How to apply for Agile Cymru funding.
1. Description of Agile Cymru
The Welsh Government’s Programme for Government and International Strategy stress the importance of giving Wales the strongest possible presence on the World stage. Co-operation activity with other nations and regions adds value to economic development in Wales by enabling partners to scale up activity, achieve critical mass and increase profile. Joint working provides scope to exchange ideas and best practice, to extend innovation and competitiveness and to tackle key issues which transcend borders.
Agile Cymru is a scaleable programme of coordinated action, an agile tool to deliver greater economic co-operation at speed, guided by the International Strategy and our economic policies. This includes a flexible grant mechanism to support cross-border and international activity that maximises shared opportunities across themes, sectors, and geographies.
2. Activity supported
Agile Cymru funding can support a wide range of activity; the focus is on the outcome and benefit for Wales. Where appropriate please see the conditions of any specific call for applications.
In general, the scheme provides financial support (revenue) for ‘seeding’ or facilitating activity that builds cross-border and international partnerships and increases cooperation in areas that have the potential to lead to greater, more sustained economic activity of significance to Wales. It also recognises the cultural and social benefits of working across borders.
As an example, activity may include networking and engagement, the development of funding bids, feasibility studies, individual collaborations, pilot projects and supporting organisations to accelerate the implementation of their international strategies.
Activity not covered by a specific Agile Cymru funding call may still be suitable for support. Agile Cymru has a small ‘open funding pot’ which can support applications at any time. Applicants to the ‘open funding pot’ are strongly encouraged to raise their ideas with the Welsh Government’s Agile Cymru Team before submitting an application.
3. Grant levels and intervention rates
The level of grant and intervention rates available will vary. Where relevant please check the conditions of the specific call for applications. Factors such as the likelihood of success, potential return on investment and risk may be taken into account.
In general, Agile Cymru provides small-scale financial support. There are no fixed grant thresholds, but based on experience the following is a guide:
- For small projects, such as travel, engagement and consultancy, applicants should bear in mind that up to £5,000 per application may be considered reasonable.
- For strategic projects, such as forming networks, feasibility studies and pilot projects involving significant staff-time and materials, applicants should bear in mind that up to £50,000 per application may be sufficient. The conditions of a specific call for applications may also define what is considered strategic and the expected level of grant. The ‘open funding pot’ may also be able to support strategic bids but is more likely to be limited by budget, get in touch with Welsh Government’s Agile Cymru Team at an early stage to discuss your proposal.
Up to 100% intervention rate may be available where justified but an application that leverages other funding and resources will be considered favourably. Where relevant please check the conditions of the specific call for applications.
NOTE: competition law may affect your ability to receive public funding (see section 11 below).
4. Who can apply for Agile Cymru support
Support is available to organisations operating in Wales that can advance the strategic aims of Agile Cymru as detailed in Sections 1 & 2 of this guidance. Where appropriate, they will also need to contribute to the specific activities and objectives of any funding call.
Companies registered in other parts of the UK but active in Wales may be eligible on this basis, whereas companies registered in Wales but not active in Wales may be declined funding.
The support of costs of non-Welsh partners may be available if they are incurred and claimed by the Welsh partner. As with all costs, these must be reasonable, essential for the delivery of the proposed activity and aligned with relevant aims and objectives.
However, we advise contacting the Welsh Government’s Agile Cymru Team at an early stage in the development of your proposal to ensure compliance. Agile Cymru may also support a Joint Call for proposals with an international partner or point to a corresponding funding opportunity delivered in parallel. In these instances, please refer to the conditions of the specific call for applications.
5. Eligible and ineligible costs and notable exclusions
Costs that contribute to the strategic aims of Agile Cymru as detailed in Sections 1 & 2 of this guidance are eligible.
See examples below, but please also refer to the conditions of any specific call for applications.
NOTE: unless you have written confirmation from the Welsh Government’s Agile Cymru Team, costs must not be incurred before an application is approved.
