The Minister for regional Growth and Local Government announced on 30th July that small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) will be able to access funding to help them adapt and recover from the effects of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The £20m recovery grants will be processed and issued by the Growth Hub Network across the country, with each region being allocated a varied level of funding from that £20m pot, to be allocated to applicants.
There are 2 available grants available for businesses to apply for which vary slightly in their eligibility and scope; the SME Recovery Grant Scheme, and The Kick-starting Tourism Grant Scheme. You will not be able to claim both of the grants.
SME Recovery Grant Scheme
The SME Recovery Grant Scheme is open to all small and medium sized businesses and will allow them to utilise the grant in order to help them access new technology and equipment to help adapt their business to the new way of working, as well as being used for professional, legal, financial or other advice which can be invaluable in helping get your business back on track.
The Kick-starting Tourism Grant Scheme
The Kick-starting Tourism Package is a fund of £10m nationwide, with the purpose of giving small businesses in tourist destinations grants to help them adapt their businesses due to the disruption caused during the coronavirus pandemic.
Businesses that are granted funding can use it to pay for specialist professional advice such as human resources, legal or financial expertise, to adopt new technology and online systems, or to purchase new equipment. There is currently no obligation for businesses to contribute financially in order to receive the grant and will be 100% covered by the Government.
The Grants in Gloucestershire
The Gloucestershire Growth Hub, the body responsible for applications across Gloucestershire, have been granted a total of £464,655 to distribute to businesses throughout our region.
While the national cap on the grant is up to £5,000, the Gloucestershire Growth hub has decided, based on the proportion of funding being allocated to the region, that there will be a limit of £3,000 in the grants to allow them to help as many businesses as possible.
The Gloucestershire Growth Hub have currently paused the application process for new applicants for the grants as per their plan to review the first 200 applications for streamlining purposes.
They have released the following statement regarding the process & the pause in applications:
“Applications will launch for both grant schemes on Monday 28th September at 10am.
We anticipate that the demand will be high and expect a large volume of application submissions on launching. After the first 200 applications have been received, we will temporarily pause applications to allow us to make an initial assessment of the applications that have been submitted.
Once the initial assessment has been completed, applications may re-open for either of the schemes if there are funds remaining, and this process will be repeated until all the funds are allocated.
We will give one week notice prior to the grants reopening should there be funds available for further applications and will update the web page, as well as communicate any relevant dates via social media. It is likely to be at least 2 weeks from closing the grant scheme before we announce the date of the second phase of applications.”
Eligibility for the Grants
In order to be eligible for either – not both – of the grants, you must be able to confirm the following:
- Your business is based in Gloucestershire.
- Your business is a small or medium enterprise (SME).
- Less than 250 employees.
- Less than €50m turnover or balance sheet of €43m.
- Your business started trading before 1st March 2020 – Businesses that have set-up during the Coronavirus crisis will not be able to prove that their business activities have been disrupted and therefore will not be eligible.
- Your business has been impacted by COVID-19.
- The activity you are applying for is to assist with your COVID-19 recovery plans and is not “business as usual” or related to personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing or other regulatory activity.
- You would not be able to progress the activity without grant support.
- The activity you seek the grant for has not started prior to the date of your application, and, will be completed by 31st January 2021 so that evidence of payments can be made to us before the end of February 2021.
The above is not an extensive list of eligibility criteria, and there may be further criteria you have to meet before accessing the grant. For the full information on eligibility you should visit the Growth Hub’s website: https://www.thegrowthhub.biz/grants.
How you can Apply
To apply for either of the grants you will have to go through the Gloucestershire Growth Hub’s website to fill in an online form.
However, while the application process is currently paused you will not be able to complete the form until they reopen the application process.
You will however, be able to sign up for a notification if/when the Growth Hub is once again accepting applications. You will be able to find all the information you need here: https://www.thegrowthhub.biz/grants.
The Growth Hub is putting in place the systems to open and administer the applications. All successful applications will be notified and instructed to go ahead and purchase the planned support activity i.e. equipment or hiring a consultant. Once the applicant has purchased and provided evidence of this the grants will be released.