Frequently asked questions
Expansion East Kent (ExEK)?
How much of
this money will actually go to businesses?
How do you define
all the money go to the new Enterprise Zone at
What sort of help
can I get in completing the application?
Can any business
apply for a loan from the ExEK programme?
Do you have a
preference for specific sectors?
I have a tourism
business - will State Aid rules prevent me from applying to the
Why do State Aid
rules apply when it is a loan?
Is the scheme open
to social enterprises?
of business investment proposals and activities would be
can be supported?
appraisers looking for from applicants?
of financial support can ExEK offer?
When will we receive
How do the loan
Who can I contact
for more information?
What is Expansion East Kent
Expansion East Kent is a Government (Regional
Growth Fund) backed initiative, which will provide £40million of
financial support for business investment over the next four years.
Kent County Council is leading on its delivery in East Kent with
support from partners in the public and private sectors. The
overarching aim of ExEK is to support new jobs and business growth,
which will help to develop its private sector base, while
counteracting the effects of recent economic shocks in the area.
ExEK financial support will be available to firms as repayable
business finance, sometimes referred to as interest free or soft
How much of this money will
actually go to businesses?
The sum of £35million will be used to support businesses. Kent
County Council will fund all costs relating to the administration
of the programme.
How do you define East
The local authority districts of Canterbury, Thanet, Shepway and
Won’t all the money go to the new
Enterprise Zone at Pfizer?
No. Provided a business meets the scheme criteria and complies with
European Union (EU) State Aid rules, firms across East Kent,
including those based in the Enterprise Zone, can apply for
funding. We anticipate businesses coming forward with investment
proposals from all the four local authority districts.
What sort of help can I get in
completing the application?
Support will be available
at a pre-application stage from ExEK partner organisations, such as
the district councils and the chambers of commerce, Federation of
Small Businesses, as well as various high street banks etc. We
would advise individuals to make full use of their accountant
and/or banking business manager, as well as business advisers, at
Can any business apply for a loan from
the ExEK programme?
Almost all business sectors in
East Kent can potentially benefit from the scheme. However, where
we have to comply with EU State Aid rules, this means that there
are some restrictions to the types of business activities and
industries we can support (these are detailed in the ExEK
Application Guidance document). We are also not permitted to offer
repayable business finance to firms in difficulty.
At the same time, we are keen to encourage applications from
capital intensive industries where new investment will be
particularly important and can yield strong economic benefits, such
as in manufacturing, or advanced engineering, as well as from firms
engaged in research and development activities.
Do you have a preference for specific
Based on research, some sectors have been
identified for their key strengths and growth prospects for the
East Kent area; these sectors include: scientific research and
development, manufacturing and tourism, heritage and culture. This
list is not exclusive and applications from other sectors will
always be considered.
I have a tourism business - will State
Aid rules prevent me from applying to the
State Aid is a complicated area, but, in
general, investment proposals from tourism, heritage and culture
businesses will be considered. The tourism, heritage and culture
sector is a priority for ExEK.
Further guidance on this should be obtained from the ExEK Team,
or from partners, such as Locate in Kent, Chambers and District
Why do State Aid rules apply when it is
All loans offered at preferential rates (soft
loan), are treated as State Aid under EU rules. This means that
ExEK must account for these in a specific way, and collate details
of statutory sector funding.
Is the scheme open to social
Yes. Provided the applicant can demonstrate that the investment
proposal meets all the scheme criteria and delivers key outputs
such as new jobs.
What types of business investment
proposals and activities would be eligible? These are
quite broad and are discussed in some detail in the ExEK
Application Guidance. In general, support will be provided for
investment in tangible and intangible assets, for example costs
relating to diversification into new products, the setting up of a
new establishment or extension of an existing establishment.
Potentially, eligible investment proposals might include the
purchase of land and/or property (as part of a bigger investment
proposal), development works, equipment and machinery, the
acquisition of intellectual property, research and development
costs and annual salary costs for new employees. Further details
are available in the ExEK
Which activities can be
Financial support can be used to fund:
- Land – purchase (as part of a bigger investment proposal)
- Land – development/works
- Buildings – purchase (as part of a bigger investment
- Buildings – construction/improvement
- Certain professional fees
- Fixtures and fittings
- Equipment and machinery
- Salary costs for new, permanent employees - wage costs over a
period of two years for employment directly created as a result of
- Research and development costs - can include revenue costs and
capital equipment and tooling
- Transfer of technology or knowledge - patent rights, licences,
know-how and unpatented technical knowledge
Investment proposals which cannot be
Detailed information is available in the
ExEK Application Guidance, but, in general, we cannot consider
non-viable investment proposals, activities which have commenced;
specific sectors and limits identified by EU State Aid rules, for
example medical services.
What are appraisers looking for
In addition to meeting EU
restrictions, we would expect an applicant to demonstrate that
their investment proposal has:
The potential to create and/or safeguard jobs, and an incentive
effect by way of proving that, without Repayable Business Finance,
the investment proposal would not go ahead, or in exceptional
cases, would go ahead on a smaller scale, or at a slower pace.
In addition to the criteria above, an investment proposal should
show a positive return on investment, be commercially viable and
should have explored and secured other avenues of private sector
funding - including your own.
What level of financial support
can ExEK offer?
This will vary according to the
nature of the investment proposal and circumstances of the
business. The maximum amount of financial support offered is
When will we receive the
Payments to applicants will normally be
phased, and made when specific milestones are reached.
How do the loan repayments
The loans are 100 per cent repayable, with
capital investment proposal generally repayable in equal, regular
and agreed instalments and linked to proposal deliverables/outputs
up to a maximum of seven years. A simple and transparent repayment
model will be prepared for each business applicant.
Who can I contact for more
For further information e-mail email@example.com.