- Budget and/or low carbon travel and accommodation
- In-country travel, including transfers and parking
- Public transport, private car mileage (at 45p/mile or your organisation’s rate, whichever is lower)
- Membership and/or event participation fees for key international or UK networks
- Other costs related to engagement, for example, translation, room hire or visa costs.
- Contracted or other expertise for writing or reviewing bids for competitive funding (excluding Welsh Government funding)
- Contracted or other expertise to develop an evidence base or feasibility study
- Contracted or other facilitation of networks, consortium meetings and bid development workshops
- Contracted or other expertise for developing, negotiating and concluding consortium agreements
- Travel costs for subcontractor (could include non-Welsh partner)
- Training costs, including developing bespoke training that adds value to existing provision
- Staff costs where they represent additional staff time and the “best value or only means of delivering the objectives of the activity” (staff timesheets and evidence of payment will be required)
- Materials for delivering pilot projects or other collaborations (original paid invoices, receipts, etc, will be required)
- Monitoring of relevant outputs and outcomes
- Publicity and dissemination of activity and outcomes
- Costs that do not relate to Agile Cymru objectives or otherwise give value for money, such as regular travel costs, core activity or significant capital costs.
- Extra costs that do not deliver the Agile Cymru objectives (e.g. prolonged stay after co-operation event, non-essential work packages)
- General feasibility studies that do not target a specific opportunity in line with Agile Cymru objectives, these may find more appropriate support through other Welsh Government or UK Government schemes
- Costs that do not relate to the specific activity described in your approved Agile Cymru application form, e.g. ongoing/retained company advisors.
- Procuring project partners as consultants (but exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis).
- Costs already covered by employment contract.
- Costs incurred before the date of approval unless the Welsh Government’s Agile Cymru Team confirms otherwise in writing. Incurred costs are commitments to pay, such as flight, hotel and room bookings, which cannot be reclaimed in full upon cancellation.
- Recoverable VAT is ineligible
- Activity and costs that might be supported by an alternative source of funding. This includes funds from the applicant’s organisation as well as other grant schemes, which may be more suited.
For travel, value for money and/or low carbon options must be used, taking into account the objectives of the activity. The policies of the applicant’s organisation must be followed. We expect accommodation costs to be within the HMRC benchmark rates and we may limit our grant to these rates unless higher costs are justified specifically.
Justification for more than one person travelling from each organisation is required, e.g. bringing essential skills to the meeting, health and safety or covering parallel meetings.
We also advise that you focus on larger items of expenditure with a robust evidence trail in order to simplify the claim process.
6. Outputs and outcomes
Your application will need to set out which outputs the project will deliver during its operational phase and the outcomes that may follow from that in the short and medium term. There will need to be a clear intervention logic between the type of activity proposed and the outputs and outcomes proposed. To avoid unintended consequences and inflexibility, we do not specify a closed list of outputs and outcomes but the following is a guide:
- Number of engagements with international partners
- Number of engagements with UK partners
- Number of formal networks joined
- Number of applications for competitive funding
- Number of participants trained
- Number of new collaborations
- Number of feasibility studies completed
- Number of pilot projects completed
- Number of existing international or UK partnerships maintained
- Number of new international or UK partnerships established
- Number of new formal networks created
- Amount of competitive funding awarded (£s)
- Number of inward investment opportunities identified
- Increased knowledge, understanding and expertise of participating Welsh organisation(s)
- Number of new products, processes or services created
We will record outputs and any immediate outcomes as part of the claim process; the evidence required will be proportional to the grant awarded, for example self-declaration may be appropriate in many cases. We will also contact you six months after the activity is complete or at an interval relevant to the project to identify any further outcomes. The data collected will also inform any evaluations of the impact of Agile Cymru and you may be contacted for the purposes of evaluation, for example to explore more qualitative views of impact.
