£20m boost for small businesses recovery

The government has announced £20million of new funding to help smaller businesses recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Small and medium sized businesses will have access to grants of between £1,000 – £5,000 to help them access new technology and other equipment – as well as professional, legal, financial or other advice to help them get back on track.

The government says businesses will be able to use these new grants to pay for the expertise, equipment and technology they need to “adapt, recover and rebuild”.

It comes on top of a package support to help businesses to recover from the impact of Covid-19, including the £2bn ‘Kickstart Scheme’, which aims to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country.

Another £1.6bn is being invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job.

The government says businesses will be able to use these latest new grants to pay for the expertise, equipment and technology they need to “adapt, recover and rebuild”.

Activities supported through the £20m can include:

• One-to-many events providing guidance to respond to coronavirus
• Grants (£1,000 – £5,000) to help businesses access specialist professional advice such as HR, accountants, legal, financial, IT and digital, and to purchase minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify

Simon Clarke, Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, said: “We have always said that we would stand behind our businesses and communities as we rebuild following the coronavirus pandemic. This new funding does exactly that.”

The cash will be distributed through ‘Growth Hubs’ embedded in Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas across the country.

To establish a viable grant programme, the government has set a minimum of £250,000 for all LEP areas. It says the allocation of resources will be reviewed as the grant fund is delivered.
Growth Hubs work across the country with local and national, public and private sector partners – such as Chambers of Commerce, FSB, universities, Enterprise Zones and banks.

A list of them can be found here: https://www.lepnetwork.net/local-growth-hub-contacts/

Boost is Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub. Businesses in the county can contact the hub to signal their interest in receiving a share of the grant funding.

The announcement builds on a £10m package announced earlier this month to help to kickstart the tourism industry and support the visitor economy.

Funding for both grants will be delivered in Lancashire from September and Boost is currently in the process of developing a formal application system.

However, Lancashire companies can register their interest in both grants via the contact page on the Boost website: https://www.boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk/contact-us/.

They will then be contacted in due course to progress their application if they are eligible.