COVID-19 Productive Investment Capital Grant

News article

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the high volume of interest in the Productive Investment Capital Grant, new applications to this scheme have paused from 15 February until further notice.

Invest NI has introduced a new response scheme to help companies recover from the business challenges caused by COVID-19.

The Productive Investment Capital Grant (PICG) will support businesses to make productivity-focused capital investments to adapt to these challenges.

PICG is open to any businesses operating in manufacturing, construction, information and communication, or professional, scientific and technical activities. Existing Invest NI customers, or businesses that can become an Invest NI customer, can also apply for PICG.

What is available?

Businesses can access up to a maximum grant of up to £250,000 to improve productivity by investing in new technology and processes, software and knowledge acquisition, automation or the adoption of digital manufacturing technologies.

The proportion of costs supported will range from 20-50%, up to a maximum of £250,000 grant, depending on the size of company involved (i.e. micro/small, medium or large business).

Eligible projects

Projects must have minimum eligible capital costs of £50,000. Items must be purchased, leasing costs are not eligible. Second-hand Plant Machinery Equipment (PME) will be considered by exception for SME’s only and must be purchased from unrelated parties.

Eligible activities include:

  • Acquisition of new, non-routine investment in plant, machinery and equipment, including installation and commissioning costs.
  • Software licences. 
  • Knowledge acquisition and licensing, for example, from universities
  • Automation or the adoption of digital manufacturing technologies.

The following will not be eligible for support:

  • building acquisition and modification
  • acquisition of mobile assets
  • transportation equipment
  • routine replacement of plant, machinery and equipment
  • core business software, such as accounting or payroll
  • consultancy
  • training

Eligibility

PICG 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

Existing Invest NI customers, or businesses that can become an Invest NI customer, are also eligible to apply.

Businesses must also meet all of the following criteria:

  • Have an annual turnover of at least £500,000 in one of their three most recent financial years.
  • Have a project with a minimum eligible capital expenditure of £50,000 to improve productivity.
  • Deliver productivity improvements from the capital investment as measured by Gross Value Added (GVA) per Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employee. Types of capital investment include new technology and processes, software and knowledge acquisition, automation or the adoption of digital manufacturing technologies.
  • Have experienced a reduction in liquidity as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic during the period 1 April to 30 June 2020, in comparison to 1 April to 30 June 2019.
  • Not be in difficulty or subject to insolvency procedures at 31 December 2019, as defined by Measure 3.1 of the European Commission’s Temporary State Aid Framework (PDF, 273K).
  • Start the project and submit the first claim to Invest NI by 5pm on Thursday 25 March 2021, if required.

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.

How to apply

Your first step is to use the online eligibility checker to find out if you can apply for the grant.

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will need to complete an online pre-application form and the PICG Team will then issue the application form to you within 48 hours. You will need to provide the following details in your pre-application:

  • Details of your business.
  • Details of the planned capital investment and the productivity improvements that are expected. 
  • Costs associated with the project.
  • Impact on your business if the project does not receive grant support.
  • Any wider economic benefits the project may deliver.
  • Confirmation of your company size, based on the European Commission definition.
  • Complete a State Aid declaration.

The application process takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete.

As part of the 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.
  • Management accounts or accounting system extracts for period 1 April to 30 June for 2019 and 2020, as evidence to demonstrate you have had a reduction in liquidity.
  • Most recent annual or audited accounts together with the most recent management accounts.
  • Three years financial forecasts comprising of profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow forecast. Please use the spreadsheet containing cashflow forecast, profit and loss forecast and sales forecast templates (XLS, 21K).

More information

If you have any enquiries about the COVID-19 Productive Investment Capital Grant, complete the online enquiry form.

You can also call Invest NI’s Business Support Team on 0800 181 4422. Lines are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 4.30pm.