The Government has announced £20 million in new funding for grants to support smaller businesses to recover from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
This new national fund was announced by MHCLG last week (30 July) and is set to support thousands of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) across the country.
Businesses will have access to grants of between £1,000 – £5,000 to help them tap into new technology and other equipment as well as professional, legal, financial, or other advice to help them get back on track.
About the Funding
The funding is supported by the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme 2014-2020.
The money has been distributed at a local level to Growth Hubs within each LEP area across the country, in line with the current ERDF Programme.
MHCLG has instructed that funding criteria must be compliant with ERDF rules and has set out specific guidelines as to what these grants can include:
- the provision of one-to-many events providing guidance and support in response to COVID 19 e.g. working with legal and professional sector partners, webinars etc.
- a grant scheme for SME support, offering 100% grants typically in the range of £1,000 – £3,000, although on an exceptional basis the grant recipient may be able to grant up to a maximum of £5,000. These grants will typically support:
- 1-2-1 specialist advice which SMEs could call on to address their immediate needs in response to the impact of COVID 19 e.g. HR, accountants, legal, financial, H&S, IT / digital or sector specialists etc.
- For the visitor economy, this could also include supporting SMEs with productivity improvements such as enhanced use of digital tools such as yield management software, mentoring, networking, or other measures.
- It could also support to develop innovative delivery in a socially distanced economy – for example, new ways of delivering cultural events and festivals that are so critical to the visitor experience; and / or
- purchase of minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify in response to COVID 19.
This funding must be fully committed by 28 February 2021 with claims completed by 31 March 2021.
Find out more by visiting: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/20-million-in-new-grants-to-boost-recovery-of-small-businesses or contact your local growth hub for more information.
Supporting the Third Sector through COVID-19
A series of documents and updates regarding the 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Programme and the response to COVID-19 can be accessed here.
As ever, our dedicated CSI Representatives are here to understand and unpack the issues that the third sector is facing within the current ESIF programme which are affecting their ability to use European funds effectively.
So that we can raise these issues at government level on your behalf and pro-actively work for solutions, we’re asking Third Sector organisations to tell us their experiences using these funds, in light of the outbreak of COVID-19. Please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org