7. How to apply for Agile Cymru support
If you have no previous experience of accessing Agile Cymru we encourage you to speak with us before applying to ensure your proposed project aligns with our objectives and all relevant information is included in your application. Contact the Welsh Government’s Agile Cymru Team at AgileCymru@gov.wales.
Please also refer to any relevant Agile Cymru funding call document for specific details on how to apply and related deadlines.
The application form is available online.
We accept signed scanned pdf applications – please send them to AgileCymru@gov.wales.
7.1 Quotes for contracted work
All applications requesting contracted work must provide one or more quotes (Note - the total value is the cost of the sub-contracted work not the level of grant requested):
- Only one quote is required if the contract is £4,999.99 or less, but evidence of the contractor’s expertise and a breakdown of the planned work may be required.
- For contracts over £4,999.99, three quotes from different consultants are required. The criteria for choosing the winning contractor may include quality as well as price; we will require a brief report to demonstrate that the choice of contractor was fair and open. Please ensure you give the consultants the same brief at the same time.
When an organisation has an existing written purchasing policy that ensures value for money and has been subject to due process for adoption by the organisation, we expect the organisation to follow this policy, recognising that it may use different thresholds/procedures to those recommended above.
When we are not convinced that the market has been tested to a level that would withstand audit, we may require further quotes or further justification.
8. Appraisal process and timescales
We endeavour to appraise applications as quickly as possible (see diagram below), and our processes are proportional to the amount of grant requested. If there is any urgency, please discuss with us in advance and before incurring any eligible costs.
Agile Cymru is an application based funding scheme, i.e. where grant is awarded according to the outcome of an appraisal of an application form. The process and timescale for appraisal may vary depending on whether you are applying for a specific call for applications or not. Where relevant, please refer to the specific Agile Cymru funding call to ensure that you submit your application(s) within any specified deadline.
NOTE: for competitive grants or bidding rounds the application period will be time limited, with clearly specified opening and closing dates for the submission of applications. To ensure fairness and consistency towards all applicants, applications received after the specified submission deadline will not be considered.
We reserve the right to reject applications not received by us within a reasonable timescale or which are significantly incomplete.
Around 2 weeks for most applications but this may increase during competitive bidding rounds and joint calls.
Signed application submitted
Complete with supporting information, e.g. quotes and UK Subsidy statement, where appropriate.
Application is assessed
Including an assessment against relevant criteria and basic financial viability checks. Seeking external technical advice and policy advice where required.
We will inform you as soon as a decision is made. If your application is successful an e-mail confirming an in principle award will be issued so that you may incur expenditure at your own risk, subject to agreement of the terms and conditions of the grant agreement letter. We may approve applications with qualifications.
Grant agreement letter issued
This will be sent by e-mail along with instructions and timescales for accepting the grant agreement letter.
Grant agreement letter acceptance
Accept the offer of funding by signing and returning a copy of the grant agreement letter to us within 21 days of the letter date.
9. Assessment criteria
All applications are assessed against the appraisal criteria in the following table and, where relevant, set out in the specific call document.
The appraisal team will seek advice from within Welsh Government as necessary to ensure value for money and fit with relevant policies. We reserve the right to refuse applications and to vary the grant amounts/rates.
We will carry out Due Diligence checks using such sources as Creditsafe, the National Fraud Data Base (CIFAS), Companies House and the Charities Commission.
We will seek external technical and policy advice where required, for example from UK, European and international public bodies and sector representatives, but will use reasonable endeavours to inform applicants before doing so.
The Welsh Government’s Agile Cymru Team will make the final decision on applications, claims, payments and all other matters relating to Agile Cymru. While we value feedback to improve our service, our decision is final and there is no right of appeal.
General Assessment Criteria
- The scale of contribution to the objectives of Agile Cymru (Section 1 & 2).
- That the anticipated eligible costs are reasonable and clearly specified.
- That the requested grant is allowable and reasonable, and within the limits set out in section 3 above.
- The evidence of need for the grant.
- The clarity of the intervention logic from proposed activity to proposed outputs and outcomes.
