The producer was awarded the funds as part of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) R&D Tax Relief scheme, which rewards businesses investing in new products and processes.
Harbourside, through the help of tax relief specialist Catax, received funding after demonstrating a string of improvements to the salmon smoking and slicing process – at a cost of £200,000.
Commenting on the funding, managing director Richard Hodgson (pictured) said: “We had claimed research and development tax relief before, but not on this scale, so this time around we had no idea the business would be in line for a windfall of this size.
‘Game changing’ claim
“Now that we’ve benefited, it really underlines how worthwhile all the R&D was –the claim ended up being game changing in terms of how likely we are to keep innovating in the future. We have been able to recoup a significant chunk of our turnover and that ultimately helps protect the business and local jobs.”
The manufacturer has also developed recipes for a new range of products, including premium pâtés and chicken, duck, game, ham hock and rabbit terrines, after buying another supplier that had gone into liquidation.
Mark Tighe, chief executive at Catax, added: “We’re delighted for Richard and his colleagues. Harbourside is a perfect example of how R&D tax relief can unlock valuable injections of capital when a company’s activities are looked at in detail.
“The R&D tax relief scheme is actually quite generous and that’s really the point. The sums available can make all the difference to SMEs carving out a name for themselves in new markets and with new, improved products.”
£39k funding minimum
Up to three quarters (74%) of British firms involved in food manufacturing – from producers to packagers – could each be eligible for a historical R&D tax rebate worth at least £39,000, claimed Catax.
Many firms don’t realise the work they do qualifies as R&D, which is defined as any work that seeks to resolve a scientific or technological uncertainty, whether that’s a new process, product or service. Catax pointed out that R&D work does not need to have been successful to qualify and claims can be made up to two years beyond the end of the tax year in which the work took place.
Businesses interested in applying for R&D tax relief can find more information on the scheme can visit the Government’s website.
Meanwhile, a new €5.4m (£4.87m) support fund to help food and drink startups navigate the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak has been announced by innovation and investment group EIT Food.