New grants to boost recovery of small businesses
As part of the ongoing support for businesses affected by COVID-19, £20 million in new grants to boost recovery of small businesses was announced by the UK Government at the end of July (see our initial blog here). These new grants are starting to be rolled out from this month.
The funding has been allocated to local Growth Hubs (or associated projects) which work across the country with local, national, public and private sector partners, co-ordinating local business support and connecting businesses to the right help for their needs. Each Growth Hub can use its discretion to provide these grants however, there are some commonalities.
Small and medium sized businesses will have access to grants of between £1,000 to £5,000, to cover business recovery costs such as the purchase of equipment and professional services, and all grants must be awarded by 28 February 2021 and all activity fully completed by 31 March 2021.
Keeping in mind that each Growth Hub is setting its own criteria for the grants, some details from the South East Midlands hub (covering local authority areas such as Kettering, Corby, Northampton Borough Council, Wellingborough, Daventry, to name a few) are noted below.
- The grant scheme is called the South East Midlands Kickstart Grant Scheme (this is not to be confused with the separate UK Government’s employment-focused Kickstart scheme).
- The scheme will open for applications from local businesses from 9am on Monday 14th September.
- Successful applicants will be notified by grant offer letters from Monday 28th September.
- Grants will be considered on a first come, first served basis.
- Grants will typically range between £1,000 and £3,000 but, in exceptional circumstances, as much as £5,000 will be available.
- 100% of qualifying costs will be covered and a minimum of £1,000 must be spent. Qualifying costs include minor equipment to adapt your business and 1-2-1 specialist advice to address the businesses response to COVID-19 such as accountants, HR, finance, IT.
- The grants are split into 2 schemes; one specifically for tourism and hospitality-related businesses and one for any other small or medium-sized business impacted by the pandemic.
- Goods and services already purchased and costs incurred before the acceptance of the grant offer cannot be supported. Before proceeding with your project in any way, such as purchasing, ordering and making a deposit, you must wait to hear from the Growth Hub regarding the grant decision.
- Grants are only available to business with a turnover below £45 million and with less than 250 employees.
- Businesses classed as an Undertaking In Difficulty at 31 December 2019 will not be eligible for the grants (those businesses with negative profit and loss reserves or who are subject to collective insolvency proceedings being a couple of examples given).
- Due to state aid restrictions, businesses operating in certain sections will not be eligible for these grants (primary agriculture, horticulture, mainstream care, medical and education, finance and insurance to name few).
- You must be able to demonstrate that your business has been directly impacted by COVID-19.
Full information on the grants being offered by the South East Midlands growth hub can be found here.
Frequently asked questions about the grants being offered by the South East Midlands growth hub can be found here.
The application form for grants being offered by the South East Midlands growth hub can be found here.
For those of our clients who are located outside the South East Midlands growth hub area detailed, local grant schemes can be located as below.
Leicestershire Business Gateway Growth Hub
This growth hub covers Leicestershire. Full details of their grants scheme can be found here. Some differences when compared with South East Midlands Growth hub include grants are open to applications now and they cover 50% of costs from £2,000 to £10,000. Full details including guidance notes, the application form and the online application portal can be found via the first link.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Growth Hub
This growth hub covers the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough areas. Specific details of the grant scheme are not included on their website however general information on grants along with contact details can be found here.
A UK Government general COVID-19 support website can be found here. It contains guidance on all matters pertaining to the Coronavirus.