- The scale of the expected return on investment for Wales.
- The importance of the international partner and/or region and/or sector and/or area of activity to Welsh Government policy.
- The relevance of the experience and qualifications of the applicant.
- That the organisation is financially viable i.e. has the necessary resources to manage anticipated future activity, including maintaining networks and financial resources to target identified opportunities.
- Compliance with UK Subsidy and procurement rules, where applicable.
- Availability of budget.
10. How to claim the grant
First, ensure that you have accepted the offer of funding by signing and returning a copy of the grant agreement letter to us within 21 days of the letter date.
Grant funding is claimed in arrears based on costs incurred and activity completed in the delivery of the project.
Claims should be submitted promptly following the activity and MUST be claimed no later than the deadline stated in the grant agreement letter.
Payment will be made upon prompt submission of the information in the grant agreement letter and in accordance with deadline(s) specified.
Your claim may require submission of some or all of the following:
- Proof of expenditure (original paid invoices, receipts, etc.) of all eligible costs, including mileage declaration if applicable.
- A completed claim form and funding report form.
- Paid invoice from contractor setting out costs.
- An invoice on your organisation’s headed paper stating the amount of funding requested from the Welsh Government.
- Evidence of exchange rate applied to costs being claimed (e.g. details of exchange rate on date costs incurred).
- Bank statement to evidence payments.
- Timesheets for staff costs with evidence of payment (e.g., screenshot of payroll).
- Evidence stating why VAT is non-recoverable.
- Evidence of relevant outputs and outcomes, e.g. formal submission of a bid for other funding.
Where proportionate, the Welsh Government may retain up to 10% of the claimed amount until it is in receipt of evidence of the relevant outcome.
It is possible to submit more than one claim (excluding advance claims), particularly if your project has phases of activity over the financial year but please discuss this at an early stage with the Welsh Government’s Agile Cymru Team.
11. Record keeping, the handing of information and UK GDPR
The Offer of Grant Letter contains conditions in relation to document retention but in general, invoices, timesheets, receipts and other records relating to eligible expenditure must be kept for 5 years from the date of any award resulting from this application.
Documents relating to “Small Amounts of Funding Exemption” aid must be kept for 3 years in order to comply with competition law.
All information must be made available to the Welsh Government, their successors or their appointed agents on request for audit purposes.
Passing information about my application to other interested parties:
In assessing your application, we may seek advice on its merits (see Section 8).
Under Freedom of Information legislation, the Welsh Government may be required to disclose the amount of Agile Cymru grant awarded and the name of the recipient. The Welsh Government’s current code of practice states that all recorded information provided by third parties will be considered for disclosure if it is requested.
The information we have collected from you will be shared with fraud prevention agencies that will use it to prevent fraud and money laundering and to verify your identity. If fraud detected, you could be refused certain services, finance or employment in future. Further details of how your information will be used by us and these fraud prevention agencies and your data protection rights, can be found by contacting DataProtectionOfficer@gov.wales.
The Welsh Government will want to use a text agreed with you for publicity purposes concerning the success of any application and/or any subsequent success you may have.
United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR)
The United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) overhauls the previous Data Protection Act 1998 in the UK.
The Welsh Government provides a wide range of grant schemes to help deliver our policies and create a fairer, more prosperous Wales.
The Welsh Government will be data controller for any personal data you provide in relation to your grant application or request for grant funding. The information will be processed as part of our public task (i.e. exercising our official authority to undertake the core role and functions of the Welsh Government) and will help us assess your eligibility for funding.
Before we provide grant funding to you, we undertake checks for the purposes of preventing fraud and money laundering, and to verify your identity. These checks require us to process personal data about you to third party fraud prevention agencies.
If we, or a fraud prevention agency, determine that you pose a fraud or money laundering risk, we may refuse to provide the grant funding you applied for, or we may stop providing existing grant funding to you.
A record of any fraud or money laundering risk will be retained by the fraud prevention agencies, and may result in others refusing to provide services, financing or employment to you.
