The Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke, announced a £20 million funding package on Thursday for small and medium sized businesses to help them recover from the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The funding will be made available in the form of grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 to help businesses access new technology and other equipment as well as professional, legal, financial or other advice to help them get back on track.
The qualification criteria are yet to be clarified but the support may help freelancers who operate through their own companies, a demographic who have thus far received scant assistance through the health crisis.
The support will be fully funded by the government from the England European Regional Development Fund and distributed through Growth Hubs, embedded in local areas across England. There will be no obligation on businesses to contribute financially.
Funding will be allocated to Growth Hubs within each Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), with a minimum of £250,000 for all LEP areas.
“We have always said that we would stand behind our businesses and communities as we rebuild following the coronavirus pandemic,” said Mr Clarke. “This new funding does exactly that. Businesses will be able to use these new grants to pay for the expertise, equipment and technology they need to adapt, recover and rebuild.
“Small and medium sized businesses are the beating heart of communities; they provide employment and contribute significantly to local economies and we are determined to give them the support they need to continue to thrive.”
Activities supported through the £20 million include one-to-many events providing guidance to respond to coronavirus, and grants of between £1,000 and £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.
The funding package is the latest in a series of initiatives designed to help the economy recover from the pandemic, including a £2 billion Kickstart Scheme announced by the chancellor of the exchequer earlier in the month, and a £10 million package to boost the tourism industry.
30th July 2020.