Draft ERDF 2014-20 Programme Call Specifications for Comment

The 2014-2020 European funding programme is being managed differently to previous programmes. Local stakeholders have more opportunities to influence the activities which are funded by European money. Funding has been allocated to Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas who have had to write plans which describe the priorities they think should receive European funding. The Greater Manchester LEP area operates on the same footprint as the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and includes the local authority areas of Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, and Wigan.

Greater Manchester's Draft European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Plan has been

informally signed off by government and we are now waiting for formal sign-off of the UK's Operational Programmes by the European Commission. The priorities in Greater Manchester's ESIF Plan are aligned with the Greater Manchester Strategy and its Growth and Reform Plan.

LEP areas have a further chance to influence the commissioning of European-funded activity through co-designing the tender specifications. These specifications describe the type of activity an area wants delivered. Once finalised by the managing authority (for ERDFi Department of Communities and Local Government and for ESFi the Department of Work and Pensions) they will be issued as calls which will invite organisations to submit tenders to deliver the activity specified. Due to the delays in the negotiations between the UK government and the European Commission we do not yet know when calls will be issued.

In Greater Manchester this work is overseen by the Greater Manchester Local Management Committee (GMLMC) on behalf of Greater Manchester's Local Enterprise Partnership and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

The GMLMC has agreed that this draft call specification can be issued for wider partner comment until Friday 27th February 2015.

Draft Calls  £m ERDF Project From  To  Further call
Growth Services  2.910 1 Jul-15  mid 2018  Yes
Internationalisation  3.400 1 Jul-15  mid 2018  Yes
Sector Support  3.615 1 Jul-15  mid 2018  Yes
Science Asset Base  15.000 multiple applications, condensed timetable
Access to Finance  1.000 1 Jul-15  mid 2018  Yes
Start-Up Support  1.840 1 Jul-15  mid 2018  No
Innovation  2.130 1 Jul-15  mid 2018  No

 Growth Services -Support to businesses with growth potential in Greater Manchester which is complementary to other business supportactivity taking place in GM. This must be different and more locally tailored than any national activity which is already being delivered.

Internationalisation -Support for SMEs and large Companies in GM, which must be complementary to UKTI and other internationalisation support activity which is already taking place. In order to allow for support to large companies, some of the support for this theme comes from the Science and Innovation Thematic Objective in GM’s ESIF Plan.

Sector Support -Support to SMEs in the following sectors identified in the GM Strategy (business, financial and professional services, digital and creative, life sciences, advanced materials and manufacturing, low carbon environmental goods and services). The proposed activity must be complementary to existing national and local activity

Science Asset Base - Capital projects to deliver some of the key science assets which we are going to need to strengthen investment in the seven core specialisms that have been identified in GM’s R&D knowledge base (advanced materials - including graphene, health innovation, energy - including nuclear, biotechnology, high performance computing, the built environment, and acoustic/interactive technologies). Specific focus on Advanced Materials (including graphene) and Health Innovation is welcome, as these have been identified as key areas of local strength for which there is global demand.

Access to Finance - Advisory service for SMEs in GM. The service will work with SMEs to identify sources of finance for business development. There is an existing ERDF project for this activity, delivered by GM Business Support through the Business Growth Hub, which is due to finish at the end of June 2015. This call aims to create a follow on from that project. The proposed activity must be complementary to existing national and local activity.

Start-Up Support -Intensive business start-up support across GM. Activities should include: awareness raising and marketing; pre-start support; tailored business startup support; and post-start support.
Activities should be linked to the provision of ESF funded provision of skills and employment support. This must be different and more locally tailored than any national activity which is already being delivered.

Innovation - This call brings together Business process support for Business Innovation, Resource Efficiency and Digital Advice. Projects are invited which provide the following support and advice services to SMEs: universal innovation advice; a specialist digital growth service; and a specialist resource efficiency service. A pilot project for Innovation support is currently being delivered with ERDF by the Growth Hub, this call would mainstream that service, Resource Efficiency is currently delivered by the Growing the Green Economy scheme and digital support is delivered by the Growth Hub. These service should complement, and provide cross referrals, to other business support initiatives supported through GM’s ERDF allocation, including advice on growth, mentoring, access to finance and exporting.

