wednesday 26 May 2021.

A new Invest Northern Ireland scheme to support businesses to investigate and implement new digital technologies that will improve the business’ operation.

The COVID-19 Process and Organisational Improvement Grant (POIG) has been developed to provide support to businesses to investigate and implement a range of potential process and operational improvements to help address the impact of COVID-19 on the business.

POIG is open to any business operating in one of the following Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) sectors:

  • manufacturing
  • construction
  • information and communication
  • professional, scientific and technical activities

Further details on the pre-application and application process are available in the Process and Organisational Improvement Grant - Guidance Notes (PDF, 420K).

Invest NI will not be able to accept late applications so you are encouraged to submit as early as possible.

What is available?

The programme will provide grant support to eligible companies to help them build internal teams, and engage consultants as needed, to develop and implement process and organisation improvements.

The project must support the business to work in a new way and help it towards industry 4.0. Eligible projects should focus on investigating and implementing new digital technologies, such as automation, robotics or digitisation, which will result in process and organisation improvements for the company.

The maximum level of grant support will be £50,000 for small and medium-sized companies and £200,000 for large companies.

For full details on the scheme, read the Process and Organisational Improvement Grant - Guidance Notes (PDF, 420K).

Eligibility

Businesses must meet all of the following criteria:

  • The business operation is based in Northern Ireland.
  • Have an annual turnover of at least £500,000 in one of the three most recent financial years.
  • Have a project which will investigate process and organisation improvements using digital technologies.
  • Projects must have minimum eligible costs of £40,000. 
  • Internal staff costs must be at least 20% of overall eligible project costs.
  • Be able to implement and complete the project, with all expenditure incurred prior to 28 February 2022. 
  • Be able to submit quarterly claims to Invest NI if required, with a final claim date of 15 March 2022.

If you are a business, which is part of a group structure with the same ultimate ownership, you can only submit one application across the group.

Note: If a large company will exceed its De Minimis allowance as a result of support under this scheme, contact Invest NI to explore if there are other support options available.

Who cannot apply?

The following are not eligible to apply:

  • Businesses already in receipt of or intending to gain other government support for the project.
  • Businesses that do not provide commercial products and/or services.
  • Businesses that cannot demonstrate they are a viable business.
  • Applications that include or relate to activities which Invest Northern Ireland considers as ineligible or as involving an unacceptable reputational risk, such as gambling, tobacco products and cannabis-based products, which are not authorised as medicines.

How to apply

Your first step is to check if you are eligible to apply for POIG.

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will need to complete an online pre-application form. 

You will need to provide the following details in your pre-application:

  • Your business name.
  • Your contact name, telephone number and email address.
  • Your business address and postcode.
  • The date you established your business in Northern Ireland. 
  • The number of people you employ in Northern Ireland.
  • The financial year-end, annual turnover and balance sheet total of your business.
  • Your company registration number (if applicable) issued by Companies House, beginning with NI followed by six numbers, for example, NI123456.
  • Impact on your business if the project does not receive grant support.
  • Details of the project with objectives, costs, milestones and risks.

The POIG Team will then contact you within three working days to discuss the project in more depth, answer any questions and release an application form.

Once the application form is released, as part of the full application process, you will also need to provide electronically:

  • Signed company accounts to verify your business has a turnover of at least £500,000 in one of your three most recent financial years.
  • Most recent annual or audited accounts, together with the most recent management accounts.
  • Excel costs sheet detailing project costs, this must include a breakdown of labour cost (internal and consultant).

Note the maximum file size of each attached document is 20MB.

The application form should take approximately one to two hours to complete.

Further information

Your project will be assessed based on the information you provide in your application. The pre-application form must be submitted before the closing deadline of midday on 21 May 2021. The application form must be submitted by midday on Wednesday 26 May.

For full details on eligibility and how applications will be assessed as part of this competitive call, read the Process and Organisational Improvement Grant - Guidance Notes (PDF, 420K).

If you have any enquiries about the COVID-19 Process and Organisational Grant, you can complete the online enquiry form.

For general enquiries, contact Invest NI’s Business Support Team on 0800 181 4422. Lines are open Monday to Friday 10am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 3.30pm.

First published 5 May 2021