We envisage the following potential uses of personal data in the management of Agile Cymru. This is not an exclusive list:
- In order to process applications, we will need personal data such as the name, date of birth, NI number and contact details of the applicant.
- In order to make a decision on funding, we may request information in relation to our assessment criteria, such as the expertise and experience of key individuals involved. Where private investors are the only evidence of financial viability, we may require proof of their commitment.
- When you submit quotes for contracted work, the quotes may include personal data such as names on plane tickets or payment information.
- At claim stage, we will need to verify that the receipts and other documents you provide relate to the activity in the application. Personal information may be included in such receipts, such as the purchasing individual’s name, contact details and payment details.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you comply with UK GDPR in submitting personal data to us. If you are unable to send us personal data that we require in order to responsibly manage public funds, we may refuse payment of grant.
We will keep personal information contained in files in line with our retention policy. If successful in your application, then your personal data will be kept for 7 years after the date when you, as grant recipient, are free from all conditions relating to the grant awarded and all payments have been made. However, if the funding is awarded under “Small Amounts of Funding Exemption”, your personal data will be kept for 10 years from the conclusion of any aid award. If you are unsuccessful your details will be kept for one year after the date you provided them.
Under the data protection legislation, you have the right:
- to access the personal data the Welsh Government holds on you;
- require us to rectify inaccuracies in that data;
- to (in certain circumstances) object to or restrict processing;
- for (in certain circumstances) your data to be ‘erased’; and
- to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) who is the independent regulator for data protection.
For further details about the information the Welsh Government holds and its use, or if you want to exercise your rights under the UK GDPR, please see contact details below:
Data Protection Officer:
Email Address: email@example.com
The contact details for the Information Commissioner’s Office are:
Telephone: 01625 545 745 or 0303 123 1113
12. UK Subsidy rules
The award of financial assistance given by public authorities must comply with responsibilities set out in the UK subsidy control regime and international commitments to free trade.
All applications and financial assistance sought will be assessed against the definition of a subsidy set out in the Act (the four-limbed test) and, where support meets the definition, consider the appropriate subsidy position in accordance with the Act.
For non-economic activity carried out by Higher Education Institutions or the public sector, grant may not meet all four criteria and if so provision of support can proceed through the standard awarding process on a ‘no subsidy’ basis.
Provision of support to businesses and organisations engaged in economic activity by offering goods or services on a market (an “economic actor”) has the potential to meet the definition of a subsidy.
The smallest subsidies are exempt from most subsidy control rules. Minimal Financial Assistance (MFA) allows public authorities to award low value subsidies without needing to comply with the majority of the subsidy control requirements. Chapter 7 of the Subsidy Control Act 2022 explains when MFA can be used, the relevant thresholds and cumulation rules.
MFA has a financial threshold that prevents enterprises being able to receive many subsidies that are in isolation considered low value, but cumulatively could create distortions if their combined value exceeds the threshold. The allowance threshold is £315,000 within the applicable period of:
- The elapsed part of the current financial year (i.e., from 1 April), and
- the two financial years immediately preceding the current financial year.
If subsidy is awarded based on MFA we will require the applicant to declare that the threshold will not be exceeded by the applicant receiving the proposed financial assistance. A table is included in the application form to list other subsidy received during the applicable period. For example, the following should all be taken into account:
- SPEI assistance;
- aid given under the EU State aid de minimis regulations either before the end of the implementation period of 31 December 2020 or after this date, if by virtue of the Northern Ireland Protocol; and
- subsidies given as small amounts of financial assistance (SAFA) under Articles 364(4) or 365(3) of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement after the end of the implementation period but prior to this section of the Act coming into effect.
Additional MFA cannot be given to a beneficiary that has already reached their MFA threshold.
Please get in touch with the Welsh Government’s Agile Cymru Team if you have any queries on this guidance or any other aspect of Agile Cymru. Early discussions can avoid issues and improve the chances of a successful application.