Why are we asking you to give feedback on this funding opportunity?

Greater Manchester's European team have been working with local stakeholders and the Managing Authorityi (for ERDF it is the Department of Communities and Local Government) to develop 'calls' for each package of activity identified in Greater Manchester's Draft European Structural and Investment Funds Plan. However, before any 'calls' are finalised the Greater Manchester Local Management Committee (the multi-stakeholder group who are overseeing this work) want to test their thinking with a wider group of stakeholders.

Who we would like to respond to this request for feedback?

Key stakeholders including:

  • Private, public or social enterprises/voluntary organisations who might consider tendering to

    provide these services

  • Key strategic groups within Greater Manchester or beyond who want to ensure that the 'Start

    Up Support' that is commissioned using European funds meet the needs of GM's businesses

    and residents

  • Interested businesses or individuals.

    PLEASE NOTE: this is not a full public consultation although members of the public can, if they wish, respond.

The following documents provide useful background information: They can be found in full here DOCUMENTS 

1. DRAFT Greater Manchester European Structural and Investment Funds Plan (please note this is a draft document and therefore may change depending on the outcome of current negotiations between the UK government and the European Commission).

2. Greater Manchester ESIF Summary of Draft Plan .

3. Greater Manchester Strategy: Stronger Together .

4. DRAFT European Regional Development Fund Operational Programme 2014-2020 (please note this is a draft document and therefore may change depending on the outcome of current negotiations between the UK government and the European Commission).

We have prepared some questions (in the table below) to help structure your comments on this call.


Answer Yes, No or Don’t know. If no, explain how it could be improved (max 100 words)

1a. Does the 'funding opportunity' section of the draft call provide the right framework for Greater Manchester to commissionpage3image8936 page3image9096

Growth Services - support for SMEs with growth potential

Internationalisation - support for GM’s SMEs and large companies

Sector Support - support for SMEs in the key sectors identified (see above)

Science Asset Base - the science assets needed to strengthen investment in the seven core specialisms identified in GM’s R&D knowledge base (see above)

Access to Finance - a service that will effectively support GM’s SMEs to better understand and access business finance.

Start-Up Support - that will encourage business start ups across GM

Innovation - that will support GM’s SMEs


1b. Are there any other eligible activities not mentioned in this draft call that you think could be
included? (Eligible activities are described in the ERDF Operational Programme).

2.Could this draft call be improved to make sure that the activities we commission better suit the needs of those groups with protected characteristics identified in the Equalities Act 2010?
(age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation).

3. Could this draft call be improved so that businesses, organisations and residents from across Greater Manchester's ten districts have better access to the activities funded by this call?

4. Are there any further comments or suggestions you would like to make about this draft call? Answer limited to 200 words.

5. Respondent information - about you 







Network for Europe is a support organisation that aims to facilitate engagement of Voluntary and Community sector organisations in European funded programmes. Since the closure of North West Network, we have been working towards expanding our area of coverage from Merseyside to cover the whole of the North West. This site builds on North West Network’s website and features latest news, information about the European Union, details on Structural Fundsi and an archive of relevant documentation for current and previous EUi programmes.

Below is a video we have commissioned which features projects around the region which have received a Community Grant. Community Grants are funded by the European Social Fund (ESFi).

To find out more about who we are and what we do please visit: Who We Are, What We Do

To find out more about ESF please visit: European Social Fund

To find out more about Community Grants please visit: Community Grants

EU Funding in The North West 2014-20 Information Event

Wed, 13/05/2015 - Wed, 10/06/2015

This event will update the VCSE sector in the North West on the latest developments in the EUi Funding programmes 2014-20.

The event will be held in Liverppol in a central location. Confirmed speakers are:

  • Angus Gray - Head of ESFi Division DWP
  • Carol Sweetenham - Head of ERDFi , CLG
  • Big Lottery TBC 
  • Warren Escadale -Chief Executive, Voluntary Sector North West
  • Andy Churchill -CEO, Network for Europe

To book a place please visit: EU Funding in The North West 2014-20 Information Event

Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.